MohicanLand Musical Musings: The Music of The Last of the Mohicans
"Pieces of a Story" is a good name for this music, as it represents so many different thoughts and moods.
This piece (by Randy Edelman)
is scattered throughout
the movie, never played in its entirety, only in snippets here and there. Those snippets, though, are the pieces
of the story: some warm and graceful, some portentous, some grim, some without form or recognizable melody.
The opening 1:00 consists of a lovely, melodic section highlighted by flutes possibly native flute which has
as a more breathy sound than metal flutes. This first section, like the opening section of "Riverwalk and
Discovery" is in the key of D major. The remainder of the piece is a conglomeration of small
sections all of which are in total contrast to the opening melody (beginning at 1:00 on the CD version). This latter
part being is fairly ominous and not really melodic, and the key is hard is hard to pin down (again, without seeing
the music), although it (as with "Discovery") seems to end in a somber key of E-flat major.
"Pieces of a Story" appears in four separate locations, to help tell the story:
- The first snippet occurs in the Cameron's cabin, when Uncas grabs the Cameron boy and says "Turn me old
too fast." This snippet is a small portion of the beginning melodic section, corresponding to the first 40 seconds
on the CD.
- Next, a portion of "Pieces of a Story" appears in Webb's office in Albany, when Webb reads that Duncan
will be going to Fort William Henry while he, Webb, will March the 60th to Fort Edward. This is the first
ominous portion, which on the CD is from 1:01 to approximately 1:24.
- The third time "Pieces of a Story" appears is in Colonel Monro's office at Fort William Henry,
when Hawkeye and Jack Winthrop, backed by
the Mohicans and some colonials, are having a heated debate about Indian war parties raiding colonial settlements.
Duncan, who notices Cora watching from the doorway, denies seeing anything at the Cameron's place
except evidence of a pack of savages
bent on thievery (in spite of the fact that nothing was taken, "everything was inside"). This portion begins at about
2:40 on the CD and continues until the end of the scene.
While it is hard to figure the key here, as the music moves all over
the chromatic scale, it appears to settle into and end in a somber E-flat minor.
- The last time we notice any of "Pieces of a Story" is when Hawkeye is "running the gauntlet" in the Huron village.
In this case, we hear from 4:07 on the CD to the end, which in the movie is when Hawkeye comes to stand
next to Duncan to face the Sachem.
The first snippet, heard in Cameron's cabin, is preceded by and followed by a snippet of what appears
to be the opening
of "River Walk" in "River Walk and Discovery", a four-measure motif, and it is impossible
to tell if the motif as heard in Cameron's cabin is the part of "Pieces of a Story" or the opening to "River Walk".
The following sound bite plays the four-measure motif of the opening of "River Walk" (0:00-0:16 on the CD),
and then the very same motif as it appears in "Pieces of a Story" (at 0:43-0:59 on the CD).Click on the Play arrow to hear these snippets.
In any case
two works ("Pieces of a Story" and "River Walk")
are of similar style and orchestration, and both are perfect for representing the
Cameron's welcoming homestead and the friendship between the white men and the native Indians. This might even
be stronger in the CD, which has a greater emphasis on the native flute. The two are very similar,
both being earthy, melodic sections in the same key, with the main tune carried by breathy, gentle flutes.
On to "The House in Rose Valley"
Back to "River Walk and Discovery"
Back to the beginning of MohicanLand Musical Musings
Copyright �1999 - 2001 by Sarah F. Melcher - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED