Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|National Gallery Orchestra, Richard Bales|
Civil War 2: The Union
Genres: Folk, Special Interest, Pop, Soundtracks
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Civil War Cantata
Theo Logos | Pittsburgh, PA | 05/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Were I to rate this CD only on nostalgia and sentiment, it would merit five shining stars. As a child, I spent countless hours sitting by the record player listening to it over and over again as I thumbed through the large book of Civil War photos that was its record sleeve. At the time, if you wanted to listen to Civil War music, `The Union' and its companion volume, `The Confederacy' were about all that you had; like video games, computers, and cell phones, Civil War music recorded on period instruments with authentic folk arraignments was still a thing of an unforeseen future. I learned the songs of the Civil War, not to mention the Gettysburg address, from listening to this album.
Rating `The Union 1861 - 1865' on its own merits is somewhat trickier. Those who demand that this music be played as closely to the way it was played around Civil War campfires and will brook no elements that they deem inauthentic will certainly see this as a one star product. Civil War songs and tunes have been elaborately arraigned here into a classical cantata, and are performed by orchestra, chorus, and soprano and baritone soloists. It is enough to make a strict re-enactor go pale and shudder. Yet to judge it by that criterion is as inaccurate as would be judging it only on nostalgia.
To fairly rate this CD, it must be seen for what it is - more classical than folk, and meant for the concert hall rather than the campfire. It is actually quite amazing how seamlessly marching music, campfire songs, and minstrel songs were all woven together to make this impressive cantata. In addition to the music itself, the CD comes boxed with an oversized booklet that contains all of the material that was in the book that sleeved the original record. This includes many Civil War pictures, notes on the histories of all of the songs and tunes it contains, as well as three essays by noted Civil War historians Bruce Catton, Clifford Dowdey, and Allan Nevins. Judging it for what it is and by its impressive packaging, I can't help but give it five stars.
If you are only interested in period-authentic or folky Civil War music, avoid this CD - it can only disappoint you. But if you find the idea of classical compositions created from these historic tunes intriguing, you may just want to check it out. And, if like me, your youth included many hours sitting in rapt attention by the record player listening to it endlessly while you dreamed of soldiers in blue and gray, you simply must add `The Union 1861 -1865' to your collection today.
Erik Svane | Paris, France | 11/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oh Lord, this is a majestic recording. It, along with its accompanying album (The Civil War: The Confederacy), was one of the first LPs I ever started listening to (at the tender age of 7 or 8), especially the final track, which I played again and again. Unfortunately, I played The Grand Review Of The Union Armies so often, the record started to develop problems, especially the cannon shot which became inaudible since I always sat by the record-player and inevitably turned that part up to full volume! :oP Now I'm looking forward to listen to it again and hear that cannon shot once more..."
The Best Civil War Collection
4got10one | River Forest, IL United States | 06/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I grew up with the Civil War Centennial albums of these CDs, and they are the best you can find. The arrangements are excellent, the music is accurate and inspiring. To get a real feel for the people who served in uniform, one discovers their hearts in their music. We listened to these albums and sang the songs and fought the battles with little blue and grey plastic soldiers for many years. My great-great grandfather served in the Invalid Corps of the Union Army, and my distant cousin, Alonzo Cushing, kept the Union cannister firing during Pickett's Charge. You can't go wrong with this excellent collection of Civil War Music."