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The Lion in Winter; Impeccable reading of classic score

Tuesday, 01 January 2002 14:24

James Southall

The Lion in Winter is a highly literate, intelligent movie set in France in 1138: starring Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn, it tells the story of how Eleanor, wife of King Henry II, seeks revenge on her husband as he releases her temporarily from prison in order to name his heir to the throne from his three sons; meanwhile, they are busy plotting against each other. John Barry was already well-known by the time, having scored many Bond movies and Born Free, but must still have seemed like a strange choice to score the movie: a highly classical and refined score was required for the movie, something Barry hadn't really written up to that point. He blew away any misconceptions with his brilliant work on the movie, and deservedly won an Oscar for his troubles.

The score features by far Barry's most extensive use of choral music set to lyrics: the opening choral theme is his most portentous, and the choral writing of other cues such as "Allons Gai Gai Gai", "Eya, eya, nova gaudia" and "Media vita in morte sumus" features much variety but a consistent beauty and relevant dramatic thrust. While not up front, the chorus is still usually heard behind the orchestra, and the dramatic piece "To Rome" is nothing short of stunning, becoming one of the most influential pieces Barry has written (though it is rarely acknowledged as such). In my opinion "We're All Jungle Creatures", the finale, is the ultimate piece of Barry film music, beyond comparison with anything else he has written: he wraps up the score with one last use of the heraldic fanfare from his main theme and throws the choir into the mix for an astonishing climax.

The score has been released twice on CD before, both by Varèse Sarabande in the early days of CDs and later by Sony Legacy in 1995. Sound quality was not the best and so Silva Screen decided to augment their growing Barry collection still further, with a re-recording of the entire score, featuring the few minutes of music from the movie that did not appear on the original release. (Most notable among the "new" music is "Fanfare for Philip / The Great Hall Feast" - certainly a welcome inclusion.) I'm pleased to say that both the City of Prague Philharmonic and Crouch End Festival Chorus have done themselves proud with a superb performance, marvellously captured in the detailed recording by engineers John Timperley and Mike Ross-Trevor. Film scores don't get much better than this, and re-recordings don't get any better than this.

Also featured on the album is a 15-minute suite from Mary, Queen of Scots , another period score by Barry. Sadly it has never been released on CD in any form and therefore it would have been nice to have had a lengthier reconstruction, but we should be grateful for what we are offered and this suite is a good representation of the score as a whole. Terry Walstrom's liner notes are a step above from the norm, and ultimately I can't recommend this album enough. A true classic.

James Southall

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PIA website

Have a look at our old "Play It Again" label website here.

Play It Again Records CD catalogue offered the discerning listener a wide choice of digitally re-mastered recordings from film and television, and rare collections of work from the likes of Don Black and Ron Grainer.

Contact the JB site

If you wish to send an email, for example with content for the website, please contact Geoff Leonard:

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Bristol, UK

Geoff (owner) and Ruud (webmaster) have been running the John Barry website since June 18, 2001.

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Plays 007 s

John Barry related Events or Concerts

Submit your Event or Concert, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We will not be responsible for any errors or inaccuracies.

A lot more James Bond concerts collected on the link below, I have put them all in this news item. So check it out from there!


The Best of John Barry: Bond and Beyond
Thursday 16 Nov 2017
Royal Festival Hall,
Address: Belvedere Road,
London, SE1 8XX

Nicholas Dodd conductor

Barry Goldfinger (1964)
Barry Main Theme, Zulu
Barry On her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) We Have All the Time in the World
Barry Somewhere in Time
Barry Moviola
Barry The Persuaders
Barry Mary, Queen of Scots
Barry Midnight Cowboy
Barry Suite, Dances with Wolves


Barry Born Free
Barry All Time High, Octopussy (1983)
Barry Theme, Out of Africa (1985)
Barry Body Heat
Barry Chaplin
Barry Space March (Capsule in Space), You Only Live Twice
Barry The Knack
Barry Suite, James Bond

Legendary Hollywood composer John Barry won five Oscars throughout a career creating some of the most memorable music in the history of cinema. Enjoy an evening of his greatest hits – Bond themes from Goldfinger to We Have All the Time in the World, music from Zulu, Midnight Cowboy, Dances with Wolves and more.

19 Nov 2017

   Canada   Thunder Bay Shaken Not Stirred – The Music of James Bond


James Bond Spectacular
December 1, 2017
Time: 19:30

Camberley Theatre,
Knoll Road,
Surrey, GU15 3SY,


The popular James Bond Concert Spectacular by Q The Music Show is coming to Camberley Theatre.

They will be bringing the fabulous and iconic music of James Bond to you in a stunning concert. 

This show has been a huge success all around the World with its energetic and exciting performance by some of the UK’s leading musicians.
Featuring all the songs from the 007 movies...


Wiener Konzerthaus
Lothringerstraße 20, 1030 WIEN
(that's Vienna!)

Samstag 2 Dezember 2017
19:30 Uhr
Großer Saal

Sonntag 3 Dezember 2017
19:30 Uhr
Großer Saal

Dieses Galakonzert lässt 53 Jahre Bond-Movies live und auf großer Kinoleinwand Revue passieren. Von John Barrys «Goldfinger», «Thunderball» und «Diamonds Are Forever» über «Licence To Kill», «A View To A Kill» und «Goldeneye» bis hin zu «Skyfall» und dem Song des bislang letzten Bond-Streifens, «Writings On The Wall». Spezielle Arrangements für großes Symphonieorchester garantieren neben den Star-Interpreten einen unvergesslichen Abend.

Am 2. und 3. Dezember 2017 werden die legendären Songs und Scores aus den Bond-Movies von den Star-Interpreten Maya Hakvoort, Nazide Aylin und Sandra Pires im Wiener Konzerthaus präsentiert. Dabei werden sie von einem großen Symphonieorchester, ergänzt durch Top-Instrumentalsolisten für den speziellen Bond-Sound, begleitet, während die berühmten Filmszenen auf eine Leinwand projiziert werden. Die Arrangements stammen vom musikalischen Leiter der Galakonzerte, Alex Johansson. Als besonderes Highlight wird Stargast Conchita ihre Lieblings-Bondsongs interpretieren.