Tag Archives: RUTH BARRETT.


Recently I have started to notice more and more the music of composer Ruth Barrett, initially I was attracted to the music in the TV series Victoria, and then started to look at earlier assignments by the composer such as Wuthering Heights, again a TV series that contained so many interesting and haunting themes. Her most recent project or at least the one we are seeing on the BBC on Sunday nights is the tense but excellent Bloodlands, the composer’s music is at times an extension of the storyline, and certainly an integral part of the series plot and unfolding events.

The composer underlining the ever growing turbulent and apprehensive goings on with her attractive but at the same time superbly atmospheric score. Bloodlands is a series I would recommend that you watch, and I am hoping that a soundtrack album or at least a digital version of this score will soon be available on the usual platforms.

Her score for The Sister too is an affecting one, being wonderfully dark and sinister and let’s not forget she also scored the two hit series The Bodyguard and Collateral. And there is also the delightfully thematic music she penned for The Durrells, which is totally removed from her more dramatic material. There is also her collaboration with Martin Phipps on the Michael Caine movie Harry Brown a few years ago to consider.  

Barrett is obviously a talented composer and one who can tailor her musical skills to suit all genres of film and TV. Born in London in 1976, the composer became interested in film and television music when she was young, she recalls that it was watching re-runs of American made TV shows during the 1980’s that she began to take notice of the music for these series and regards the score for the 1978 show The Incredible Hulk and Queen’s music for the movie Flash Gordon has her main inspiration for following a career in music. As a teenager she began to take classical pieces and improvise arranging and altering these on piano, with her piano teacher Nigel Crouch.  She continued piano lessons and eventually went on to study music at Cambridge University. She then went to The Royal Academy of Music where she studied composition. Her first experiences of writing for TV came when she composed music for advertisements, and then began to work on documentaries for the Independent Television network, gradually gaining more and more experience.

When she left I.T.V. Barrett continued to work freelance at Strong room Studios which is where her days of collaborating with her mentor Martin Phipps commenced. It was also whilst here that she furthered her career by making numerous contacts within the industry. This eventually led to her being commissioned to score her first drama which was in 2007. It was in this year that she worked on three projects for TV which were True Dare Kiss, Endgame, and The Take.

Two years later she scored three more TV projects and worked with Martin Phipps on Harry Brown. In 2010 Barrett scored the series Bouquet of Barbed Wire for director Andy Pierce and the featurefilm Toast for director S.J. Clarkson whom she has collaborated five times during her career thus far, these collaborations being, Collateral, Love Nina, Whitechapel, Hunted, and the already mentioned Toast.

In 2017 she was nominated for a primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a series, which was for Victoria. Sanditon was also another triumph for the composer, with many having the opinion that her music was far better than the series it was written for. Ruth Barrett is a unique talent in the world of film and TV music, and I know we will be hearing so much more from her in the not too distant future





Right from episode one of VICTORIA which was screened last year (2016) on the ITV network in the UK, I was immediately struck by the musical score. At first I was not aware of the whom the composer was, but was not surprised the music was so good after I saw the credits for Ruth Barret and Martin Phipps, both have written some wonderful music both for TV and movies and have also diversified and reached out into other musical genres. I first became aware of Martin Phipps via his score for the movie BRIGHTON ROCK and it was earlier in 2016 that we experienced his music on the little screen for the BBC production of WAR AND PEACE. He has also provided the music for projects such as PEAKY BLINDERS, WALLANDER, WOMAN IN GOLD and worked with Ruth Barrett on a handful of assignments. Ruth Barrett too has been involved with several successful movies and TV programmes, HARRY BROWN, for example the 2009 Michael Caine movie on which she collaborated with Martin Phipps and the WHITECHAPEL series as well as more recently the delightful soundtrack to THE DURRELS. VICTORIA being a historical biopic about one of England’s most well-known Monarchs obviously called for music that was regal, epic and had to it special a appeal within its make-up. Phipps and Barrett I am glad to say succeeded in creating a score that superbly supported and underlined all the scenarios that unfolded in the first series and I am hopeful that the composers will return for the second series when it hits our screens later this year. I must admit that I wrote to Ruth Barrett enquiring if there would be a soundtrack release, to which she replied “hopefully” well it’s taken a while but it is now available as a digital release only, whether there are plans to release a compact disc or even a vinyl edition I am not sure, but the digital release age is upon us I suppose even though we are told that the old vinyl record is making a comeback, VICTORIA is available on Amazon, I Tunes and Spotify, and I for one do not mind putting up with listening to the score this way, it is a work that is imposing and certainly haunting thanks mainly to the composers use of the excellent voices that are THE MEDIAEVAL BAEBES, which are an all-Female musical ensemble which were formed in 1990 by Dorothy Carter and Katherine Blake. The sound achieved by this talented group is stunning and well suited to the drama of VICTORIA. The soundtrack opens with VICTORIA-THE SUITE, which is a full working of the central theme for the series that features he Mediaeval Baebes who are supported by strings, horns and other brass which are present but never in any way overpower the beautiful vocals which become increasingly prominent as the composition progresses.




Track number two, THE KING IS DEAD is a more urgent and slightly more dramatic sounding piece which relies upon the use of driving strings that receive support and punctuation from the brass section, the strings creating a sense of urgency as they increase in volume but then fade away as swiftly they manifested themselves bringing the cue to its conclusion. Track three, CORONATION, is reversed as it begins slowly with a melancholy sounding piano solo, that performs a variation of the scores central theme, this lilting, and emotive opening ushers in a combination of voices and a mournful sounding cello that is itself accompanied by the string section and given support from organ as the wonderful voices of THE MEDIAEVEL BAEBES begin to add their weight to the proceedings. Track number four, LORD M. is a quieter and more subdued sounding piece, solo piano again which builds by way of a four-note motif that is gradually underlined by strings and then is joined by cello and as the composition builds in momentum more strings are added and timpani which creates an atmosphere that is slightly apprehensive. One of the many highlights of the score is track number five, LOCOMOTIVES, strings, woodwind, voices, and brass all combine to create a delightfully exhilarating and enjoyable piece. The score for VICTORIA is a delight to listen to it is a soundtrack that is filled with beautiful melodies, marvellous and unique sounding vocalising and it will be one that you will return to many times. Recommended.





Track listing
1 Victoria The Suite – Martin Phipps, Benji Merrison & Mediaeval Baebes
2 The King Is Dead – Martin Phipps
3 Coronation – Martin Phipps & Mediaeval Baebes
4 Lord M – Martin Phipps
5 Locomotives – Ruth Barrett
6 Mirrors – Martin Phipps
7 The Wedding – Martin Phipps, Ruth Barrett & Mediaeval Baebes
8 The Royal Birth – Ruth Barrett
9 Privy Council – Martin Phipps
10 A Royal Affair – Ruth Barrett
11 Victoria Titles Martin Phipps and The Mediaeval Baebes.