Thomas Newman - Angels in America

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Thomas Newman - Angels in America
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Price: € 9

Full Length Jewel Case with paper cover above the Jewel case CD

Genre: Drama/Atmosphere

A very mature, moody and good soundtrack.

The producers of HBO's adaptation of Tony Kushner's epic play ANGELS IN AMERICA showed wise judgment in
calling on Thomas Newman to score the star-studded production. The award-winning composer--veteran of
sagas such as THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, ...    Full DescriptionAMERICAN BEAUTY, and
ROAD TO PERDITION--knows his way around the musical expression of human emotions. He writes stunningly
eloquent music that demands attention, yet never overwhelms the accompanied images. Newman rises to the
occasion and provides music that perfectly matches the scope of this monumental work.
Many of the themes are rendered for orchestra and voices, and are essentially romantic in nature,
as exemplified by "Angels in America (Main Title)," "Pill Poppers," and "Broom of Truth." However, he
also utilizes unusual instruments, as well as electronic devices, to achieve some exotic textures and
otherworldly effects as in "The Ramble," "Quartet," and "Mauve Antarctica." Much of the music is tinged
with melancholy or conveys foreboding and desolation, but even at its grimmest or eeriest, there always
seems to be a hovering sense of hope. The soundtrack also includes recordings of Duke Ellington's
"Solitude," "A Closer Walk with Thee" performed by George Lewis and His Ragtime Band, and the uplifting
gospel tune "I'm His Child" as sung by Zella Jackson-Price.

"The oboe. The official instrument of the International Order of Travel Agents. If the duck was a song
bird, it would sound like this: nasal, desolate, the call of migratory things. "
- Mr. Lies to Harper Pitt, Perestroika IV, Angels in America

This quote from the HBO-produced Mike Nichols film Angels in America is typical of much of the script ñ
quirky, intellectual, and hinting at deeper personal unrest. The concept of "migration" in man's personal affairs ñ of people fleeing their loved ones in time of need ñ lies at the heart of the searing Tony Kushner play from which the film is adapted. Stricken with AIDS in New York of the late 1980s, Prior Walter (Justin Kirk) is abandoned by his lover (and self-loathing non-practising Jew) Louis Armstrong (Ben Shenkman). The latter flees into the arms of gay Republican Mormon lawyer Joe Pitt (Patrick Wilson) whose marriage to the delusional Harper (Mary-Louise Parker) is on the rocks, even as he draws closer to the AIDS stricken closet-bound doyen of the Right, Roy Cohn (Al Pacino). Into the lives of each of these characters, and especially Prior Walter, come the Angels of America who, unable to keep up with affairs in light of God's abandonment of the world (this happened in 1906 apparently), demand (through Emma Thompson) that Walter deliver a message to the masses: stop the migration of people from one relationship to the next. Meryl Streep also figures into affairs in no fewer than four roles ñ Pitt's
devout Mormon mother and Cohn's personal demon Ethel Rosenberg among them.

It's a heady brew to be sure, and not for all tastes. It is the ideal project for Thomas Newman though.
Newman has stated in the past that his scoring is often more about "subtext" than "parallel comment" ñ
i.e. more about underlining and deepening the audience's experience of a scene than to tell them what's
happening with music as well as pictures. That is genuinely what this film needs. The average viewer of
Angels in America doesn't need to be told that they are watching a strange film. What they do need is a
musical score that will help them identify with the surreal situations depicted. And Newman's great work
does precisely that, illustrating and commenting on the themes of Kushner's screenplay with effortless

The highlight of the score is the oboe, clarinet and string based theme for Prior Walter's angelic
mission, and Newman uses it well to illustrate the change in emphasis of that mission over the course
of the film. In "Ozone", the bittersweet theme accompanies an attempt by one of the characters to fulfil
the angelic instruction and restore a past relationship. As Walter comes to reject his prophetic office
and desire only "More Life", Newman's use of this theme in that cue communicates that Walter really has
discovered a calling greater than that place upon him by the Godless angels. "The Great Work Begins
(End Title)" offers the most extended development of the theme, and is surely the masterpiece of
Thomas Newman's career to date. Coupled with "Tropopause" (which follows without a break), even if the
rest of this score was rubbish, this finale piece would justify the purchase. Comparisons to George
Delerue's Agnes of God or Wojciech Kilar's Portrait of a Lady are not without merit.


1.  Threshold of Revelation 0:56  
2.  Angels in America (Main Title) 2:17  
3.  Lesionnaire 0:40  
4.  Ellis Island 2:05  
5.  Acolyte of the Flux 1:15  
6.  Umdankbar Kind 1:24  
7.  The Ramble 1:07  
8.  Ozone 0:58  
9.  Pill Poppers 1:17  
10.  Quartet 6:43  
11.  "Solitude" - Duke Ellington 3:10  
12.  Bayeux Tapestry 1:49  
13.  Spotty Monster 0:48  
14.  Mauve Antarctica 4:47  
15.  Her Fabulous Incipience 1:06  
16.  The Infinite Descent 0:54  
17.  "A Closer Walk With Thee" - George Lewis and His Ragtime Band 2:54  
18.  Broom of Truth 2:50  
19.  Submit! 1:15  
20.  Plasma Orgasmata 2:57  
21.  Delicate Particle Logic 1:57
22.  The Mormons 1:51  
23.  Prophet Birds 2:42  
24.  More Life 2:10  
25.  Black Angel 4:10  
26.  Garden of the Soul 4:03  
27.  Heaven 2:00  
28.  Bethesda Fountain 1:17  
29.  The Great Work Begins (End Title) 3:57  
30.  Tropopause 2:55  
31.  "I'm His Child" - Zella Jackson-Price 3:36
Total Album Time: 71:35


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