Baseball season is upon us...and it's time to find magic again.
Yup. Fantastic score to a fantastic movie. For me, Opening Day should be a national holiday in America. After all, it's America's pastime. Anyhow, I'll do what I do every year and take the day off to enjoy the ballgames. In the meantime, I'm sitting at work and think I'll put this on and get ready for next Thursday...
Field of Dreams captures something mystical about the American zeitgeist. Not just baseball, but in a fantasy of what is and what could have been. I think it quite possibly represents the best marriage of music to film in all of film scoring. The choice to use synths and exotic woodwinds for the first 2/3 of the movie and the orchestra for impact in the last 1/3 really was a gangbusters good decision*. And somehow Horner's choices of synth patches don't sound dated in the least bit against the movie or as a listening experience even 34 years later. They just sound....eerie and mystical. Timeless. And part of the reason I bawl like a baby at the end of the movie (without fail!) is how perfectly spotted the music is to the scene where Kevin Costner asks his dad to play catch. Just. Hits you right in the feels. Field of Dreams is the only soundtrack that has made me cry on a standalone listen, too.
I always wondered what happened to Phil Alden Robinson that after two exceptional movies (FoD and Sneakers), he ended up in TV with Freedom Song (and a stunningly nondescript score by Horner he might have played on a keyboard over the telephone save for the singers), the significantly less exceptional Sum of All Fears (with a guilty pleasure but less exceptional Goldsmith score), and then faded off into complete obscurity after that. One of life's mysteries I guess.
*The cue 'The Decision' was a colossal omission from the 1989 OST because its this perfect transition from synthy to orchestra and fuses the two ideas very well. Not too much synth, not too much orchestra. Its the moment there's a transition in tone both in the film and the music. Such a genius idea by Horner and Robinson in spotting. The 1989 goes from pure synth to pure orchestra...just missing that genius transition.
There is a YouTube video from composer Austin Wintory, wherein he and Troy Baker discuss film scores in general. In the particular video I'm thinking of, the discussion centers on one member of the orchestra that stands out in a score. The discussion then focuses on the lead horn player and the legendary day that he played a note that Horner wrote for Field of Dreams that was, allegedly, unplayable. The horn player hit the note in the opening solo and a legend was born. Great discussion and here is the link: