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For Love of the Game (Soundtrack) by Basil Poledouris

Tracksounds Rating = 7/10

For Love of the Game (Soundtrack) by Basil Poledouris

Composed, Conducted, and Co-Produced by Basil Poledouris
Orchestrations by Steven Scott Smalley
Released by Varese Sarabande Records, December 1999

Track Title Time Rating There's Something About That Game
by Christopher Coleman

The game of baseball seems to bring out the best in film score composers.  The Natural and Field of Dreams among others are great examples of this phenomenon.  Poledouris continues the American tradition with his score for yet another Costner baseball film, For Love of the Game, and does with flare.  While the amount of score released is disappointing, we should all jump for joy that the soundtrack compilation containing one measly score track was not all we were left with.

In a simple unassuming way, Poledouris’ For Love of the Game begins.  With a humble yet heroic tempo, track one builds, layer upon layer of orchestral emotion.  This is the sort of stuff ESPN will sure to clamor after as background music for their latest sports figure expose. While track one sets a not-too-surprising-optimistic tone, the rest of the score, as released by Varese Sarabande, which unfortunately is only 33 minutes,  provides a wider variety of style than one might expect.  Some of the best moments are heard in the more tender, unassuming cuts which bear an interesting resemblance to composer Thomas Newman's style.  Track 4, Jane's Home, track 6, Lemonade, could easily pass for Newman pieces.  If you are a Thomas Newman fan, you'll fully dig 'em.

There is a healthy helping of beautiful music to go along with track 1.  Relationship Montage, The Apology, and The Decision each drip with a very soothing mixture of piano, guitar and/or strings.  At times, Poledouris utilizes instruments and music that fit the Old West like a dirty-cow-pokin'-glove.  One can't help but be reminded of his stellar work for Lonesome Dove.  At other times,  the music is soft and clean like a romance is suppose to be.  

Offsetting the subtleties are a few aggressive tracks. Tuttle Knockdown  (track 3) dawns the electric guitar in bluesy-rock form.   Gus Hits provides us with a very strong honky-tonk diddy featuring the steel guitar.  Concluding this CD release is some of the best "finale" music I've heard in sometime.  Last Pitch is adventurous and suspenseful and is really a highlight of this CD.  In this track, a wonderful choir is employed which really establishes the force of music.  Somehow Poledouris is able to add the electric guitar without totally destroying the piece.  It adds just the right amount of "edge" to the piece without going over the top. By the end of the track, the main theme, played by the brass, is in full gear, the vocals are blaring, and the guitar is whaling!  What a feast for the ears!

Despite the rollercoaster-like ride in the first half of the CD, the track ordering is adequate and once the second half kicks in a very pleasurable musical experience ensues.   Yes, the 33 minute length hurts the rating of this CD, but it bears no reflection on the score.  In fact, the quality of the score and the shortness of the CD leaves me begging for two or three tracks more.  Still this is a half-hour score you'll likely want to add to your collection.

Basil Poledouris was recently voted as The Most Underrated and Underused Composer, by Tracksounds visitors, and For Love of the Game is further evidence as to why he was voted so.  Of course, it is too all of our benefit if Poledouris never finds himself the top vote getter of such a pole again.

1 Main Title 3:33 ****
2 Relationship Montage 3:35 ****
3 Tuttle Knockdown 1:47 **
4 Jane's Home 4:50 ****
5 Gus Hits 1:09 **
6 Lemonade 2:08 ****
7 The Apology 1:57 ***
8 No Hits 4:02 ***
9 The Decision 5:13 ****
10 Last Pitch 4:57 *****
  Total Playing Time 33:27    

Category

Score

 

Music Selection

8  

Themes/ Composition

7  

CD Length

6  

Track Order

7  

Performance

8  

Final Score

7  
         

Other reviews:

As a baseball score for a baseball film, Poledouris' score is a fine example of pure Americana. Its heart is as big as its main theme, with both electric and traditional guitars as its staple instrument...I found Poledouris' combination of solo mixes with the L.A. orchestra to be pleasing. As one of the hidden treasures of 1999, I highly recommend you take a look at this album. ****

Christian Clemmensen - Filmtracks

Basil Poledouris

Composer
Basil Poledouris

For Love of the Game (Soundtrack) by Basil Poledouris

Track 9 - The Decision 

Purchase this CD at

For Love of the Game (Soundtrack) by Basil Poledouris

 

All artwork from For Love of the Game is exclusive property of Varese Sarabande Records (c) 1999.  Its appearance is for informational purposes only.

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