On the Beach

Seven Weekly Interviews with CG by Karen Cambrell
February – March 2000

WEEK SEVEN. Friday 31st March 2000
The End and Preparing for the Sessions.

CG: It's Friday 31st March and I've effectively finished the score, which is a wonderful, wonderful feeling. I finished last night. It was the revision of the San Francisco sequence that Russell had asked me to re-write that I was talking about previously. I've come up with something which I hope is right, it's certainly alien and I think we might actually record both versions so that there's a choice during the mixing process. [The two versions – the orchestral and the percussive – are combined on the album track Alien Landscapes.]

I got that big cue on the chopper ride through the Apostles and the Elegy done. I did that in just over a day and, boy it was fun to write. I'm really looking forward to recording that, it should be a lot of fun.

Flight Through the Apostles and Elegy
Composed 26-27 March 2000

Earlier on in the project I had always imagined that the hardest parts, the most emotionally draining parts to compose would be the deaths of various people because when you actually watch the show that is quite harrowing, but in a day by day sense, as I was composing the thing I found most moving was the love story. I found that quite difficult to cope with actually, while I was writing, particularly at the end. I felt quite thrown around and battered.

So today my job is to learn the score as a conductor. There's music there that I've written a week ago, two weeks ago, three, four weeks ago that I haven't looked at since and I can only vaguely remember. And it's a very strange experience when you roll up at a session and you start a cue and you turn the page and you don't know what's on the other side, even though you've composed it and you have to then tell people how to play it. So, ideally I'd like a few days preparation for that, but it looks like I'm only going to get a few hours, but that's fine, I'm used to that. There's also a number of other organisational things. Christo Curtis, the recording engineer and I have already agreed on the set up within the room, where instruments should sit and how many mic’s there are and that sort of things. I also have to work out the order that we'll record the cues within the session.

As soon as I finished the last piece last night the first thing I had to do was to go through the entire score and make sure that I had every instrument logged. I've been doing that as I finish each cue but I had to go back and double check and then I sent off a list to the orchestra contractor to make sure that she's booked the players that we need and that we have all the correct doublings. It was a good sense of achievement to be able to lock all that off. The musicians are now booked. It's all ready to go.

The first session tomorrow morning is strings only and it's always one of my favourite line-ups. It's not quite so unwieldy as an entire orchestra and there's a lot of very passionate music in this, a lot of the love music. I would have preferred to have done this session perhaps later in the process instead of first up because it's so passionate and I'd like to just be a bit more settled in, but the orchestra contractor had various requirements and it just made it easiest to do that one first up. And then in the afternoon we have the session with the choir and in the evening we have a very small session with low strings, just violas, cellos and basses.

KC: At the very beginning you talked about you as a human being doing this job, so if you want to talk about that aspect of today, like just how you feel now that that relentless…?

CG: I'm feeling a great sense of relief to be finished today. I keep being overcome with uncontrollable fits of laughter all the time. It's a bit like being let out of gaol in a way (I imagine!). Today I've decided to treat myself and go out and have lunch in a cafe. It's the second time that I've been out since I've started this job, so I'm really looking forward to just sitting and veging for an hour. And sort of expand the size of my vision, I'm so used to just looking at a computer screen or A3 manuscript paper in my small room. The one time I did get out was just about three days ago. I had to go and do an interview for another film job, which was quite a bizarre thing to do to suddenly be in that state of mind in the midst of all of this.

Getting Set Up.

Preparation and Themes.

Waiting for the Pictures and More Themes

Composing Begins.

Yachts and Choirs.

Nearing the End and Orchestration.

The End and Preparing for the Sessions.

POSTSCRIPT. August 2008