Just released on Nonesuch Records is Jonny Greenwood's original score to the film of Haruki Murakami’s cult novel ‘Norwegian Wood'. Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung’s’s beautifully meditative adaptation was released in the UK on 11 March, following its general release in Japan in October 2010, and its premieres at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals:
'Building on the originality of his debut score, Bodysong, and the ambition of his second score, There Will Be Blood, Radiohead guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood has created perhaps the most challenging and exciting film music of the past few years for Tran Anh Hung’s Japanese film Norwegian Wood. Switching between searing orchestral passages (taken from Doghouse, his Krzysztof Penderecki-inspired BBC commission), elegiac sonatas for string quartet and plucked solo guitar ballads, Greenwood combines warm tone clusters, bright colours and short melodic lines into a score of remarkable visceral power and emotional force, at once lyrical and plaintive. Norwegian Wood is the best kind of score. It succeeds as a complete music composition and redefines what is possible in film music.'
The Irish Times (Jocelyn Clarke), 11 March 2011
'And the soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead (Tran has used their music in his films before) is also exquisitely thought-out, ebbing and flowing with the film, sometimes just guitar reminiscent of Nick Drake, sometimes the full works in Arvo Pärt mode.'
Evening Standard "Film of the Week" (David Sexton), 11 March 2011
‘Jonny Greenwood wrote the film’s majestic music which features classical strings and modern experimental sounds that brilliantly enhance the emotional turmoil of young love and the stunning natural landscapes.'The Mail on Sunday, 13 March 2011
'… a plangent, keening orchestral score by Jonny Greenwood.'The Guardian (Peter Bradshaw), 10 March 2011
'Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood's nascent side-career as a film composer had an impressive beginning with 2007's There Will Be Blood and, with this adaptation of Haruki Murakmi's novel of loss and sexuality in '60s Japan, he remains on a roll. While there are stylistic similarities to his prior score, he infuses Toki No Senrei… and Liko Dakara… with wistful acoustic guitar to great effect. Amid these affecting cues, there are some lo-fi treats from experimental rockers CAN, which engagingly lift proceedings when the danger of over-mournful strings arise.'Empire magazine, April 2011
'… Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood could end up being the John Barry of his generation. Greenwood's music for Paul Thomas Anderson's 2007 oil-baron drama There Will Be Blood was Bafta-nominated, and now comes his score for Norwegian Wood, auteur Anh Hung Tran's take on the superb Haruki Murakami's novel about three Tokyo students whose romantic entanglement is set against political unrest in late 1960s Japan. Tran's brief reportedly involved freeze-framing scenes and asking Greenwood to write music according to the actors' expressions. The tense, minimalist score that resulted is largely for strings played by the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Emperor Quartet, but Greenwood also drafted in revered Krautrock act CAN. The three psychedelic songs the veteran band contributes provide useful contrast to Greenwood's shorter, more austere instrumentals. While the fine opening theme for strings Slide One could conceivably owe something of it's weight and poignancy to Henryk Górecki's Third Symphony, Greenwood turns to his first instrument for two bijou guitar pieces. Prosaically translating from the Japanese as Guitar 12 and Guitar 8, both are wonderfully haunting. I have yet to see the film, and of course the true test of any soundtrack is how well it complements the visuals. Heard independently, however, Greenwood's latest is a gem that reflects his growing confidence as a "serious" composer.'TheNational.ae (James McNair), 16 March 2011
'Jonny Greenwood's reputation as an expert orchestral craftsman continues to gather strength…Greenwood shows how the string orchestra becomes a descriptive force in the right hands. It only takes a minute of the floated introduction, Mou Sukoshi Jibun no Koto, Kichinto Shitaino, to bear this out. The upper register harmony simmers like a slowly moving mirage across a desert, moving seamlessly into a serene passage for high register violin…The gap in between his exploits on the big screen suggests Greenwood is choosing his material judiciously, and his increasingly adventurous classical compositions suggest he is very close to mastering his discipline as an orchestrator, capable of shaping his work to larger structures and shading it with ear catching detail.'musicOMH.com (Ben Hogwood), March 2011
Greenwood is already hard at work on his next film score. It's to be 'We Need To Talk About Kevin', after the acclaimed novel by Lionel Shriver and starring Tilda Swinton and John C Reilly. Scottish director Lynne Ramsay is at the helm.