Film Score Monthly
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 Posted:   Jan 17, 2018 - 2:05 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

As expected, part of the issue was car speakers having poor reproduction of highs. This score features a lot more high frequencies of strings than we typically get. I'm enjoying it a bit more on my Sennheisers at home on the computer. I shouldn't expect it all to be like the gorgeous sample that was shared earlier as this is Greenwood and There Will Be Blood wasn't exactly fully soothing either.

 Posted:   Jan 27, 2018 - 4:28 PM   
 By:   ClipperJon   (Member)

I saw this film in 70mm at AFI Silver (Silver Spring, MD, adjacent to Washington, DC) last weekend and was thoroughly entertained from the first frame to last. The soundtrack is wonderful.

 Posted:   Feb 9, 2018 - 3:06 AM   
 By:   Adam Krysinski   (Member)

CD just arrived. Another piece of paper crap packaging without a plastic CD tray. frown
I hate this digisleeve mini-LP packaging!

 Posted:   Feb 22, 2018 - 8:15 PM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

For about the first half of this movie, I was very enamored of it, from Daniel Day-Lewis’s (final?) performance to the meticulous production design and photography. And I found Greenwood's score compelling and inventive.

And then, at about the start of the second hour, I felt I’d had quite enough. Day-Lewis’s character was just a preening pill, and his paramour a cipher. It became what I imagine “Fifty Shades of Gray” is, with its high-gloss settings and dominance/submissive sexual dynamics, just presented as art. It presents dysfunction as if its existence is itself insightful – the characters make choices that feel only vaguely motivated, but I think to Paul Thomas Anderson, the very fact that nothing is justified is what makes it weighty. My reaction was “I guess, if you say so.”

And the score that had been so unusual and haunting suddenly became obvious, underlining the melodrama in stock ways.

I guess I wish I'd stopped halfway through!

 Posted:   Feb 23, 2018 - 6:34 AM   
 By:   Luc Van der Eeken   (Member)

Brilliant film and by far Greenwood's best score so far.

 Posted:   Feb 23, 2018 - 10:16 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

from today's (print) NY Times:

How Jonny Greenwood Wove the ‘Phantom Thread’ Score

Set in the haute-couture world of 1950s London, Paul Thomas Anderson’s film “Phantom Thread” brings a renowned fashion designer and a young waitress into a weird codependency. The insinuating and expressive score by Jonny Greenwood — with its blend of Minimalist-like riffs, eerie harmonies, alluring melodic lines you don’t quite trust, and piercing chords that leap about aimlessly — conveys both the posh glamour of the designer’s world and his inner obsessions.

The music has brought Mr. Greenwood, 46, the longtime guitarist of Radiohead, a much-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Original Score. When he called recently from his home near Oxford, England, it was revealing, and rather charming, that he referred several times to his “patchy music education.”

In his youth he played recorder in a local ensemble (he still plays in a little group) and viola in a student orchestra. He had an epiphany at 15, when he heard a recording of Messiaen’s ecstatic “Turangalîla-Symphonie,” which inspired him to learn the ondes Martenot, an early electronic instrument.

While Mr. Greenwood dropped out of university in 1991, after just a few weeks, that was because Radiohead had signed a recording contract. For years he has written and arranged songs for the group, composed pieces for ensembles, and written film scores. (His next is for Lynne Ramsay’s “You Were Never Really Here,” scheduled for release on April 6.)

Here are excerpts from the conversation.

You seem to think of a film score as more of a suite of pieces than a more-or-less continuous track of music.

Yeah, I’m usually writing pieces to fit the story, the characters. And, quite a lot, Paul [Thomas Anderson] cuts the film to fit the music.

I find it hard to describe your scores, and I mean this in a positive sense. The influences are varied and ever-present, but subtle and elusive.

That’s a huge compliment. I feel like I’m enthralled to the same three composers all the time: Messiaen, Penderecki and Bach — well, Bach and Vivaldi. I love Baroque stuff. I’ve got such patchy knowledge of so much other music. It’s a childish way of looking at things, but I will listen to Penderecki and think about how that kind of thing can be done with modern music, or how Messiaen’s modes can work in the structure of Bach chorales. It feels like a really ugly cross-pollination.


It’s like you’ve got a bunch of beautiful animals in a room, crossbreeding into something revolting. But that’s partly because there is so much in between that I don’t understand or have never studied or don’t know enough about. I’ve got such patchy music education I have to just obsess on what I know. Maybe that’s what everybody does.

The breadth of what you know comes through in “Phantom Thread.”

The principal thing was to make sure the emotion was sincere. I was so scared of it being pastiche. In a way it goes back to my first audition for a youth orchestra. I’d never heard the real thing. I’d been in small orchestras that couldn’t play. Suddenly here’s this room of 17- and 18-year-olds, and I’d never heard this noise, and I’ve never forgotten it. I still feel like, when I’m doing film stuff, I’m chasing that same fix. I know that eventually, after these months of work on paper, I know that eventually there will be a day, or if I’m lucky two days, with an orchestra to record it all.

Having said that, the first stuff I sent to Paul he said was all too dark. Like the first two pieces I sent him, on the piano, he said that it sounds like you are telling the story already, that you’re giving away what’s going to happen.

The first piece from the soundtrack album, “Phantom Thread I,” begins with these eerie, hazy high strings. Then this alluring theme starts, and a hint of what could be a Bach chorale prelude filters through. Was that Bach-like element conscious?

That started with trying to work out what music could be used to describe the character of Reynolds [the designer]. I said to Paul, we should think about what music he would have listened to. I sold Paul the idea of Reynolds being into Glenn Gould, that Reynolds listened intensely to all those recordings. It was a good excuse to work on a slightly neurotic Bach-piano-style piano music, which seemed to fit him. And then Paul asked for it to be bigger and bigger and bigger. So eventually we did it with a full orchestra.

In the piece from the film “Sandalwood I,” I heard Steve Reich stuff, and also Debussy.

Things leak into my head, I suppose. But I’m constantly stumbling with this stuff. I will spend weeks and weeks on the piano, and things start to be satisfying, and then you realize later where they’ve been stolen from.

The harmonies in “The Tailor of Fitzrovia” suggested to me a composer you haven’t mentioned: Britten. Are you a Britten fan at all?

Lots of it was coming from Paul as well as from Daniel [Day-Lewis, who plays Reynolds]. We talked about music in Britain in the ’50s, and did lots of research, and among all this slightly twee, pastoral, folksy stuff, Britten really stood out for having the darkness to it.

So Daniel Day-Lewis gave input for the music?

He talked about Thomas Tallis a lot. How can music sound English and still be Romantic? One piece, “Alma,” for string quartet and piano, is the most English of everything. I’m not sure why. It just has that kind of harmony to it. I feel like it’s the closest we got. I’m lucky Paul used it in a very tender, romantic moment in the film, at the New Year’s Eve party.

The film also includes excerpts from pieces by Debussy and Schubert and more. Were these your choices?

Those are Paul’s. He’s always done this. He knows his stuff. He pretends not to.

Then there’s that lush piece, “House of Woodcock.” That, to me, is the 1950s, the mellow, quasi-jazzy, quasi-posh music.

It was called “Bill Piano” for ages, because it was from listening to lots of Bill Evans. Such pretty music, which sounds like an insult, but it’s really isn’t.

Is it hard to balance all this work with Radiohead, which releases albums only occasionally but is, for example, doing a substantial American tour this summer?

Radiohead seems to be slowing down. You know, Thom [Yorke] is doing great music by himself. And Ed [O’Brien] is currently recording a record on his own. At the same time, every time I write a new piece of music, in my head it’s headed for a Radiohead song; that’s where my head really is.

 Posted:   Mar 3, 2018 - 6:35 PM   
 By:   Mark R. Y.   (Member)

It presents dysfunction as if its existence is itself insightful – the characters make choices that feel only vaguely motivated, but I think to Paul Thomas Anderson, the very fact that nothing is justified is what makes it weighty. My reaction was “I guess, if you say so.”

Having (finally) seen this film I would say that Reynolds' fixation on his deceased mother and Alma's poisoning of him -later with his assent- so she can play nursemaid/mother for him would be the place to start in examining these characters' motivations.

 Posted:   Mar 4, 2018 - 3:06 AM   
 By:   JohnnyG   (Member)

I found the film neither brilliant or profound or much of anything other than a bore. The score was okay, nothing more. My opinion. I used to think Anderson was interesting, but I can't stomach any of his films from the past decade.

In my opinion PTA is afflicted by a serious disease: he tries too hard to show us he has something important to say, that his films carry special weight. It became apparent in 1999 with "Magnolia" and reached annoying levels IMHO in "There Will Be Blood" and "The Master" - the "Antonioni-meets-Kubrick" syndrome. I find interesting things in most of his films and he certainly gets good performances from his actors but in the end a sense of pretentiousness (along with coldness) prevails. "Boogie Nights" remains my favorite PTA film and even that becomes a bit more heavy than it should in the last part.

As far as music - Greenwood's music - is concerned, when I watched TWBB ten years ago I wanted to smash the screen and rush out of the theater. I found the score irritating to the point of offensiveness. In "The Master" I found that I could remain seated more easily. I could just stand the music - just - and nothing more than that. "Phantom Thread" then is quite an improvement. Although in the film the music still doesn't always gel, it's way more listenable and some tracks at least are an interesting standalone listen.

You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2018 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.