LSM-ONLINE-LOGO2JPG.jpg (4855 bytes)

Back Issues
LSM Issues
LSV Issues
Throat Doctor
Concert Reviews
CD Critics
Books Reviews
PDF Files

About LSM
LSM News
Guest Book
Contact Us
Site Search
Web Search

The Lebrecht Weekly


Visit every week to read Norman Lebrecht's latest column. [Index]

Stop that track

By Norman Lebrecht / February 18, 2009

Before Revolutionary Road makes off with a fistful of Oscars, let me raise a lone aesthetic protest against the soundtrack, which comes as close to performing musical lobotomy as the stuff they use in extreme rendition at Guantanamo Bay. The score is by Thomas Newman and it consists of a morbid cadence, announced on the piano and flushed on a waterboard of strings, repeated ad infinitum.

Minimalist to a fault, it varies hardly at all in colour or mood through 150 minutes of movie, leaving the audience in a state of hopelessness, which is presumably what director Sam Mendes asked for. I have seldom heard such cynical manipulation of music for a theatrical purpose. It is a score without shame or pretence, music that works on an audience like an estate agent on a home-seeker.

Newman knows the ropes. He is the son of Alfred Newman who composed 200 feature films, including Laurence Olivier in Wuthering Heights, The Song of Bernadette and Love is a Many-Splendoured Thing. His son has worked on 75 movies, including Finding Nemo and The Shawshank Redemption. He is closing in on John Williams as Hollywood’s one-tune-fits-all composer, though after ten nominations he has yet to win an Academy Award.

Listening to the Revolutionary Road soundtrack on a Nonesuch release, you realise that Newman knows music well enough to make it stink. Rarely I have felt so abused, or hated a movie more for its score.

To be notified of the next Lebrecht article, please email mikevincent at scena dot org

Visit every week to read Norman Lebrecht's latest column. [Index]



(c) La Scena Musicale 2001-2006