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Angels in America [Soundtrack]

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About this Album

In December 2004, Nonesuch Records released the soundtrack to HBO Films’ event presentation of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Angels in America. This new record is the latest soundtrack by five-time Academy Award-nominee Thomas Newman—composer of the scores for American Beauty (Grammy Award winner), The Player, Road to Perdition, Little Women, and The Shawshank Redemption, among many others. Newman was honored with an Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music for HBO’s award-winning drama Six Feet Under. Most recently, Newman wrote the score for the critically acclaimed blockbuster animated film Finding Nemo. To reflect Angels in America’s wide range of emotions, Newman has created a romantic, epic-scale orchestral score with chorale accompaniment.

Directed by Mike Nichols and starring Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, and Mary-Louise Parker, Angels in America is a six-hour epic created from the Kushner play, with a screenplay adaptation by the author. Its original 1991 Broadway production was honored with numerous accolades, including two Tony awards and two Drama Desk awards. An indictment of the politics of AIDS during the Reagan era, it is also a simple tale about a handful of people trying to make sense of a world that seems to value human life and decency less and less.

"Like just about everything else in the superb film of Angels in America," said the San Francisco Chronicle, "Thomas Newman's music seems divinely inspired." What's more, the soundtrack proves "rewarding in its own right from beginning to end ... Newman has risen gloriously to the greatness of Angels."

The composer—whose score aims to reflect the sometimes dreamlike and drug-induced, other times romantic nature of the film—says of his music that it “wraps its arms around a broad array of human emotion, from despair to guarded optimism, and to give play to Mike Nichols’ spare irony and enduring humanism.”

The youngest son of the legendary Alfred Newman (whose motto theme for Twentieth Century Fox remains a fixed icon in the city of moving images), nephew of the equally legendary Lionel Newman, cousin of singer/songwriter and film composer Randy, and brother of film composer David, Thomas Newman hails from one of Hollywood’s musical first families. With an extensive and impressive filmography of his own, he is among the front ranks of Hollywood composers. Newman has received five Oscar nominations for his film work: he was the only double nominee in 1994, receiving two nominations for both Little Women and The Shawshank Redemption and the following year for his score to Diane Keaton’s off-beat comedy Unstrung Heroes. His score for the Oscar-winning American Beauty, starring Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening, earned him his fourth nomination. Newman recently received his fifth Academy Award nomination for Road to Perdition, directed by Sam Mendes and starring Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, and Jude Law. Newman’s work also was featured in Miramax’s Oscar-nominated In the Bedroom, starring Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, and Marisa Tomei.


George Lewis and His Ragtime Band (17)
Zella Jackson-Price (31)
Instrumental Soloists:
George Doering, kantele, esraj, high-string guitar, baritone electric, lute
Michael Fisher, skin drums, ice metals, bodhran, tympani, processed chimes, dayre
Steve Tavaglione, clarinet, EWI, alto flute, manipulated violin
George Budd, MB Sop Osc, Mul Whis DDL, multi rhy B Spc
Rick Cox, prepared guitar, contra-alto clarinet
Steve Kujala, flutes
Leslie Reed, oboe
Sid Page, violin
Oliver Schroer, source violin
John Beasley, prepared piano
Bill Bernstein, guitar
Thomas Newman, piano
Vocal Soloists: Elin Carlson, Dwayne Condon, Chris Ibenhard, Susan Stevens Logan, Susan Montgomery, Bobbi Page, Sally Stevens

Music Composed and Conducted by Thomas Newman
Produced by Thomas Newman and Bill Bernstein
Recorded and Mixed by Tommy Vicari at Signet Sound Studios
Orchestra Recorded by Armin Steiner at the Fox Newman Scoring Stage and Todd Scoring Stage
Assistant Engineers: Tom Hardisty, John Rodd, David Marquette
Orchestrations by Thomas Pasatieri
Vocal Arrangements by Thomas Pasatieri, Thomas Newman
Music Editor: Bill Bernstein
Music Contractor: Leslie Morris
Vocal Contractor: Bobbi Page
Music Preparation: Julian Bratolyubov
Assistant Music Editor: Michael Zainer
Digital Audio: Jesse Voccia
Album Mastered by Joe Gastwirt at Joe’s Mastering Joint
Music Supervisor: Evyen Klean

All music composed by Thomas Newman

Design by Doyle Partners

Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz

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