Fashion designer-turned-director Tom Ford’s first film A Single Man (2009) chronicles a tragic day in the life of gay British literature professor George Falconer (Colin Firth). Based on the Christopher Isherwood novel by the same name, A Single Man is a story of love, grief and depression. It is also an aesthetic tour de force which elegantly recreates a 1962 Los Angeles scene down to last detail (set design, colour palette and fashion).
While the soundtrack includes popular songs from the 1930s and 1960s as well as a few tracks by Japanese composer Shigeru Umebayashi, the bulk of the score comes from Kraków-born Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski , a classically trained cello player who went on to study classical composition.
Abel Korzeniowski’s lush orchestral score constantly mirrors the main character’s turmoil and emotional heartbreak. A track like “Stillness of the mind” exposes the main theme on the solo violin which is then explored further in other tracks like “Swimming” or “And just like that” with flowing string arrangements.
I also asked the solo violin player to stand up while recording, to give him a little boost of adrenaline. In addition we were recording the whole orchestra at once, no overdubs. To get this natural, emotional flow most of the cues are almost unedited and consist of only one take.
A. Korzeniowski interview with Jan Zwilling – Original Score 2010