HOME OF THE BRAVE (2005)
Music composed, orchestrated and conducted by Stephen Endelman
19 Tracks (Playing Time = 46:35/ 18 score tracks = 41:45)
Album produced by Stephen Endelman. Score recorded and mixed by Damon Tedesco at Westlake Recording Studios, LA. Score edited by Christopher Kennedy. Includes “Try Not to Remember,” written and performed by Sheryl Crow. Produced and arranged by Stephen Endelman. Mixed by Philip Bodger. Album mastered by Perry Cunningham at DNA Mastering, Studio City, CA. Art direction by Stephanie Mente. Layout by Joe Chavez..
Lakeshore Records 338922
HOME OF THE BRAVE is the latest film to deal with the Iraq War. This one is directed by Irwin Winkler and focuses on four American soldiers ending their tour of duty with one last humanitarian mission to go. The film deals with the physical and psychological issues faced by the troop once they return home and face the memories of their service while trying to return to civilian life.
“The Battle Ends” opens the score portion of the disc with richly-scored string writing under a male vocal (uncredited) that has a Middle Eastern film. Endelman gives his score a little Arabian tint with the inclusion of Arabic scales and a folk-like thematic idea that appears in “Opening Iraq.” “Looking at the Map” has an updated feel with its use of electric guitar supported by strings and a solo trumpet that appears briefly. The melodic ideas in the score are perhaps the most striking thing. They are meant to turn up the emotional notch a little creating a sense of relief in “Daddy’s Home,” and subtly shift to darker reflective moments that at times include touches of the Arabic instrumentation. Most of the score has this gently melodic approach emphasizing tender moments. There are a few exceptions to this, one of these is “The Chase.” The track appears about half way into the disc and recalls the musical materials of the opening score tracks with some ambient sound additions and ethnic percussion and instrumentation. Even here, though, there is nothing overtly dissonant. This track in particular pulls in some of the martial snare ideas in its concluding bars.
As the disc plays on, Endlema mixes some of the thematic material further with earlier motives and sounds. A nice piano idea, layered over strings, plays above strings, with a hint of the martial percussion and ambient sound in “I’m Sorry Mommy.” Here as elsewhere, the track is nicely shaped musically to create a brief emotionally-tinged moment.
Endelman’s score is engaging in its subtlety and fine use of the score’s primary musical ideas. It is refreshing to hear a score that utilizes acoustic instruments over synthetic drum machines. And it is also interesting to hear a score for a war film that is scored more like a human interest drama without being overly mellodramatic. The restraint with which Endleman crafts this underscore makes HOME OF THE BRAVE standout over similar ones. This quiet, reflective approach makes for an interesting, if not particularly overwhelming, listen overall.
The disc opens with Sheryl Crow’s Golden Globe nominated song, “Try Not to Remember.” It is a semi-ballad with excellent lyric writing and a good chorus. Endelman provides a little string background for it as well.
Overall, this is one of Lakeshore Records most successful score releases with a good song from the movie and a fine score to match without dialogue interruptions. The disc boasts a richly ambient sound as well.
HOME OF THE BRAVE receives a limited release this month (to qualify for award consideration) and is slated to appear the first weekend of January.
--Steven A. Kennedy, 18 December 2006
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