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The Essential Thomas Newman Performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra


Composer: Thomas Newman
Performed by: The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Label: Silva Screen Records
SILCD1532 (CD), SILED1532 (download)
Release Date: 03 November 2017

Silva Screen Records release a retrospective of a modern master. This 2 CD collection of new recordings by The City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra brings together the very best Thomas Newman film themes...

Now well into his fourth decade as a film composer, Thomas Newman is rightly considered one of the most distinctive voices in film music. From the outset he forged his own stylistic path, one of abstract soundscapes, precise emotional textures and graceful harmonies. It’s a palette the composer has stuck with throughout his career, and while some of his tools might have necessarily moved with the times, Newman has remained true to himself as an artist. A modern master who has created a signature sound that has endured for over thirty years. Amorphous, organic, and multi-dimensional and, despite the years, it remains as fresh today as it ever did.

Probably, like most people, I came to discover Newman's work through scores like The Shawshank Redemption; The Green Mile; and Road to Perdition. Then he seemed, to me at least, to drop off the face of the Earth. In recent years I've reviewed some of his work, and while they're interesting I felt that they all missed that Newman spark I'd come to love in the '90s.

When this newly recorded collection of themes from his career, performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, arrived for review I was looking forward to discovering scores I'd previously missed. What I wasn't prepared for was just how many soundtracks had passed me by. So I'll be doing a shop soon for the full scores to Bridge of Spies; Saving Mr Banks; Revolutionary Road (which is in a similar vein to Shawshank); The God German (which has a ring of Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman and David Shire about it); and Cinderella Man.

The press information supplied states that this is a newly recorded album, however Silva Screen released The Film Music of Thomas Newman Performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra in 2008 which contains a lot of the same themes. Sadly, I've no way of checking if this new release is just an extended and repacked version of the 2008 release (which only contained 14 tracks).

As is always the case with Silva Screen Records's releases, the tracks here are faithful recordings of the original source material and unless you know them inside out, you'll be hard pressed to tell the difference. Although, I have to admit that as I know Shawshank inside out, I did notice a lot of subtle differences, but this was mainly in the mix of which instruments were given prominence. The album contains 29 tracks (1 hr, 52 min, 50 sec).

There isn't a bad track on here, although, 'Six Feet Under - Theme' seemed a little out of place considering it's the only TV work included. But it makes for interesting listening. It also made me wonder if Apple was inspired by 'Dead Already' from American Beauty when they created their default ringtone for Facetime.

For lovers of classically composed scores this is an essential purchase. You may, like me, find a handful of soundtracks worth seeking out on the back of hearing some of the themes here.

Track listing:

CD 1
01 - Passengers - Spacewalk
02 - Finding Dory - Main Title / Becky Flies
03 - He Named Me Malala - I Am Malala
04 - Spectre - Donna Lucia
05 - Bridge of Spies - Homecoming
06 - Saving Mr. Banks - End Title
07 - Revolutionary Road - End Credits
08 - WALL.E - WALL.E
09 - The Good German - Unrecht Oder Recht
10 - The Good German - Jedem Das Seine
11 - Cinderella Man - Cinderella Man
12 - Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events - Letter That Never Came
13 - Finding Nemo - Finding Nemo / Nemo Egg
14 - Road To Perdition - Road To Perdition
15 - Road To Perdition - Road to Chicago

01 - Six Feet Under - Theme
02 - Pay It Forward - I Forgive You
03 - The Green Mile - The Green Mile
04 - American Beauty - Plastic Bag Theme
05 - American Beauty - Dead Already
06 - The Horse Whisperer - End Titles
07 - Meet Joe Black - Whisper Of A Thrill
08 - Meet Joe Black - That Next Place
09 - How To Make An American Quilt - An American Quilt
10 - Little Women - Under The Umbrella
11 - The Shawshank Redemption - Brooks Was Here
12 - The Shawshank Redemption - So Was Red
13 - The Shawshank Redemption - End Titles
14 - Fried Green Tomatoes - Ghost Train (Main Title)


Darren Rea

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