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Titanic: Music As Heard On The Fateful Voyage

4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Audio CD, December 21, 2005
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  • Titanic: Music As Heard On The Fateful Voyage
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

British conductor, musicologist, and producer Ian Whitcomb successfully raises the dead in this re-creation of songs played on board the Titanic the night of the ship's plunge. His White Star Orchestra assumes the ghost of bandleader Wallace Hartley, who entertained the White Star Line's first- and second-class passengers from the lounge and eventually atop the decks of the sinking vessel. With detailed liner notes about the music and excursion, this ear-opening collection provides pleasant and quaint parlor renditions of tunes like "Frankie and Johnny" and "Shine On Harvest Moon"--music that was still the standard when ragtime was only beginning to rankle Edwardian emotions. Whitcomb is also savvy enough to articulate the importance of these selections as musical wallpaper meant to be played behind the potted palm. --Joseph Lanza
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 21, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B00000342D
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,451 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
How happy I was to find this album - especially what with all of the "Titanic Movie Mania", and the film's awful theme song playing everywhere one went - well, here was truly a breath of fresh air. And even now, some eight years after its release, it's as wonderful as ever.

It probably doesn't hurt that I do have a great deal of interest in the Titanic's story, but more than that, I adore, infinitely, early jazz and popular music. And this album is a shining example of how beautifully that music can be celebrated, in the loving hands of artists who can recreate it with respect and authenticity. As well, this collection has been assembled by Ian Whitcomb, a legend in his own time. Mr. Whitcomb fits into that rare category of those artists strongly devoted to their craft, and his dedication to early jazz sparkles here.

Every selection is a gem, but some stand out particularly: "Glow-Worm", "The Mosquito's Parade", The Arcadians", "Shine On Harvest Moon", "That Mesmerizing Mendelssohn Tune", "Silver Heels", and, of course, the fabled "Songe d'Automne". Also, listen for the extra #24 track, "Ragging the Waves" - this could actually be my favorite on the entire album.

I also have to commend Mr. Whitcomb for his tremendous care put into the album's liner notes - he captures the personality of that great age, and depicts accounts rarely found elsewhere. And, of course, I strongly appreciate his greatly respectful tribute to Wallace Hartley, the leader of the Titanic's orchestra, and to Hartley's colleagues. These men were made heroic by their decision to play as the ship went down, and they were widely celebrated for many years after the tragedy. I sincerely hope that, as the years pass, their noble efforts are not forgotten. Thanks to Mr.
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Format: Audio CD
...this wonderful CD, "Titanic, Music As Heard On That Fateful Voyage." To any teenager who has had his mind rotted by years of listening to rock and rap it is literally impossible for them to be objective about the older, gentler, and more beautiful music from a bygone era which is represented on this CD. This is the type of music that was popular in 1912, and not the new age melodies of James Horner for the 1997 film, nor the other music heard by the orchestra in James Cameron's film. Ian Whitcomb did his research and was faithful to the style of music heard then, the kinds of instruments which were popular then, and even his interlinear notes are more interesting than any of the other Titanic CDs on the market.
My favorite pieces are the Music Hall numbers and Silver Heels, such lively renditions of these old favorites. Make no mistake about it: in a hundred years people will STILL be singing "Shine On Harvest Moon", while the garbage "music" popular with kids today will be long forgotten.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
We love this CD! We learned more about the real Titanic music from listening to the CD and reading the booklet inside. Imagine, all those pianos on the ship. . . and a real Aolean electric organ! What a surprise to hear that authentic organ music.

The music is gentle, but some pieces are lively, as you would expect from a variety of songs intended to be background music on the ship.

One of the best pieces is the complete "Dream of Autumn," obviously the last song the band played. Imagine the wireless operator hearing them continue to play this as he floated away! Simply amazing!

A nice touch is the small bit of piano music ending the CD. You can close your eyes and imagine the ship sinking, the end of an innocent era.

Thank you Ian Whitcomb and the White Star Orchestra for an excellent job!
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Format: Audio CD
This is a terrific contemporary recording utilizing original instrumentation on the pieces actually played during the voyage. The band and the arrangements were put together by British sixties ex-rocker, Ian Whitcomb, who has since turned his skills to musicological recreations of period music. (Remember the novelty falsetto, circa 1965, "You Turn Me On"? Ah, I was but 12...) Forget the movie soundtrack and Celine Dion's hyperbolized, apotheosized music for elevators; not sinking ships. This is the real stuff played as it was meant to be; it takes you back there to dine with Captain Smith among the Astors, Strausses, and Wideners, and even transports you below decks to the steerage class a time or two. The set opens with a rousing rendition of "The White Star March", played on a stunning Aeloian organ, leading directly into a dramatic but understated recitation of Thomas Hardy's ode to the great ship, "The Convergence of the Twain". By the time the finale piece, "Songe d' Automne", is played by an appropriately melancholic quartet, you will hear the water lapping from below decks and the ship rumbling and creaking to its final destination as the band played on... Accompanied by a finely printed souvenir booklet, replete with a history of the White Star Orchestra, copious notes on the timetable of the sinking, and photos of the ship, the original band, and the sheet music. Try playing this while watching footage, sans audio, from the many Titanic documentaries playing these days on cable and it provides an experience which will arguably transport you into another dimension of reality. It was not Hollywood; it was the north Atlantic!
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