Top Score: Cris Velasco Scores the Western Front

by Emily Reese, Minnesota Public Radio
August 14, 2014

St. Paul, Minn. — Composer Cris Velasco met quite the challenge when he realized he needed to score three different games that take place during various events from World War II.

For Company of Heroes 2: Eastern Front, Velasco's orchestral score included a men's choir and other quintessential Russian musical techniques.

With Company of Heroes 3: Western Front Armies, Velasco needed to recognize the American presence in the War.

Initially, Velasco took inspiration from American composers like Aaron Copland.

"I was really pushing for that sort of Copland, Americana sound, but it just wasn't resonating with the [development] team," Velasco recalls. "They said, 'No, because we're still in Europe here; we want the music to address the Americans but it maybe shouldn't sound super American.' "

Instead, Velasco focused on the instruments he used, like solo trumpet. "To me, a solo trumpet feels very steeped in Americana," he says.

The theme for Western Front Armies is completely different than what Velasco wrote for Eastern Front. In order to maintain consistency, Velasco brought back the solo violin and solo cello sound from the Eastern score.

"They're just two of my favorites," he says. "They're just so emotive. I mean, cello is probably my favorite instrument, like a ton of people, and I just love the sound of a cello and violin duet."

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