Entertainment » Music

Movie Legends: Music Of John Barry

by Steven Bergman
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Dec 23, 2013
Movie Legends: Music Of John Barry

The noted ensemble known as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra traditionally presents evenings of music dedicated to famous composers of film. One of the recipients of these concerts was the famed British composer, John Barry. Inspired by their performances of Barry's music, the orchestra has now released a studio recording containing eighteen of Barry most well-known themes.

The tracks contained here were originally recorded between 2002 and 2006, but with Barry's passing in 2011, this disc provides a fitting tribute. Though this set does not contain any of Barry's music from the iconic James Bond franchise (which is available elsewhere), there is plenty to enjoy and remember. Throughout five decades of film music, Barry developed a recognizable sound, utilizing lush string arrangements with brass-based melodies.

Barry's writing frequently supported films with jungle or native-themed stories, and this recording contains several of them, from his Oscar-winning themes for the 1966 film "Born Free" ("Main Title," "The Lions at Play"), and the 1986 film "Out of Africa" ("Main Theme"), to his 1990 score for Kevin Costner's "Dances with Wolves" ("the John Dunbar Theme") and the 1964 film "Zulu" ("Main Theme"). Barry's classic main theme to "Midnight Cowboy" (1969) is one of his most recognizable, with its simple quarter-note descending melody, and his main title for the seductive William Hurt / Kathleen Turner thriller "Body Heat" are both included here by the RPO, as is the end title for Barry's last score, the 2001 film "Enigma."

His end title for the film "Chaplin" contains a generous helping of the famous song "Smile," and both his "Prelude" and the "Love Theme" from the 1976 remake of "King Kong," are also featured on this retrospective of the composer's impressive body of work.

"Movie Legends: The Music of John Barry"
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
CD and Digital formats

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.


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