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The Great Debaters (Original Motion Picture Score)

James Newton Howard & Peter Golub

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Album Review

The Great Debaters pairs composers James Newton Howard and Peter Golub, in effect bringing together mainstream, big-budget Hollywood and its independent, low-budget sibling from the wrong side of the tracks. As one might expect, it's far from a seamless marriage: Howard's sweeping, epic melodies and Golub's homespun, acoustic folksiness make for an awkward fit, and never quite capture the film's period Southern locale. Howard ultimately fares better than Golub, if only because the inspirational, true-life narrative is right in the composer's wheelhouse — cues like "Letter from Harvard" and "James' Speech" effortlessly achieve the kind of heroic, larger-than-life scale that remain his signature.


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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