Music Composed, Conducted And
Orchestrated By Howard Shore
Album Produced By Howard Shore
and Jonathan Schultz
Howe Records HWR-1007
21 Tracks – Running Time: 67:23
To Be Released Today!
Hugo is the latest and much anticipated film by Academy Award Winning Director Martin Scorsese because it is his first children’s film and his first PG rated film in over 18 years that being the critically acclaimed The Age of Innocence starring Daniel Day-Lewis. Based on the popular 2007 Illustrated book by Brian Selznick named “The Invention of Hugo Cabaret”, Scorsese’s film is a visual and artistic ode to the time when films were magical and it is no coincidence that it was time that he revisted a period film that was most successful for him as much as Gangs of New York, Casino and Goodfellas were for him. The story and book is set in the 1930s Paris, an orphan named Hugo Cabaret, lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father who was an inventor (played by Jude Law) and a robot. The film stars Asa Butterfield as Hugo, Sascha Baron Cohen (Borat), Emily Moritmer (Lars and the Real Girl), Christopher Lee (Lord of the Rings), Chloe Grace Moritz (Kick-Ass) and Sir Ben Kingsley (Shutter Island).
Howard Shore is definitely no stranger to working with Scorsese and also in the long line of successful collaborations in his career. The Academy Award winner, first worked with him on the ingenious and surreal off beat comedy, After Hours which literally rescused Scorsese’s own carrer with its success. After a seventeen year gap, Scorsese called on Shore to help with some original music on his epic film “Gangs of New York” replacing the late Elmer Bernstein after his score went used was followed with the Academy Award nominated, The Avator and the Academy Award winning, The Departed netting Scorsese both Best Picture and Best Director. With a momentary return to his use of prerecorded music for Shutter Island, Scorsese knew that Shore would be a key and intrigual part to Hugo in all facets.
The music is one of Shore’s most whimiscal and enjoyable in a long while. In some ways, it’s a distant cousin to his wonderful and memorable score to the Tom Hanks comedy “Big”. Shore was not only at home with the material but was also virtually inspired by it in all areas from the the film’s direction to the wonderful visuals of Brian Selznick and Scorsese’s long time cinematographer Robert Richardson. The music has an operatic style of whimsy to it, but it is very playful and also evokes the time period with a romantic Parisian style with bits of Django Rhinehart thrown in as well at the late Georges Delerue in its dramatic style.
The huge orchestrial score features the use of a simple piano melody with lot of use of Ondes Martinot (which is a French keyboard), accordion and strings which are all introduced in the album’s opening track “The Thief”. “The Chase” is a joyful and nice little take off track with lots of playful rhythms accuntuated by a Django Rhineheart style guitar solos, French accordion, and 1920-30’s style percussion. “The Clocks” is a tracks that starts out somewhat similar to the “Zoltar” music from Big and then a reprise of the scores’ main theme introduced in “The Thief” is given a more developed and gentle tone that really shines throughout even when a bit of a Rhinehart guitar with a touch of a tango like theme thrown in. “Hugo’s Father” is a dramatic and adds a little bit of intrigue and mystery with its slow paced rhythms and wonderful orchestrial readings as the guitar becomes the primary solo in the track aided by a warm piano and woodwind theme. “The Station Inspector” is a playful and stately introduction to Sascha Baron Cohen’s character in the film that is in pure tango like rhythm and very fun at that. “The Message” is another dramatic rendering of score’s central theme and gains more and more momentum with its ballet like quality in its orchestration to which Shore has really mastered. “Purpose” plays out like a mini little anthem of sorts and the score’s major highlight is the charming and joyful “The Invention of Dreams” it’s a six-minute piece that really mixes all the main themes of the score into a really cheery frenetic pace that essentially tango based and fans of Parisian music from the time period will definitely get a kick out of. Other standout tracks that shouldn’t be overlooked include “A Ghost In The Station” an excellent expansion of “The Station Inspector’s” theme, “A Train Arrives In The Station” and the elegance of “Winding It Up”.
The album which was released by Howard Shore on his own record label, Howe Records is a solid success and an easy album to really get into without much trouble. Like his score to A Dangerious Method, Hugo can also be classified as a cross-over album because of the score’s thematic roots which are that of tango musicand the Parisian sound of Django Rhineharts’s that is stil enjoyed to this day by classic jazz lovers. Added to this, is that Shore’s music is just infectious and has a child like atmosphere to it that is like the film, very child friendly.
Hugo is one of Shore’s best scores in a long time in my opinion and it is because there is alot of warmth and love he had in the film which shows throughout the entire album.
Hugo opens on Wednesday around the Tri-State Area and the album is available today locallly at Barnes and Noble and J&R Music And Computer World in Lower Manhattan as well as Amazon.
01. The Thief (4:21)
02. The Chase (2:50)
03. The Clocks (4:28)
04. Snowfall (1:51)
05. Hugo’s Father (3:25)
06. Ashes (2:33)
07. The Station Inspector (1:10)
08. Bookstore (1:52)
09. The Movies (1:29)
10. The Message (4:37)
11. The Armoire (2:33)
12. Purpose (2:04)
13. The Plan (2:49)
14. Trains (2:50)
15. Papa Georges Made Movies (1:53)
16. The Invention Of Dreams (6:29)
17. A Ghost In The Station (6:01)
18. A Train Arrives In The Station (3:26)
19. The Magician (2:34)
20. Coeur Volant, Zaz (Elizabeth Conoir, Isabelle Geffroy, Howard Shore) (4:19)
21. Winding It Up (6:00)
– Danny Gonzalez
Film Music Examiner NEW YORK – NYC