Maybe you can say it’s a sign of creeping fogie-dom, but over the past five years or so, I’ve begun to take an interest in film scores. Most of the time, these are just the muzak that fills in the space when people aren’t talking, but just as in any field, there are giants and geniuses.
The first time I walked out of a theatre and almost immediately into a music store to buy a soundtrack CD was in 1997. I’d just seen Cate Blanchett and Ralph Fiennes in the film adaptation of Peter Carey’s novel, Oscar and Lucinda. The film was enjoyable but flawed, but I thought the soundtrack was fantastic. Since that time, I’ve enjoyed Thomas Newman’s soundtrack for Erin Brockovich as well as the theme he wrote for the HBO series Six Feet Under.
What’s amazing about film score composers is that by necessity they have to be prolific. For instance, in the same year he wrote the Oscar and Lucinda score, Newman wrote scores for two other films, and in 2000, when he wrote music for Erin Brockovich, he also scored two other films and wrote a theme for a television series. The Internet Movie Database lists more than 60 credits over the past 25 years.
To be able to make art out of an inherently commercial medium is a rare gift. So I just want to record here, for the benefit of those that don’t know already, that Thomas Newman Rocks!