[Movies] A Tribute to John Barry

John Barry (picture from Wikimedia Commons)

John Barry (picture from Wikimedia Commons)

The worlds of film and music were left slightly poorer today by the passing of John Barry. The 77 year-old British composer passed away this weekend, leaving behind a body of work that earned him five Academy Awards and a special place in the hearts of generations of cinema-goers. His work was never less than magnificent, but for those of you new to John Barry’s astounding portfolio, here’s a quick guide to my five personal favourites.

Dances With Wolves
The high point of Barry’s later career, with a military style percussion twinning with a soulful brass section that evokes the lost beauty of the untamed West.

Out Of Africa
A masterpiece of rich strings and soaring brass. Tender, romantic and tragic at the same time. Classic Barry, and a winner on Oscar night.

Octopussy
Not the greatest Bond film ever made, but one of my favourite’s musically. The main motif echoes the title theme, Rita Coolidge’s magnificent All Time High.

You Only Live Twice
A beautiful combination of a soaring romantic theme, and the ominous Space March, Bond seldom sounded better.

Midnight Cowboy
Described by critics as “bleakly cheerful”, this beautiful score is simultaneously forlorn and optimistic, the perfect accompaniment to John Schelsinger’s 1969 masterpiece.

And now, hear a little of what those soundtracks sound like in this mix (with respect to various copyright holders):

John Barry Mix by tgigreeny

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