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Water for Elephants (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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Album Review

Appropriately nostalgic and sepia-toned, the soundtrack for the big screen adaptation of author Sara Gruen's circus-themed, Great Depression romance Water for Elephants features the work of Grammy-winning composer James Newton Howard. Peppered with Depression-era nuggets like Bessie Smith's bawdy “Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl,” Jasper Taylor & His State Street Boys' “Stomp Time Blues,” and Ruth Etting's “Button Up Your Overcoat,” Water for Elephants, much like the film and novel themselves, dutifully evoke a bygone era. Largely orchestral with flourishes of mandolin and guitar, jazz, cabaret, and vaudeville blues, Howard’s lovely and lucid score draws from the realms of fantasy, magical realism, and historical fiction while maintaining a concrete sense of place.


Born: 09 June 1951 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Pianist, producer, and composer James Newton-Howard scored over 60 films beginning in the mid-'80s, including The Fugitive, The Prince of Tides, Pretty Woman, Glengarry Glen Ross, Batman Begins, Michael Clayton, and the Hunger Games series. Newton-Howard began taking classical piano lessons at the age of four, playing on a piano owned by his grandmother, who was the Pittsburgh Symphony's concertmaster and violinist during the 1930s and '40s. He went on to study at the USC School of Music and at the...
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Water for Elephants (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), James Newton Howard
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