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Soundtrack review: Field of lost shoes (Frederik Wiedmann, 2014)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Field of lost shoes (Frederik Wiedmann, 2014)


“Field of lost shoes” is a 2014 American Civil War drama, based on the true story of “The battle of new market”, fought in Virginia in 1864. The score was written by German composer Frederik Wiedmann, who caught my attention with his absolutely brilliant music for Green lantern: the animated series. This Civil war epic demanded an entirely different approach and I was very curious about the outcome.
Usually, I can’t connect very well with Civil war scores. They are always beautiful, touching, elegiac, and I appreciate that, they almost always score big in the technical categories of my ratings. When it comes to the way they personally affect me, I can’t connect very well. I probably prefer scores that are more intimate and focused, and Civil war dramas usually sound like the anthems of foreign lands to me: beautiful, but distant. My favorite war movie scores are the quieter ones.
“Field of lost shoes” is different though. Yes, it has its anthem/elegiac/choral parts that outline the war scenes, but they don’t dominate the score, and I like it this way. I can get my fix with deep and rich atmospheric cues like “The flower of his youth”, “From an artist’s mind” or “Old men make the promises”. These are cues more suited for a different kind of drama, but for this score they probably show the inner wars of the main characters, intimate and focused. I can relate to the music and I love it. “The recruited” is my favorite cue from the first half of the score. It builds up nicely; it sits near me and makes me pay attention to what it has to say. Then the marching starts but I’m not bothered, because I was there from the beginning at it feels like a natural continuation, and it still feels intimate. It makes me feel the beginning of war from a single man’s perspective, not from the general outside view which might dilute the impact of the track.
“Thoughts on war” is a sweeping piece of music, a wonderful, touching and lonely cue that tells me a story, makes me understand a feeling, embraces me and, when it ends, leaves me with a sadness and a feeling of nostalgia, as if someone took away the comfortable blanket that was keeping me warm until then.
“Vadimus Miles“ is another true highlight, a fairy tale cue, beautiful, dreamy, powerful, and the start of the action part of the score. “Send the boys in” follows and it’s a terrific action track that reminds me why I started following Wiedmann’s work in the first place. From then on, the score just takes off in a blaze of pure brilliance and orchestral heaven. The 7 minute long “Storming the hill” made me change my favorite cue of the score once more, because it’s an action track that sits right up there with Brian Tyler’s best. There’s emotion…there’s adrenaline…there’s drama…there’s a chorus…and I absolutely love it! 6 stars without a doubt. The end of the score is as beautiful and intense, never pathetic..
“Field of lost shoes” was a revelation to me, one of the nicest surprises of the year. I love listening to this score, it doesn’t have the heavy and burdening feeling of war, it’s just a beautiful journey of feelings and it leaves me smiling at the end. It has everything I want in a score: gorgeous orchestration, terrific action cues, deep melancholic cues, discrete and yet poignant choral inserts. I will surely listen to it again, and it’s a score well worth getting. Frederik Wiedmann now sits firmly on my list of composers to get excited about.
My ratings:
Cue ratings: 83 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 55 / 73
Album excellence: 76%
Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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