Composed and Produced by:
LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Regular U.S. release.
Buy it... only if you're among the few who have seen the production
and appreciated the respectfully noble, but restrained and somewhat
Avoid it... if you're expecting to hear a score equal in
melodramatic resonance to Randy Edelman's far more famous Civil War work
on TNT for "Gettysburg."
: (Randy Edelman) While most viewers
remember TNT's monumental production of "Gettysburg" from 1993, Ted
Turner extended his interest in the Civil War to include a 1999
production about the Hunley submarine experiments of the Confederacy.
Starring Armand Assante and Donald Sutherland, "The Hunley" told the
tale of the world's first submarine in battle, and the preparations for
and aftermath of its debut. In 1864, a crew in a crude, man-powered
submarine launched a successful attack against the Union's U.S.S.
Housatonic, and it would be 50 years before a German U-boat would claim
the world's second underwater kill. The cable film was moderately
popular, but never caught enough interest to push a timely DVD release.
It did win an Emmy for its remarkable sound effects, which were indeed a
highlight of the production. Providing the music for "The Hunley" was
Randy Edelman, whose collaboration with Turner for "Gettysburg" caused
his most popular work. Comparisons between that score and "The Hunley"
are perhaps inevitable, though the latter effort is not anywhere near as
dramatically appealing. The basic elements are the same: Edelman uses a
variety of organic instruments to augment his synthetic foundation, with
the overall style of the work favoring the characteristics of the
latter. If you were among the minority who had difficulty accepting this
synthetic flavor for "Gettysburg," then it will prove even more
bothersome in "The Hunley." Because the film offers far less grandeur,
the score reflects the more restrained tone. The story of "The Hunley"
is often slow in character development, and the music likewise takes its
fair share of time building steam. As such, its undermanned instrumental
depth becomes even more of a detriment. Edelman produces enough sound
with his synthesizers and a few well-placed solo performances to
suffice, but in the end, this score's best moments can only be described
A theme for trumpet opens the album for "The Hunley"
and variants of this moderately heroic, but restrained idea are explored
throughout the work. The sparse rendering of "Waves of Brotherhood"
signals the loneliness of the underwater grave that awaits the crews of
the submarine, and yet, given that the operation of the machine required
such close teamwork, a group of three or four horns may have been more
appropriate. The light romance work exudes some of the same blatant tugs
at patriotic spirit, and Edelman's keyboarded solos are adequate (their
highlight comes with "War and Romance"). The action sequences are the
score's weakest aspect, with some cues, such as "Final Assault," nothing
more than lame in their unexciting rhythms and simplistic orchestration.
In his favor, Edelman uses a snare drum (possibly an electronic sample)
as a sort of sound effect for rotating propellers, which is an
intriguing technique. On the whole, however, Edelman's score lacks the
emotional punch to be of great consequence in the film. There is so
little music used in the first place that the film seemed lacking in
many parts. Several pivotal scenes were absent of any underscore at all,
diminishing the impact that Edelman was clearly trying to push with his
respectfully noble approach. Even when Edelman's music is featured at
the forefront, it refrains from dramatic depth, leaving the film with a
washed-out sound that is too cheap for this otherwise impressive
production. Hearing this material is a reminder of why Lee Holdridge's
fully orchestral and acoustically gorgeous scores for TNT films are
vastly superior, especially when matched with historical subject matter.
The album release of "The Hunley" runs 40 minutes, but that includes
some redundant material. The mix is inconsistent in gain levels, with
the piano especially overdubbed at obnoxiously high volumes (the
difference in volume during the transition between "Dark Seas (Opening)"
and "The Battle Begins in a City of Flames" is irritating). The whole
score seems amateurish, and when you consider the simplicity of
Edelman's styles to begin with, a lackluster result is no surprise. ** @Amazon.com: CD or
For Randy Edelman reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.06
(in 18 reviews)|
and the average viewer rating is 3.17
(in 28,004 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.
Total Time: 40:34
1. Waves of Brotherhood (1:35)|
2. Echoes in the Distance (1:07)
3. Dark Seas (Opening) (3:40)
4. The Battle Begins in a City of Flames (3:41)
5. Training for the Dive (0:48)
6. First Outing (2:32)
7. Flashback to an Early Love (1:00)
8. Aquamarine Angel (3:44)
9. Storming Combat (2:13)
10. The Test Begins (5:05)|
11. Mission Improbable (1:41)
12. Goodbyes (1:18)
13. Final Assault (3:01)
14. War and Romance (1:15)
15. Torpedo on the Loose (2:08)
16. Spiffing Up the Hunley (0:54)
17. Boarding the Sub (1:35)
18. Reprise of Waves of Brotherhood (Finale) (2:38)
The insert contains a lengthy description of the production as well as a note
from Edelman as follows:
"In creating a musical score for "The Hunley,"
the composer is challenged with a story of heroism and romance set against the
most intense and tragic period of American history. With that as a backdrop
comes this most unique and little-known true story with such a telling point as
we approach the millennium. That is, the simple concept of invention and
advancement--in pushing the boundaries of progress--unfortunately at a time of
the lowest human condition: that of war. Think about it... history does repeat
itself, but hopefully for a positive historical result. And so it was with "The
Hunley," a forerunner of things to come, yet at such personal sacrifice."
"Once again (as with "Gettysburg"), I was able to be involved with a piece
of our history, having the tremendous support and passion of Ted Turner who long
ago was fascinated by this story. Our collaborations have been periods of
personal joy and emotionally rewarding creativity. I hope the listener can feel
some of this seeping through the airwaves."