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Miniature gem is a beautifully-woven musical atmosphere
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 1992 Masters Film Music; review copyright (c) 2006 James Southall
This unremarkable tv movie starring Blair Brown and Arliss Howard, about a woman who doesn't like her life so visits a shrink, is probably remembered today only by film music fans, since its score was one of the more unexpected limited edition releases during the first round of the Varese Sarabande CD Club (though this title was actually released by Masters Film Music). Unlike today when you could record yourself farting and it would sell out within three hours if you limited it to 1,000 copies, this one hung around on sale for over a decade before shifting its small run. (Ah, the power of the internet.)
Thomas Newman's career had been going for a few years by the time he scored Those Secrets in 1992, but it was only immediately prior to it (when he did Fried Green Tomatoes followed by The Player) that he started getting more attention for his excellent music rather than his distinguished parentage, and it's striking how much his singular style which is so familiar today was already being used with such confidence even back when his career was in its infancy.
Those Secrets is a terrific little score, with all of Newman's gifts for producing compelling and dramatic music from the most peculiar ensembles being very much in evidence. There's more reliance on synth sounds here than in his modern scores, but he still manages to coax them together into a propulsively rhythmic, always-engaging mix. More traditional film music rears its head on occasion, but for the most part this is Newman being left to do what he does best, capturing the central character's psychological downturn perfectly in the dreamlike, hypnotic atmosphere he conjures up.
This is an extremely short score (16:57) which is made up of very short cues, but they are played almost without break to create an extremely strong suite, allowing the listener to experience a master film composer take him or her on a distinctive musical journey, giving pause once or twice for some sightseeing on the way through slightly showier interludes. The CD's not around any more, but for Newman fans it's an absolute must, despite its brevity - it's a score rich with colour, heavy with personality, and a beautiful demonstration of one of our finest film composers crafting an enveloping, compelling musical atmosphere.