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Justin Hurwitz's FIRST MAN (2018)

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https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/damien-chazelle-oscar-winner-talks-ryan-gosling-starrer-first-man-1136395

 

Lengthy interview with Damien Chazelle about First Man containing a brief mention of the score.

 

Quote

A week after our editing-room meeting, the director is in a control room at Sony's Barbra Streisand Scoring Stage. He's in his element here, even if his eyes are dark pools and two stress pimples have broken out on his forehead. On the other side of a glass wall, 80 
or 90 musicians are tuning up, about to record the music for some of the more dramatic moments of First Man. Hurwitz is conducting, and he and Chazelle exchange brief verbal shorthand over an intercom.

 

"There's that long crescendo …" Chazelle starts.

 

"We're still giving the second half of the note a dive," Hurwitz cuts in. Then, to his musicians: "Everybody who has a 16th note, touch that downbeat before letting go. It can be almost a niente."

 

The music soars as, onscreen, 
a car sweeps across the city at night and Gosling (as Armstrong) stares out the window at the passing landscape, knowing he's leaving his wife for what might 
be the last time.

 

 

While we're here, anyone fancy sharing their favourite Hurwitz pieces? I'm kind of surprised his scores haven't been discussed much here, so thought I'd get the ball rolling.

 

 

Lovely rendition of the Cincinatti theme featured in the End Credits of Guy & Madeline On a Park Bench, which also features in La La Land. I would recommend you check out this soundtrack if you enjoyed La La Land, there are a couple of fun crossovers between the scores.

 

 

Hurwitz has a knack for writing memorable melodies, and I think his theme for Whiplash is brilliant. Full of ambition, with a touch of melancholy. I love that even in a predominantly ambient/thriller style score, he gives us a strong main theme with several variations.

 

 

Just a question about this one. Anyone else noticed that this piece is much shorter than it appears in the film? It seems odd not to include the full piece in the 'La La La Complete Musical Experience' set. Hurwitz mentions in the commentary that the track was written to fit the length of the scene and cut out with the climax of the heated debate. I wonder if they recorded this shorter version specifically for the soundtrack.

 

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50 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

So you're telling me it's got notes

 

True not much is revealed, but still nice to know Chazelle is enjoying the scoring sessions.

 

It also confirms Hurwitz is conducting for the first time and that the score will prominently feature the orchestra. I had a chuckle reading the FSM reactions to the score possibly containing electronic elements:

 

Quote

I won't name any names, but I'm tired of composers that show promise with orchestral works or orchestra-samples works, who later on want to piss around in electronics creating synthscapes and other skippable material that only makes one or two people here on the board happy.

 

 

 

The first time I listened to the ambient tracks from the Whiplash score I thought they made use of synthesizers. Turns out they are recordings of Big Bang instruments slowed down!

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7 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

I have no problems with electronics but is the actual music any good?  Is it anyway memorable or is it merely functional?

A lot of it functional but a good number of memorable cues for sure, once we get to the moon mission itself especially. Hurwitz definitely isn't phoning it in with the electronics like some have been fearing, it's just that Chazelle evidently didn't want the music to be the driving force of the entire film like his previous ones, just in a few select sequences. 

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Hurwitz has said that he doesn't get offered many scoring gigs because he has a reputation for being 'the jazz guy'. I wonder if this might open him up to getting onto non-Chazelle projects!

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2 hours ago, karelm said:

Chazelle's goal "is to make a movie so revelatory in its realism, so gritty in its physicality, that it becomes a drama of thrillingly hellbent danger and obsession."

 

Bad news for the score.

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Sorry, *another* bump. Firstly - 

 

Secondly, thanks to the powers of Shazaming this preview (it was from the Paris premiere livestream , also has a short snippet of the Apollo 11 launch cue) got the full tracklist for the album (although it does look more like the 'complete score' cue sheet) out of order. Looks like we'll be getting an almost-complete 2CD release...

 

Quote

Crater

Apollo 11 Launch

Spin

Dad’s Fine

Moon Walk

Squawk Box

Translunar

Whitey on the Moon (Leon Bridges)

Multi-Axis Trainer

Armstrong Cabin

Karen

I Oughta Be Getting Home / Plugs Out

Tunnel

The Armstrongs

Good Engineer

X-15

First To Dock

News Report

Elliot

Naha Rescue 1

Home

Pat and Janet

Searching For the Aegena

End Credits

Another Egghead

Sep Ballet (Bonus Track)

The Landing

Lunar Rhapsody (Les Baxter)

Docking Waltz

Houston

It’ll Be An Adventure

Contingency Statement

Moon

Baby Mark

Neil Packs

Quarantine

Sextant

 

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19 hours ago, Dr. Know said:

That video has been deleted... anywhere else to hear this?

Yeah, Universal ended up blocking it... You can hear it (and the last minute or so of the Apollo 11 Launch cut) at the start here:

 

Official cover art:

76bZi24.jpg

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The main theme? No. But the staging of the finale (percussion and all) is somewhat similar. At the time, I was thinking more of The Last of the Mohicans though. 

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On 9/30/2018 at 6:55 PM, antovolk said:

Yeah, Universal ended up blocking it... You can hear it (and the last minute or so of the Apollo 11 Launch cut) at the start here:

 

 

^^^

Wow, thats doownright plagiarism

 

Yess, thats right.

It'is very similar with the end of "The End" track of Powell's United 93, all the way to the final one note!

 

 

Well, POwell music sounds way better though

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3 hours ago, KK said:

The main theme? No. But the staging of the Apollo 11 Launch cue (percussion and all) is somewhat similar. At the time, I was thinking more of The Last of the Mohicans though. 

FTFY

 

Now I listen to it again and the U93 one, yeah the similarity is a bit striking - do wonder if that's what Chazelle temped onto the sequence when editing.

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I'm very sorry to say that, on first listen at least, I don't particularly enjoy "The Landing."  Here's hoping my opinion changes with time and seeing the movie.

 

"Quarantine" on the other hand is much more interesting and satisfying presentation of the same theme.

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Can't say I'm a fan of either. They sound very quirky (which may be his style - I haven't heard Hurwitz' music before) and almost intentionally non-mainstream.

 

Feels like the sort of score that would be a shoe-in for oscar consideration (for the wrong reasons). Although the controversy around the flag planting may stop that.

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4 hours ago, Disco Stu said:

I do really like the harp + theremin rendition of the theme.

 

That's the best material in the film. That same idea does not translate very well into the "rousing fanfare" that "The Landing" tries to emulate.

 

The harp idea and this nice bass-ey suspense motif are the two take-away ideas I remembered from the film. It's a decent score, not much more.

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23 hours ago, Lewya said:

Two tracks from the score have been released exclusively:

 

 

^^

Idk, aside from the track being not engaging enough, i think the score (as a whole) is heavily temped with Powell's U93

I mean, you can pratically see the blatant similarity, begin with the percussion ( and  to lesser extent,

the overall progression and orchestration). Compare it with this U93 track:


 

 

23 hours ago, Lewya said:

 

^^

now this, on the other hand, is pure Huwritz's organic-indie-quirky galore

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What are you lot talking about? The similarity between Hurwitz and Powell's United 93 is only incidental, reliant on a few similar string gestures in the end. The percussion is different, the structure is fundamentally different. The Landing is clearly inspired by The Promentory from The Last of The Mohicans, from the insistive undercurrent to the structure of the piece (the breakout of the melodic part at about 2 mins). The instrumentation is very similar from the bass guitar used in the background to bring an appropriate 60s folk feeling to the whole piece to a nice and inspired nod to Jones' use of snare drums in The Fort Battle. Yet, Hurwitz' work stands out on its own, due to its incorporation of post-minimalist techniques and a clear unabashed sense of merging a jazzy melodic sensibility with massive Hollywood bombast. And this is only on the basis of one track.

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Learn a bit of film music history before making allegations. The score to First Man has practically no Influences from any other piece of music. Granted, Last of the Mohicans is the temp track for The Landing. The Rest - give it a go. No Hans Zimmer factory McDonalds nonsense here.

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41 minutes ago, thestat said:

Learn a bit of film music history before making allegations. The score to First Man has practically no Influences from any other piece of music. Granted, Last of the Mohicans is the temp track for The Landing. The Rest - give it a go. No Hans Zimmer factory McDonalds nonsense here.

I mean...there are some Goldenthal Heat vibes at the start of Apollo 11 Launch....  🤣

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