Thomas Newman on Scoring '1917' at Abbey Road

10th January 2020
Out in cinemas worldwide today, 1917 is the story of two young soldiers who are tasked with delivering a message that would prevent their countrymen from stepping into a trap. The score is every bit as emotive as the World War One epic it helps bring to life.

Composed by Thomas Newman at Abbey Road, the epic project was created across Studios One, Three, the Gatehouse and Front Room.
 
Thomas Newman’s score for Sam Mendes’ acclaimed film has already been nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA this year, and has won a selection of industry awards. Newman has worked with Sam Mendes since the director’s first film, 1999’s American Beauty, but he admitted that he's never done a film quite like 1917, where the 14-time Oscar nominee found that his music had to reflect the film’s one long, uninterrupted shot.

Mendes gave him a basic rule: “He didn’t want gloom on gloom. Essentially, if these guys are trudging through mud with their guns pointed, how do you get to different kinds of psychological landscapes?”
 
 
Newman first discussed the project with Mendes in November 2018, and he began getting footage from the shoot in early May of 2019. The film is relentless in its tension and release, and Newman had to portray this style of musical suspense to his ever evolving score.
 
Newman then brought the score to Abbey Road in September of last year, where he explains of the excitement of recording here: “One of the great joys of recording the score for '1917' in London was the opportunity once again to work at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. It truly is an extraordinary place to make music.”

The project was completed here from the writing, prelays, orchestral recording and music mix. Sessions were engineered by Shinnosuke Miyazawa and Abbey Road's Simon Rhodes, assisted by Gordon Davidson, Matt Jones, Dan Hayden, George Oulton and Neil Dawes.

Listen to the soundtrack now.