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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

CD REVIEW - Flags of our Fathers

Flags of our Fathers
Music by Clint Eastwood & Various
Milan Records Advance
20 Tracks 59:41 mins

Released just yesterday, by Milan Records, is the soundtrack from the new Clint Eastwood Film Flags of our Fathers, which tells the life stories of the six American soldiers who raised the victory flag at the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Eastwood directs and also contributes the score, ably assisted, as usual, by Lennie Niehaus, who orchestrated and conducted. In addition to his score, which runs for just under 30 minutes, the album features well-known numbers of the era, stirring Sousa marches, a couple of classical pieces by Mozart and Haydn, plus Eastwood's son Kyle is credited with "Special Arrangements" and performs on "Knock Knock." I have to say, the whole makes for a very enjoyable listen indeed.
But what of Eastwood's score I hear you ask? Well, there is suitably tense, dark and dissonant material, but with some martial drumming. However, at its centre is his main theme, a delicate lullaby, largely piano-lead, with possibly Eastwood performing himself, as he is indeed an accomplished pianist. Throughout the score, variations can be found on this theme with other instruments taking the lead, particularly the guitar in the penultimate album track, but ultimately it largely returns to piano. With Unforgiven and Billion Dollar Baby, Eastwood has demonstrated before his ear for a memorable tune and, in addition to his main theme, contributes another, this a tender, flute-lead theme, with a piano bridge, featured in "The Medals."
As a bonus for those of you who miss Eastwood's vocals, originally displayed in Pain Your Wagon and subsequently in movies like Honky Tonk Man, he concludes the album with an a capella rendition of "I'll Walk Alone," though there is a glossier version earlier on the album, performed by Dinah Shore, if this is more to your liking.


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