Thomas Newman

The Iron Lady [Music from the Motion Picture]

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Thomas Newman effectively conveys the combination of triumph and controversy in the career of long-reigning British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990) in his score for director Phyllida Lloyd's film biography The Iron Lady. Newman's music is usually characterized by low-key (and often minor-key) themes in which the nuances have complex and disquieting effects. (See, for instance, his theme for the TV series Six Feet Under or his score for The Road to Perdition.) His style is on display early with the cue "MT," and "Eyelash" features one of his patented slow piano melodies over suspended strings. But Newman also can write straightforward major-key pomp, as he does, for example, in "Discord and Harmony" before returning to delicacy with "The Twins." Late in the score, the disquieting elements become more prominent as Thatcher's government becomes more embattled, and Newman signals trouble with heavy drumming in such cues as "Crisis of Confidence" and "Community Charge." Periodically, the score gives way to a stage, opera, or classical selection ("Shall We Dance" from Rodgers Hammerstein's The King and I, "Casta Diva" from Bellini's Norma, Bach's Prelude No. 1 in C Major, BWV 846), providing respite from the underlying complex moods of Newman's music and suggesting the controversial leader's accomplishments. The result is a detailed musical portrait of a powerful figure both admired and despised. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi

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