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MohicanLand Musical Musing: The Music of The Last of the Mohicans

"The British Arrival"

"The British Arrival" (by Randy Edelman) is another piece consisting of two parts which are on the CD as one (without separation) but are not played together in the movie. In fact, they appear in reverse order in the movie (the first section appearing much later in the movie than the second section). In the CD version, the first part is dark, grim, while the second part is more lively.

The British Arrival In the movie, the first time we hear any of "The British Arrival" is when Duncan's carriage begins to cross the bridge (literally, the arrival of the British). The music continues until just after Duncan enters Webb's office. This is the lively melody of the second part, which begins at about 0:40 on the CD. (And don't forget, in the wide-screen version this includes our Soldier #2 cleaning his musket beside the office building as Duncan climbs out of his coach).

Heated Fort Meeting We do not hear the ominous first part of the piece until much later in the movie, during the scene in Monro's office when Monro, Duncan and Hawkeye discuss sending a courier to Webb, beginning when Monro asks, "Webb's at Edward?" and more noticeably when Hawkeye and Uncas tell Monro and Duncan of the Camerons' murder by the Ottawa (allied to the French). The deep tones in the bass strings are fitting for this ominous scene, as Monro ignores the plight of the Mohawks and settlers' families "out there". The music fades out at the end of the scene when, after Hawkeye and Uncas and Chingachgook have left, Monro says to Duncan their success "hangs on a courier to Webb."

One might argue that the "Arrival of the British" could have been more militaristic, more suited to the army's arrival. But Edelman must have known what he was doing: the piece opens with something like a forewarning that all is not well (or foreshadowing Webb's non-arrival), the second part has a bit of a boyish and confident lift to it, then turns dark and ends sadly, something like Duncan at the start versus the end of his misadventure.


"Cora" (also by Randy Edelman) is obviously the piece that introduces us to Cora Monro. The piece begins when Duncan rides into the grounds at the patroon's lodging to see Cora. It continues on while we meet Alice ("Have you seen the red man?") until the end of that scene.

Cora and Duncan As mentioned in the discussion of Themes and Motifs in LOTM, "Cora" contains three measures which are exactly duplicated within "The British Arrival" (Duncan's arrival) when Duncan is in his carriage looking at his miniature of Cora (at 1:13 in "The British Arrival" on the CD). In "Cora", this is the little motif we hear after Duncan says, "My god it's good to see you" and it repeats while he convinces her to consider his proposal. Reusing the Cora motif is one rare instance where Edelman has done something obvious with his share of the music, as most of the "theme connectivity" and duplication was on Jones' part.

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