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Aquafina
04-06-2005, 10:02 PM
I am doing a presentation about World War II and I'd like to have some background musics. Could anyone suggest me some songs that I could use. It doesn't need to be stricly war theme, as long as it sounds "right", then it works

Thanks in advance

pinkfreud
04-06-2005, 10:05 PM
Richard Rodgers' Victory at Sea is wonderful WWII music.

carnivorousplant
04-06-2005, 10:17 PM
Mars from Gustav Holst's The Planets.

Scissorjack
04-07-2005, 06:36 AM
Lizst's Les Preludes has that authentic sweeping-past-Polish-monastries-at-the-head-of-an-armoured-column feel: I've actually heard it soundtracking German WW2 newsreels {as well as the original Flash Gordon movie serials}.

NutMagnet
04-07-2005, 07:06 AM
I don't know if you're only looking for "military" type music, but there's also the pop music of the time.

Over There
Lili Marlene
Music & lyrics in German and English here : http://www.openface.ca/~dstephen/marlene.htm
We'll Meet Again Music and lyrics: http://www.openface.ca/~dstephen/wemeet.htm
Till We Meet Again http://www.openface.ca/~dstephen/tillmeet.htm

GorillaMan
04-07-2005, 09:02 AM
Two pieces directly relating to the war, which may be useful to counteract the militaristic music: Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time (written while he was in a PoW camp - try the last movement), and Gorecki's third symphony (settings of holocaust-related texts, and not-uncommon fare for documentary soundtracks). Come to think of it, his second symphony has some fairly suitable sections, too - and is also a neglected masterpiece, IMO. For general 'marching' type sounds, without the obviousness of Holst, I'd suggest the opening of Mahler's second symphony.

Labdad
04-07-2005, 10:01 AM
Rodger's Victory at Sea was the first thing that came to my mind, too.

If it doesn't have to be from the period, you'd have a hard time missing by including Jerry Goldsmith's theme from Patton.

Figaro
04-07-2005, 11:57 AM
If you're looking for stricktly "backgroundy" stuff, then stick with instrumental music. But if you want the occasional song or piece of vocal music, you might try:

Charles Ives' song, "He is there!"

Excerpts from Benjamin Britten's War Requiem (some of it based on poems of a WWI soldier)

GorillaMan
04-07-2005, 11:59 AM
Excerpts from Benjamin Britten's War Requiem (some of it based on poems of a WWI soldier)
Good suggestion - his earlier Sinfonia da Requiem could also be appropriate, and has the advantage of being instrumental.

Aquafina
04-07-2005, 12:03 PM
Wow, you guys are very helpful. I am glad I paid the subcription :cool:.

And yes, I want instrumental songs since it will work as background music. Something slow but still reflects the emotion.

Quartz
04-07-2005, 12:04 PM
You should consider Beethoven's 5th (D-day music), Dambusters theme, 633 squadron theme, and William Walton's Spitfire Prelude and Fugue. For vocals, anything with Dame Vera Lynn, especially "We'll meet again."

GorillaMan
04-07-2005, 12:06 PM
Oh, how could we all forget! Shostakovich's seventh symphony, (partly) written in beseiged Leningrad, and which became a tool of Allied propaganda.

tdn
04-07-2005, 12:16 PM
Oh, how could we all forget! Shostakovich's seventh symphony, (partly) written in beseiged Leningrad, and which became a tool of Allied propaganda.

You beat me to it.

For scenes of thousands of dead on the battlefield or Jews being oppressed, you can't go wrong with Barber's Adagio for Strings. A little overused, but that's because it goes so well with so many things. (It was even used in Seinfeld when Frank was having war flashbacks).

MovieMogul
04-07-2005, 12:32 PM
The "Tempo Giusto" from the first movement from Nielsen's 5th Symphony.

Slithy Tove
04-07-2005, 01:50 PM
You beat me to it.

For scenes of thousands of dead on the battlefield or Jews being oppressed, you can't go wrong with Barber's Adagio for Strings. A little overused, but that's because it goes so well with so many things. (It was even used in Seinfeld when Frank was having war flashbacks).

Since I was originally taught that Barber's Adagio is a reflection on the change from Summer to Fall in upstate New York, when and where it was composed, I never really liked it used to score the Vietnam War. (BTW - the Adagio was also played at Princess Grace's funeral, the first of two times that Ravel's Pavane for a Dead Princess was overlooked. But at leat the Adagio beats "Candle in the Wind.)

For "pity of war" music, Shostakovich's Babi Yar is effective, as is Katchaturian's Invention, for scenes of the Russian Front. for Western Europe, I'd suggest Ralph Vaugh Williams, who, unlike Gustav Holst, actually experienced war firsthand*.

Frank Capra used Stravinky's Firebird to score his "Why We Fight" propaganda films. And both Eisenstein and Woody Allen have used Prokofiev's Charge of the Teutonic Knights.

*What do actuall combat veteran's recommend as background music? There's probably a wealth of suggestions from them for this. The only one I can recall offhand is from an Israeli soldier from the Yom Kippur War, who recalled having the Stone's Gimme Shelter as an earworm as he was under fire.

MovieMogul
04-07-2005, 02:27 PM
And both Eisenstein and Woody Allen have used Prokofiev's Charge of the Teutonic Knights.Well, I wouldn't say Eisenstein used this piece--it was actually written specifically for Alexander Nevsky (aka the greatest film music ever written).

GorillaMan
04-07-2005, 03:13 PM
Since I was originally taught that Barber's Adagio is a reflection on the change from Summer to Fall in upstate New York, when and where it was composed, I never really liked it used to score the Vietnam War.
While undeniably wonderful, the Adagio does unfortunately convey something of 'Americanism'. Not in a negative way, and it's nothing inherent to the music, but it's through association through it having become the American default choice for 'mournful music'. The OP doesn't give his location, but it's possibly something to be aware of.

Quartz
04-07-2005, 05:48 PM
Let's not forget Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries - remember Apocalypse Now?

GorillaMan
04-07-2005, 05:50 PM
Let's not forget Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries - remember Apocalypse Now?
I'm pretty sure that using that for a WW2 soundtrack counts as a variant of Godwin's Law. Or it should do.

MovieMogul
04-07-2005, 05:53 PM
Every track on this album (http://www.silvascreen.co.uk/master.cfm?SilvaCode=SILVAD3502) would work quite well (I know it's on sale in the States, too, but couldn't find it easily on Amazon).

RancidYakButterTeaParty
04-07-2005, 09:18 PM
Mars from Gustav Holst's The Planets.

I will second, and add the subtitile in case the OP doesn't know it, Mars: The Bringer of War.

You could then end with Venus: The Bringer of Peace.

Walloon
04-07-2005, 10:35 PM
I hope it's not a nitpick to point out that "songs" have words. You probably don't want songs, probably not even instrumental versions of songs.

Estilicon
04-08-2005, 05:44 AM
It was composed for a movie about a different war (U.S.A. Civil War), but the music of Glory by James Horner is just great.
There are few pieces more epic than "The assault on Fort Wagner"

Mehitabel
04-08-2005, 05:57 AM
Marc Blitzstein wrote The Airborne Symphony in 1946 about WWII, but I think most of the twelve sections have words. "The Ballad of the Bombardier (Emily)" is one of the most moving things I've ever heard, though--it stopped the show at the Encores! Bash last November.

Another vote for Victory at Sea and Britten's War Requiem.

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