Alfred Newman

Biography

Born: March 17, 1901; New Haven, CT   Died: February 17, 1970; Hollywood, CA  
Alfred Newman (1901-1970) was, for much of his career, the most influential and respected composer and music director in Hollywood. His 44 Oscar nominations and nine Academy Awards are both records that are unlikely ever to be broken. The first-born of ten children to an impoverished produce seller in New Haven, Connecticut, Newman manifested his musical interests very early, and by the age of eight was well known locally as a piano prodigy. He Read more played for virtuoso Jan Ignace Paderewski, who arranged a New York recital for the boy, and a performing career seemed in the offing, until he was forced to begin earning a living for his family. Newman worked his way up from vaudeville to the orchestra pit of the Broadway theaters, and eventually became an established conductor and arranger known and respected by all of the best composers, including Irving Berlin. When Berlin was brought to Hollywood at the dawn of the sound era, he arranged for Newman to come with him. There he was taken on by movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn and United Artists, and established himself as one of the movie capital's two undisputed masters of music (the other was Max Steiner). Soon, he also began working for 20th Century-Fox.

Newman spent the 1930s scoring some of the most prestigious movies of the decade, including Street Scene, Dodsworth, Stella Dallas, Dead End, The Prisoner of Zenda, Gunga Din, and Young Mr. Lincoln, among many others. Even when he wasn't working on a particular movie, he was often approached by studio production heads in need of advice when the scoring of a movie ran into trouble. Following his installation as Fox's music director in 1940, Newman worked on How Green Was My Valley, Heaven Can Wait, Song of Bernadette, The Razor's Edge, Captain from Castille, The Robe, and Love Is a Many Splendored Thing, among numerous other films; and, equally telling in his capacity as head of the studio's music department, he assigned the scoring of Laura to David Raksin, who wrote an immortal piece of movie music, and Jane Eyre, Hangover Square, and The Day the Earth Stood Still to Bernard Herrmann. In 1959, he left Fox for a career as an independent artist, and in 1961 conducted the Oscar-nominated score to Flower Drum Song. The next year, he wrote what may be his most familiar film score, How the West Was Won, with lyricist Ken Darby.

Ironically, for all of his accumulated honors, Newman remains viewed as a far greater arranger and conductor than composer. He could assimilate folk tunes or pseudo-folk tunes, as in How Green Was My Valley and How the West Was Won, and transform them into orchestral/choral works of tremendous power, and take a good original melody or two and turn them into something haunting and memorable, as in The Razor's Edge or The Robe. His compositions, however, lacked the boldness or adventurousness of Bernard Herrmann or Miklos Rozsa's most inspired work--his was tonal and accessible music that didn't demand too much of the viewer. But it was the palatable nature of Newman's music, coupled with his diplomatic skills, that helped him achieve his success. His scores were accessible without being trite, original in execution as film music without being jarring or troubling, and his affable nature, in contrast the the volatile, neurotic Herrmann or the seemingly aloof Rozsa, made him a favorite of studio executives. And all of that made his word about music the law in Hollywood for close to 30 years. He died in 1970, and his final soundtrack, for George Seaton's mega-hit Airport, became the last of Newman's 44 Oscar nominations. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 35 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Broadway to Hollywood / Richard Glazier
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3347 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bronislaw Kaper,  Bernard Herrmann,  George Gershwin,  Frederick Loewe  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Glazier
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  • 2.
    The Golden Age Of Hollywood
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra   Catalog: 24 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Steiner,  Maurice Jarre,  Elmer Bernstein,  Ennio Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  Howard McGill,  Mike Allen,  Kyle Horch
    Conductor:  David Firman
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  • 3.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: Cinema Classics
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5202 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Steiner,  Elmer Bernstein,  Miklós Rózsa,  Richard Addinsell  ... 
    Performer:  Ronnie Aldrich,  Russ Conway
    Conductor:  Cyril Ornadel,  Al Caiola,  Ken Jones,  Billy Vaughn  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Dreamers
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  • 4.
    The Diary Of Anne Frank / O.s.t
    Label: Real Gone Music   Catalog: 400130 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alfred Newman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Studio Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Joy To The World
    Label: Klavier Records   Catalog: 77042 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Lowell Mason,  Frank Weldon,  Pietro Yon,  Alfred Reed  ... 
    Performer:  David Farwig,  Geoffrey [Tenor Vocal] Parrish,  Russell Colleran,  David L. Nokes  ... 
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  • 6.
    The Fabulous Film Themes [3 CD Set]
    Label: United Multimedia   Catalog: 63242 Release Date: 03/06/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Henry Mancini,  Leonard Bernstein,  Francis Lai,  Leonard Rosenman  ... 
    Performer:  London Studio Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Classical Hits Of The Cinema
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 30756 Release Date: 01/24/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Alfred Newman,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Gustav Mahler,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Frank Peter Zimmermann,  Piotr Anderszewski,  Christian Zacharias
    Conductor:  Paul Bateman,  Lorin Maazel,  Andrew Litton,  Piotr Anderszewski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 8.
    Golden Age Of Light Music - The Composer Conducts Vol 2
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5178 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alfred Newman,  Don Gillis,  Robert Farnon,  Peter Yorke  ... 
    Performer:  Arthur Sandford,  Montague Ewing,  Albert W. Ketèlbey,  Harriet Cohen
    Conductor:  Alfred Newman,  Don Gillis,  Robert Farnon,  Peter Yorke  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Neapolitan Novelty Band
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  • 9.
    Classic Film Scores: Bette Davis
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 81272 Release Date: 03/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Steiner,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Franz Waxman,  Alfred Newman
    Conductor:  Charles Gerhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Label: Varese Sarabande   Catalog: 067059 Release Date: 12/21/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alfred Newman,  David Raksin,  Bernard Herrmann,  Alex North  ... 
    Performer:  Jimmie Rodgers,  Jennifer Warnes
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  • 11.
    Captain From Castile - Classic Film Scores Of Alfred Newman
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 77936 Release Date: 10/19/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alfred Newman
    Conductor:  Charles Gerhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Label: Silva Screen   Catalog: 1309 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Pete Moore,  Bernard Herrmann,  David Raksin,  Henry Mancini  ... 
    Performer:  Gareth Williams,  Mark Ayres
    Conductor:  Evan Jolly,  Paul Bateman,  Nic Raine,  Bill Ashton  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Ensemble
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  • 13.
    Pops On The March / John Williams, Boston Pops
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420804 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Alfred Newman,  Ray Bauduc,  Meredith Willson  ... 
    Conductor:  John Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 14.
    Themes From Academy Award Winners
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60966 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Mancini,  Maurice Jarre,  Dimitri Tiomkin,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Conductor:  Henry Mancini,  Arthur Fiedler,  Charles Gerhardt,  David Raksin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mancini Chorus,  Mancini Orchestra,  Boston Pops  ... 
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  • 15.
    Film Music Classics - Newman / Stromberg, Moscow Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570187 Release Date: 09/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alfred Newman
    Conductor:  Alfred Newman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Symphony Orchestra,  Moscow Symphony Choir
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  • 16.
    Masters And Commanders - Music From Seafaring Film Classics
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80682 Release Date: 07/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luigi Boccherini,  John Debney,  Morton Gould,  Franz Waxman  ... 
    Performer:  Timothy Lees
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops
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  • 17.
    Hollywood Dreams / John Mauceri, Hollywood Bowl Orch
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 432109 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Richard Rodgers,  Max Steiner,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Kenneth Radnofsky
    Conductor:  John Mauceri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
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  • 18.
    The Hollywood Sound: Music For The Movies
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4178 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Steiner,  Franz Waxman,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  David Raksin  ... 
    Conductor:  John Mauceri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
    DVD: $23.99
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  • 19.
    Triple Feature - Round Up, Time Warp, Hollywood's Greatest Hits
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 89006 Release Date: 11/23/2005   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Donald Dorsey,  Richard Strauss,  Jerry Goldsmith,  Alexander Courage  ... 
    Performer:  Donald Dorsey,  Frankie Laine
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops,  May Festival Chorus
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  • 20.
    How Green Was My Valley (1941)
    Label: 20th Century Fox (Dvd)   Catalog: 2006073 Release Date: 01/14/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alfred Newman
    DVD: $13.99
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  • 21.
    Now Playing On Marco Polo / Various
    Label: Marco Polo   Catalog: 8225237 Release Date: 09/17/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Steiner,  Franz Waxman,  Bernard Herrmann,  Victor Young  ... 
    Conductor:  William T. Stromberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Symphony Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Cinema Serenade 2 - The Golden Age / Perlman, Williams
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 60773 Release Date: 07/27/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Chaplin,  Sir William Walton,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Victor Young  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman
    Conductor:  John Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
    CD: $8.99
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  • 23.
    Music In Film
    Label: Sony Classical Npr Milestones   Catalog: 60991 Release Date: 01/12/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Malcolm Arnold,  James Horner,  John Barry,  John Williams  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Arnold,  James Horner,  John Barry,  John Williams  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Studio Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Skywalker Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 24.
    The Classic Film Music Of Alfred Newman / Stromberg, Et Al
    Label: Marco Polo   Catalog: 223750 Release Date: 06/23/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alfred Newman
    Conductor:  William T. Stromberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Symphony Orchestra,  Chorus
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  • 25.
    Historical Romances - Korngold, Newman, Steiner / Kaufman
    Label: Marco Polo   Catalog: 8223608 Release Date: 05/23/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Steiner,  Alfred Newman,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold
    Conductor:  Richard Kaufman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brandenburg Philharmonic
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