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ACROSS THE SEA OF TIME
Rich, melodic IMAX score makes you wonder why they don't use proper composers more often
Across the Sea of Time, in case you don't know, is an IMAX-3D film about New York, and how it's changed over the years. In other words, it's just basically a visual-feast, more a documentary than a narrative. A perfect opportunity, then, for the composer to showcase his talents. But the music that John Barry has composed for this film must have surpassed even the wildest dreams of the producers.
The main theme, introduced in the first track and reprised with slight alterations three or four times, is one of the lush themes for which Barry has become particularly renowned in the 1990s. It opens with a six-note solo flute motif that is later developed for the full orchestra. There are several other themes throughout the score, most notably a grand, majestic orchestral tour-de-force first heard in the aptly-titled "Never Have I Felt So Free".
"The Subway Ride" is a loud, rhythmic action cue that builds on a "people-moving" motif first expressed in "The Automobile, the Telephone, the Skyscraper", and is just perfect for the scene. "Times Square and Broadway" is a piece of low-key blues, centred around one of the secondary themes of the score.
The finest cue is "Flight Over New York". John Barry composed one of his best-ever themes for The Prince of Tides, but then had a falling out with director Barbra Streisand and so it was never used. He later turned it into the title track of his first Moviola compilation, but it was too good not to be used in a film, and so it turns up here, after a brief introduction, and in a slightly new, even grander, arrangement. The trouble is that Shawn Murphy's recording does it no favours: the brass counterpoint to the glorious crescendos is virtually inaudible, and this gives the impression that the orchestra is a lot smaller than it actually is. But that is a minor quibble.
Across the Sea of Time is just perfect to listen to; beautiful themes, and every single piece is a musical entity into itself. Barry is unquestionably the finest melodist working in film at the moment, and this score will surely appeal to any who like good, old-fashioned, emotion-filled romantic music.
Rating **** 1/2
Total Time 42:53
Epic Soundtrax EK 67355
Artwork copyright (c) 1995 Sony Music Entertainment, London, review copyright (c) 1999 James Southall