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The Civil War [Original TV Soundtrack]

( 8 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Bruce Eder
Elektra/Nonesuch scored one of the biggest successes of the classical specialty label's history with this soundtrack to the Ken Burns public television series The Civil War. More a multi-artist compilation than an actual "soundtrack" in the formal sense, the album is filled with low-key highlights from the series -- Jay Ungar's "Ashokan Farewell" is the most familiar of the material that was new to most listeners, but it was surrounded by fare such as "Battle Cry of Freedom," "Bonnie Blue Flag," "Dixie," "Hail Columbia," and "Battle Hymn of the Republic," which will certainly be known, at least by memory, to anyone who attended school in the United States before 1967 or so. ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Bruce Eder
Elektra/Nonesuch scored one of the biggest successes of the classical specialty label's history with this soundtrack to the Ken Burns public television series The Civil War. More a multi-artist compilation than an actual "soundtrack" in the formal sense, the album is filled with low-key highlights from the series -- Jay Ungar's "Ashokan Farewell" is the most familiar of the material that was new to most listeners, but it was surrounded by fare such as "Battle Cry of Freedom," "Bonnie Blue Flag," "Dixie," "Hail Columbia," and "Battle Hymn of the Republic," which will certainly be known, at least by memory, to anyone who attended school in the United States before 1967 or so. There's also some representation of spirituals, most notably "We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder." There are some full-band performances here "Yankee Doodle," "Parade" and a few tunes featured in more than one incarnation most notably "Marching Through Georgia", but the overall thrust of this soundtrack is toward the small-scale and intimate in terms of sound and arrangements -- it's a far cry from the mostly upbeat Civil War song compilations that appeared in the late '50s and the start of the 1960s, in the run up to the war's centenary. Less is more seems to have been the operating theory behind the music, which makes it more enduring as a listening experience -- subtlety being a hallmark of the music -- and a strong tug on the conscience and the intellect. And the final track, "Ashokan Farewell/Sullivan Ballou Letter," the latter read by Paul Roebling, can bring a tear to the eye of the most hardened listener.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/29/1990
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597925623
  • Catalog Number: 79256
  • Sales rank: 18,012

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Russ Barenberg Guitar, Track Performer
Bernice Johnson Reagon Vocals, Track Performer
Matt Glaser Fiddle, Track Performer
Bobby Horton Guitar, Track Performer
Art Baron Euphonium, Track Performer
Jesse Carr Recorder, Track Performer
John Levy Cello, Track Performer
Molly Mason Guitar, Track Performer
David McCullough Narrator, Track Performer
Jacqueline Schwab Piano, Track Performer
Evan Stover Fiddle, Track Performer
Jay Ungar Fiddle, Guitar, Mandolin, Track Performer
John Colby Piano, Track Performer
Paul Roebling Voices, Track Performer
Peter Amidon Banjo, Track Performer
Peggy James Fiddle, Track Performer
Yonatin Malin Flute
Old Bethpage Brass Band Track Performer
New American Brass Band Track Performer
Technical Credits
Abyssinian Baptist Gospel Choir Contributor
Bernice Johnson Reagon Producer
Fiddle Fever Producer
Bobby Horton Producer
Ken Burns Producer, Liner Notes
Michael Golub Engineer
Paul Goodman Engineer
Bob Ludwig Mastering
Toshi Reagon Producer
Billy Shaw Engineer
Jay Ungar Producer
Don Wershba Engineer
Scott Hull Engineer
Robert Sheldon Director
John Colby Producer, Contributor
Julie Dunfey Producer
Kirby Jolly Director
Dr. Jewel T. Thompson Director
William Steffe Composer
Julia Ward Howe Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    The Civil War TV Documentary Music

    So many years after Ken Burns' series on the Civil War, just a few notes of "Ashoken Farewell" bring back the yearning and sadness I felt watching the program. The music combines to bring out the era of the late 1800's, and the deep felt issues that brought our countryto Civil War.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    As w/the film itself, an absolute masterpiece.

    I'll get the bad news out of the way first: my one gripe is that this CD did not include the rendition of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" in which the little-used third verse is sung: <p> "I have read a fiery Gospel writ in burnished rows of steel/ As ye deal with My contemners, so with ye My grace shall deal/ Let the Hero born of Woman crush the serpent with his heel/ Since my God is marching on/" <p> To be fair, the only album on which I HAVE heard this verse is Lee Greenwood's rendition on his "American Patriot" CD; unfortunately, Lee in turns short-changes the listener by skipping the 5th verse of "Battle Hymn," i.e. "In the beauty of the lillies Christ was born across the sea . . ." <p> But enough kvetching! This is an excellent CD! The main reason I bought is is that I fell in love with "The Battle Cry of Freedom" from watching the mini-series . . .but for the longest time I didn't know what the corrrect title of the song was! Anyway, I was tickeld pink to see that there's two "Battle Cry" tracks on the CD . . . and I fell in love with all the other tracks on the CD as well. <p> ESPECIALLY the final track, the Letter of Major Sullivan Bellou (sp?) to his wife Sarah with "The Ashokan Farewell" in the background. Sheer elogance of writing, almost poetic and lyrical, a thing of beauty. Statistics supposedly tell us that the present-day literacy rate in the U.S. supersedes the literacy rate of "back then," yet letters like Maj Bellou's seem to say to otherwise. <p> God bless this great Nation and all those who defend her, past and present.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    a great cd for listening and other purposes

    The music is played with passion and power and makes you feel great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Beautiful and Moving

    Ashokan Farewell is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, and the rest of the cd is beautiful as well. The music allows your spirit to move from lively to sad, cheerful to heartbroken. It reminds you of the reason we have become the country we are today. The violin is superb, as well as wonderful sounds from the banjo and brass. It will become one of your favorites too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    sounds of the american character

    I am a big fan of the Ken Burns series, and I think that the music was a big part of that. Each of the tracks pulls to mind relevant images and emotions, making this collection perfect for both history buffs and also for sparking the imagination of those who are not (yet).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    American history in music

    I received this cd as a gift and thought ''what a strange choice!'', as I am not a civil war buff. It's become one of my favorite standby cds, though, as it both rewards concentrated listening and can serve as enjoyable background music. It includes a variety of musical styles, has both instrumental and vocal pieces, and selections from both sides of the conflict. I highly recommend it; in fact, I now buy it for other people as a gift.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Must have

    This is a must have for any collector. This collection provides for many audiences, whether you are a history buff or a soundtrack fan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews