The Sunday Section: Music - Ashokan Farewell

I listen to Classic FM every weekday morning, after leaving Liam at the stables, and it has not only reminded me of long-forgotten pieces but also introduced me to new ones. I heard this one for the first time on Wednesday and instantly fell in love with it.

Ashokan Farewell’ was composed by Jay Ungar, an American folk musician. He and his wife, Molly Mason, ran the annual Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp in Upstate New York, and this piece was played, for many years, at the end as the farewell waltz. There used to be a village in the Catskill region called Ashokan but the area is now covered by the Ashokan Reservoir.

Jay Ungar and Molly Mason

Jay Ungar and Molly Mason

The piece gained popularity when it was used as the title theme of a 1990 television miniseries titled ‘The Civil War’.

Although composed in 1982, ‘Ashokan Farewell’ sounds like it belongs to the era of the American Civil War. To be honest, when I heard it, I thought it was music from the 19th century.

This version is by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines; the soloist is Major JR Perkins.