Film Music Review
The Sammy awards








14 Tracks (Playing Time =53:17)



Album produced by James Fitzpatrick. Performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Nic Raine. Also featuring the Crouch End Festival Chorus. Mastered by Rick Clark. Release co-ordination: David Stoner and Peter Compton. Artwork and Design: Damiel Doherty.

Silva Screen Records SILCD 2002

Rating: ***1/2


1. Theme/ Issandhiwana from ZULU (2:22)
2. OUT OF AFRICA - Main Theme (4:24)
3. THE BLACK HOLE - Overture (4:55)
4. The John Dunbar Theme from DANCES WITH WOLVES (2:31)
5. Main Theme/ Lions At Play from BORN FREE (5:48)
6. A Man Alone from THE IPCRESS FILE (4:01)
8. THE LION IN WINTER - Main Theme (2:30)*
9. BODY HEAT (4:33)
10. THE PERSUADERS (2:09)**
11. Back to Nature from WALKABOUT (3:55)
13. Wednesday's Child from THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM (2:30)

* = Crouch End Festival Chorus
** = Arranged by Mark Ayres

This is an example of a basic compilation of John Barry's great film themes and is similar to another Silva release for Ennio Morricone.

On first inspection, this seems like an unnecessary compilation of themes, but actually it's a good sampling of Barry's best work and is well programmed too.

All of his Oscar-winning scores are represented in this collection -- the beautiful Main Theme from OUT OF AFRICA (track 2); The John Dunbar Theme from DANCES WITH WOLVES (track 4); The Main Theme and Lions at Play from BORN FREE; and the Main Theme from THE LION IN WINTER.

Some of these themes have been featured on previous Silva Screen releases. For example, the opening themes from ZULU (SSD 1095, 1999) and BODY HEAT (4 CDs STD 5023, 1999). But since these previous releases will be hard to find now, this Barry compilation is an appropriate sampler.

The performances by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra are good but occasionally somewhat sluggish, such as the superb Main Theme from THE LION IN WINTER, which isn't as dynamic as in the original soundtrack. Also YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (track 12) and MIDNIGHT COWBOY (track 14), which sound dangerously close to one of those syrupy mood music albums.

For those who already have these Barry soundtracks these themes may sound less than ideal.

This compilation seems to be not intended for the collector but instead for the new or younger listener who is not aware of Barry's considerable impact in the film music world.

Just listening to this compilation will give these listeners a sampling of the diversity of Barry's film work, including the theme from an ITC television series, THE PERSUADERS, arranged by Mark Ayres (track 10).

For me, it's the lovely slow themes that marks Barry's best work, such as from OUT OF AFRICA, SOMEWHERE IN TIME, or the lushly serene "Back to Nature" from WALKABOUT.

As this compilation nicely illustrates, John Barry deserves to be known for more than his iconic James Bond film scores.

And that's the best part of this sampler of his film scores.

It's Barry good (excuse the pun).


--Roger Hall, 8 July 2006

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