Historical Record

Article excerpt

WHAT SOUNDTRACK COMES to mind when you think of Andrew Jackson? If you're curious about an accompanying score for the seventh president, a recent CD release, The Atrocious Saint, will set your ears buzzing.

The brainchild of world music performer and composer Christopher Hedge, The Atrocious Saint is the expanded CD version of Hedge's score for the recent PBS documentary Andrew Jackson: Good, Evil and the Presidency. Hedge likens the project to a sonic archaeological dig--an attempt to create music that would reflect the multicultural world that was early 19th-century Jacksonian America.

The 17 selections cover a range of sources and styles: slave songs, American Indian traditional music, classical European compositions, and Scotch-Irish folk songs. "I wrote this music to try to get a more realistic understanding of my own country," Hedge says. "I wanted to try to see Andrew Jackson from the contrasts and contradictions that defined his life."

Jackson's life (1767-1845) saw the 13 colonies become an industrial powerhouse fueled by slavery and pushing relentlessly westward, obliterating the native peoples in its path. …