Hollywood, CA (January 16, 2004)–Michael Piersante, recording engineer for producer T-Bone Burnett, recently used a mix of vintage Neumann and RCA microphones to convincingly recreate the sounds for the Civil War movie Cold Mountain.
According to Piersante, the songs recorded for Cold Mountain are simply arranged. “It’s less of a band and a singer and more like a couple of soldiers sitting in the woods, playing and singing,” Piersante described. “The music is their release and their entertainment.”
Piersante utilized an arsenal of Neumann and RCA microphones to record the music, including his own vintage U 47 and U 67 transducers and numerous mics produced at the East German plant in the 1950s, such as two pairs of M 582s and a pair of CMV 563 microphones. “With those mics I can record just about anything well,” he observed.
The Civil War era sounds at Nashville’s Sound Emporium. “The first tracks were pre-recorded and used while shooting the picture,” he continued. “They were remixed during post production.” According to Piersante, Minghella went “for the ultimate realism” with the music in the movie, not only with the traditional compositions but also the musicianship of the performers and vintage instruments.
“Some of the musicians have long studied music which is pertinent to the Civil War era,” said Piersante. “Guitar player Norman Blake and Stuart Duncan, who played fiddle, were involved, as was Riley Bogus, an aficionado of this old style music, and Ralph Stanley (“O Brother”) sang some amazing songs with a choir. Mike Compton played mandolin and Dirk Powell played banjo.”
Jack White of the White Stripes has a small role as a Confederate Army deserter in Cold Mountain and also sings several songs in the movie, which he recorded at the Nashville sessions. Pianist Gabriel Yared plays a song with Nicole Kidman singing and the Sacred Harp singers of Alabama were also involved with a remote recording done in their church. And, Darrell Leonard composed a song for a civil war era marching band, which was performed by the Americus Brass Band.