On the Beach (Soundtrack) by Christopher Gordon



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  On the Beach (Soundtrack) by Christopher Gordon

Up from the Darkness - Inspiration!
Review by Christopher Coleman

Composed, Conducted, and Produced by Christopher Gordon
Executive Producer: Robert Townson; Performed by the Syndey Philharmonic Choir
Additional performances by Phillip Hartl (Orchestra Leader, violin), David Periera (violoncello), 
Anne Louise Comerford (viola), Geoff Collinson (horn), Paul Goodchild (trumpet), Marshal McGuire (harp), 
Josephine Allan (piano), Ellena Baroni (child soprano)
Released by Silva Screen Records- June 2000

On the Beach (Soundtrack) by Christopher Gordon

On the Beach

On the Beach (Soundtrack) by Christopher Gordon


Originality 8
Music Selection 10
Composition 9
CD Length 10
Track Order 9
Performance 9
Final Score 9/10

For most, their first impressions of Christopher Gordon’s score for On the Beach are filled with unexpected jubilation.  His score is simply an unanticipated marvel.  However, if the sources of Gordon’s inspiration are considered, such an intriguing, multifaceted, score might not be so surprising.

This Showtime mini-series starring Armand Asante, Bryan Brown (and wherever Bryan Brown is, his wife, actress Rachel Ward is nearby), is an updated remake of the all-star 1959 original film.  The 1959 film featured the incomparable talents of Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins and the score composed by Ernest Gold.

The potential threat of world wide nuclear war is realized and only Australia has been spared…for the moment; however, clouds of radiation are riding the tradewinds.  One US submarine has managed to survive the holocaust and is set out on a life and death mission. Add to this the proverbial love triangle and any film score composer would be salivating at the possibilities.

Ironically, with the aftermath of nuclear war as the setting for a film, one would likely not anticipate a score that is full of life and vibrancy yet Christopher Gordon delivers a great deal of just that.  On the Beach is filled with moments of unforgettable beauty, heroic determination, and solemn reflection.

On the Beach has already garnered critical acclaim and deservingly so.  Varese Sarabande has released one of the best listens of 2000, as the over 73 minutes of score never become repetitive.  Bombastic moments of militaristic intrigue are cunningly contrasted with ethereal choral pieces, strings, and varying brass solos- each having its own personality, but together forming an even greater poignant musical experience.

Gordon’s score firsts grabs the listener with its boldness in track 1, The World at War.  Here, Gordon establishes the main theme that is found scattered throughout in a plethora of unexpected yet entertaining forms.  His own style of militaristic bombast will remind many of another surprisingly popular score, Medal of Honor by Michael Giacchino.  This sort of gusto-filled music is sure to keep your ears at attention as long as it plays.  While

Track 7, Through the Darkness, supplies some of the most beautiful music of the score, featuring unforgettable strings and lead by the violin.  If one has a “thing” great string pieces, this is a sure gem.   Tracks such as this are what helps to seperate On the Beach from other wartime, sub films, such as 2000's earlier release, U-571.  It is Gordon's ability to weave memorable romantic themes with romantic memorial themes, that makes this score such a pleasure to listen to...over and over again.

The Summer of 2000 has seen the release of some highly anticipated films and scores.  Many delivering the goods, some not.  All in all, the Summer of 2000 could be qualified as a good one for film music lovers. Just when heat and brightness of all the Summer hits began to fade, out of the subtle darkness of Summer cable television comes a truly inspired score, On the Beach.  


 Track Listing and Ratings

 Track  Title  Time


On the USS Charleston

1 The World at War 4:07  ****


2 A New Day 1:21  ****
3 A Matter of Months 0:55  ***
4 Melbourne Decays 1:45  ****
5 Decommission 1:38  ***
6 Nordstrom's Theory 1:07  ***
7 Through the Darkness 2:25  *****

On the Beach

8 Moira and Towers Meet 2:34  ****
9 Christmas Memory 1:16  ***
10 On the Jetty 1:43  ****
11 The Great Ocean Road 4:02  ****
12 The Beginning of the End 1:00  ***
from the North
13 Prepare to Dive Click Here for Real Audio sound clip! 1:28  ****
14 Voyage North 3:13  ****
15 Anchorage 5:45  ****
San Francisco 16 Alien Landscape 4:51  ***
17 Swain Returns Home 3:23  ****
18 The Vote 2:29  ****
19 At the Taj Mahal 0:47  ****
The Burial Cloud 20 Homecoming 0:47  ****
21 Hirsch 3:50  ****
22 Flight through the Apostles and Elegy Click Here for Real Audio sound clip! 5:56  *****
23 Final Farewells 4:53  ****
24 Lacrimosa 2:52  ****
25 Lux Perpetua 2:23  ****
26 From the Beach, Silently Weeping 6:34  *****

Total Running Time


Referenced Reviews:  
Medal of Honor | U-571


Quick Quotes

There have been many fine television scores this year - fine theatrical film scores as well. But the best of them sit alongside this one - ONE THE BEACH. It's a moving, emotional and beautiful score from a real craftsman of orchestral music -- Christopher Gordon. I can't recommend it enough! *****

Ryan Keaveney - Cinemusic

Gordon's militaristic score features far more depth and feeling than most scores for theatrical films, let alone ones made for television. While the old problem of the album being far too long is in evidence yet again (it's unfortunate that most soundtrack album producers are unable to resist the temptation of putting as much music as they can possibly afford on albums, whether it deserves to be there or not) there is certainly enough top-grade material on offer here to warrant a strong recommendation.  ****

James Southall - Movie Wave

Christopher Gordon



On the Beach

On the Beach (Soundtrack) by Christopher Gordon





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