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albums08

Robin and Marion (1976)

Tuesday, 01 January 2002 14:33

Robin and Marion (1976) is one of three simultaneously issued re- recordings of scores by John Barry on the Silva Screen label, the other two being The Lion in Winter (1968) and The Last Valley (1970). As the title suggests, the film tells the love story of Robin Hood and Maid Marion, but is a sequel of kinds, recounting events twenty years after the famous tales. It is a romantic, melancholy tale, and despite starring Sean Connery, Audry Hepburn, Richard Harris and Robert Shaw, failed to find an audience. There is a direct link to The Lion in Winter, the best of the three scores re-recorded by Silva, and indeed, the finest score Barry has ever composed, in that both films were written by James Goldman. Barry's music, while highly effective with the film itself, is not as effective an experience in isolation as the score for the earlier picture. The problem may be that it was a replacement, written in three weeks, when the original score by Michel Legrand was rejected by producer Ray Stark. Barry's score itself was partly reworked, with the American composer Richard Shores re-scoring some of the action music and reorchestrating Barry's 'riding motif'. This new album includes both Shores' rearrangements and Barry's original music in two versions of 'The Ride to Sherwood/The Ride to Nottingham'. The album also includes the Barry cues 'Over the Wall/Escape', replaced in the film by 'Trapped,' the one original cue written by Shore. It is obvious to anyone that Barry's work is superior, having a greater artfulness and subtlety. Inevitably Barry's famed romantic strings are much in evidence, though the melodic heart of the score is most memorably carried on a selection of wind instruments, flute, oboe, bassoon. The action cues are dominated by simple drumming, carrying a fatalistic portent and dramatic urgency. The central love theme has a beautiful poignancy yet is somehow not as memorable as the composer's very finest romantic melodies. It may be that the very obscurity of this score (there has never been an official soundtrack release) has elevated it in the minds of those who have not seen the film for a long time, so that as a self-contained album it somehow fails to inspire. Well crafted certainly, but not essential Barry. The performances are good, though the digital sound is so perfect it lacks a little character, missing that distinctive 1970's sound which made such Barry soundtrack albums as King Kong (1976) such a pleasure.

Gary S. Dalkin

Mark Hockley adds:

- After a score written by Michel Legrand was rejected by the film's producers, Oscar winning composer John Barry was brought in to save the day. Of course, without having the opportunity to listen to Legrand's original music, it's impossible to say whether Barry's contribution was an improvement. But whatever the case, to be frank this is not one of his more notable compositions, allowing for the fact that the music is never anything less than agreeable. Although the actual 'Main Title' is surprisingly dissonant and atmospheric, the true central theme is first introduced on 'The Ride to Sherwood/The Ride to Nottingham (Film Version)', a very typical Barry piece of melodic, lyrical romanticism, here incorporating a jaunty rhythm with plenty of percussive energy. However, this version was rearranged by Richard Shores in a higher key than Barry intended (at the request of those demanding producers), making it both a good deal livelier and lighter than the original (a version of which is also included on the disk). Certainly the original take is more sedate, but for me it works far better in the quieter moments, the orchestration more emotive and affecting. Setting aside this artistic discrepancy, the rest of the work is entirely dominated by this key theme, although more often than not it appears in more genteel romantic form ('First Love Theme', 'Second Love Theme' etc.) and these incarnations are very much in the composer's Somewhere in Time style, although unquestionably that wonderful theme was vastly superior. Even so, it's all still quite likeable in a refined and sweet-natured way. In other places we encounter this theme in more subtle variations, as with the pastoral 'Dawn in Sherwood', while what remains elsewhere only amounts to a few brassy, reasonably suspenseful pieces such as 'In the Church/This Way' and 'In Position/Preparation For Battle' and although these are effective enough they never really rise above being merely satisfactory. On the bonus side the sleeve notes are quite informative, although there is one amusing gaff when the credits proclaim that Will Scarlet was played by none other than Will Scarlett! A case of real typecasting it would seem (actually the role was performed by Denholm Elliott). Indeed, it's worth noting that this film featured some truly outstanding actors (Sean Connery, Nicol Williamson, Robert Shaw, Richard Harris and Ian Holm). The problem with this score and it applies to so many others, is its over reliance on a single motif. I've said it before and will no doubt say it on a regular basis in the future, but after a while even the most attractive theme can lose its appeal. The music ultimately lacks the depth and overall emotional texture that gives so much of Barry's best work real resonance. All the same, as with most of the output from this particular composer, there are always pleasing moments and it makes for a solidly enjoyable listening experience. Just don't expect this to figure near the top of your list of John Barry favourites.

Mark Hockley

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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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John Barry related Events or Concerts


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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!

http://www.moviesinconcert.nl/index.php?page=concertlist


  30 Jun 2017

   United Kingdom   Sheffield James Bond: The Music of 007

Sheffield City Hall
Irwin Mitchell Oval Hall
James Bond: The Music of 007

from £22.50

Booking Fees May Apply
Friday, 30 Jun 2017
Start Time: 19:30
Doors Open: 19:00

Website

The music that capture a world of pulse-pumping action, glamorous femmes fatales, villainous arch enemies and, of course, unforgettable tunes. With roaring brass, lush orchestrations and sensuous songs, these movies have produced hit after hit all over the world. The list of credits includes the thrumming James Bond theme itself, 'Diamonds are Forever', 'Moonraker', 'Thunderball', 'From Russia with Love', 'Goldfinger', 'For Your Eyes Only', 'Skyfall' and many more.

Smooth as a vodka martini, elegant as a tuxedo and cool as a cucumber sandwich, Stephen Bell, the Hallé's suave, sophisticated maestro leads the world-renowned Hallé Orchestra as they celebrate the ultimate British hero – James Bond. Immerse yourself in the spine-tingling sounds that gave musical voice to the films in catchy title sequences and haunting songs performed here by star vocalists Alison Jiear and Matthew Ford.

An evening packed with some of cinema's most iconic themes, come dressed as your favourite Bond character, knock back a Vodka Martini and be prepared to be shaken and stirred!

Tickets for The Music of James Bond with The Hallé' (subject to booking fees) at Sheffield City Hall are available online at www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk through the ticket hotline on 0114 2 789 789 and in person at the Sheffield City Hall Box Office.


James Bond Spectacular
August 18, 2017
Time: 19:30

The Harlington Theatre
236 Fleet Road
Fleet
Hants
GU51 4BY

Website

Back by popular demand, popular Q The Music Show is coming back to The Harlington, Fleet bringing their fabulous and iconic music of James Bond to you in a stunning concert. This show has been a huge success at other theatres with its energetic and exciting performance by some of the UK’s leading musicians.

Featuring all the songs from the 007 movies, you can hear the greats like Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Skyfall, Thunderball, Live And Let Die, Goldeneye and Licence To Kill amongst all the others. With top musicians, dancers, and an informative and highly amusing compere, this show as everything you could want for a fabulous night out – and one that you will be talking about for years to come.

Formed in 2004, Q The Music Show have established a worldwide reputation for their authentic covers, orchestral sound and fabulous hair-raising vocalists. The show has been popular abroad at events in Monte Carlo, Germany, Italy, Guernsey, Prague and many others.

Don’t miss this superb evening as…Nobody Does It Better!


*

James Bond Spectacular
August 20, 2017
Time: 19:30

Buxton Opera House,
Water Street
Buxton
Derbyshire SK17 6XN

Website

The popular Q The Music Show brings its James Bond Concert Spectacular to Buxton Opera House. The 13-piece band 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, you can hear the greats like Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Skyfall, Thunderball, Live And Let Die, Goldeneye and Licence To Kill amongst all the others. With top musicians and an informative and highly amusing compere, this show as everything you could want for a fabulous night out – and one that you will be talking about for years to come.

Formed in 2004, Q The Music Show have established a worldwide reputation for their authentic covers, orchestral sound and fabulous hair-raising vocalists. The show has been popular abroad at events in Monte Carlo, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Guernsey, Prague and many others.


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,
Camberley,
Surrey, GU15 3SY,
GB

Website

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...