The Music of ‘Till’: Preview ‘Emmett’s Room,‘ the ‘Emotional Foundation’ of the Score

The Music of ‘Till’: Preview ‘Emmett’s Room,‘ the ‘Emotional Foundation’ of the Score

October 21, 2022

At the heart of Chinonye Chukwu’s “Till” is a story about a mother’s love for her child. Danielle Deadwyler plays Mamie Till-Mobley, whose 14-year-old son Emmett was lynched in 1955. The film follows Mamie as she seeks justice for her son’s murder.

Chukwu enlisted composer Abel Korzeniowski, whose previous credits include “A Single Man” and “Nocturnal Animals,” to score the film’s soundtrack, which will be released on Oct. 28 by Orion Releasing LLC, under exclusive license to Mercury Classics Soundtracks & Scores.

One song, titled “Emmett’s Room,” is what Chukwu calls “a breathtaking, cinematic cue that makes you feel the heartbeat of the film.”

Korzeniowski says, “A bond like no other — stronger than a loss, stronger than pain, stronger than an act of violence. This is a mother’s love theme, an emotional foundation of the score.”

The theme is introduced when Mamie is told about her son’s death. It resurfaces later as Mamie comes to Money, Miss., and she retraces Emmett’s steps at Bryant’s Grocery. The cue concludes in the film’s final scene, when Mamie becomes symbolically reunited with Emmett, imagining him as if he were still alive, still cheerful and smiling.

Says Korzeniowski, “It was important for Chinonye that we don’t end in darkness, so this ending is a way of saying, Mamie won’t be broken, she will prevail and change the world in the process.”

He adds, “We wanted the score to reflect the internal conflict and transformation, instead of underscoring the objective reality. We focus on a present moment, magnified by long, patient close-ups, compelling the viewer to look and keep looking, deeper into the character’s eyes.”

As Mamie fights to tell the truth of what happened to her son and bring awareness to the events surrounding his death, Korzeniowski says, “Mamie wanted people to look and feel the pain, and she wanted them to not be okay with what they see.”

Listen to “Emmett’s Room” below.

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