Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt
swashbuckler332

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"You're probably the first real Southerner I've ever met." "You're my first damn yankee!"


The family saga is a particularly happy form for me because the familiar sturm und drang of life in a large family provides ready-made drama, often from the author's own experience. The saga works well for historical fiction because both family history and a larger historical experience happen over a long span of time, hence, using a family story as a vehicle, the writer has perfect justification for moving through a complete historical era... we jointly decided that it might be interesting to follow several generations of a military family (historical period or periods as yet unspecified). Early reading included, quite naturally, a history of the U.S. Military Academy. I came across a couple of pages that made me blink. The author included a list of all the famous men who attended West Point from the 1820's to the 1840's, and then went on to leadership in the Civil War, on both sides. They knew each other as students, then fought each other in the war. I knew that here was my story.
John Jakes
on the genesis of the North and South novels
In the late 70s and early 80s, the mini-series began to flourish; a "television event" spanning several nights could encompass more storylines than a theatrical feature film, making up in narrative scope what it may have lost in visual. The enormously successful Roots and The Thorn Birds were produced by David L. Wolper of National Geographic Presents fame, and when ABC a acquired the rights to John Jakes' North and South and Love and War (Jakes would not write Heaven and Hell until 1987, a year after Book II was aired), they naturally turned to him to produce another hit. The move paid off, and North and South and North and South, Book II, detailing the stories of two families, the Hazards from Lehigh Station, Pennsylvania, and the Mains from Mont Royal, South Carolina and their experiences leading up to and during the American Civil War, were both critical successes and ratings smashes. The massive casts were quite good, expertly navigating between the historical tone and the romantic angle, and Wolper peppered a lot of secondary roles with some pretty heavyweight names, a move that both gained him publicity and legitimacy. The use of historical re-enactment societies to re-stage the beautifully shot battles lent a particularly epic feel to the production (especially evident in Book II).

Another aspect of the mini-series format that was interesting was that the producers often made an effort to enlist the aid of prominent feature film composers for their scores. Quincy Jones provided music for Roots, Maurice Jarre scored Shōgun, Henry Mancini did The Thorn Birds; Here Wolper was aiming to make "the Gone with the Wind" of television, and he tapped Bill Conti to provide a score, who responded by creating the most sweeping theme of his career, evoking Max Steiner but rooted firmly in his own sound (he, in fact, would receive the Max Steiner Memorial Award for his work on North and South). He also proceeded to create a series of themes for many of the characters and situations, indelibly tying the music to the narrative. Wolper was extremely pleased by the music and is effusive with praise in interviews, but the proof of the pudding is in the taste, and the two Varèse Sarabande Soundtrack Club box sets for Book I and Book II prove that there is very little to no alteration to any of the cues for the series. Conti himself was rather proud of the music as well, and recorded a seven-movement concert suite from Book I, along with one from his Oscar-winning score for The Right Stuff for what is in both sonics and performance an outstanding recording with the London Symphony Orchestra in November of 1985, shortly after the show's airing (also for Varèse). Until the box sets, this twenty minute suite was all of the music available from either mini-series, and as of this writing remains the only source for any of his The Right Stuff scores (EDIT: Varèse Sarabande eventually rectified that situation as well, but even so the London Symphony Orchestra recording is not to be missed).

To say that this music made an indelible mark on me when I originally watched the mini-series back in the 80s would be an understatement; I made sure I was able to watch every episode from the very beginning as so to avoid missing that glorious main title, which served as a mini-overture to the melodrama that was to come. Even as a child, I was eager to see the love scenes unfold because, this being mid-80s television, these scenes consist of montages with lots of bare backs and actors sucking on each other's nostrils (side-boobs were not yet a common sight in prime time pre-NYPD Blue), each one a self-contained musical interlude. And the very end of Book I, George and Orry parting with their futures uncertain and war imminent, was a banner moment with Conti's score taking over and expressing everything these characters could not... and making Book II impossible to miss when it aired six months later.


The preparation for creating this mix was a little more intensive than usual. While it is not unheard of for me to re-watch some films in preparation for one of my compilations, the idea of doing so with an entire mini-series was a bit daunting. I decided that it would be worthwhile in order to be sure as to what material I could or should combine and to get a feel for how the music was used in the series. I was rewarded by the fact that except for some minor details with regards to style, the programs have not dated much, and I found its blend of family melodrama, slightly tawdry sex and history to be quite entertaining, made all the more so by Conti's music. Indeed, I found myself now appreciating the dramatic accomplishment of the mini-series anew, and marveled at how grandly staged the battles in Book II were.

As I mentioned, there is very little to no messing around with the music in the show, which allowed me to actually sit with the track listings for the respective box set, and when a particularly notable bit of scoring arose, I would locate which cue it was and write it down in my notebook. After every three episodes, I'd listen to the corresponding disc and-a-half that were on the box sets, making additional notes. Eventually I took the information from both and prepared a short list of what I would like to emphasize, what I felt I could drop and what I needed to do to make the disc coherent. This last was a bit difficult because television cues are usually somewhat shorter than those for feature films, and while there are some lengthy musical set-pieces in both North and South series, there are also a lot of extremely short cues as well... and there is also a lot of "commercial break" lead-outs, which, while certainly appropriate for the show, could make for a lot of starts and stops if placed in an album setting. I did find that it was easier to condense the music from the show to something around my target running time than I was expecting, mostly because while there is indeed over six hours worth of music on the box set, there is also a lot of repetition, nor was I trying to make a definitive presentation of all of the music (that is, after all, what the box sets are for).

I also used the London Symphony Orchestra suite as a structural reference as well as determining what Conti was choosing to focus on. It is a testament to Conti's skill that even after all of this, I had not burned out on the music! This was not a case where I was trying to make a continuous symphonic suite out of the music. Outside of the few suites that I assembled, I didn't try to connect the tracks overmuch, instead allowing cues to end with little to no overlap with the next. There is once again an unofficial "side one," which ends with "The War Awaits," and "side two," which begins with "The Hijacking." The suites have new titles, otherwise they are what appear in the respective box set; the only exception to this I made was with the pieces that appeared in the London Symphony Orchestra suite, the names for which (save "Friends Farewell") I adopted here. The title is, of course, that of John Jakes' second novel, that was adapted into Book II, which I felt was a natural. I also wish to extend my gratitude to ehowton, who helped me out by cleaning up the screencaps of the Sandy Dvore title illustrations for the album artwork.



29 Tracks • 81:30
  1. Main Title — 3:33
  2. Uncle Miles — 0:41
  3. Charles Meets Salem — 1:18
  4. Orry Meets Madeline — 4:38
  5. I Want It — 4:02
  6. The Physician’s Daughter — 2:06
  7. Orry Meets George — 1:30
  8. Southern Life — 1:28
  9. Ashton Meets Bent — 3:09
  10. A Close Call — 1:48
  11. Married Life — 2:59
  12. Brave Augusta — 3:36
  13. Charles and Billy — 1:29
  14. Churabusco Bridge — 1:57
  15. Love in the Chapel — 4:23
  16. I’ll Leave Tomorrow — 2:28
  17. The War Awaits — 2:55
  18. The Hijacking — 5:03
  19. Tillet’s Gone — 3:55
  20. Virgilia Seeks Sam — 1:51
  21. Madeline Rescued — 7:38
  22. Hazard’s Exodus — 2:32
  23. Ashton’s Assault — 1:43
  24. Billy’s Duel — 3:19
  25. The Turning Point — 0:54
  26. Portent of the Future — 5:25
  27. Carolina Gentlemen — 1:10
  28. Emancipation — 1:16
  29. Friends Farewell — 2:36

Music Composed and Conducted by
BILL CONTI
Orchestrated by Julie Girioux • Engineered by Dennis Sands • Illustrations by Sandy Dvore

  1. Main Title — 3:33
    A soaring rendition of the main theme opens each episode. Conti recorded four versions of the main title in all, although only three were ever used. This is the recording heard in the very first episode, which segues from the Steiner-esque title theme into a sprightly passage that evokes "Dixie" as young Brett (Nikki Creswell) and Ashton (Temi Epstein) trot through the grounds of Mont Royal. The rest of Book I featured a version with a different conclusion, in which the main theme trailed off; Book II's main title adopted the crescendo from the first series' conclusion (heard in track 29, "Friends Farewell"); Conti also recorded a version that segued into his faster-paced arrangement for the end title, including the fanfare that will be heard at the end of "The War Awaits" (track 17).

  2. Uncle Miles — 0:41
    This brassy English-flavored piece is heard several times throughout the series. Here it accompanies Madeline's (Lesley-Anne Down) first visit to the offices of Miles Cobert (the one and only James Stewart) in Book II, Part III.

  3. Charles Meets Salem — 1:18
    Charles Main (Lewis Smith) has an unpleasant encounter in Book I, Part III. with Salem Jones (Tony Frank) that leads to a brawl. Conti provided this Copland-esque hoe-down for the bar fight.

  4. Orry Meets Madeline — 4:38
    This is the first of the suites that I prepared. This includes music from "Orry's Odyssey," "The Kerchief" and "Tata Orry," encompassing the sequence from Book I, Part I in which Orry Main (Patrick Swayze), setting out to West Point, runs into Madeline and Maum Sally (Olivia Cole), who were victims of a runaway carriage. An expansive arrangement of the main theme is heard as Orry rides through the countryside, interrupted by the first of Conti's action cues, using his trademark mixture of Baroque and Italian opera stylings. The attraction between Orry and Madeline is expressed through the use of the main theme, but towards the end of this track Madeline's theme is heard for the first time.

  5. I Want It — 4:02
    Virgilia Hazard (Kirstie Alley) is a fervent abolitionist. On her first trip ever to the South, it is revealed in Book I, Part IV that much of this has to do with a serious case of jungle fever. She is quite taken with Garrison Grady (Georg Stanford Brown), slave to James Huntoon (Jim Metzler). This track consists of the cues "Virgilia and Grady" and "A Good Slave;" this was one of those cases where former track had an overly "commercial break" feel at its conclusion, and I preferred the slow trail-off of the latter. The title comes from Grady's firm statement that what he is doing with Virgilia is his own choice.

  6. The Physician’s Daughter — 2:06
    Orry is wounded in Mexico in Book I, Part II, and as he heals George Hazard (James Read) meets surgeon Patrick Flynn (Robert Mitchum) and courts his daughter Constance (Wendy Kilbourne). This track consists of Constance's Irish-flavored theme, featuring a pennywhistle from "Constance" and then "My Irish Lass." Life imitates art, and Read and Kilbourne are now married.

  7. Orry Meets George — 1:30
    Another of Conti's frantic Baroque/Italian opera action pieces accompany a fight Orry and George have with several ruffians that begins their friendship. This iconic moment from Book I, Part I is given a noble brass passage and a brief, optimistic quote of the main theme.

  8. Southern Life — 1:28
    This delightful work, also from Book I, Part I, is titled "A Letter from Orry" on the box set (the scene is of Maum Sally getting the mail, and walking through the Fabray Charleston estate; "Southern Life" is what it is entitled in the symphonic suite.

  9. Ashton Meets Bent — 3:09
    Quiet woodwinds play elusively, reflecting the twisted ambitions and attraction of Ashton Main Huntoon (Terri Garber) and Elkanah Bent (Philip Casnof), but when high strings join in, the music congeals into an evocation of their erotic but disturbed union in Book II, Part II.

  10. A Close Call — 1:48
    George and Orry first meet Bent at West Point in Book I, Part I, where he was their sadistic drillmaster. He pursues them one night when they sneak off to the local watering hole for a drink; he falls through the ice and they rescue him, which only makes Bent hate them even more. This is another of Conti's Baroque/Italian opera confections, titled "Icebound Bent" on the box set, but here taking its name from the symphonic suite.

  11. Married Life — 2:59
    Orry returns from West Point two years later to find Madeline, who had not been getting any of Orry's letters, engaged to wealthy and ruthless plantation owner Justin LaMott (David Carridine) in Book I, Part I. This suite is culled from material from "Bitter Kerchief" which introduces the Justin LaMott (David Carridine) motif, which is developed in "Madeline's Marriage." The suite then segues into Justin's violent sexual assault on Madeline on their "Wedding Night," and then we return to the conclusion of "Madeline's Marriage" for further development of Justin's theme and a dramatic crescendo.

  12. Brave Augusta — 3:36
    We shift gears with this suite featuring the spirited theme for Augusta Backlay (Kate McNeil), whom Charles meets smuggling medicine to the Confederate troops in Book II, Part I. This track consists of music from "Here's Gussie," "We'll See You Home" and "Charles and Augusta."

  13. Charles and Billy — 1:29
    The playful theme for the South first heard at the conclusion of the main title (track 1) is heard again illustrating the friendship between Charles Main and Billy Hazard (John Stockwell in Book I) that grows between the two boys, who meet when the Mains visit the Hazards in Virginia in Book I, Part III.

  14. Churabusco Bridge — 1:57
    A new motif is introduced in this track; George and Orry are sent to fight in the Mexican-American War in Book I, Part II. They find to their shock that Bent has used his connections to get a commission at a higher rank, and he sends them into a difficult position in a battle for the titular bridge. His plan fails, as both George and Orry storm and take the bridge, although Orry is sustains a wound in his leg that will give him a limp for the rest of both series (in the book, the character lost an arm).

  15. Love in the Chapel — 4:23
    Orry and Madeline meet in private at the ruins of an old church in the wilderness. Eventually, they bow to the inevitable and in Book I, Part III they consumate their love for one another to this passionate rendition of their love theme. I have to admit that I've always been disappointed that music like this didn't happen naturally when making out. The title is from the symphonic suite; the track is called "Madeline and Orry" on the box set.

  16. I’ll Leave Tomorrow — 2:28
    Charles and Augusta share an introspective moment with each other towards the end of Book II, Part II.

  17. The War Awaits — 2:55
    Charles and Orry are ready to leave for their respective posts in the army of the Confederate States of America in Book II, Part I. Conti deliberately evokes "Orry's Odyssey," (heard in track 4, "Orry Meets Madeline") with a propulsive arrangement of the main theme; this leads to a statement of one of the Southern motives, a fanfare similar to its use in the series end title. This track marks the end of the unofficial "side one" of this album.



  18. The Hijacking — 5:03
    Orry and Brett are returning home from Lehigh Station in Book I, Part V when their train is attacked by a group of men led by fierce abolitionist John Brown; they are surprised to find Virgilia and Grady participating. This leads to a shootout with the army, and to Virgilia's horror, Grady is killed. Several different themes and motives Conti used to illustrate the South are given somewhat more unsteady renditions in "Trip to Harper's Ferry," giving them a sour feel, which is followed by "Grady Gets His Freedom," which includes some striking statements of themes that would eventually become major players in the war sequences of Book II. The piece concludes with a tragic reprise of the Grady/Virgilia love theme introduced in "I Want It" (track 5).

  19. Tillet’s Gone — 3:55
    This moving cue for woodwinds and string is from Book I, Part III and is heard during Tillet Main's (Mitch Ryan) funeral. and as Clarissa (Jean Simmons) mourns her husband and reminisces to Orry about the day he was born.

  20. Virgilia Seeks Sam — 1:51
    Congressman Sam Greene (David Ogden Stears) is preparing for a quiet evening, when he is surprised by the arrival of Virgilia in Book II, Part IV. This track consists of two adjacent cues, both emphasizing the flute: the sedate "Sam," and the slinky "I'll Undress Here."

  21. Madeline Rescued — 7:38
    Justin takes advantage of Orry's absence during the war and raids Mont Royal to kidnap Madeline. Orry returns in Book II, Part II upon recieving word of his family's hardship, and goes to save Madeline in "Orry to the Rescue." Reunited at last and with Justin dead, Madeline is finally free to marry Orry, and does so in "The Wedding." The main theme is heard in several settings over the course of this track, as is the Madeline/Orry love theme, for once allowed to sound triumphant instead of tinged with melancholy.

  22. Hazard’s Exodus — 2:32
    Virgilia helps Grady escape, and admits to what she did, shocking Huntoon and shaming the Mains in Book I, Part IV. The Hazards are forced to leave immediately, with the warm relationship between the two families now strained, which is reflected in this plaintive cue.

  23. Ashton’s Assault — 1:43
    Ashton visits Mont Royal in Book II, Part III to further her and Bent's schemes. While there, she reveals to Madeline that she knows of her lineage and convinces Madeline that her marriage to Orry would shame him to this despondent cue.

  24. Billy’s Duel — 3:19
    After Abraham Lincoln (Hal Holbrook, perfect in the role) wins the Presidential election in Book I, Part VI, seccessionist fever strikes the South and Northerners are in danger. Brett and Billy are finally married to the fury of Ashton, who conspires with Justin to have the Yankee killed by rigging his dueling pistol. A slow build-up is heard during the preparation, for the duel, but erupts into an exciting old-fashioned bit of film scoring as Charles, having learned of the plot from Madeline, rides in to save his sister and best friend.

  25. The Turning Point — 0:54
    This spare cue featuring an oft-heard trumpet motif illustrates the realization settling in among the Southerners that the fortunes of war have changed to favor the North in Book II, Part IV.

  26. Portent of the Future — 5:25
    Surprisingly, most of the big battle sequences in Book II were mostly unscored. A notable exception is this apocalyptic cue heard in Book II, Part I at the conclusion of the First Battle of Bull Run at Manassas. This is the action setpiece of the entire series, as the first major land battle of the Civil War is engaged and proves to be a much bloodier affair than either side were prepared for. The North is routed and forced to retreat; this cue has elements of all of Conti's action writing but here writ larger than anywhere else in the film, complete with a pipe organ at the conclusion.

  27. Carolina Gentlemen — 1:10
    We return to a more innocent time from Book I, Part III, as Orry congratulates Charles for his bravery and mercy in a duel and declares him a Main to be proud of, thus healing the rift between Charles and the rest of the family.

  28. Emancipation — 1:16
    That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons... And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages... And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
    Abraham Lincoln
    as portrayed by Hal Holbrook in North and South Book II, Part III
  29. Friends Farewell — 2:36
    This is the very last cue from Book I, Part VI, heard as George and Orry part just as the Civil War breaks out. This is the only piece that I included that was part of the suite that I didn't use that title for; it was called "Final Meeting" in the suite, which was not applicable for this compilation as it contains music from Book II, in which George and Orry did, in fact, meet again. But at this point, the future of the nation is uncertain, and as the two men clasp hands, possibly for the last time, the train leaves and the music takes over with a powerful reading of the main theme, leading to a crescendo that incorporates Conti's secondary theme. This finale would become part of the Book II main title, and be reprised at the conclusion of Book II, Part VI. I was originally intending to close off the album with with the alternate version of the main title that had incorporated the end title arrangements, but determined early on that anything following this track would be anti-climactic.

Tags: americana, bill conti, film music, max steiner, my mixes
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