Artist – Kyle Eastwood & Michael Stevens
Album – Letters from Iwo Jima (Music from the Motion Picture)
Year – 2006
Genre – Classical/Soundtrack
Welcome to the first of my soundtrack/classical song reviews! I wouldn’t consider myself an expert at deciphering classical music, but music without words is just as powerful as songs with lyrics. The emotion you can feel from an especially well orchestrated and moving piece is simply overwhelming. However, though I will be reviewing the song, I strongly suggest seeing the source material to truly put the piece in context. It creates a truly overarching experience that can capture both your eyes, ears, and emotions. I’m starting with the main title to my favorite war movie of all time: Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima.
The piece, composed by Eastwood’s son, is absolutely beautiful. The simple, repeated theme begins on piano, and here perhaps it is the most emotionally touching. The simplicity of the music and the way it flows is impeccable. Again, the source material adds a lot to the experience, but as soon as you hear the theme you can just feel the sadness that comes from each note. It’s forlorn and longing, and as the notes move up the scale and build higher, the sorrow is palpable and you can feel the pain of those lost in the fateful battle on Iwo Jima, and throughout the battlefields of World War 2.
It gets even better as a beautiful chorus of strings is added behind the piano, giving the piece body and substance. You can feel the desolation and the cries of the dying men as the haunting melody continues and builds again.
Then…silence. It feels like an eternity, and you will hold your breath waiting for the music. The piano stands alone again, and the pauses between the notes this time almost seem like a body who is struggling to breathe, and who is gasping for air in the fog of war. There is silence, as if the world has stilled, and there is a moment of peace within the sadness. Then, a piercing trumpet and rolling snare repeat the theme again, but this time it is the theme of honor, brotherhood, and triumph. The sadness is still there, as if the trumpet is playing at the burial of a soldier, but there is also a sense of patriotism and love. It’s music that will make you thankful for the sacrifices any soldier in any country has made to protect their people. The piano comes back in briefly, reiterating that pain that only war can bring to soldiers and families. The trumpet and drums return for the final repetition, and this time it feels like the war is finally over, and that the legacy of those lost will not be forgotten, but cherished and remembered as the trumpet cuts through the air like a knife.
This is an absolutely stunningly beautiful, yet simple piece that shows that suffering war can bring, but also forces you to remember the sacrifices all fighting men and women make, regardless of country or creed. It’s somber, melodic, and haunting. This is not a piece you will soon forget. If you see the movie, you will truly gain a new appreciation for the piece and it’s meaning. However, this is not to say you cannot enjoy it without seeing the movie. If you would love to hear a beautiful and simply haunting piece of music, than this song should be added to your list of tear-jerkers.
What do you think? Do you like the track? How about the review? Let me know below!