Question of the Week: 2/13-2/19/23

Let’s talk about Civil War music…but with a twist:

In your opinion, what’s the best soundtrack from a Civil War film? (can include documentary or movie)

22 Responses to Question of the Week: 2/13-2/19/23

  1. How can we talk about Civil War music this week, and ignore the real pressing issue of the moment: THE EAGLES WERE ROBBED!!! WHO calls that foul in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl? Am I right? 🙂

    1. So ‘splain that call overruling the fumble after the catch. My main sport is hockey and like most I rant about replays. But the NHL actually has a clue and can figure out an offside and a goal. I have no idea what is or is not a catch in the NFL. And neither do the officials.

    2. you’re right — a terrrible call … and in the 4th qtr of a close Superbowl for crying out loud … although i hate to say it, but the Chiefs had the Eagles number in second half … the Bird’s much vaunted defense was a no show last Sunday … but regardless of who you were rooting for, it was a great football game!!! Regarding CW movie music, i am going with my personal fave CW film — Glory … Gone With the Winds is right up there as well.

  2. The Civil War by Ken Burns. I love Ashokan Farewell and all of the period music performed beautifully by Fiddle Fever, et al. The spare, sublime piano work by the supremely talented Jacqueline Schwab is absolutely transcendent.

  3. I agree with waynegettsgrg. The one that was on the Civil War documentary by Ken Burns is the best in my opinion.

  4. Ken Burns Civil War series. Beautiful original music and historic tunes. Captures the melancholy.

  5. I’m surprised no one has mentioned “Gone With the Wind” yet. The music score for that classic film in its totality is outstanding.

  6. P.S. The American Film Institute rated the Gone With the Wind score as number two on their list of the top 25 film scores of all time.

  7. Much as I want to say Ken Burns or Gettysburg, I gotta go with GWTW. Instantly recognizable, any time, anywhere.

  8. For me, it has to be “Gettysburg.” The movie would not be the same without it. Randy Edelman captured the feelings and the mystique of our country’s greatest drama. Triumph and tragedy are themes that run throughout. I would argue that the “Main Title” is the greatest arrangement ever made for a movie. For what it’s worth, “God’s and Generals” is good, too

  9. The soundtrack for Ken Burns’ “The Civil War”, hands down.

    But for the sake of adding some variety to the comments, I’ll add the soundtrack for “Cold Mountain”: Great mixture of fiddle tunes, folk songs, old time blues, Sacred Harp shape note singing, and some hauntingly evocative originals.

  10. None of them stand out especially well anymore in the pantheon of soundtracks for film or documentary.

    Gettysburg (1993) is too bombastic. It fit the style of the 1990s but it comes across as tone-deaf and old-fashioned today. It’s all glory all the time and the more mellow tracks are mediocre.

    Andersonville is better, in that it’s less noticeable, but its still there. Music is best when it complements the scenes, not requires the scenes to be choreographed around them. James Cameron can manage that pretty decently with his usage and mixing of his soundtrack in movies like Titanic (1997) but it was because it was used in the payoff parts of the films and not sprinkled throughout bombastic again and again. Other films made in the 1980s and 1990s managed better. Glory is nearly as bombastic as Gettysburg but the creators at least understood to use them sparingly. Gettysburg starts “epic” before the first scene.

    Ken Burns’ was just revamped historical tunes aside from Ashokan Farewell, which was a fine song but not enough to carry the soundtrack for the series. Historical songs are fine (and free to plagiarize) but there are now better renditions of almost every one of them. PBS’ Death and the Civil War has a better soundtrack, for example. Also an artist named Goldmund did a better Bonnie Blue Flag on piano. Ken Burns’ documentary could be done ten times better by tens of thousands of random creators from home if people like Burns didn’t maintain a monopoly on those sweet, sweet grant monies.

    I would have to go with the 1982 miniseries, The Blue and the Grey. It has a wide variety of original tunes, which fit the period, and also an excellent rendition of (I believe) ‘Shenandoah.’

    1. Great points all … especially about Gettysburg … the music almost makes this already awful movie almost unwatchable … one that i didn’t see mentioned was the soundtrack for Horse Soldiers — pretty good.

  11. I often sit in my studio and do artwork listening to my three favorite movie soundtracks from the Civil War: “Gettysburg”, “Glory” and “Lincoln, ” It’s hard not to be inspired by the beautiful music from these albums that I feel captures the essence of each movie.

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