Just let me hear some of that lonely violin music! Any old way you choose it!
November 21, 2007 10:58 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for more instrumental music that sounds similar to the violin-heavy themes in FARGO, THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES, and LoTR: THE TWO TOWERS.

As you may have guessed, I'm a fan of movie scores, and especially those that feature a solo, lonely-sounding violin. There's a certain quality about them that evokes a very productive element in me. Other good examples would be the love theme from THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, the main theme from SCHINDLER'S LIST, or the theme from Ken Burn's CIVIL WAR documentary (Ashokan Farewell).

Most people would call this "funeral music," I guess, but I don't view it as such. It's just very calming and inspirational to me. I favor the Civil War-esque sounding tunes, ala JESSE JAMES and CIVIL WAR, but I'm not picky.

Any other suggestions? They don't have to be soundtracks, btw.
posted by (bb|[^b]{2}) to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
The Red Violin
posted by greekphilosophy at 11:08 AM on November 21, 2007

Get the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack. It is amazing. It's done by a string quartet, though they don't sound like your typical string quartet.
posted by chunking express at 11:09 AM on November 21, 2007

Schubert's string quartet Death and the Maiden from 1824 is wicked awesome, and incidentally was used as the soundtrack for the Roman Polanski film of the same name.

It's swifter than you may be interested in, but you'll know even after the first few notes whether you're into it.
posted by hermitosis at 11:13 AM on November 21, 2007

I think some of the stuff on the Deadwood soundtrack would fit your requirement.
posted by drezdn at 11:26 AM on November 21, 2007

Not completely off-topic, but I would add that the violin parts from LoTR were performed on a Hardanger fiddle. There is some music available at that website. Really good stuff.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:41 AM on November 21, 2007

Soundtracks: The Gift (Christopher Young); The Village (James Newton Howard); Fly Away Home (Mark Isham). The first two you can get from iTunes; the third (and far and away the best) was never published but check your MefiMail.

Other: You might like some of John McCusker's albums. He was a member of Battlefield Band for a long while and plays primarily fiddle. The song "The Wishing Tree" by Seamus McGuire is also absolutely haunting (it's on the Green Linnet 20th Anniversary Collection).

By the way: The love theme from Last of the Mohicans is based on Dougie MacLean's tune "The Gael", and you might like other stuff of his as well.
posted by fuzzbean at 11:43 AM on November 21, 2007

The Danny Elfman and Russel Shaw soundtrack for "Fable", the video game.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:02 PM on November 21, 2007

Rachel's are very awesome.

You may also like The Dirty Three.
posted by god hates math at 12:02 PM on November 21, 2007

The Proposition's OST--also by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (the two responsible for Jesse James).
posted by hototogisu at 12:02 PM on November 21, 2007

Check out the soundtrack to The Last of the Mohicans, particularly the track entitled Promentory.

Other than that, if you haven't already, check out the various Celtic stuff out there (Enya, Loreena Mckennitt) as well as Secret Garden, Clannad, etc. Some of that stuff verges on the New Age genre, but ignore that and stick to when they honor their celtic backgrounds, etc.
posted by thanotopsis at 12:27 PM on November 21, 2007

Try Zoe Keating. Seconding Rachel's.
posted by mykescipark at 12:34 PM on November 21, 2007

Try music by Craig Armstrong. He has written soundtracks, but has also made regular albums, including "The Space between Us" and "As If To Nothing" both of which probably fit your criteria.
posted by DannyUKNYC at 12:43 PM on November 21, 2007

Elgar's Cello Concerto is maybe loud in parts, but fits to that funeral music feeling with strings. It is a lament for World War I.
posted by Free word order! at 12:50 PM on November 21, 2007

Try the main theme from Halo. I'm pretty sure(but not 100% certain) that its violin.
posted by neilkod at 1:05 PM on November 21, 2007

Amber Asylum is a sort of a more melancholic, darker version of Rachels.
posted by The Straightener at 1:16 PM on November 21, 2007

Try the soundtrack from Firefly, especially The Funeral. (Not because you mentioned funeral music, but because that's one piece I specifically remember hearing a violin in).
posted by natabat at 1:46 PM on November 21, 2007

I would recommending checking out www.pandora.com if you are not familiar with it. You can add songs and artists, and it will "suggest" new music for you. Then, based off of your "review" of the songs it plays, it will tailor the selection for you. I've found many artists that I like very much based off of one original song.

Good luck!
posted by peripatew at 2:19 PM on November 21, 2007

adagio for strings: makes me cry every time.
posted by CrazyJoel at 2:44 PM on November 21, 2007

Road To Perdition has some incredible string work and one of my favorite soundtracks.
posted by docpops at 3:22 PM on November 21, 2007

I think of movie soundtracks sort of like illustrations in a children's book. Sure, there's some great stuff out there, and there's definitely a lot of artistry behind it, but you're probably going to find more material if you broaden your criteria a bit and look at a wider genre of "classical" music.

In general, I'd look for string quartets. They are more likely to be "violin heavy" (string quartet = 2 violins, viola, cello) and most quatets are 4 movement works, the 2nd or 3rd movements being a slow movement. Some suggestions:
-- Borodin 2nd quartet, particularly the Nocturne (2nd movement?)
-- Dvorak 12th quartet ("American"), 2nd movement
-- Barber's adagio for strings (beat to it by CrazyJoel)

More generally speaking, look for Schubert, Brahms, and Dvorak as starting points for discovering more music like this. Obviously, there is TONS more, but that's a good place to start.
posted by rossination at 3:33 PM on November 21, 2007

Two you may have missed:

Legends of the Fall
posted by softlord at 4:45 PM on November 21, 2007

It sounds like you would love Kronos Quartet.
posted by micayetoca at 4:47 PM on November 21, 2007

The Fountain (composed by Clint Mansell, who also did the score for Requiem for a Dream, and performed by Kronos Quartet)
posted by Mikey-San at 9:56 PM on November 21, 2007

Philip Glass's score from Mishima. It's minimalist but heavily melodic and all strings. Amazing amazing stuff, Clint Mansell ripped it off in a lot of ways in The Fountain.

Check out the clips on the Amazon page. Also see his score from the Hours.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 10:12 PM on November 21, 2007

I just dropped The Red Violin into this thread because I was running out the door from work when I read this. I love soundtracks, and many of the ones you've named are some of my favorites. I'll just offer a sample of some of the ones I really love:

Amelie (yann tiersen, french, runs the emotional gamut)
What Dreams May Come (michael kamen - great piano stuff)
Battlestar Galactica (bear mccreary, haunting and beautiful)
Chocolat (rachel portman, brilliant score for a great movie)
Bicentennial Man (james horner, total instrumental machine music! deliberate but beautiful.)
Spirited Away (joe hisaichi, very pretty)
Being Julia (mychel danna, half classical half 1920s jazz, I like both)
posted by greekphilosophy at 6:06 AM on November 23, 2007

Seconding Dirty Three.
posted by desuetude at 12:54 PM on November 23, 2007

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