Smaak, stijl en (on)originaliteit

Afgelopen weekend heb ik de film The Judge weer eens terug gekeken. De filmmuziek van Thomas Newman is valt onder de categorie “beste scores waarvan ik de cd nog niet heb” en ik heb daar dan ook erg van genoten tijdens het kijken.

Tijdens mijn kwartiertje onderzoek vanmorgen kwam ik deze review tegen met daarin een interessante vraag rondom Newman’s stijl en gebrek en ontwikkeling en originaliteit (zelf-plagiaat zo u wilt). Hier maakt de schrijver de vergelijking met The Equalizer van Harry Gregson-Williams.

In my recent review of The Equalizer, I wrote: “before I listened to the score, and before I saw the film, I knew exactly what this score would sound like, based purely on the name of the director, the name of the composer, and the genre of the film, and I was right.” In the case of The Equalizer, this was a negative thing, because that score was written in a style I generally don’t care for. In the case of The Judge, I could say exactly the same thing. If you have heard any of Thomas Newman’s pleasant drama scores over the years – The Help, Saving Mr. Banks, going all the way back to things like The Horse Whisperer and even Whispers in the Dark – then you will know exactly what this score sounds like. Gentle, intimate string writing. Quirky struck and plucked percussion items. Appealingly warm orchestrations. It’s all really agreeable and charming, and anyone with an affinity for Newman’s style will find it much to their liking. But, having criticized Harry Gregson-Williams for his unoriginality, can I then turn around and praise Thomas Newman for writing music that is just as unoriginal, but which I find more to my taste?

Zijn conclusie aan het eind is dan ook als volgt:

Much of The Judge plays like a Thomas Newman Greatest Hits album, and although I find this music very enjoyable to listen to, to I have point it out as the album’s major drawback. If I’m not letting Harry Gregson-Williams get away with it for The Equalizer, I can’t let Thomas Newman get a free pass either.