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Robin and Marian - review by James Southall

Tuesday, 01 January 2002 14:32

Deeply personal account of Robin Hood legend Robin Hood has appeared in cinemas many times: his most prominent appearances were in cinema's earlier days, when Erich Wolfgang Korngold applied his unmistakable style to Errol Flynn's swashbuckling antics; and then in more modern times, when Michael Kamen's thematically-strong but obviously-rushed action score accompanied Kevin Costner, supping with his father in 'Notting-HAM'. In the mid-70s, an oft-overlooked (not, it has to be said, without reason) take on the Robin Hood legend was released. Directed by Richard Lester and starring the dream partnership of Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn, this time the film tried to be more serious and was set in the latter years of Robin Hood and Maid Marian.

Providing the score was John Barry. The politics that preceded that decision still rankle the parties involved today: director Lester hired French composer Michel Legrand to write the score for his movie but, after it was recorded, the movie's producer decided it wasn't commercial enough so turned instead to Barry, who had written music for Lester in the past but this time was very much hired against his will. To this day Lester mentions how much he hates Barry's score; he must be the only person who does. Barry is also never slow to aim a quick aside at Lester.

It hardly needs me to say that Barry emphasises the romantic aspects of the story above any other, but what may surprise listeners is just how incredibly dark much of the score is. The characters are in turmoil and Barry, always one to delve into the emotions of the characters in any movie he is scoring, represents this by his sometimes-brooding music. There is also a share of action music (more than would be expected in a Barry score) that is precisely written and orchestrated and very exciting.

Despite only having two weeks in which to write his score, the producer still found time to dislike certain aspects of Barry's music and tv composer Richard Shores was drafted in to write some generic action music for a couple of scenes. There is no coherent explanation for why this could have been. (One Shores cue appears on this recording and sounds very out-of-place - I wish it had been excluded.)

The cornerstone of Barry's score is his love theme, considered by his fans to be among his finest. It appears in a few variations, most poignantly in the very last cue on the album. It really is very beautiful, more restrained than similar pieces penned by the composers in more recent years, and arguably all the better for it. This recording is new, with the City of Prague Philharmonic conducted as ever by Nic Raine. The recording is tight and the performance precise: perfect for this score. Jon Burlingame's liner notes are brilliant (he's the best in the business) and Robin and Marian is another essential entry in Silva's burgeoning Barry collection, especially given that the score has never been available in any format before.

James Southall

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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.

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

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

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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.