There is no doubt in my mind or indeed anyone else’s I have spoken to that John Barry was the most prolific, inventive and innovative composer of film music that we have seen, each day I still hear a piece of his music and lament that he is no longer here with us in body, he however is still with us in spirit and via his music. At last a new release of his music, sadly nothing new or anything that has been discovered that we did not already know about, but a compilation of his standards and our ultimate favourites. The compilation opens with THE JAMES BOND THEME well why not? It continues with stalwart themes from JAMES BOND MOVIES which include GOLDFINGER, THUNDERBALL, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and also tracks from those scores including MR KISS KISS BANG BANG and the 007 THEME. It then moves into two pieces from the TV series VENDETTA these include the catchy theme from the series plus the DANNY SKIPIO THEME which were both originally released on a CBS single (I can still see the bright orange label with the CBS logo on it). WEDNESDAYS CHILD comes next from the cold war thriller THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM again whilst hearing this I can envisage the purple cover of the original CBS long playing record. We then go back to the world of JAMES BOND with the SPACE MARCH and also the instrumental version of the theme from YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. Some of the recordings on this compilation are taken from those great albums that CBS used to release back in the day that were so naively called THE BEST OF JOHN BARRY or JOHN BARRY’S GREATEST MOVIE HITS, who could imagine back then what the composer would create or achieve during his illustrious career. Moving onto track number 13, which although unlucky for some is not unlucky for us the listener as we experience the upbeat and rhythmic theme from the first BOND movie without the suave Mr Connery (ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE). George Lazenby stepped into the shoes for just one excursion as the spy licensed to kill, and shoot me if you like but I still rate this as the best BOND score ever and to be perfectly honest Lazenby was not as bad as they all said. The compilation also includes another track from the OHMSS soundtrack, which is the laid back piano and jazz influenced TRY. WHO WILL BUY MY YESTERDAYS is next in the running order, I think I am right in saying this is the version or arrangement originally released on the READY WHEN YOU ARE JB album as was the next track THE MORE THINGS CHANGE if my memory serves me correctly. For the last two tracks of disc one we return to 007 territories with instrumental versions of DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER and OCTOPUSSY (ALL TIME HIGH).




Disc two opens with the wonderfully haunting and somewhat sleazy and jazzy theme from THE IPCRESS FILE which is taken from the original soundtrack, however track two which is also taken from THE IPCRESS FILE is a re-recording of A MAN ALONE and I have to say that it does lack the attributes of the version which appeared on the original soundtrack release. Also included on disc two is Barry’s epic theme from ZULU again a re-recording which is a great shame as although it is a solid performance it just lacks something that the original has, I cannot understand that when putting together a compilation such as this record companies settle for non-original or re-recordings and even if these re-recordings are conducted by the composer they just do not sound the same. ZULU is followed by the mysterious and edgy music from Bryan Forbes 1960, s movie SÉANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON, I remember seeing the movie and thinking how superbly Barry’s music supported it and its storyline and although the composer was very sparing with his music within the film I think it worked so well. THE KNACK (and how to get it) which was released around the same time as SÉANCE is totally different with the composer adding choral support for this particular arrangement of the infectious theme complete with easy strings and Hammond organ supported by a groovy sounding bass, which together all build up to a crescendo that enlists the help of percussion and brass. THE WRONG BOX, THE CHASE, BORN FREE, THE WHISPERERS, THE DUTCHMAN, THE APPOINTMENT all feature on disc two, most are re-recordings taken from the aforementioned CBS album compilations but evoke memories of early days of soundtrack collecting and discovering new music. Also included is a short excerpt from THE ROMANCE FOR GUITAR AND ORCHESTRA from another Bryan Forbes movie DEADFALL in which Barry appeared conducting a concert whilst Michael Caine carried out a daring robbery. The original recording took up the B side of the soundtrack LP record, the A side containing selections from Barry’s main score which included the Shirley Bassey vocal of MY LOVE HAS TWO FACES and a particularly entertaining typically John Barry track STATUE DANCE. Disc two comes to its conclusion with THE GIRL WITH THE SUN IN HER HAIR which was used for a TV ad back in the late 1960’s that endured into the eighties I am sure. Disc number two opens with the composer’s iconic theme for MIDNIGHT COWBOY again not from the original soundtrack but a track from the CBS compilations way back when, another selection FUN CITY is also included.




Disc three includes musical excellence from movies such as WALKABOUT and MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, alongside BODY HEAT, FRANCES, CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY, THE SCARLET LETTER and DANCES WITH WOLVES and tracks from CHAPLIN, UNTILL SEPTEMBER, THE COTTON CLUB and THE SPECIALIST. This is a good representation of the musical works of John Barry, but still it is not all of his hits, if there is such a thing for a film music composer, I found this a great listen and a varied selection from a composer who’s output verges upon the unbelievable and who will be missed forever more. Worth adding to one’s collection.john-barry

CD 1

1. The James Bond Theme
2. 007
3. From Russia With Love
4. Goldfinger
5. Thunderball
6. Mister Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
7. Vendetta
8. The Danny Scipio Theme
9. Wednesday’s Child (From The Picture ‘The Quiller Memorandum’) (John Barry Orchestra)
10. Sleep Well My Darling
11. You Only Live Twice
12. Space March (Capsule In Space) (John Barry Orchestra)
13. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
14. Try
15. Who Will Buy My Yesterdays
16. The More Things Change
17. Diamonds Are Forever
18. All Time High From “Octopussy”
CD 2
1. The Ipcress File
2. A Man Alone (Theme from the film “The Ipcress File”) (John Barry and his Orchestra)
3. Barbra’s Theme (John Barry and his Orchestra)
4.The Syndicate
5. What A Question
6. Zulu
7. Seance On A Wet Afternoon
8. The Knack
9. King Rat March
10. The Wrong Box
11. Main Title: The Chase
12. Born Free
13. The Whisperers
14. Dutchman
15. Theme From “Romance For Guitar And Orchestra”
16. The Lion In Winter
17. Theme From “The Appointment”
18. The Girl with the Sun in Her Hair (John Barry Orchestra)
CD 3
1. Midnight Cowboy
2. Fun City
3. Walkabout
4. Afternoon
5. Mary, Queen Of Scots
6. Body Heat
7. Frances
8. Until September
9. The Cotton Club
10. Out of Africa
11. The John Dunbar Theme
12. Journey to the Buffalo Killing Ground
13. Chaplin-Main Theme
14. Moviola
15. The Specialist
16. Coney Island
17. Cry, Cry The Beloved Country
18. End Title to “The Scarlet Letter”



Released in 2012, SHIVER is based upon the novel of the same name and is a thriller/serial killer movie which at times hits the mark but for the most part falls short of its target. The main problem for the film not delivering is that the script is just not worthy of the actual book, with a number of the characters being presented as either incompetent cops or rather boring and flat individuals with no real character. The musical score by veteran composer Richard Band is probably the best thing about the production, with Band delivering a suitably chilling and on the edge sounding score that has some nice set themes throughout, but for the most part is what one would expect for a film such as this. Band is known for his work on relatively low budget movies and I have to say that he always amazes me getting the results he does on these somewhat lean budgets. The score is a combination of both the symphonic and the electronic, but as per usual Mr Band is able to fuse the two mediums together with consummate ease. At times I was reminded of the style of Jerry Goldsmith when he was involved on movies such as BASIC INSTINCT, it has that kind of steamy, sultry air to it that is tinged with an aura or hint of sensuality. There are also however present fragments of past Richard Band scores such as THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM there is a definite presence of that particular theme within the score for SHIVER, albeit a slower tempo arrangement also a glimpse of styles employed in movies such as THE ALCHEMIST and THE CALLER.




The composer manages to create a score that is entertaining to listen to as a stand-alone piece as well as being a strong and supportive component of the movie and although a lot of the music is what many would call atonal, it is still interesting and entertaining. The composer making good use of driving strings and imposing and tense sounding brass flourishes. Which can be heard within cues such as PRISON BUS BREAK, WENDY GRABS THE GUN and THE OFFICE MASSACRE. The soundtrack also includes a handful of songs, which are all at the end of the recording, the first of which also acts as the END TITLES (TWILIGHT GREEN) and begins as an instrumental but after the initial introduction which is apprehensive and menacing, segues into a laid back vocal performance by an uncredited female singer, the song reminded me a lot of SUGAR IN THE RAIN from the movie STILLETTO it has that kind of sweet and too good to be true sound, but saying this is easy on the ear and pleasant enough, oddly the song then reverts back to the instrumental score and again we hear a threatening and tense style employed by Band.

Other songs include YOU MADE ME LOVE YOU, WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE THE MOON, AFTER YOUV’E GONE all performed by the same vocalist and are jazz influenced, with the final cue being an instrumental which again is jazz orientated entitled POOR BUTTERFLY all pleasant enough to listen to but a little out of kilter with the main score. An interesting score, check it out, Its on INTRADA.

Rude Fantasy
The Killing
Main Title
Police Briefing
Wendy Views The Necklace
Gryphon’s Playground Flashback
Break In
Gryphon Attacks Wendy
Jennifer Death
Recalling The Event
The Shack No. 1
Wendy Rests In Police Station
Killing Spree
Transporting Wendy
Here We Go
Road To The Shack
The Shack No. 2
Entering The Shack
Wendy Grabs The Gun
Searching The Apartment
The Rape
His Show Of Heads
The Saw And Fight For Life
Delgado Finds Wendy In Shack
The Prison Bus Break
The Office Massacre
Wendy Approaches The Gryphon
End Titles (Twilight Green)
You Made Me Love You
We’ll Always Have The Moon
After You’ve Gone
Poor Butterfly

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At last INFERNO the third in the series which began a few years ago with THE DA VINCI CODE has hit the screen and along with it comes the release of Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack. Like with the previous two movies Zimmer has enlisted and fashioned a score from a fusion of electronic and also more conventional instrumentation, but this time I think personally that the synthetic at times has the upper hand over the symphonic. This is not necessarily a bad thing because the composer has created a score that is at times very fast moving and exciting with the accent being upon the use of action type music and musical sounds that have the listener on the edge of their seat without even seeing any of the images and sequences from the movie. I would say that this is a score that is more sound design rather than actual music, but saying that there are a number of cues that are mesmerising and quite serene and celestial sounding with Zimmer bringing into the proceedings choir (not sure if this too is synthetic) and heartrending and subdued violin solos to purvey an atmosphere and mood that is far from apprehensive and tense. There are also I have to say an equal amount of compositions which are shall we say less than shy and retiring, in fact I did find a few rather tough going and dare I say it grating upon one’s ears. I am not going to say I am a great fan of this composers scores or his at times rather offbeat and oddball approaches to film scoring, what I will say however is that every movie I have seen which has been scored by him has always received great support from his music, it’s a case of it works well in the movie but maybe not away from it, (yes I know that’s the idea of movie music). This does not apply to all of his work for the cinema I have to say as many of his scores are a delight to sit and listen to, as in GLADIATOR, BACKDRAFT, LAST SAMURI etc. Zimmer is a master of introducing a fragment of a theme and then repeating this and gradually building the piece until it becomes more developed and complete he kind of chips away at the listeners subconscious and plants the hint of a theme then builds upon its subtle beginnings until it becomes this full blown and at times epic sounding piece, the track VENICE from INFERNO is one such example it has a slow and rather unassuming beginning but as it progresses the composer adds layers and various sounds and colours to bring it out into the open as it were, a lilting piano opens VENICE which is underlined by strings the piano performance is then developed more and becomes more pronounced and dominant, percussion and choir are then brought into the equation with rising strings giving the cue a more prominent and vigorous sound, it then falls back to a subdued and slight sounding interlude with strings still acting as a background, these then fade away and re-enter the piano momentarily with strings and synthetic elements adding their weight to the piece, like his TIME theme from INCEPTION the cue continues to build and gain strength without really sounding as if is going anywhere.

Effective and also affecting this is a trademark of Zimmer, which we hear again in the cue REMOVE LANGDON mainly electronic with piano laced throughout this is a pulsating and tense track that switches from low and sombre sounding moments to action fuelled peaks. The highlight of the score me is track number 16, LIFE MUST HAVE IT’S MYSTERIES, again this is a gradual builder of od cue, piano once again opens the cue, strings again are added and underline and punctuate, what sounds like synth woodwind is then introduced but soon give way to strings which launch into a full working of what is one of the core themes of the soundtrack, solo violin is then introduced above the strings and percussive elements lend their support as choir too steps into the musical arena, the cue building and gaining momentum until the strings, choir, solo violin and also percussion are performing in unison bringing the piece to a crescendo and its end. Overall I have to say I enjoyed listening to this score, although as I did remark earlier there are a few moments that I found a little hard on the ear. But this taken into account INFERNO is certainly worth a listen.


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Another release in the ever expanding catalogue of the renowned record label KRONOS, is THE BOY AND THE LION a television mini series that was released in 2013 but although it is a relatively recent release there is very little information about the production. The score by composer Stelvio Cipriani has been available as a download for a while but at last Godwin Borg has given it a compact disc release which is most welcome. The score is in many ways similar in style to the sound achieved by French composers Francis Lai, Michel Magne and to a degree Francois de Roubauix and has hints of Michel Legrand. To say that Stelvio Cipriani belongs to the higher archy of the iconic school of Italian film music composers is certainly and understatement. His music has enthralled, delighted and also intrigued many collectors and fellow composers of music for television and film. It is at times quite mind numbing to think that this film music Maestro has written the scores to over 200 movies and his music has not only supported but ingratiated all of these giving them a greater impact and a heightened dramatic elevation. He is a composer that began scoring pictures in the early 1960, s in his native Italy and like so many other composers who were working in film at that time began with a Spaghetti western soundtrack entitled THE BOUNTY KILLER. During this period when the Italian western was beginning to gain momentum and attract attention from audiences and critics alike it was quite easy to label Cipriani as a composer that was like others at this time mimicking the style and sound that had been created and achieved by Maestro Ennio Morricone, but this would be unfair as there is far more to Cipriani’s music than just the quirky sounds and instrumentation that is associated with the genre of the Italian produced western. He has during his career created highly volatile themes for war movies, lilting and affecting tone poems for romantic films and also turned his hand to scoring some of Cinecitta’s most notoriously scary and gruesome horror pictures as well as providing the musical accompaniment to the aforementioned western genre and fashioning atmospheric scores for numerous Giallo films, soft porn escapades, comedic adventures and police capers. So he is a composer that is well suited to the terminology of being CHAMELEON like as he can easily adapt his style and sound to each and every project he is involved with. In recent years the composer has become increasingly involved in the writing of religious music for the Vatican but has never turned his back on film scoring or indeed his love of jazz and the piano. THE BOY AND THE LION is a movie that in many ways is obscure to a great many collectors and cinema goers and I have to admit that it is a score that I was unaware of as being within Cipriani’s filmography, indeed it is not listed within his list of credits, or if it is it is listed under another title that is totally different from this one.

The soundtrack is a pleasant enough work, the composer relying predominantly upon a central theme on which he builds the remainder of his score. In fact, the majority of the music for the movie is variations upon the core theme, the composer arranging and orchestrating the main thematic property and repeating it in various guises throughout. However, the composer does this in such a way that it remains fresh and entertaining upon each outing.
The style that Cipriani employs here is one of a light and melodic fashion which utilises Piano, harpsichord and strings which become the mainstay of the work with synthesiser acting as support, the composer treats us to a romantic and rich sounding theme with piano taking the lead in many instances, and later embellishes the instrument with the use of a light and meandering harpsichord that is supported and further enhanced by subtle strings the composer at times adding an emotive sounding electronic background which seems to give the conventional instrumentation more power and grace. The central theme contains fragments of music that evoke the composers wonderfully romantic ANONYMOUS VENETIAN theme and also there are shades of his PIRAHNA 2 score which occasionally make an appearance, it is not only an effective work but has the ability to linger within ones sub-conscious long after one has finished playing it. The score also contains a number of synthetic attributes which complement and fuse seamlessly with the symphonic instrumentation and at times take the lead in certain areas of the work, but more often than not the composer binds the two mediums together to create a rewarding and pleasant listening experience.
When listening to THE BOY AND THE LION one cannot help but be reminded of the composers past triumphs and draw comparisons with his other cinematic soundtracks. Percussive elements are present throughout creating a subtle but noticeable pulsating background which acts as a foundation to the central musical content and also purveys an African sounding beat giving the work more ethnic textures and colours. Also present are a handful of cues that contain a style that is apprehensive and dramatic FEAR IN THE JUNGLE, HIDING IN THE JUNGLE and THREAT IN THE JUNGLE rely upon the use of electronic sounds and synthetically generated rhythms to create a sense of danger, fear and foreboding. Although this is a score that is not one of the composer’s high profile credits it is one that will delight followers of Cipriani and maybe attract attention from others. I do hope that Kronos Records will continue to release more of his work in the future.
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In 1936, the people of Spain democratically elected a socialist government who at times were referred to as republicans, it was not that long however before unrest began to rise within the country and a coup was carried out by a group of right-wing nationalist generals who were intent on ousting their leader and create their own government. This was not an overnight attempt at gaining power and turned into a long, cruel and particularly bloody civil war that lasted for several years. Soon the Russians started to assist the government of the country and both Italy and Germany decided to combine their efforts as the Axis Powers and started to send arms and support to the forces that were fighting on the side of General Franco, who’s nationalist forces eventually gained the upper hand and ultimately won the war, if anyone wins in these type of conflicts. The town of GUERNICA or GERNIKA as it is called in the movie and also gives the film its title as well, was heavily bombed by the German Luftwaffe and was made notoriously famous by Pablo Picasso’s gigantic mural which was also named after the town. The movie opens with American news reporter Henry portrayed by James D’Arcy finding it increasingly difficult to report back accurately the events that are taking place in the country because of heavy censorship by the Republican authorities. His reports are altered and tampered with making them no more than propaganda essays in favour of the republicans. The reporter becomes caught up in a web of deceit that begins to affect not only him but his partner Teresa played by Maria Valverde who is one of the censors. Just as the authorities are about to close in on him the air raids on GERNIKA begin. This is a rather tragic and bitter sweet storyline that although does have some romantic interludes is essentially an accurate telling of the events that led up to the barbaric and incessant bombing and also depicts the actual relentless blitz upon the town and the affect upon its helpless inhabitants. The movie is a moving and well-made account of this particular event in history and is surprisingly impartial not once depicting either side as being good or bad. The musical score as one can imagine is powerful to say the least and filled with drama, tension and action material, it also however possesses a number of highly emotive and passionate sounding compositions that further elevate the action on screen lending their poignancy and potent weight to the proceedings. Fernando Velazquez has over a fairly short period of time become one of Spain’s most respected and sought after composers of film music, he works not only in his native Spain but also scores movies that are produced in Hollywood etc.


His scores for movies such as THE ORPHAN, THE LAST DAYS, DEVIL, CRIMSON PEAK, HERCULES, MAMA and even the horror spoof PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES were met with much enthusiasm and praise from collectors of film music and critics alike the latter I think was a case of the score being far superior to the movie it was created for. It is probably true to say that it was his score for THE IMPOSSIBLE which drew attention to his ample talents as a composer of music for film and television projects. GERNIKA is in my opinion one of his best soundtracks, filled with inspiring themes and memorable compositions it is a score that seems to get under one’s skin as it were, there is just something about this work that oozes class and radiates an aura that is overflowing with highly charged and commanding musical passages. The CD opens with TERESA/PRESS OFFICE a meandering piano acts as a background to strings and woodwind that pick out a pleasant and melancholy theme that is romantically laced but at the same time seems to hint at tension or apprehension.





Track number 2, I ‘VE SEEN WAR, is too a low key affair, with dark sounding strings opening the cue, these soon segue into lighter but still sombre strings that are underlined by woods. The composer also puts to good use brass and choir within the score which create a sense of unease and turmoil within certain cues, as in BACK FROM THE FRONT/THE PICTURE which is track number 4, this is initially a low key piece which develops and builds into a driving action composition which is dominated by horns and strings that are punctuated and supported by percussion. Highlights for me if indeed there are any stand out cues, simply because the entire score is a delight, include, the tender and haunting TERESA’S FAMILY FARMHOUSE, the lavish and lush sounding RECEPTION AT CITY HALL. The powerhouse of a piece that is STALIN DOESN’T FORGIVE MIIAVICH/ALLES GUT SEIN and GENIKA UNDER BOMBS which is not as one would think dismal or sombre but uplifting with the composer employing rich strings, driving brass and proud and patriotic sounding choir which also purveys an atmosphere of hope in a time of chaos and death. I highly recommend you at least take a listen to the samples of this score that are available, I guarantee after you do so you will be ordering it or downloading it.