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Comments about the soundtrack for Anastasia (Stephen Flaherty/David Newman)

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One of the best Dramatic scores!!
• Posted by: Sarita Dutta   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Tuesday, November 4, 2003, at 11:47 a.m.
• IP Address:


20th Century Fox’s first animated motion picture is a visual beauty; its lusciously vibrant score extremely rich and captivating. Newman’s Oscar-nominated score is truly the highlight of the movie. From spine-chilling choral operas to soulful tunes; it has such an astounding gravity and emotional depth that it easily ranks among the best scores composed for dramatic films.

The songs are mostly above average; ranging from Broadway styled verses to pop numbers. Three of the songs are magnificent whereas the other three are quite forgettable. “Rumor In St. Petersburg”; “Learn To Do It” and “Paris Holds A Key” become really irksome after the first hearing. The Oscar-nominated “Journey To The Past” is a wonderful song with its fine lyrics and moving tune. The pop version, performed by the late Aaliyah is also an enjoyable track and will be loved by her heart-broken fans. The villain’s number, “In The Dark Of The Night” (by Jim Cummings) has a touch of rock music, nonetheless it makes for good hearing. And for those who love pop songs, “At The Beginning” is an excellent number. Performed by Donna Lewis and Richard Marx, you feel like listening to this song over and over again. However, the tune that lingers on is “Once Upon A December”. It has a haunting depth that really touches an inner part of the heart. Liz Callaway is stunning as the singing voice of Anya and Deana carter’s country version of “Once Upon A December” is a treat you can’t afford to miss.

The compilation from Atlantic records is good, but sadly, we get to hear only a little more than twenty minutes of Newman’s fabulous score, which as I said before is one of the best to ever grace any motion picture drama, animated or non-animated. Among them, the ‘Prologue’ and ‘Finale’ are definitely the highlights. ‘Reminiscing with Grandma’ and ‘Kidnap and Re-Union’ have such mesmerizing sad tunes that they haunt your memories. And the most astonishing part is, like Menken’s Disney scores, they are nothing elaborate nor use a host of instruments. Only the piano and a flute and occasional female chorals make it sound so sweetly beautiful and sadly melodious, you will simply marvel at the emotional depth and beauty. The booming Russian opera heard in the “Prologue” was banned by the Soviet Government but Newman masterfully blends it into his composition to produce a spine-chilling effect. However, the CD would sound better if only it had included a few more minutes of the score. Parts like, ‘At the Russian Ballet’ or ‘He Didn’t Take The Money’ and ‘The final encounter with Rasputin’ could have easily made themselves part of this superb soundtrack.

A last remark, this soundtrack is positively not for kids or those who like fast and fun oriented music as in Hercules, Aladdin and Tarzan. Kids will hardly understand the sentimental beauty of the songs or the depth of the score. I strongly recommend it to those who love soothing numbers and emotional choral scores.

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rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. Scoreboard created 7/24/98 and last updated 4/25/15.