Based on a true events that took place during the American Civil War, FIELD OF LOST SHOES tells the story of the Battle of New Market which took place in the May of 1864 and all of the elements and also the events that led to this battle and the story of a group of teenage military cadets that had been sheltered from the reality of war at the Virginia Military Institute who suddenly found themselves thrown headlong into the frontline of battle having to confront the horrors of an adult world when they are called upon to defend the Shenandoah Valley against the might and ruthlessness of the forces of Abraham Lincoln under the leadership of Ulysses S. Grant. The Union Forces commander in Chief acts swiftly and mercilessly against the rebel army of the Confederacy and attacks the Shenandoah Valley which is an essential area for the South’s survival. The superintendent of the Military institute takes a decision to volunteer his cadets in the hope that they will be able to make a difference in the defence of the Valley. 274 children marched north towards the battle area and emerged from the chaos and terror of conflict as men. The musical score for this motion picture is the work of highly talented and noteworthy composer Frederik Wiedmann. I have always said that this composer is one that is capable of creating music for any genre of film and with his score for FIELD OF LOST SHOES he establishes himself further as a film music Maestro that I know will be around for many years to come and will produce scores of high quality and also works that will not just serve the movies they are intended to enhance but will also give us music that is memorable, melodic and original. In my opinion Wiedmann writes like old school composers used to and he approaches his projects in a very similar fashion also, of course at times he does enlist the aid of synthetic support but his bold and strident symphonic approach works marvellously. He creates real themes and develops these as the score progresses which in my very humble opinion is what good film music is all about. The score for THE FIELD OF LOST SHOES is a heroic one that is laden with melancholy and has within it an ever present atmosphere of drama which is laced and underlined with an aura of hope that also purveys a certain air of despair at key points within the score. The composer utilises a light and delicate approach on a number of the cues his graceful writing creating fragile sounding nuances that are subtle but at the same time affecting. In a handful of the cues I was reminded of the style of a young James Horner, the music being filled with melody and passion but also containing powerful undertones that delight and tantalise.
Although the film deals with the subject matter of war and conflict the composer I think has scored the movie in such a way that he does not over use the martial music card and underlines and supports the more human and personal side of the story of course there are a certain amount of cues that contain a more action led style as in track number 22, SEND THE BOYS IN, where driving strings are embellished and punctuated by percussion and a slight use of brass, it is however the swirling strings and the booming percussive elements that push the music forward the horns giving the cue added drive and also picking out the brave and patriotic sounding theme with additional support coming from choir. This is a style and sound that is returned to in track number 23, STORMING THE HILL choir again giving support to the brass and string sections and percussion bringing those elements of the orchestra together in a commanding and exhilarating composition. The mood for track number 24, AFTERMATH is very different, it is an adagio for strings of sorts with emotive swelling strings purveying a sense of sadness and relaying feelings of loss, but the mood changes to become hopeful again as the theme develops and builds with strings almost soaring towards it conclusion, but then melting away to give the theme to a plaintive and poignant sounding piano solo. This theme is given an even greater emotive content and sound within the next cue A SOLDIERS HEART with choir adding their presence and a solo trumpet taking the theme giving it a heartbreaking ambience. The final cue on the compact disc THE FIELD OF LOST SHOES is a highly emotional sounding piece in which the composer employs solo female voice and strings that are bolstered and underlined by choir subdued percussion and brass with a rich and warm sounding performance from the string section enhanced by choir which builds into a crescendo that then gives way to a solo violin performance that is underlined by low strings that brings the cue to its end. This is a score that I recommend highly, I enjoyed it enormously and I know you will also. Released on the ever industrious LA LA LAND RECORDS.
La-La Land Records (LLLCD 1323)