Thursday, July 4, 2013

$5 for $5: Voices of Freedom

by Travis Elder

For last couple weeks I have treasured John E. Ferling's Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence.  I am also reading William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.  Both books have renewed my appreciation for the freedoms I enjoy as a citizen of the United States of America and awakened a remembrance that freedom is not free.  If we are not careful, watchful, and engaged freedom can be lost.  

Many score composers over the years have shared with all of us wonderful, musical expressions of freedom.  Below I present six pieces (I couldn't keep it to five this time), each featuring the use of the human voice as an instrument, that inspire gratitude for freedom and spark the desire to preserve and protect those freedoms.

My Name is Lincoln by Steve Jablonsky from The Island.  My first pick is the most modern sounding of the bunch and has since been featured in a number of trailers.  While not necessarily the most original of pieces, I have always enjoyed how Steve Jablonsky scored the liberation of the clones near the movie's end.  It is an inspiring piece I have returned to many times over the years.

Arnhem by Michael Giacchino from Medal of Honor: Frontline.   During World War II British and Polish military units attempted to secure a bridge located in Arnhem, a city in the Netherlands.  German forces offered stiff resistance and repelled these Allied troops.  Giacchino's choral tribute to these freedom fighters for the EA video game always stirs my soul and reminds me that in the fight for freedom success will not always occur immediately.  Allied forces later defeated German forces in the area.

They'll Remember You by John Ottman from Valkyrie.  Another piece inspired by a World War II era work, John Ottman beautifully eulogizes the failed, but valiant efforts of a group of German army officers to rid the German people of the tyranny of Adolph Hitler.  Featured over the end credits the beautiful choral melodies engender a reverent respect for the brave attempt of Colonel Stauffenberg and others to take back their country from despotism.

Cadillac of the Skies by John Williams from Empire of the Sun.  As American P-51 Mustangs attack a Japanese internment camp towards the end of World War II, Jim, a British youth captured by the Japanese, shouts triumphantly, "Cadillac of the Skies!"  John Williams' score captures the moment through angelic choir that mirrors Jim's exultant cries.

Elegy for Dunkirk by Dario Marianelli from Atonement.  Early during World War II as the German's moved against France the British intervened and their army was nearly destroyed.  Fortunately, inexplicably, and even miraculously Hitler ordered a temporary stop to the hostilities during which time the battered British army evacuated their beaten soldiers from a beach at Dunkirk, France.  Marianelli's somber, but tender tones, mixed halfway through with a group of soldiers singing the hymn: 'Dear Lord and Father of Mankind' reminds us that even in the face of defeat hope remains.

End Credits/Sgt. MacKenzie/The Mansions Of The Lord.  There is a reason this piece found its way into President Ronald Reagan's funeral.  It is truly one of the most moving choral pieces found in any cinematic piece.  No matter how many times I hear it I still get the chills.  This cue more than any other helps me appreciate those who have fought and died for freedom.  Ponder the words to hymn, The Mansions of the Lord, by Randall Wallace:

To fallen soldiers let us sing,
Where no rockets fly nor bullets wing,
Our broken brothers let us bring
To the Mansions of the Lord

No more weeping,
No more fight,
No friends bleeding through the night,
Just Devine embrace,
Eternal light,
In the Mansions of the Lord

Where no mothers cry
And no children weep,
We shall stand and guard
Though the angels sleep,
Oh, through the ages let us keep
The Mansions of the Lord

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Thanks for sharing!