For the Love of the Game has not arrived in the UK yet, but judging from
the booklet artwork, it appears that Kevin Costner is revisiting his Field
of Dreams and Basil Poledouris seems to be sanctifying whacking a ball
with a stick of wood. ('Apologies to our American visitors if I appear to
be sacrilegious.) The opening Main Title has a persistent other-worldly,
mystical-sounding ostinato that supports a broad romantic/heroic theme. It
also has a folksy charm too. In fact, this attractive, melodic score has
some considerable charm and beauty. Think of Mark Isham's A River Runs
Through It or Thomas Newman's The Horse Whisperer, and you have
The best material is contained in the slower dreamier cues (the alternatives
tend to bring one down to earth with too much of a bump.) 'Relationship Montage'
is relaxed and cosy with a dialogue for guitars over sustained high string
chords leading into a piano solo that takes up and embroiders the material
- the music is sort of country and western and smoochy-paced. 'Tuttle knockdown'
retains the guitars but the mood darkens to the discordantly sinister with
timpani and synth stiffenings. The beautiful cue, 'Jane's Home' is cosily,
sentimental again with familiar genre material given a fresher, more richly
harmonised treatment; piano solo and warm string colours abound but the
distinguishing feature is Poledouris's writing for intertwining upper woodwinds.
[This cue is worth the price of the CD alone.] 'Gus Hits' is country
and western dancing. 'Lemonade' is bitter/sweet with a pastoral atmosphere.
'The Apology' recalls Copland's middle America and is again sweetly introspective
and almost prayer-like. 'No hits' maintains the mood of quiet meditation;
the music becomes even more mystical with a slower version of the heroic
elements of the Main Title music broadening out to reach a treatment one
usually associates with the grandeur of western landscapes; but the cue ends
somewhat disconsolately. 'The Decision' has the piano meditating the main
theme first over high strings before the mid-and-lower strings add sympathy
and warmth allowing the music to become increasingly ennobled through the
remainder of the cue and on into 'Last Pitch' where voices add intensity.
But this final cue slumps because it has to sums up all the material stated
in the previous tracks. Personally I will be cueing tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 7,8
and 9 for future listening, and substituting a picture of quiet pastoral
beauty (Yosemite for instance?) for the non-informative booklet.