Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (Game Soundtrack) by Christopher Lennertz

 

 

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Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (Game Soundtrack) by Christopher Lennertz

"Honor's New Dawn"
Review by Christopher Coleman

 

Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (Game Soundtrack) by Christopher Lennertz

Medal of Honor:
Rising Sun

9/10

Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (Game Soundtrack) by Christopher Lennertz

Christopher Lennertz
Composer 
Christopher Lennertz


 

 

 

Category    Score

Originality 9
Music Selection 10
Composition 10
CD Length 9
Track Order 9
Performance 9
Final Score 9/10
 


 

Real Audio Clips

 
 
 
 

 

Quick Quotes


n/a

 

 

 

Composed and Conducted by Christopher Lennertz
Produced by Christopher Lennertz and Jeff Vaughn
Executive Producer: Steve Schnur
Orchestrations by Andrew Kinney, Christopher Lennertz, Dana Niu, Marcus Trumpp, James Jacobson, Gerrard Marino
Performed by The Hollywood Studio Symphony; George Doering (Koto, Pipa, Moon Guitar), Chris Bleth (Shakuhachi), Karen Han (Erhu), Tommy Johnson (Tuba),
Steve Shaeffer & Alan Estes (Taiko Drums), Mike Fisher & Brian Kilgore (Percussion)
Promotional Release - October 2003

When word leaked that most of the key production personnel, composer Michael Giacchino included, would be parting ways with EA Games, a shadow of doubt crept over The Medal of Honor video game franchise. The popular series, having reached a total of 4 games, had become one of the most beloved to come out in the last five years. With at least another 3 games and untold expansion packs planned for the series, both gamers and fans of Giacchino's music were left wondering if the series could maintain its stellar reputation.  With Giacchino moving on to score LucasArts' Secret Weapons Over Normandy and the new Call of Duty series, fans knew that there would be plenty more of his music to enjoy, but what of the musical-fate of the Medal of Honor series? It was clear that Michael Giacchino had left some pretty big, combat-boots to fill.

Not long after the disquieting rumors hit, it was announced that the musical aspect of the franchise would be placed in the hands of composer Christopher Lennertz. With compositions such as America in his portfolio, Lennertz had already shown that he was quite capable of producing patriotic, rich, and melodic music. And with his recent effort for the tele-film, Saint Sinner, dramatic intensity was clearly in his repertoire as well.  So, under the command of Mr. Lennertz and the new production team, the Medal of Honor series is seeing the dawning of a new day.

To put all shadows of doubt to rest right away - Christopher Lennertz's score for Rising Sun continues the franchise's tradition for high-quality, orchestral score - suitable for even a big-budget feature film! While simultaneously maintaining fidelity to Giacchino's established sound, Lennertz, most fittingly, takes the music in a new direction as the setting and circumstances for the war in the Pacific, so vastly different from those of the European theatre, would dictate.

The Medal of Honor homage to composer John Williams continues to be clearly heard in Rising Sun. While Giacchino's music echoed Williams' style of the 70's and 80's, Lennertz appears to be influenced by that era but by John Williams' latter works as well. In particular, the title theme (track 1) has an Olympic-sized fanfare, but soon moves into the somber patriotism of a JFK, Saving Private Ryan, or The Patriot.  (Later on in tracks such as:  PT Attack (3),  We're Hit! (6), and Natives are Restless (17), we can detect more Williams-influence in these action arrangements and orchestrations.) Those looking for that "good ol' days of film music" sound will find plenty of it here.

Following the Americana-segment in track 1, we have our first indication of the game's setting.  With the introduction of both Japanese percussion and the Chinese erhu, it is clear the game-player is no longer fighting in the frozen battlefields of Europe, but is entrenched in and around the Far East.  It is this element that gives the score a "raw and earthy" feel, particularly through use of various percussion, and helps distinguish Medal of Honor: Rising Sun from the previous three scores.   Christopher Lennertz effectively employs instruments from all over the Orient including:  the koto, pipa, shakuhachi, and taiko drums.

Other notable tracks include:  Requiem for the California (6) - a short but poignant, choral elegy that is strangely reminiscent of Alan Silvestri's climactic music from The Abyss.  Elephant Battle (13) is an almost comedic track that moves along with a vim and vigor that's sure to bring a smile to one's face.  Hymn to Brothers Lost (31), is a satisfying closing track containing both Western and Eastern instrumentation, the last few notes being that of the original Medal of Honor theme.

Lennertz makes sparing but effective use of two motifs from the previous game scores.  First, the familiar Medal of Honor theme is included, but only a handful of times and usually only the first five notes appear.  This could come as a surprise to some or even as a disappointment, but rest assured, Lennertz's new title theme is up-to-snuff and will likely become equally memorable over the coming months.   Second, The Nazi-theme makes a solitary appearance in track 16, but Lennertz's treatment of the theme makes it a memorable one.   In this case, the appearance of the theme is in no way subtle.  Instead, it's delivered with a wink and a "Hey! Remember me?" sort of boldness.  Yes, there are ties to Giacchino's previous efforts through both motifs and orchestration, but Medal of Honor: Rising Sun is plainly Lennertz's project.

The historic (first time for a video game) performance of the Hollywood Studio Symphony, all 88 pieces and 32 voice choir, is full of life and thankfully does Lennertz's compositions justice. This promotional disc is filled with 31 outstanding (albeit short) tracks and none of which are of the boring or filler-music variety.  Reportedly, the commercial release, slated to be available in February of 2004, will have fewer tracks; however it is likely to contain music not found on this promotional disc.  With Medal of Honor: Rising Sun and Medal of Honor: Pacific Theater ready to be put on shelves, game and music fans get their first opportunity to see and hear what direction the revamped production team will take the franchise.  If the music of Rising Sun is any indication, Medal of Honor's new day is going to be a bright one!


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track

Title Time

 Rating

1 Main Titles Track 1 3:15  *****
2 Taiko Brigade Track 4 1:18  ****
3 PT Attack 1:08  ****
4 Deep in Guadal Canal 1:45  ****
5 Stalking the Caves 2:40  *****
6 We're Hit! 1:11  ****
7 Engine Trouble 2:02  ***
8 Requiem for the California 1:37  ****
9 Saving Pearl Harbor 2:05  *****
10 Singapore Docks 2:04  ***
  11 Passing the Nevada 1:07  ****  
  12 Burma 3:08  ****  
  13 Elephant BattleTrack 9 1:12  *****  
  14 March on the Temple 2:10  ****  
  15 A Prisoner's Eulogy 2:05  *****  
  16 Nazi Disguise/ Shima's Speech 2:04  *****  
  17 Natives Are Restless 1:50  ***  
  18 Carrier Deck 1:15  ****  
  19 Tanaka's Death/ The Hanger 3:36  ****  
  20 Tank March 1:23  ****  
  21 Philippines/ Zero Attack 1:46  ****  
  22 Courtyard Strike 1:11  ****  
  23 Yamashita's Gold 2:53  ****  
  24 Incoming! / Aftermath 1:37  ****  
  25 Jungle Swarm 3:49  ****  
  26 The Got Donnie 1:03  ****  
  27 Shell Shock 2:20  ***  
  28 The Sewers 1:30  ****  
  29 Shima Express 0:54  *****  
  30 Take Off/ Finale 1:50  ****  
  31 Hymn to Brothers LostTrack 10 2:57

 *****

 
 

Total Running Time

61:01  

Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (Game Soundtrack) by Christopher Lennertz

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.

 

Referenced Reviews
  Medal of Honor  |  Medal of Honor: Underground  | Medal of Honor:  Frontline

 

 

 

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