"Unlike many, I don’t have a vivid recollection of watching the first moon
landing. I was about eight months old at the time.
On the other hand, I distinctly recall the moment when I became a Russell Morris fan.
It was some seventeen years later, on the backseat of my father’s Jaguar, and I was
attempting to go where no man had gone before – a journey beneath the garments of a
certain cosmically buxom brunette – when the arousing tones of The Real Thing (just
what I had in mind) came over the car radio . . . ooh ma ma ma ma!
Joining Morris on the compilation of late-sixties pop and rock hits that comprise the
first half of this CD are the likes of Steppenwolf, Oliver and The Moody Blues, with the
eternally energising Classical Gas topping off a collection of superior sounds of an era
that, in truth, also featured its fair share of cheese. Thankfully – for a film about
the images that proved our natural satellite was made of sterner stuff – such mouldy
ditties are steadfastly avoided. This is a great selection of life affirming rhythms,
intoxicating melodies and many apropos lyrical references to flight or firmament.
The disc rockets to even greater heights in its second half, which is devoted entirely
to Edmund Choi’s majestic orchestral score. Choi demonstrates a musical command that
sometimes immerses us in Seas of Tranquillity and at others lifts us to astral heights.
The requisite aura of awe and wonder is evoked with lush string and woodwind figures that
are ringed by a corona of heavenly harmonies from the Australian Boys Choir and some
ethereal warbling from the very down-to-earth Tina Arena.
Away from cinematic context there is nothing stylistically that links the compilation
of songs with the score. Except that they both have an overwhelmingly nostalgic resonance.
The songs obviously because of their vintage, and the score by design – brilliantly
achieved without sounding contrived. There’s something here for everyone.
Because songs and score are neatly divided into two sections – the nonpareil
soprano of "Diva Next Door" Dawn Upshaw providing a smooth segue –
it’s easy to run one or the other without the need for fiddly track programming
(confounding to astrophysicists on some systems). With 28 stellar tracks in total, this CD
is practically two soundtracks for the price of one. Now, that’s what I call
Publication date: November 24, 2000