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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful music underscores horrors of US Civil War.....
When I watched The Civil War, Ken Burns' epic documentary, on PBS 13 years ago, I was not only moved by the mix of period paintings, photographs, voiceovers by great actors and David McCullough's wonderful narration, but I was captivated by the music in the soundtrack. From the poignant "Ashokan Farewell" (the signature theme of the film) to a beautiful choral...
Published on 7 Dec 2003 by Alex Diaz-Granados

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Soundtrack to Ken Burn's "The Civil War"
This soundtrack recording from the Ken Burn's film The Civil War, comprises traditional American songs and instrumental music from the period.

A good quality recording, I would have liked to have heard more of the songs and tunes than actually appear on this CD. The haunting Ashokan Farewell is 4 minutes long as is Jacob's Ladder, but other tracks are mere...
Published on 27 July 2010 by Malcolm


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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful music underscores horrors of US Civil War....., 7 Dec 2003
By 
Alex Diaz-Granados "fardreaming writer" (Miami, FL United States) - See all my reviews
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When I watched The Civil War, Ken Burns' epic documentary, on PBS 13 years ago, I was not only moved by the mix of period paintings, photographs, voiceovers by great actors and David McCullough's wonderful narration, but I was captivated by the music in the soundtrack. From the poignant "Ashokan Farewell" (the signature theme of the film) to a beautiful choral presentation of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," the songs and military marches from the period added their powerful emotional content to an already engrossing television event.
The Civil War: Traditional American Songs and Instrumental Music Featured in the Film By Ken Burns is a treasure trove of musical gold. Its 28 tracks contain almost a full hour of military marches ("Parade," "Bonnie Blue Flag," "Palmyra Scottische"), sentimental songs ("Lorena," "Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier") and patriotic songs ("Dixie," "The Battle Cry of Freedom") that were popular in both North and South in the 1860s.
Of course, the track most listeners associate with both the documentary is the haunting "Ashokan Farewell," composed by Jay Ungar and performed by Ungar with Evan Stover, Matt Glaser, Molly Mason and Russ Barenger. It is a beautiful modern folk composition (originally heard in Fiddle Fever's "Waltz of the Wind" album) that reflects the tragic split between North and South that resulted in America's ugliest and bloodiest war. It is presented twice on this album, first in its entirety (track 3) and closes the CD along with a reading of Sullivan Ballou's last letter to his wife shortly before his death at the first battle of Bull Run.
What strikes me after all these years is the creativity and care taken by the producers to make this a worthwhile listening experience. While some of the marches and patriotic songs are played by bands with brass and percussion instruments, others are played to great effect by unexpected instruments. "The Battle Cry of Freedom," one of the great marching songs in the Northern repertoire and normally performed bombastically by bands or choruses, is played here by pianist Jacqueline Schwab with delicate sensibility and simplicity. In a similar vein, "Marching Through Georgia" is heard as both a triumphant fiddle romp performed by Fiddle Fever to underscore the mood of Sherman's army, then it is a lament played mournfully by pianist Schwab to reflect the feelings of loss and defeat by Georgians caught in the path of the "March to the Sea." It is a devastatingly effective use of music that draws the listener's ears, heart and mind into the drama and horror of the Civil War era.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Music to Accompany a Wonderful Series, 24 Aug 2005
By 
E. A. Redfearn "eredfearn2" (Middlesbrough) - See all my reviews
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The story of the American Civil War had never been so well covered until Ken Burns undertook his monumental undertaking a few years ago. The music CD covers all the main musical themes which accompanied the series and make no mistake, its wonderful! What I like about it is the simple melodies taken from the well know folk songs which existed at the time. The highlight is of course is Ashoken Farewell. Its haunting. If you saw the series and enjoyed it like I did, then this CD is a great buy.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 5 Aug 2000
By A Customer
A carefully put together compilation from the acclaimed Ken Burns TV documentary series. The chosen songs and instrumentals are all well recorded. By the way, the haunting theme tune "Ashokan Farewell" can also be found on Fiddle Fever's album Best of Fiddle Fever: Waltz of the Wind on Flying Fish records.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth it for the Ashokan Farewell alone!, 6 Oct 2004
By 
R. A. Caton "Arcaton" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This is a beautifully recorded reminder of the music used on the Burns' Civil War TV series. I bought it for one tune...the "Ashokan Farewell" used as the series' theme which is terribly evocative of the 1860's, the loneliness of the soldier away from family and familiar surroundings, caught up in a conflict unprecedented in the continental United States. I thought it was a period piece but it was written for the series.
The remainder of the material is music contemporaneous with the Civil War, played in a straightforward manner as they would have been in that far off time.
It's a good CD and worth having. I don't regret buying it and neither will you
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved the soundtrack of the Ken Burns documentary, 23 Jun 2005
By 
Mr. R. Gallagher "Ponderer" (Co. Durham, UK) - See all my reviews
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The music is good enough to stand on its own merits and I would recommend the CD for anyone interested in the music of the era.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Civil war - pathos and patriotism, 16 Oct 2003
By A Customer
I love this CD. The music ranges from classic war-time marches to negro spirituals to haunting melodies which reflect the awfulness and the grandeur of war. The spoken parts, take from contemporary diaries, add great power to the sense of drama and sadness. The music speaks of the complex and yet engaging context of war.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Civil War music Brilliant, 25 Sep 2009
By 
Mrs. M. Wright (England) - See all my reviews
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I first heard this music whilst sitting on the deck of a fab house on a private island in Seattle, as the Ashakan Farwell echoed out over the Puget Sound it was haunting and very moving. I was told it was the music often played by the families of American Soldiers killed in Iraq and Bagdad who were brought home to their final resting place.
No its not maudling, its just very moving. This is why I bought this CD. The rest of the CD is so jolly and uplifting. I would highly recommend it as well as the company who sold it to me. Delivery was on time and price right.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Soundtrack to Ken Burn's "The Civil War", 27 July 2010
By 
Malcolm (Edlesborough, UK) - See all my reviews
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This soundtrack recording from the Ken Burn's film The Civil War, comprises traditional American songs and instrumental music from the period.

A good quality recording, I would have liked to have heard more of the songs and tunes than actually appear on this CD. The haunting Ashokan Farewell is 4 minutes long as is Jacob's Ladder, but other tracks are mere snatches of tunes. Shenandoah is a mere 40 second taste while most others are around 2-3 minutes.

An album more inclusive of lengthier pieces would have given more support to the overall theme. Worth the money, but more fullsome albums of the same genre are out there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Civil War # soundtrack, 15 Dec 2009
By 
R. A. Stone "stonera" (UK) - See all my reviews
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For those who saw the film/series this music brings back vivid images, for those who have not, this soundtrack may well spur them on to obtaining a copy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great CD, 10 Feb 2014
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I would recommend this cd to anyone who ever watches the Ken Burns version of THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR .. the music on this cd is brilliant well worth the buy
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