Aggie's Music

I usually blab about film scores on this blog, but I don't mind the occasional tangent towards other interests. :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

David Newman - Part 2 (most likely the last part)

“It’s also one of the only scores where I’ve been able to follow my muse, because Jerry, Willard and Tom believed in choosing people who they felt were talented, and then let them work with no interference. Anastasia and Ice Age were much more ‘managed’ than this. The Brave Little Toaster is my score. And I think the film has stood the test of time because it’s real. It’s sincere.”

If you’re curious, Jerry was the director, Willard the executive producer, and Tom the producer of The Brave Little Toaster. This excerpt (taken from the score booklet) holds a lot of truth, and hopefully, after I finished this David Newman analysis, I can get into detail about the relationship between the director and film composer.

Since I’ve already blabbed about David Newman’s best score (The Brave Little Toaster) in my previous post, I will fast-forward ten years to when his score for Anastasia was made. Here, we have an entirely different take on the music. You know how you can tell when a score was composed by James Horner just by listening to two... maybe three seconds of music on the screen, no matter what year it is? This definitely isn’t the case.

The film in general doesn’t strike me as one of great beauty... it’s definitely not one of my favourites (the grandmother's facial movements literally scare me), but I’ll give props for naming the bat, Bartok, after a great contemporary composer (or so is my guess...). I found it pretty difficult to watch different scenes a second time in order to get a better feel of the music, because the sound effects are so friggen loud... especially in the finale. Don't you hate it when you've practically got a war going on screen and you can't hear the action of the music? Why make the score in the first place? I had to listen to the score on its own, but I shouldn’t need to do that.

In any case, what can I say about the music? It’s very melodic and tonal. I know, that’s pretty much the definition of the majority of film scores done in the past... what... three to four decades? The main theme is pretty simple... two notes going back and forth and not a great development from that. You see, when I have trouble giving a review for a score, that’s not a very good thing. I usually try to go for things that stand out, but this could’ve passed as an Alan Menken-ish Disney score in the end. Maybe that’s what Fox was going for. The most amusing track was ‘The Nightmare’, where you’ve got two melodies (a major and minor) weaving past each other in order to give the right colour to the scene – Anastasia’s pretty dream turning into a nightmare. It doesn’t come close to The Brave Little Toaster’s emotional impact and richness. The reason could be related to the quote I posted at the top.

I don’t think I have the strength to get into David Newman’s score for ‘Ice Age’, so I might just leave it at that. I really want to get into the whole film director blab. Maybe at the end of November... it’s getting pretty busy at university.

Has anybody seen Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’? What a wonderful opera! It’s basically about an assertive pimp in the eighteenth century. How can you NOT love that? :)

Oh, P.S.! Check out David Valdez' jazz blog; it's quite interesting!


  • At 3:36 PM, Blogger Mitch said…

    Nice website/blog, Aggie! I didn't know that you were a music fan.


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