Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ashokan Farewell

Ken Burns editing film for “The Civil War”
Ashokan Farewell is a piece com­posed by Jay Ungar in 1982 as a lament upon saying goodbye to fiddling guests at his Fiddle & Dance Workshop held in Ashokan, New York. After Ungar recorded the piece with his band Fiddle Fever in 1984, filmmaker Ken Burns heard Ashokan Farewell and was very moved by it. Burns soon featured Ashokan Farewell throughout his 11-hour PBS series, The Civil War. Ungar’s tune was the only contemporary music in the soundtrack, the remain­der being 19th century music depicting America in 1861-1865, the years of the American civil war. Ashokan Farewell underlies nearly an hour of film including the emotional reading of Sullivan Ballou’s letter to his wife in the first episode. Since the series aired on television in 1990 as the
Jay Ungar, composer of "Ashokan Farewell"
most-watched program in PBS history (watched by 40 million viewers during its initial broadcast), there have been many performances and recordings of the beautiful tune. The arrangement for this book is largely inspired by the one from the album Heroes in 1992 that I recorded with classical violin great Pinchas Zukerman.
Pinchas Zukerman and O’Connor at “Heroes”
recording session

No comments:

Post a Comment