BOND COMPOSER JOHN BARRY DIES

Bond composer John Barry dies
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BOND COMPOSER JOHN BARRY DIES



31 Monday 31st January 2011

Listen to the theme he wrote for From Russia With Love. Like James Bond, the theme is dynamic and active, yet it is unhurried.  Though Barry gives his listeners a sense of heart-racing urgency, the music is too sensuous to risk tripping over itself. It is smooth, confident. This confidence makes you trust Barry, and when you’re watching the film, it makes you trust Bond.

Barry was born in Yorkshire, and you can hear it in his score for The Lion in Winter. His soundtrack is arguably the best part of this film, or at least the part that has aged best. John Barry got one of his five Oscars for it, and filled the opening sequence with a sense of momentous power.

Barry’s most famous music is from Goldfinger. Few soundtracks can lay claim to the iconic status that Goldfinger has – one recognizes its first notes and shameless stretches of brass even before Shirley Bassey’s voice blows in like a desert breeze.

Here and elsewhere, you can hear the heaviness that made Barry’s sound so suitable for film – self-aware, magnificent, almost over the top. They say that composers hear their music in their heads before they write it ­– if this is what he heard, it must have been pretty awesome to be John Barry.

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