Monday, January 31, 2011

Composer John Barry dies at age 77

Woke up this morning to a message Bill B. left for me in the middle of the night; Composer John Barry had passed away.

For many people he will always be remembered for his iconic "James Bond" theme, countless scores to the Sean Connery / Roger Moore "Bond" movies, "Born Free", "Midnight Cowboy", "The Lion in Winter", "Out of Africa", and "Dances with Wolves". But the movies I'll always cherish his music from just that much more are "Robin and Marian", "King Kong" (1976), "Eleanor and Franklin", "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years", "Hanover Street", and "Somewhere in Time".

"Robin and Marian" was my first full-on experience with Barry's music in a film, and I was seriously overjoyed when the ACTUAL, ORIGINAL music from the movie was finally released on CD a year and half ago. It'd been covered by John Debney and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, but the only time anyone could hear Barry's film version was while watching the movie. Same with the soundtrack for "Hanover Street" which was also released in 2009. Both of these I snatched up immediately.

The score for "Somewhere in Time" has to be one of his most lush, and stands alone beautifully and iconically as much as the film does. "Eleanor and Franklin" contains all of the bravado, pomp and circumstance of FDR and those historic White House years. Even though most might forget "Raise the Titanic", Barry's grand horns as the decayed ship rises to the surface will always bring that movie back into my memory.

On the drive to work this morning I perused several of his scores and soundtracks I own, listening with great appreciation and a true sense of loss at this great film composer's passing. His music forever burned into the collective conscienceness of movie history.


At January 31, 2011 at 10:49 AM, Anonymous Allen Pinney said...

I'll definitely be perusing iTunes tonight and buying some John Barry.

One thing I really enjoy about his music is the subtlety. It's not Hans Zimmerish or Danny Elfman-like or even late John Williams all-sound-the-same. It is a signature sound all his own, but it doesn't distract you from the film, it's more a part of the story-telling, a background player perfectly supporting the lead roles.

Again, I am amazed at how many scores he had done and how many BIG scores he had done.

At January 31, 2011 at 11:36 AM, Blogger LA Filmcutter said...

This is very true. He definitely had a signature sound to all of his compositions. Some might say that a number of his scores sound almost alike. To me it was his unique stamp that, in part, brought those movies to life.

His work encompassed so many different projects, both in film and television.


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