Saturday, November 26, 2011

HUGO: Howard Shore Scores for Scorsese Again

For the film, HUGO, Scorsese turned to one of his frequent collaborators, the renowned composer, Howard Shore. Shore did the scores for Scorsese's  The Departed, The Aviator, and Gangs of New York and their first film together After Hours in 1985. The only director Shore has worked with more is David Cronenberg, since their first project together in 1979, The Brood, Shore has scored all of Cronenberg's films except for The Dead Zone in '83. Shore has won three Academy Awards for his work on The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and as you might imagine has an incredibly extensive list of credits:   among them, The Fly, Big, High Fidelity, That Thing You Do, Panic Room, Edge of Darkness, History of Violence, Doubt, A Dangerous Method and Twilight; The Eclipse. He's worked with the best, in addition to Scorsese, Cronenberg, and Peter Jackson, Shore has collaborated with David Fincher, Penny Marshall, Jonathan Demme, Sydney Lumet, James Mangold, John Patrick Stanley and Stephen Frears among others.
If Martin Scorsese goes ahead with plans to make a pair of bio-pics, starring his muse Leonardo di Caprio, (The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt based on Edmund Morris' book and Sinatra, ) Howard Shore will score those too. He's currently at work on The Hobbit, again with Peter Jackson. And he's signed on to work with Cronenberg again on Cosmopolis, a film adaptation of Don DeLillo's book.

Scorsese, and Shore with Spielberg,
 one of few directors Shore hasn't worked with
 According to Shore, his work with Scorsese on Hugo was, -- as it was to Scorsese himself -- a love letter to the groundbreaking early days of cinema.
Here's how the work is described on howardshore.com,
'Shore’s music is composed for two ensembles – one nested within the other – to create a sense of layering in the musical palette. Inside a full symphony orchestra resides a smaller ensemble, a sort of nimble French dance band that includes the ondes Martenot, musette, cimbalom, tack piano, gypsy guitar, upright bass, a 1930s trap-kit, and alto saxophone. “I wanted to match the depth of the sound to the depth of the image,” says Shore.
The Hugo score is based around a family of primary musical themes. “The themes are used for clarity of storytelling and they develop over the course of the film,” says the composer. The score’s central theme is a Parisian waltz that develops into the song “Coeur Volant.” Howard Shore invited renowned French singer Zaz to collaborate with Elizabeth Cotnoir and him on the song, which captures the lyrical essence of the world of Hugo.
The theme for Hugo’s quest begins the score with clocklike precision in piano octaves. A figure for strings, celesta, and ondes Martenot rotates downward through minor modes to depict the mysterious automaton that Hugo’s father left behind. The Station Inspector is portrayed by a marche comique featuring bassoon and striding snare drum, while the cinematic innovations of Georges Méliès – “Papa Georges” to Hugo and Isabelle – receive Shore’s most theatrical flourishes, which recreate the spirited energy of live theater orchestras and the very first film scores."
If you're looking for a more detailed account you might want to check out Doug Adams interview with Shore at howardshore.com.

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