Undaunted: Behind The Music

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Undaunted is a film about an American soldier, Ian, who disobeys orders to save a Jewish family from a band of Nazis. It's a film about family, loyalty, and honor. Today, I will be talking briefly about my approach to this film and the score.

Being a short film, the challenge with these kinds of projects is finding a way to say what you want to say in only 15 minutes. In the case of this film, I composed about 11 minutes of music. You have to be concise when you only have that long to tell your [musical] story!

The opening scene depicts an ambush against the Americans by Nazi soldiers in the snow. A soft snare and creeping tremolo strings follow the soldiers across the field. When the first shot is fired, a triplet horn call fires off like a machine gun heralding the start of the skirmish. We build to a broad string and horn melody near the end to accompany Ian's act of bravery with a bazooka. This theme returns at the end of the film to represent bravery again in the American soldiers when they rush forward to save their friend.

One of the major themes in this film is family, in particular relating to the main character and his Jewish heritage. I was weary of writing anything too overtly Jewish, because it could have been distracting and taken the audience out. Instead, I opted to write a flowing, expressive solo for clarinet (which can frequently be heard in Klezmer music) so that I could make the connection through instrumentation, instead of through outright melody.

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I hope you enjoyed this brief inside look at the music for Undaunted. If you enjoyed it, please consider purchasing the full album below:

Connor Griffin