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The Shawshank Redemption
Album Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:

Co-Produced by:
Bill Bernstein

Orchestrated by:
Thomas Pasatieri
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Epic Soundtrax
(July 20th, 1994)
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Regular U.S. release.
Nominated for an Academy Award and a Grammy Award.
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Decorative Nonsense
(inverts site colors)

Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you are among the Thomas Newman collectors who prefer the composer's harmonic melodies and layered orchestral constructs.

Avoid it... if not even one of Newman's most effective and popular scores in the orchestral realm can compete with your preference for his instrumentally eclectic and synthetic side.
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WRITTEN 8/28/98, REVISED 9/4/06
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iTunes (9.99)

The Shawshank Redemption: (Thomas Newman) The highly acclaimed adaptation of a Stephen King short story from 1982, The Shawshank Redemption is a dark, but ultimately uplifting 1940's tale of mistaken imprisonment and remarkable escape. Directed by novice Frank Darabont, the film explored the concepts of friendship and hope, following the developing friendship of the story's two main protagonists from the gloomy prospect of serving life sentences together in a brutal prison to their unlikely but extremely satisfying escape and reunion with riches in hand. As the title suggests, the element of redemption is crucial to The Shawshank Redemption, and in the face of domineering judgement and justice, the characters' prevailing psyches are more likely the stars of the films. For composer Thomas Newman, who had not yet breached the mainstream of film scoring in 1994, The Shawshank Redemption was, by his accounts, an extremely difficult project. Ultimately, through some negotiation with Darabont in the creative process, Newman managed to stike an elegantly restrained balance between the grim tones of the Shawshank Prison and the more melodic influences of hope. Newman would be rewarded for both The Shawshank Redemption and Little Women in 1994 with Academy Award nominations, and the year would serve notice of the composer's legitimate arrival on the scene. Both scores, along with Scent of a Woman and Fried Green Tomatoes, would define Newman as a creative artistic master of orchestral and vocal ensembles, and when you see and read about Newman fans who are split between the two halves of Newman's own musical personality, The Shawshank Redemption is a strong (if not the strongest) representative from Newman's orchestral half.

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Average: 3.95 Stars
***** 1,035 5 Stars
**** 926 4 Stars
*** 540 3 Stars
** 158 2 Stars
* 104 1 Stars
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Alternate review of The Shawshank Redemption at Movie Music UK
Jonathan Broxton - May 29, 2007, at 12:57 p.m.
1 comment  (2404 views)
Question!   Expand >>
Christian - January 28, 2007, at 3:28 a.m.
3 comments  (3655 views)
Newest: May 30, 2007, at 4:47 p.m. by
A true masterpiece
Sheridan - September 8, 2006, at 5:23 a.m.
1 comment  (2375 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 53:44
• 1. May (0:33)
• 2. Shawshank Prison (Stoic Theme) (1:53)
• 3. New Fish (1:50)
• 4. Rock Hammer (1:51)
• 5. An Inch of His Life (2:48)
• 6. If I Didn't Care* (3:03)
• 7. Brooks Was Here (5:06)
• 8. His Judgement Cometh (2:00)
• 9. Suds on the Roof (1:36)
• 10. Workfield (1:10)
• 11. Shawshank Redemption (4:26)
• 12. Hank Williams: Lovesick Blues** (2:42)
• 13. Elmo Blatch (1:08)
• 14. Sisters (1:18)
• 15. Zihuatanejo (4:43)
• 16. The Marriage of Figaro/"Duettino - Sull'Aria"*** (3:32)
• 17. Lovely Raquel (1:55)
• 18. And That Right Soon (1:08)
• 19. Compass And Guns (3:53)
• 20. So Was Red (2:44)
• 21. End Title (4:05)
* Performed by The Inkspots.
** Performed by Hank Williams.
*** Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by Deutsche Oper Berlin, conducted by Karl Bohm.

Notes Icon
The insert contains no extra information about the score or film. Thomas Newman said the following about this score in a 1994 interview:

"When I first watched The Shawshank Redemption, it was three hours long, and I've never had a clear idea of where I wanted a score to go after seeing a rough cut. You have notions, and experiment with them. Along the way, you have to play those ideas for directors. When I met with Frank [Darabont, director], I tried to understand his musical tastes. But talking about music is a really tough thing, because it just boils down to opinions. So you just have to barrel through the creative process. The Shawshank Redemption was a tough film to score. The music could have gone in any number of directions, and sometimes that makes filmmakers uncomfortable. You're not quite there with the score, and they don't want to respond until you're ready to play something. Yet you want the director to feel comfortable with the choices you're making. It took a while before I was able to form a common musical language with Frank.

The movie's internal and masculine, which made me have to find the prisoners' expressions without being too flowery. Though a score can point the characters in an emotional direction, it's more interesting to invent some subtle thing that's under the surface, particularly when it's a really psychological film like this one. But that's also frustrating, because I had to figure out how the convicts were affected by twenty years of imprisonment. I thought about Shawshank's environment, which was stone walls and dirt yards. That way my musical sensibility joins the characters and I tried to make their environment more hopeful and beautiful. I also had to find a melodic pace that was justifiable without being overblown."

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The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Shawshank Redemption are Copyright © 1994, Epic Soundtrax and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 8/28/98 and last updated 9/4/06.
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