The Civil War [Original TV Soundtrack]

The Civil War [Original TV Soundtrack]


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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.

Product Details

Release Date: 12/29/1990
Label: Nonesuch
UPC: 0075597925623
catalogNumber: 79256
Rank: 20600

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
Toshi Reagon   Producer
Billy Shaw   Engineer
Jay Ungar   Producer
Don Wershba   Engineer
Scott Hull   Engineer
John Colby   Producer,Contributor
Julie Dunfey   Producer
Kirby Jolly   Director
Jewel T. Thompson   Director
William Steffe   Composer
Julia Ward Howe   Composer
Robert Sheldon   Director

Customer Reviews

The Civil War [Original TV Soundtrack] 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
mercergirl More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a must have for any collector. This collection provides for many audiences, whether you are a history buff or a soundtrack fan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The music is played with passion and power and makes you feel great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago