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In Memoriam John Barry

Ron Curry, MBE
February 3, 2011

I am glad to have this opportunity to express my great admiration and respect for John Barry's music scores.

I first met Mr Barry at C T S Studios, Bayswater, London in December 1971 when he was scoring Sir Carol Reed's "Follow Me". To my mind there were two John Barrys, the Composer and the Conductor, each culminating in musical style. The work starting from subject matter, a film in rough cut after plotting musical cues with the then director and editor, the weeks and sometimes months of isolation when composing for a project, pulling the elements together however diverse, following his instincts being stylistic as only he could do it to "get a fix" from the blank manuscript paper. The work structured with musical intentions, the character of the writing of the music trenchancy and direction of the scoring and cross referencing, building layer upon layer of musical textures creating complex sounds all starting as dots on paper.

As if game-like, notation written with the help of a metronome and a stopwatch, musical colours exchanged from one instrument to another to be given a new life as it fades to be picked up by another musical bridge, to grow and then fade in spacious lyricism using his musicianship and interpretative imagination to bring his written "cues" to fit the confines of time restrictions.

Writing from one chord to another almost key changing. The melody staying in the logical sense but changes are happening like undercurrents taking the music into another mode his perfection of attach and clarity of harmonies and tone.

His feelings and moods, the theme and variations in his music are written structurally for film sequences, a score full of thematic motifs which can still retain its value as music when presented as a separate form. Divorced from the film.

His impact and depth of emotion with feeling not sentimentality for both orchestra and voices, for a non film work (The Beyondness of Things) using his own random thoughts for the function of the music.

Centenial of British Film Commerative copy plaque being presented by Ron Curry to John Barry, Royal Albert Hall, Saturday 18th April, 1998.To enrich the music was John Barry the Conductor. Mr. Barry always conducted his own work. Watching Mr Barry conduct in recording sessions, his body swaying, his baton jabbing and coaxing, this was the fun of the game for him. To finally stand in a Studio and conduct his finished score with the detail and subtleties that only he could give his music.

Thank you for the music John.

© Ron Curry MBE

Photo attachment: Centenial of British Film Commerative copy plaque being presented by Ron Curry to John Barry, Royal Albert Hall, Saturday 18th April, 1998.

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Windmill Publications

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Specialising in book publications and CD releases about John Barry and our book "Hit ans Miss: The Story of The John Barry Seven.

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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Location
Bristol, UK

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

This website is not endorsed by the composer's family.
Use of copyrighted materials and logos are for promotional purposes only.

All files on this website are for personal use only and cannot be bought or sold.

 

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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


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.