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For Composer Rob Simonsen, ‘Less Becomes More’ With ‘Foxcatcher’ Score

Rob simonsen Foxcatcher Composer

Judging from his sensitive, sophisticated scores for off-kilter romances and comedies like “The Spectacular Now” and “(500) Days of Summer,” Rob Simonsen might not have seemed the most intuitive choice to score “Foxcatcher,” Bennett Miller’s eerily placid study of violent obsession.

Fortunately, the composer and the director found a quick accord. “Every aspect of ‘Foxcatcher’ has the sensibility of sparseness,” Simonsen says. “The notes or colors that do show up have a greater impact. Less becomes more.”

Simonsen recorded most of the score with a variety of ensembles at London’s Air studio. Yet his most fortuitous collaborator was cellist Jacob Cohen.

“I had seen a cut of the film,” Simonsen says. “I walked into a subway stop and heard these kind of haunting wisps of music floating through the air. On the platform was a guy playing cello, surrounded by a quiet crowd of captivated onlookers. I thought: ‘Foxcatcher.’ So I got his card and we recorded some cello, which now opens the film.”