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