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David Newman


CD cover

  • Composed, conducted and produced by David Newman
  • Academy Award nominee
  • Songs written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
  • Orchestrated by Alexander Janko, David Newman, Daniel Hamuy and Douglas Besterman
  • Engineered by John Kurlander

Lovely score (especially if you like Tchaikovsky), lousy songs

The trouble that I see with soundtrack albums from animated films is that the kids' songs are so often given pride of place, with the score - which is often fantastic - being relegated behind them. Mulan is one of the most prominent examples of this, with the genius behind Jerry Goldsmith's score playing second fiddle to the embarrassing songs. Unfortunately, there is a similar situation with Anastasia.

David Newman followed in his father's footsteps by scoring the film, and wrote an expressive work, which falls down for two reasons: firstly, it features a number of uncredited "almost" quotations from Tchaikovsky, and second - the songs are interpolated into the score! There are only six tracks of score anyway, and two of these burst into the songs, rendering them worthless.

What score there is is very nice, with Newman utilising a massive orchestra and (this being Russia) chorus to boot, for some lovely effects: unfortunately, the question mark looms over the whole score as to how much of it is actually by Newman. Most of the bits that aren't immediately identifiable as being by Tchaikovsky sound just like James Horner: which probably means they are also by Tchaikovsky, I just don't recognise them!

Whoever composed it, though, there is no getting around the fact that it is an excellent piece of music, sadly short and, even more sadly, forced to contend with childish songs, which of course will have been entirely appropriate for the picture, but on disc I just don't understand why anyone would ever want to sit and listen to them.

Rating ***

Total Time 54:14


Atlantic 7567-80753-2


  1. A Rumour in St Petersburg (3:25)
  2. Journey to the Past (2:55)
  3. Once Upon a December (2:48)
  4. In the Dark of the Night (3:21)
  5. Learn to Do It (2:36)
  6. Learn to Do It (waltz reprise) (1:45)
  7. Paris Holds the Key (to your Heart) (3:02)
  8. At the Beginning (3:40)
  9. Journey to the Past (4:04)
  10. Once Upon a December (3:34)


  11. Prologue (6:23)
  12. Speaking of Sophie (2:36)
  13. The Nightmare (3:05)
  14. Kidnap and Reunion (4:29)
  15. Reminiscing with Grandma (3:17)
  16. Finale (2:59)

Artwork copyright (c) 1997 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; review copyright (c) 2000 James Southall.