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John Barry's celebrates his 70th birthday in style

"Lion" Roars in New York

Barry & Prokofiev in Carnegie Hall
John Barry's celebrates his 70th birthday in style

By Michael Storck

John Barry made his first appearance on the stage of Carnegie Hall last night (5/25) as a 70-piece orchestra and world-reknown chorale gave his Oscar-winning 1968 score to THE LION IN WINTER it's New York premiere performance.

The first half of a concert by The Collegiate Chorale (founded by Robert Shaw in 1941) and the Orchestra of St. Luke's was devoted to a faithful re-creation of Barry's much-lauded score, a mixture of classical and modern influences from plainchant to Prokofiev. Actor Timothy Dalton, who made his film debut in THE LION IN WINTER, was on hand to introduce the evening, conducted by Robert Bass. In celebration of John Barry's seventieth birthday, the composer himself strode out to the podium for a rapturous standing ovation after the piece, which was presented accompanied by a specially created assembly of clips from the film while the orchestra and chorus performed most of the score's key sections admirably in synch, with a full and accurate re-creation of Barry's singular and unmistakable sound.

Program selections were: Main Title, Chinon/Eleanor's Arrival, Allons Gai Gai Gai, To the Chapel, How Beautiful You Make Me, Eya Eya Nova Gaudia, God Damn You, The Christmas Wine, To Rome, Media Vita in Morte Sumus, and We're Jungle Creatures.

That's the straight news; now for the gossip...

An hour before the concert, some Carnegie Hall dude whose name I didn't catch brought out John Barry (standing ovation) and Timothy Dalton for a casual Q&A. JB looked cheerful and healthy, if seventy (I hadn't seen him since six years ago at an NYC screening of MIDNIGHT COWBOY)...resplendent in a knockout suit & tie, hair trimmed very short, and seemingly as relaxed as I've ever seen him in front of a crowd. Unfortunately, the interviewer didn't know that Barry--a charming and amusing raconteur when dealing in personalities and anecdotes--hates talking about his "work process." So the first few questions about movie scoring elicited little more than rote replies, delivered in an unenthusiastic drone through that sometimes unintelligible basso Yorkshire gurgle. The New York crowd was entirely with him, however, and laughed appreciatively at JB's occasional mugging and one-liners. Once we got into the "movie stars are creeps," "Saltzman hated GOLDFINGER"-type anecdotes, the audience couldn't get enough and Barry seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself. When one admiring fan asked, in reference to the heart-rending sense of loss that informs SOMEWHERE IN TIME, "what was going on in your life at that time?" Barry shot back, "None of your business," which got a huge laugh and sustained applause.

In the break before the concert proper, I asked a very close contact if any of John's stuff was going to end up in THE INCREDIBLES and the answer, sadly, is no. I offered the speculation that JB is simply at a place where his tolerance for the kind of industry bullshit that's become SOP (endless revisions, micromanagement, no one person in charge) is at zero, and the contact agreed, "It' sub-zero tolerance. He's my favorite movie composer in the world, and it'll be a miracle if he ever scores another film."

After the intermission (or, for my Brit buds, the "interval"---that's "half-time," Terry), I discovered 9-year-old Jonpatrick sitting right behind me, along with a couple of cousins, and (I believe) Laurie's sister and her husband. The Barrys (up in a box) remained for the second half of the concert (Prokofiev's IVAN THE TERRIBLE score, accompanied by clips from the Eisenstein film).

As far as audience attendance was concerned, it seemed like a pretty full house to me, although one cannot see how many of the boxes/balconies are filled from down in the "prime parquet," where we were sitting. My most conservative estimate would be that Carnegie Hall was at least 3/4 full. And a more attentive and respectful audience I haven't seen in my last few years of theatre-going. You could hear a pin drop.

On the way out of the auditorium, I met LION IN WINTER director Anthony Harvey for the second time in twenty years, and... just on my way out the door, I swear, accidentally ran right into John and Laurie coming down the stairs. I never considered, even for a moment, trying to remind JB of our several previous meetings over the years (and that interview we never got round to doing, grrr), but since he was right there in my face, what the hell, I stuck out my hand and said, "Always great to see you, sir. I've been waiting thirty years to give you a standing ovation for that score, and all the others. Come back to this podium soon, and stay longer, will you?" He took my hand in both of his, smiled into my eyes, and said, "Maybe I will."

And that was the best news of the evening.

Oh, by the way, the performance of orchestra and chorus was quite wonderful... capturing the original sound so perfectly I found myself looking around trying to spot the synthesizer. The lead trumpet hit one or two minor melvins during the main title and the volume wasn't turned up to "eleven" as I'd have it on my stereo, but overall it was a superb performance.

Michael Storck

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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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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


James Bond Concert Spectacular at Buxton Opera House

Buxton Opera House
Water street,
Buxton, Derbyshire, sk17 6xn

Sun 12 Aug
7:30pm

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 has 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.


The Music of BondThe Music of Bond
Royal Albert Hall
Wednesday 19 September 2018
Starts: 7:30pm

Website

Presented by Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace). Over fifty years of timeless James Bond themes from all your favourite 007 films.

Hits from Goldfinger, Licence to Kill, Casino Royale, Skyfall, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, Spectre, From Russia with Love to name just a few, all sung by outstanding vocalists Alison Jiear and Matthew Ford.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Gareth Hudson Conductor
Alison Jiear Vocalist
Matthew Ford Vocalist


The Bridgewater Hall - Music of John Barry November 2018

The Music of John Barry

Saturday 10 November 7.30pm
The Bridgewater Hall
Lower Mosley Street
Manchester, M2 3WS

Website

Nicholas Dodd conductor
Andrew Collins presenter
Manchester Camerata

John Barry created some of the most memorable and recognisable film scores of the 20th century, such as Midnight Cowboy, Out of Africa, Dances with Wolves, Zulu and of course much of the music from the James Bond series; his versatility and originality were peerless. His death in 2011 deprived cinema of a true musical great. This concert pays tribute to his life and music with a carefully selected programme, conducted by Nicholas Dodd, who collaborated closely with the composer on his later films. Nicholas Dodd is regarded as one of the leading conductors and orchestrators of Hollywood film music and is a noted expert on, and performer of John Barry’s music. In fact, every James Bond movie from the last 10 years bears his signature.