Escape to Victory
Prometheus (PCR 520)
Release Date: 2005
Conducted by Bill Conti
The Hollywood Studio Symphony
|2.||The Team Uniforms||2:13|
|4.||The Paris Express||3:31|
|6.||Krauts on a Roll||2:04|
|8.||Let's Go Guys||4:56|
|12.||The Team Uniforms (Dub 2)||2:13|
|13.||Let's Go Guys (Dub 2)||4:56|
|14.||Match's Revenge (Dub 2)||2:42|
|Total Album Time:||42:52|
|by Brian McVickar
on February 8th, 2006
Bill Conti's most major works for film and television occurred during decades where score album releases were few and far between, due to high costs and uncertain market for sale. Thank goodness there is the busy label Prometheus to bring focus through its Limited Edition series to the worthy music of Conti and specifically to his propulsive, thematic score for Victory, the 1981 WWII P.O.W. film directed by the venerable John Huston, and starring Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine.
The album opens with the wonderfully strident "Main Title" and its bold, major key main theme first in the brass and then in a soaring string rendition. A 6/8 bridge first contains playful woodwinds leading into a menacing yet still insistent low-end piano and low brass sonorities, all before the galloping pace slowly eases into it close. "The Team Uniforms" contains a tone still martial in nature but with a smile in its step, not unlike heard in Elmer Bernstein's march material from Stripes. Ominous textures in the basses and low flutes open "Match's Getaway", spelling out a precarious situation, before clacking percussion and bold, low brass heighten the tension. These colors continue into "The Paris Express" but are quickly eclipsed by a choppy string ostinato and the main theme, which appears in the oboes, accompanied by optimistic trumpets. The low-end piano rattles into the cue, followed by snares and strong, purposeful brass.
"Team Outing" opens with piping woodwinds, sharp snare accents and racing, climbing and tumbling string lines. The pace quickens further with additional rapid brass flares. Later, the main theme is heard clearly above this on solo horn while syncopated rhythms round out the track. More exciting, staccato strings begin "Don't Leave", almost resembling Morse code, as the track gains more momentum and weight through the full brass section in energetic accents. The main theme returns in its bold guise in "Let's Go Guys", with the brass and snares again leading the charge. An interlude for an arcing string line balances the march yet fully retains the cumulative pace of the track, all building to a fantastically resounding finish. The great, triumphant brass and snares licks keep on coming in "Start Kick" and "Match's Revenge", while the latter has a much brighter tone than expected by its title and a sonorous reading of the main theme.
The "End Credits" follows the example of "The Team Uniforms" and its upbeat, positive and toe-tapping march, alternating with the soaring main theme on strings. The album is then rounded off in alternate dubs of earlier tracks, "The Team Uniforms", "Let's Go Guys" and "Match's Revenge". With or without these bonus dubs, this special release is a must have this year for fans of upfront brass and percussion, martial scores with winning melodies and fine action. Dan Wallin should be congratulated for his expertise during the original scoring sessions, making the most of an awkwardly small studio and background noise from elsewhere in the building to combat (cool tidbits like this to be found in Dan Goldwasser's lively liner notes). Kudos to Prometheus!
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