Nocturnal Animals (Abel Korzeniowski)
Abel Korzeniowski, 2016, Silva Screen
13 tracks, 33:37
The BAFTA- and IFMCA-nominated score for Nocturnal Animals is a menacing yet sensual beast. Composer Abel Korzeniowski continues to intrigue and impress.
Review by Pete Simons
What is it?
A wealthy art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a symbolic revenge tale. Directed by Tom Ford (A Single Man), it stars Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. The score Nocturnal Animals is by Abel Korzeniowski, now best-known for his work on the TV show Penny Dreadful and film scores such as Romeo & Juliet, WE, Copernicus’ Star and Tom Ford’s debut A Single Man.
What does it sound like? And is it any good?
The album opens with “Wayward Sisters”, a tense and sensual cue for strings and solo strings. It’s a phenomenal thriller cue with a distinct noir sound, as cello soars over rapid piano arpeggios, harp glissandi and rolling cymbals glue sections together, whilst brass and timpani provide dramatic accents. The main theme is made up from a couple of rising triplets followed by two falling notes. It’s soon repeated in “Restless”, and later in the incredibly fragile “The Field”. If you listen closely, you can hear it in the arpeggios in “Mothers”. It returns more clearly again in “City Lights”; and ‘inverted’ during “Table for Two” with the triplets now falling instead of rising. The piano takes the lead during the latter cue, but elsewhere the music is very much string driven, with solo cello or violin adding a nice edge to the otherwise smooth strings.
It’s suspenseful music with an ‘old fashioned’ noir character; but it’s always melodic and pleasant on the ears. Even when things get a little more dramatic. “Off the Road” is a menacing cue for tremolo strings, string arpeggios and a deep, growling synth sound that grows in intensity as the track progresses. I feel like a rabbit stuck in headlight – something wicked is coming this way, but I’m too entranced to move out of the way. “Crossroads” is similar, though less threatening, with its slowly evolving tremolo chords.
A lot of the music is based on arpeggios, which I could very lazily compare to, say, Philip Glass. It provides the score with movement, motion and with a sense of inevitability and unstoppability. All this in a rather subtle way. Korzeniowski has no need to be loud. His music is sophisticated. It whispers and it snarls which makes it all the more menacing.
01. Wayward Sisters (2.55)
02. Exhibition (1.12)
03. Restless (1.21)
04. A Solitary Woman (2.34)
05. Off the Road (4.26)
06. Revenge (3.15)
07. The Field (2.50)
08. Crossroads (2.55)
09. Mothers (2.31)
10. City Lights (1.14)
11. Table for Two (3.23)
12. The Field (alt. version) (2.47)
13. Fairy Tale (bonus track) (2.47)
Review (C) 2017 Synchrotones