We Are Marshall (2006)

Director: McG
Film released 22 December 2006

Score soundtrack released 2006.12.19 Varèse Sarabande (3020667792)


Not reviewed. Bluntinstrument invites reviews from people who like movies about sporting triumphs against adversity. Are there any other kind of sporting movies? The difference here is that the events are built on a real life tragedy and how those who survived it picked up the pieces. I am happy to recommend this score from its soundtrack release (see below).


Recorded "towards the end of September" [1] 2006, Beck's score grew out of a relatively long association with the film, having been contacted half way through shooting, picked out by the director on the strength of both demo tracks and a brief association scoring string parts for a Sugar Ray record [2]. Beck utilised a well proportioned classical symphony orchestra, double woodwind, with an emphasis on brass and percussion.


Track listing:

01. Theme from "We Are Marshall" [clip]
02. Marshall vs. East Carolina
03. Winning is everything
04. Annie and Chris
05. Breaking news
06. Our boys' plane
07. Aftermath
08. Nate's plea
09. Dedmon's list
10. Why Jack called
11. Sons of Marshall
12. Rebirth
13. The young thundering herd [clip]
14. Back on track
15. Remembering #29 [extended clip]
16. Marshall vs. Xavier
17. Game day
18. Second half
19. Touchdown
20. From the ashes we rose
Total duration: 54'29"

CD credits:

Music by Christophe Beck
Recorded and mixed by Casey Stone
Orchestrations by Kevin Kliesch
Additional orchestrations by Adam Blau and John Ashton Thomas
Featured musicians: George Doering (guitar), Malcolm McNab (trumpet), Jim Thatcher (horn), Steve Erdody (cello), Wade Culbreath, Alan Estes and Mike Fisher (percussion), Windy Wagner (vocals)
The Hollywood Studio Symphony, conducted by Pete Anthony
(violins (26), violas (10), cellos (8), double basses (8), flutes (2), clarinets (2), oboes (2), bassoons (2), horns (9), trumpets (3), trombones (4), tuba,, percussion (7), piano, harp. N.B. It is quite possible that some performers were used in different recording sessions).
Recorded at Sony Pictures Stages


Nearly an hour is probably a little on the long side for a score of this character and thematic content. Beck stretches a small number of principal themes across a large number of cues and the effect of their familiarity is a burden rather than a joy by the end. This will not have made a difference in the film, however, where in this genre a flowing underscore punctuated by accasional swells of various allotted emotions (tear-in-eye grandeur, excitement, thought-provoking tragedy, etc.) work best with economy. A 4-note motif (G-(up)-C-(up)-E-(down)-D) works well as the film's main thematic calling card: on lone trumpet it is "brave but lonely", on piano, "plaintive", in full brass it is "America triumphant" which is, after all, the backbone of most sporting journeys of this kind. Beck also employs an always quality, occasionally striking quality underscore, but where he really shines (naturally) is in the kinetic action sequences, where his mastery of confident, even dense, percussion is shown to thrilling effect. When joined by full orchestra the result is truly breathtaking (quite the aim, naturally), and benefits from a clarity of scoring and recording/mixing that has of recent years become as much Beck's calling card as any musical style and perhaps hints at his affinity with Jerry Goldsmith.

Alternate soundtrack review by Derek M. Hardiwck:
(permission requested)

'A great compliment to a great film', 2006.12.26
This is probably the perfect score for "We Are Marshall." Beck manages to combine so many elements of musicianship into this score effortlessly. Primarily, this film is about loss, rebirth, and triumph over adversity, and Christophe Beck's original score makes you feel that all the way through. You can hear Beck's influences (I hear lots of John Barry, who did "Dances With Wolves" and James Horner, who did "Glory"), yet incorporates the essential elements of the football experience into the music (the full marching band drum line, with drum solo on Track 2 "Marshall vs. East Carolina" is a particularly good addition). Even through you don't want him to take you there, Beck makes you feel the sudden and tragic loss. The solo vocalist in on Track 6 "Our Boys' Plane" is haunting. I am also pleased to see that Beck has used guitar on parts of this soundtrack, as this is a period movie and the early 1970s were pretty big guitar years. The guitar however, does not overpower the score, unlike many I have heard before. Finally, the cello solo on Track 11 "Sons of Marshall," coupled with the piano is awesome. I just wish it would have lasted longer. Overall, an excellent original score.

[1] Source: CB e-mail to the webmaster; [2] Interview with scorenotes.com. Check out a transcript here.

Sheet music

A request was sent to Bluntinstrument for sheet music of the cue 'Sons of Marshall', and after checking it out, this tiny cello/piano miniature just seemed too good to pass up.

Higher resolution .tiffs here: page 1, page 2