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Interview: Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner on Composing the Music / Writing the Songs of ‘Cyrano’

This whole week, I’ve been celebrating the cast and crew of Cyrano. Over the last few days, we’ve featured my conversations with director Joe Wright (here), as well as stars Peter Dinklage (here), Haley Bennett (here) and Kelvin Harrison Jr. (here). Today, it’s time to talk about the film’s music, which brings me to Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner. As many of you no doubt know, the Dessner Brothers are a part of the wildly successful band The National, which you can hear on many a movie soundtrack. Here, they’ve composed the music, as well as had a hand in the original songs (some of which were new to the flick, some of which were from the stage production). They’ve also had something to do with the last couple of Taylor Swift albums, which only makes them bigger deals in my book. Honestly? This was the chat I was most excited for during the Cyrano press day last year. Now, I’m pleased to bring it to you all…

In my Cyrano review (here), I had this to say about the Dessner’s, as well as the behind the scenes work on the whole:

Director Joe Wright manages to make this intimate in a way that never feels cheap. The film may be calling out for an epic feel, but Wright sees the emotions in Erica Schmidt‘s screenplay (adapting her own stage musical). Together, they get to the heart of the matter, though don’t be fooled, Wright still has some killer visuals here. The visual palate is fully compelling, courtesy of cinematographer Seamus McGarvey. The true star, however, are the songs, largely written by The National‘s Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner. The composed the simple yet effective score, while co-writing the tunes. By far, the best number is “Wherever I Fall” in the third act, but all of the numbers pair well with each other.

Below, you can see my discussion with both of the Dessner Brothers. We talk the Cyrano music, including their favorite songs from the production. I think I did a good job resisting talking too much about their collaborations with Swift, in order to focus on this film, but they have such range, it was impossible not to mention. With the movie finally out in release, I’m overjoyed for you all to get to witness the accomplishment. It’s truly a winning musical.


Here now is my interview with Cyrano musicians Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner. Enjoy:

Cyrano is in theaters now!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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