The Music of John Barry: The Definitive Collection

Performed by: The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and London Music Works

Distributed by: Silva Screen Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                The British composer John Barry Pendergast, OBE, known to all as John Barry, composed hundreds of musical scores for movies and television in a career that spanned over five decades.  The son of a classical pianist mother and film projectionist father, John Barry seemed destined for his chosen line of work.  He is known for his scores for eleven James Bond films and his Oscar winning compositions for Born Free, The Lion In Winter, Out Of Africa and Dances With Wolves. Barry also created musical scores for such notable films as Midnight Cowboy, Zulu, Jagged Edge, Playing By Heart, The Cotton Club, King Kong (1976), Cry, The Beloved Country and more.

                In June 2014, Silva Screen Records released The Music of John Barry: The Definitive Collection, a six CD set featuring 119 tracks from 68 film and television productions from 1959 to his last musical score, Enigma, in 2001.  The CD set contains over seven hours of Barry's music performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and London Music Works.  I received a thirteen track sample of the music found in the set - three tracks from the first CD and two tracks from each additional CD.

                Quite honestly, I wonder what Silva Screen was thinking in compiling this sample for folks to review.  The sample does not even contain some of his most recognizable works, with the exception of the James Bond Theme.  All of the really good tracks (Born Free, Midnight Cowboy, Diamonds Are Forever and more) are not included in this preview of the set.  The music that is included from Juke Box Jury, The Lion in the Winter, The Appointment, Walkabout, Mercury Rising, etc. is some of Barry's least exciting works and not the best way for a record company to promote an album set that ranges between $43.00US (CD) and $60.00 (mp3).

                I was bored to tears by the time I listened to the preview excerpt of The Music of John Barry: The Definitive Collection and I'm not quite sure I could actually recommend this to anyone but a sincere John Barry fan. 


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