It seems that the surname of NEWMAN has been around in the film music business for an age, Alfred Newman of course we all know for his amazing and superbly lush and varied scores for Hollywood of yesteryear, Lionel also had many connections with film music mainly as a conductor. The Newman dynasty is still well and truly established in Hollywood of today with Thomas and also Randy but we must not forget David Newman who in my opinion has contributed numerous brilliant soundtracks to the silver screen. My first encounters with his music came in the 1980,s with scores such as THE KINDRED, CRITTERS, HEATHERS, BILL AND TEDS EXCELLENT ADVENTURE and moving into the 1990,s was treated to scores for films such as MR DESTINY,HOFFA,MIGHTY DUCKS, THE PHANTOM, MATILDA and GALAXY QUEST to name but a few.
As the 21st century dawned David Newman continued to be a busy and sought after composer for the cinema, and since the year 2000 has scored just over 40 motion pictures, all of which are from various genres, each time Newman managing to provide music that wonderfully underlines and enhances the many scenarios that are unfolding up on he big screen. One of his latest assignments is for an animated version of TARZAN, the story of Tarzan of the apes, originally created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, has over the years been brought to the cinema screen many times and on each occasion it seems to be a different take on the original story. This latest version is no exception, with the storyline being suitably updated for the latest generation of movie goers. David Newman’s score is epic and adventurous, and to be honest is more like listening to a Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack from the 1970, s/80,s with its use of bold and rasping brass combined with booming and rhythmic percussion and ever present lush romantic sounding strings that are at times embellished and supported by choir. It is a powerful work that will set pulses racing and help to put audiences on the edge of their seats, driving and urgent sounding strings with proud almost anthem like flourishes from the horn section are underlined and carried along by infectious percussive elements making this an exciting and invigorating listening experience. It also contains some fragile and more intimate sounding interludes which the composer weaves into the fabric of the work giving it a touch of melancholy in places, plus he adds little nuances and understated motifs that are at times just fleeting glimpses of themes but these elements bring significant weight to this already impressive and potent soundtrack. Newman utilizes to great effect woodwind and also emotively lush strings to underline a number of the scenes between the two central characters Tarzan and Jane, bringing a sense of romance and also a somewhat charming awkwardness to the proceedings.
But it is his grand, resounding and highly stirring thematic compositions that drive this score onward’s or in Tarzan’s case upwards to the trees of the jungle, depicting the thrills and also the sheer vastness and imposing stature of the said jungle. It is I suppose a score that has more affiliations with soundtracks from three or four decades ago rather than the more modern soundtracks that we are hearing of late, full of themes and overflowing with emotion and vibrant compositions this is a score that you cannot and must not miss out on. If you are a fan of Newman’s THE PHANTOM, then I am of the opinion that you will not be disappointed by TARZAN.