Review: RPO plays John Barry at Portsmouth Guildhall

Vocalists Alison Jiear and Lance Ellington
Vocalists Alison Jiear and Lance Ellington

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AN evening of John Barry movie scores left a delighted audience both shaken and stirred.

The soundtrack maestro’s name became synonymous with Bond - James Bond - in the 1960s, and this concert showcased the widescreen breadth of his output through to the 1990s to dramatic effect.

From the strident urgency of Zulu, through the intrigue of The Quiller Memorandum and a string of 007 themes, to the sweeping majesty of themes such as Out of Africa, Barry’s is the unmistakeable sound of the silver screen.

And the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,under the expert guidance of conductor Nic Raine, entranced and engrossed in equal measure, bringing out the beauty of much of Barry’s music.

Just watching the drama of the music unfold as it was played was totally absorbing, and the absense of filmic distractions reminded us of what a masterful composer and arranger Barry was.

The move of the melody from horns to strings then woodwind in Midnight Cowboy was a revelation. Other scores like Chaplin and Born Free revealed new depths.

And what fantastic songs Barry wrote. Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, and others, marvellously interpreted by vocalists Alison Jiear, and Lance Ellington, from Strictly Come Dancing.

With music this wonderful, who needs movies?

ALAN COOPER