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Thursday, July 16, 2009


Gettysburg: The Speech That Saved America
Music by Alan Williams
Silverscreen Music SMCD 025 (US)
22 Tracks 41:26 mins

Alan Williams' latest release on his Silverscreen label features his score for the recent Discovery Channel presentation, Gettysburg: The Speech That Saved America, which explores Abraham Lincoln's historic speech in 1863 at the dedication of the national cemetery at Gettysburg following what remains the nation's bloodiest battle. In the documentary, Lincoln is brought to life by an actor but with a computer generated face, a process known as photo-real CGI.
Alan Williams' score is of course appropriately patriotic, commencing with the splendid trumpet-lead "Main Title" theme, which is by turns spirited and plaintive. The brief but desperate conflict of "Gettysburg" follows and then an air of quiet beauty takes over with the woodwinds-lead "Waiting for Word." The theme continues just as lovely into "Night Speech," but gives way to the grim tragedy of "Gardner Photos." Joe Stone continues his fine work on woodwinds with the mournful "Sorrows of War" and "Burying the Dead." "Lee's Rebels" presents a proud but homely theme for woodwinds and Nick Nolan's guitar; the latter featuring again in the quietly respectful "Bloody War." Yet another moment of beauty comes with the flute-lead "Lydia Smith," which is followed by an uptempo reprise of the main theme. "Arrival in Gettysburg" is heralded by Jon Lewis' trumpet and then the composer himself reprises the main theme on piano.
More sensitive woodwinds-lead music introduces "Relocating Bodies," with trumpet putting the finishes touches on the cue. "Finishing the Address" continues the sensitive mood, giving way to the patriotic "We Hold These Truths." The woodwinds theme leads the way in "Thoughtful Men," piano taking over as the track proceeds, with a synths reprise of the main theme to close.
"Is the Country ready?" starts off solemnly but trumpet soon enters, effectively taking on the woodwinds theme to close. The lovely, flute-lead "Edward Everett Address" follows and precedes the penultimate and lengthiest track on the disc, "Gettysburg Address" which satisfyingly brings together the main thematic material of the score and leads to a rousing, then thoughtful, conclusion in "Lincoln's Legacy."
Alan Williams has produced consistently fine work over the years and his great gift for melody is very evident in what is another highly recommended effort.
Go to for samples and availability; and why not check out his other releases while you're there.


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