Album: Cold Mountain: Music From The Motion Picture

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Cold Mountain: Music From The Motion Picture

Artist: Gabriel Yared
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Label: Sony

Director Anthony Minghella’s take on Charles Frazier’s bestselling novel is powered by wistful romanticism and a dramatic structure that’s been compared to Homer’s Odyssey. That latter creative tack parallels the Coens’ O Brother, Where Art Thou in crucial ways, and is further enhanced by another T-Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack of Appalachian-inflected folk traditionals, sympathetic originals by diverse songwriters (Elvis Costello and Sting), and a core of gritty performances (the White Stripe’s Jack White and Alison Krauss) that rise above mere…

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Director Anthony Minghella’s take on Charles Frazier’s bestselling novel is powered by wistful romanticism and a dramatic structure that’s been compared to Homer’s Odyssey. That latter creative tack parallels the Coens’ O Brother, Where Art Thou in crucial ways, and is further enhanced by another T-Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack of Appalachian-inflected folk traditionals, sympathetic originals by diverse songwriters (Elvis Costello and Sting), and a core of gritty performances (the White Stripe’s Jack White and Alison Krauss) that rise above mere star appeal. White shows his traditional blues jones is no mere affectation on “Wayfaring Stranger” and a cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Sittin’ On Top of the World,” then makes a rewarding turn into the wistfully romantic with his original “Never Far Away.” Krauss gives a haunting performance of Costello’s “The Scarlet Tide,” but doesn’t fare as well with Sting’s plaintive, Celtic-tinged “You Will Be My True Love.” The soundtrack’s evocative sense of time and place is further underscored by traditionals performed by a slate of other bluegrass/country-folk heavyweights and a powerful pair of gospelized, almost ethereal performances by the Sacred Harp Singers at Liberty Church. A few of Gabriel Yared’s gentle orchestral cues (crucial to the film’s characters and dramatic continuity) are essentially tacked on as the coda to the remaining collection of earthy Americana. Dark, dusty, and ever bittersweet, Burnett’s musical archaeology here is something considerably more than merely “O Brother Redux.” —Jerry McCulley

Related Works

Book:Cold Mountain: A Novel

Cold Mountain: A Novel

Charles Frazier

One of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory, Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain is a masterpiece that is at once an enthralling adventure, a stirring love story, and a luminous evocation of a vanished American in all its savagery, solitude, and splendor.

Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, Inman, a Confederate soldier, decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains and to Ada, the woman he loved there years before. His trek across the disintegrating South brings him into intimate and sometimes lethal converse with slaves and marauders, bounty hunters and witches, both helpful and malign. At the same time, Ada is trying to revive her father’s derelict farm and learn to survive in a world where the old certainties have been swept away. As it interweaves their stories, Cold Mountain asserts itself as an authentic American Odyssey—hugely powerful, majestically lovely, and keenly moving.

Film:Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain

Anthony Minghella

Freely adapted from Charles Frazier’s beloved bestseller, Cold Mountain boasts an impeccable pedigree as a respectable Civil War love story, offering everything you’d want from a romantic epic except a resonant emotional core. Everything in this sweeping, Odyssean journey depends on believing in the instant love that ignites during a very brief encounter between genteel, city-bred preacher’s daughter Ada (Nicole Kidman) and Confederate soldier Inman (Jude Law), who deserts the battlefield to return, weary and wounded, to Ada’s inherited farm in the…

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