BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND.
Okay, no. I’m kidding about that. Nobody has really asked about this series that I can remember, and it kind of died away after the last favorite composer post I wrote. But now I’m back, with at least two more composers to add to this series. Thomas Newman is first on the list!
One of my great joys in life is being able to recognize who composed a film’s soundtrack without looking it up beforehand. I’m not always right, but with Thomas Newman I’m right pretty much all the time. That’s not to say his work lacks originality–far from it! But there’s just something about his soundtracks (particularly, I think, one or two instruments that he’s fond of) that triggers my brain into recognizing his work.
Except (and this is embarrassing), I only JUST found out (while writing this blog post) that he composed one of my favorite soundtracks of all time: Little Women (1994). (Listening to it now, I can totally hear his trademark.) *facepalm* I don’t know how I missed that.
What has he composed besides Little Women? Finding Nemo and WALL-E! Saving Mr. Banks! Also some other movies I’ve seen, but ones where I don’t remember the soundtrack like Bridge of Spies and Tolkien.
Gotta say that ‘Define Dancing’ is a national treasure though.
If you’re looking for a Newman track that isn’t super well-known, check out this one from Saving Mr. Banks. It’s short and simple and lovely.
I think the thing I most enjoy about Thomas Newman’s soundtracks (the ones I’ve heard anyway) are the gentle, memorable melodies that sometimes have a bit of a quirky flair to them at times. I can’t explain the trademark that helps me recognize a Newman soundtrack when I hear it, but it’s there I promise. OH WAIT. I think I can, actually! Go listen to this track. The ‘trademark’ starts at :05. Then on this track, again starting at :05 you can hear a similar motif in the background of the ‘larger’ melody. Then this track, starting around :40 also has the same instrument/motif/whatever it is in the background. And, finally, at 2:17, this track also showcases the quirk a bit.
If you actually clicked through and compared, I’d love to hear your thoughts. (And I don’t blame you if you didn’t. It’s nerdy and niche.) Maybe you don’t get the whole trademark thing at all, maybe I’m just hearing things. 😀
Do you enjoy any of Thomas Newman’s soundtracks? Let me know in the comments!