For Love of the Game (Soundtrack) by Basil Poledouris
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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. 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.
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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.
- For Love of the Game [Original Motion Picture Score]
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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.
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Offsetting the subtleties are a few aggressive tracks. 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. An acoustic guitar serves as the grounding element of the score's personality, strumming along with the upper-range synthetic effects and producing the same family-friendly, comfortable atmosphere as Free Willy. The piano is also used to the same end in "Jane's Home" and "The Decision," both of which are as endearing as they are smooth.
The latter cue features an impressive full ensemble variation on the theme, with piano adding elegant counterpoint. The mix of the solo instruments with the ensemble is impressively clear, and the electronics are, as typical in Poledouris' scores, resounding in their use of the full sonic spectrum.
The final cue on album, "Last Pitch," is worthy of some discussion on its own, for its style defies the restrained environment of the remainder of the score.
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The cue's final three minutes add an adult chorus to the mix of orchestra, electric and acoustic guitars, and synthetic rhythms. The resulting repetitions of the title theme, along with some generally pleasing chord progressions of massive scope in between, would be suitable for an adventure film of far wider implications. The momentous proportions of this cue are a surprising conclusion to an otherwise humble score, creating an outstanding listening experience on album but perhaps overplaying its hand in the film.
In terms of sports film music, For Love of the Game does not achieve the same amount of inspirational spirit that Jerry Goldsmith was able to conjure for other stories, though nothing in either Hoosiers or Rudy tries to generate the power of "Last Pitch.
The score as a whole relies upon the fifteen or so minutes of truly gorgeous orchestral contributions to survive. But survive it does, and that melodic half of the score will be a necessarily inclusion for any Poledouris collector.
Basil Poledouris - Relationship Montage
At the time of the film's release, a fifteen-minute promotional album of Poledouris' score was floated in response to a commercial song-only album that featured only one small suite of the very best music from the score. In retrospect, it's the best part of a bittersweet goodbye to a favorite composer in his waning years.
CD or Download Bias Check: For Basil Poledouris reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3. The maximum rating is 5 stars.