Fargo (An Original MGM / FXP Television Series)

Fargo (An Original MGM / FXP Television Series)

In developing the Coen brothers' darkly comic Oscar-winning film into a TV series, young composer Jeff Russo recalls that Noah Hawley—the show's creator and previous collaborator (My Generation, The Unusuals)—sought music that was “cold and lonesome and stark, all the things that you would expect from the landscape." Yet he notes: "There’s an emotional aspect to it and a melancholy to it. And all of those descriptors just sort of sent me on a mission.” Russo retreated to his studio, “picked up my guitar and wrote the main theme melody. I expanded on it with viola, violin, and harp, then added the big crescendo of the whole orchestra. The other bits and pieces came later the next day.” The composer also recalls another crucial guideline from Hawley: “He said, ‘We’re not making a television show; we’re making a 10-hour movie. And we really want it to feel that way.’” The 47-piece Prague Philharmonic ably rise to that challenge. Yet Russo is just as shrewd in what he’s left out: “Silence obviously makes music way more important. Because it’s such a character-driven piece, using subtle moments of music is very effective.”

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