Sunday, May 28, 2017

Jay Ungar - "Ashokan Farewell" Waltz in D Major

Decoration Day dates from the years immediately after the War of Southern Independence.  ASM826 posted a quote from Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes looking back from twenty or thirty years at that conflagration.  This was perhaps the defining event in the Republic's history, and marked a generation, as the Great War and the Second World War would do to their grandchildren and great grandchildren.  This quote stands out in particular:
But as surely as this day comes round we are in the presence of the dead. For one hour, twice a year at least--at the regimental dinner, where the ghosts sit at table more numerous than the living, and on this day when we decorate their graves--the dead come back and live with us.
I see them now, more than I can number, as once I saw them on this earth. They are the same bright figures, or their counterparts, that come also before your eyes; and when I speak of those who were my brothers, the same words describe yours.
A million died, in a nation numbering 30 million.  It was a catastrophe to those who lived it: every family had a casualty, and decorating the graves was a very personal affair.

Today's music is not from those days.  It was written in the 1980s, but is not only in a style that would be recognizable to the veterans of that war, but is inextricably tied to that era because Ken Burns used it as the theme to his TV series "The Civil War" - PBS' most-watched program ever.  That series - and this music - is a fitting meditation on this weekend's Memorial Day holiday.


libertyman said...

This piece could easily pass for a 19th century tune. In fact, I thought it was.

As always, a great Sunday music appreciation class.

Stewart Dean said...

And Jay and Molly, whom I see often at the Ashokan Center, has written a waltz for this day...and all the others that the fallen will not see:

The Ashokan Center hosts children from the inner city to an experience of Nature during the fall through spring....and music and dance camps in the summer.