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


"The Kiss" (by Trevor Jones) obviously is the music we hear during the scene in Fort William Henry when Hawkeye and Cora first kiss. This piece is based a combination of several different elements: "The Gael" by Dougie MacLean, is the basis of the entire piece and to that are added part of "Stockade", and part of the "Main Title". (Please refer to Themes and Motifs in LOTM for more on "The Gael".)

In the movie version, this piece begins quietly with a single violin in the background while Cora is in the surgery with the wounded and dying men. Outside, by a bonfire, a few people dance, taking a respite from the battle.
Cora & Hawkeye Hawkeye walks through the grounds of the fort, and as Cora comes outside, perhaps drawn by the music, they meet and go off hand-in-hand to a private corner. As they kiss, and their kissing grows more insistent, the sound of the fiddle is grounded and enriched by deep, long. sustained chords in the low strings, based on a chordal progression very suggestive of the "Main Title". To this is joined a melody in the orchestra's violins, a beautiful but sad melody. This is the Hawkeye and Cora motif, which we hear again just a short while later in "Stockade". This short motif is then overtaken by the grand "Main Title". In the end of the scene, as she rests in his arms, the music returns to the quiet of the fiddle (the Life theme) with only the faint echoing of the "Main Title". It is as if Trevor Jones were telling us a story: that even in the middle of death and destruction of battle, life goes on in the form of a man and woman in love, if fate will allow.

In "The Kiss", the fiddle plays the melody of "The Gael" a total of 9 1/2 times. The first two passes, we hear only the fiddle and the drums. At the beginning of the third pass, the drums fade out and the fiddle is joined by the gentle tones of a cello playing a smooth, rich accompaniment; and at the end of that pass more instruments join in the accompaniment for the fourth and fifth times through "The Gael". At the start of the sixth pass of the melody, the violins enter playing a counter-melody, and at the start of the seventh round of the melody, the violins play the Hawkeye and Cora motif. At the eighth iteration, the counter melody becomes the first section of the "Main Title" (which is also 8 measures long). Both the melody and counter-melody fade away during an additional four measures.

The CD version begins with much more prominent drums, although the drums fade after the first time through, and the entire sound has more "reverb" than in the VHS. This changes the effect slightly to be more solid and less romantic than the movie version.


On to "Monro's Office/Stockade"
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