Of all the sections I’ve done for Variety on composers over the years, this is one of which I’m most proud: I flew to New York to interview John Barry on the occasion of his 75th birthday in 2008. I had always loved his music and we had become friends over the years. This is the main story, an overview of his life and career with quotes from Roger Moore, Michael Caine and David Arnold; here is a look at his invention of the spy-music genre, featuring an especially articulate Arnold; here are quotes about 10 of his greatest scores; this is a piece featuring some of his collaborators, including Sydney Pollack, Don Black, Bryan Forbes, Anthony Harvey and Barbara Broccoli; and here is a final piece that looks at his theater and TV work.
I was happy to pen the notes for this great John Barry score for director Bryan Forbes’ delicate, melancholy tale of a lonely old woman (Dame Edith Evans) in modern-day England. I was less happy when the label asked me to suggest dialogue excerpts to add between the music tracks, which I refused to do (and desperately tried to talk them out of). They did so anyway, I never worked for them again, and they never even sent me a copy of the album. I am happy to recommend the Kritzerland edition of The Whisperers instead (it’s paired with another favorite of mine, Richard Rodney Bennett’s Equus). I like what I wrote for the Ryko version; I just don’t like their CD.