Thomas Newman Rocks!

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!

4 thoughts on “Thomas Newman Rocks!”

  1. I’m also a fan of Thomas Newman’s film scores. I first noticed his music in American Beauty. He has an unmistakable sound.

    Cliff Martinez, who scores a lot of Steven Soderbergh’s films also has a very unique sound. You’re probably familiar with his music if you’ve ever listened to the director commentary on The Limey.

  2. In fact, Jay, Cliff Martinez has scored all of Soderbergh’s films except Erin Brockovich, and that may just have been since he was busy writing music for Traffic, Soderbergh’s OTHER film from 2000. Did you know that Cliff Martinez was a onetime member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers?

  3. Thomas Newman’s music score for the movie “Road To Perdition,” has touched my soul. The blend of emotion with pure compositional majestry has and will forever more remain a part of my most cherished collection in which I hold close to my heart. His music has touched me in a way which is indescribeable. The mixture of stringed instruments offset by a very voicetrous piano is very suitable for the films overall theme. The absense of such works would leave the film sub-par. Thomas Newman is a genius who is one of Americas most prized composers.

  4. I have been listening to Thomas Newman now for many years now and instantly fell in love with The Shawshank Redemption soundtrack. He has an unmistakable sound that reflects most of his music and is one of the reasons most of his soundtracks are a hit. I own now almost 10 of his soundtracks and none of them have failed to amaze me by his talent and creativity. One of my favorite soundtracks is the The Horse Whisperer; it is one of the most catchy and heart-warming scores out there.

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