Hugo: Original Score
Hugo marks the sixth collaboration between director Martin Scorsese and composer Howard Shore. Like Scorsese’s film, Shore’s score to Hugo is a love letter both to the French culture in the 1930s and to the groundbreaking early days of cinema.
Hugo tells the story of Hugo Cabret, a boy who lives behind the walls of a Parisian train station. Shore’s music is composed for two ensembles one nested within the other to create a sense of layering in the musical palette. Inside a full symphony orchestra resides a smaller ensemble, a sort of nimble French dance band that includes an Ondes Martenot, musette, cimbalom, tack piano, gypsy guitar, upright bass, 1930s trap-kit and an alto saxophone. ‘’I wanted to match the depth of the sound to the depth of the image,’’ says Shore. The score’s central theme is a Parisian waltz that develops into the song Coeur Volant. Howard Shore invited renowned French singer Zaz to collaborate with Elizabeth Cotnoir and him on the song, which captures the lyrical essence of the world of Hugo.
When his father dies, 12-year-old orphan Hugo takes up residence behind the walls of a Parisian train station. There, he meets Isabelle, the daughter of filmmaker Georges Méliès, who holds the key to Hugo's destiny.