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Soundtrack Review

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Lancaster Skies
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: James Griffiths
Label: MovieScore Media
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 22 February 2019

MovieScore Media release James Griffiths's score for the wartime drama Lancaster Skies. The movie tells the story of Flight Lieutenant Douglas Miller, a former solitary Spitfire ace and a veteran of the Battle of Britain. After the tragic death of his younger brother, Miller transfers to Bomber Command. In the days leading up to a perilous mission over Berlin, Miller must overcome his past and become the leader that his troubled crew so desperately need...

James Griffiths's (The Drift, Dogged) score for Lancaster Skies is one that you need to ease yourself into. On the first play through I wasn't overly struck. Given the film's subject matter I thought it was a bit of a wasted opportunity. I was expecting way more in the way of melancholic and emotionally uplifting themes.

Growing up, from my grandparent's farm, I could clearly see Tattershall Castle. And just behind that is RAF Coningsby, the home of The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the last remaining British flying Lancaster. Not only did I see it flying quite a lot, but also heard many a story on what the sound of hundreds of Lancasters flying over head was like during the Second World War. So, for me, the Lancaster has always been a part of my life.

It was only in putting the score aside for a few days, and then returning to it, that I started to appreciate the subtlety and the raw beauty of the work here. Yes, sure, tracks like 'How is She' are instantly accessible and memorable, but it takes a little more time to appreciate the true craftsmanship of many of the pieces here. There are plenty of beautiful moments throughout this album, and I can't believe that on the first play through I was ready to write it off as a bit of a missed opportunity. 'My Brother' is another notable, and beautiful, theme that slowly builds as it slowly unfolds, as is 'Bomb Run'.

Talking about the film, Griffiths said: "Lancaster Skies is a movie that is very much about the crew, the people, the families. I chose to compose a score that pays tribute to the service men and women, friends and families who either have first hand experience, or have relations whom were part of this hugely important historical period, and astronomical loss of life in Bomber Command. Being an ex military musician myself, I called in a handful of friends and former colleagues. Serving and Ex Serving members, and the finest professional musicians of The Bands of The Household Division. These musicians were key to my traditional Orchestral and Military Wind Band approach. Musicians who know how to play in this style and really evoke the story."

The album contains 20 tracks (46 min, 35 sec) and will be enjoyed by not only fans of the movie, but all lovers of subtle, emotional scores.


Darren Rea

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