So often when viewing a film as fine as A SINGLE MAN the components that add to the story and the acting and the direction, if they are truly well done, go unnoticed. And perhaps that is the real mark of a fine musical score: it underscores the mood and propels the story along without calling attention to itself. But after repeated viewings of this particular film on DVD the music finally can be appreciated for what it is.
The personality of George, so very shattered by the news that opens the film, is captured by the beauty of Abel Korzeniowski: he understands when to use silences, when to meld the aqueous memories of swimming underwater with the solitary moments of this stoic man who have just been notified that his partner of 16 years has been killed. He turns to his own music (Miriam Gauci singing the beautiful aria "Ebben? Ne andrò lontana" from Catalani's opera LA WALLY - a song about leaving home for the last time - just the right aria for a man who is planning his suicide), and as his mind remembers the beautiful times with his love Jim the music becomes impossibly beautiful - a mixture of full orchestra with interludes of piano alone.
The story, being set in the 1960s, also makes use of old standards form Jo Stafford ('Blue Moon'), Etta James ('Stormy Weather') and the fun of George dancing the twist with Charley (Charlotte) to the tune of 'Green Onions' by Booker T. and the MGs. In addition to the subtleties of Korzeniowski's score, there are moments with the brief but eloquent music of Shigeru Umebayashi is introduced as contrast. Overall the mixing and the musical foundation fits the magic of this superb film and offers the sound forum for the acting gifts of Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, and Nicholas Hoult. A fine CD all by itself - for memory's sake. Grady Harp, August 10
I wasn't crazy about this movie - too slow for my tastes - but in a way those same flaws make this a great soundtrack to listen to. It's got a very moving, very emotional feel to it. It's very soft, relaxing music. I recommend it for background music while you're working or reading a good book.
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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A Single Man is based on the novel of the same name by Christopher Isherwood. Set in Los Angeles in 1962, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, it is the story of a British college professor (Colin Firth) who is struggling to find meaning to his life after the death of his long time partner. The story is a romantic tale of love interrupted, the isolation that is an inherent part of the human condition, and ultimately the importance of the seemingly smaller moments in life.