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

The first thing is––what happened to "The Glade Part I"? Did such a piece ever exist? The answer is probably Yes. In the movie, part way into the scene at the burial ground where our small group is hiding in the night, the Ottawa and le Francais approach through the white birch trees to the accompaniment of music that is not on the CD and is not recognizable elsewhere in the movie. This music ends when the enemy have retreated from the burial mound and Cora and Hawkeye resume their conversation (Cora says, "We're a breed apart and we make no sense?"). It is likely this was "The Glade Part I". In his interview in Film Score Monthly, Randy Edelman indicates he selected portions of the total score for the CD, leaving some of the music out. The music behind this part of this scene is just non-descript enough to justify being excluded from the CD.

The Glade Part II We hear "The Glade Part II" when Cora asks, "Why were those people living in this defenseless place ...?" It continues while Cora and Hawkeye talk beneath the night sky, as Hawkeye tells Cora something of his life, and he begins to learn to appreciate her, and it fades out with the close of the scene.

This music is very rustic and "natural", the result of the melody being played by the gentle, breathy sounds of wood flutes. Wood flutes are ubiquitous in "traditional" or "native" music in nearly every continent––Asia (as we all heard in Japanese music during the Nagano Olympics), Africa, South America (especially in music of the Andes), and of course parts of Europe. In European and American Classical music, a composer wishing to bring out the sounds of "country" life or establish a natural setting would most often use wood flutes. That sound has the same effect in this instance, in which being in the glade (the Indian burial ground) while Hawkeye speaks of a Mohican legend, is so far removed from any semblance of "modern" (white man's) civilization and is very much the provenance of the natives. This is particularly effective in the movie version, where the beautiful melody on the small flute and the gentle strum of the guitar sound far off, distant, like a memory.

"The Glade Part II" is based on a piece called "Orchestral Mohican" by Daniel Lanois and was scored by Trevor Jones. At this time, we have not found any information about "Orchestral Mohican", and would be interested in knowing the extent to which Lanois' music influenced Jones' work for the LOTM soundtrack.

On to "Fort Battle"
Back to "The British Arrival" and "Cora"
Back to the beginning of MohicanLand Musical Musings

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