Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Monday, September 22, 2008


Spike Lee's new film Miracle At St. Anna is something of a departure for the director, a war film, set in Tuscany in 1944, which "follows the 92nd Buffalo Soldier Division as the soldiers find themselves trapped behind enemy lines and separated from their unit. Unlike your average flag-waver however, Lee apparently concentrates more on the characters and how they live through the experience. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, with an outdoor concert of its music score given the following day.
Of course it was a given that Terence Blanchard would be on board as usual to supply said score and the composer's publicists, Costa Communications kindly sent me a 35-minute score sampler, which I was looking forward to playing, to see how the composer would approach what I believe would also be his first war film.
Blanchard's "Opening Credits" feature a nice, quite low-key, piano solo. The score's main theme "The Prayer" follows, a passionate orchestral piece. After these brief cues, and by complete contrast, we have the 12-minute "War is Hell," which slowly and grimly trudges ever more fatefully towards its powerful conclusion, with its orchestral variations on the opening theme, supported by an interesting mix of bongos and martial percussion.
"Paisons - Massacre" is a sad lament for string quartet, followed by "Americans Arrive," which is something of a slow waltz, largely quite low-key, but more pronounced at times. Romance enters with the folksy "Renata You're Beautiful." The stealthy "Tim Boyle Theme, again a kind of dance follows, and then the almost comedic "Train & Angel" continues the mood. "Crossing the Mountain" is a little broader, but quite brief, with "Stamps and Bishop Argue" displaying a little discord, before the music concludes satisfyinglywith the emotive "Final Theme."
Overall then, the score is largely dance-like in character, which is certainly a different approach to a war film. Interesting, but unlikely to be housed with other genre efforts you may have in your collection.


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