Wednesday, June 30, 2010

JDIZZY's 365 # 56: Ashokan Farewell

Ashokan Farewell - Jay Ungar (1982)

A documentary t.v. mini-series brings us to this next selection. Ken Burns first heard this song in 1984. While compiling his epic Civil War, he decided to place the song under a reading of a soldier's letter to his young wife at home. Here's what it sounded like:

Pretty powerful, isn't it? Written by Jay Ungar, this instrumental ballad sweeps through your ears, with longing, regret and steadfast determination. I don't know if I would ever have heard this song were it not for Ken Burns, but it stands on its own just as strong as when paired with the letter. See the film, buy the soundtrack, and seek out other works by Mr. Ungar. It is a journey well worth taking, all thanks to the boob tube! Thank God for PBS.

1 comment:

  1. With all the "real" traditional influences in my life, this was the first song I ever learned on hammered dulcimer.
    My brother and sister played it in school band, complete with a History professor from VT reading the "Dear Sara" letter. In the program notes, they recognized everyone with family members who were known to have fought in the Civil War.
    Even allowing for the *ahem* "unique" quality of middle school band concerts, it was incredibly moving.
    Lovely choice.