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Brilliant romantic feast from Barry
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2009 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.; review copyright (c) 2009 James Southall.
When it comes to writing ravishing romantic film scores, very few composers can hold a candle to John Barry. Perhaps the late, great Georges Delerue; surely, nobody else. In 1984 he scored Until September - director Richard Marquand's rather surprising follow-up to Return of the Jedi! Marquand only directed six films but managed to work with Miklos Rozsa, John Williams and John Barry (the latter, three times - after this they collaborated on Jagged Edge and Hearts of Fire) - not bad going!
Until September is about an American woman who unexpectedly stops over in Paris and falls in love with a Frenchman. Described as a "romantic dramedy", the film is not very well-known, but who cares - the music is spectacular. In all of Barry's great romantic scores, few have captured so purely the essence of falling in love. The main theme - with a catchy introductory hook and then a stunning melody, heard on strings and horns in its first presentation - is one of his very best. This is a fairly short score and that main theme very much dominates - every time it makes an appearance is a real treat. Later on in the score, it is heard played by solo tenor sax; in the end titles, by piano. It appears in enough different guises - and is so gorgeous - that it never outstays its welcome.
It's not just that theme though. In the second track, Barry introduces a harmonica theme; "Candle Light" presents a soft, wafer-thin theme for flute which is almost as good as the score's main theme; "The Morning After", another gorgeous harmonica theme (Barry has used the instrument a surprising number of times in his music, almost always to wonderful effect). Later, the score becomes a little darker - "Memories" is bittersweet, retaining an air of beauty but with a distinctly darker side too, at least in its opening part; "One More Time" seems the tenor sax used to add a degree of intrigue and mystery - with the romance clearly not progressing as it might. Then an electric guitar enters to add another layer of mystery (play the track and you'll hear what I mean, if you're wondering why an electric guitar would add a layer of mystery). The mood changes again in "Seine", a flugelhorn solo bringing a warm glow of romance back to proceedings. Then, there's time for one more great new tune in the summery, delightful "Not Again!" before the ravishing "He Catches Her" and the end title.
This is uncomplicated music, beautifully-done. It was previously released by Silva Screen (in a bizarre pairing with Barry's Star Crash); Intrada's new edition adds a couple of minutes of extra music, but more importantly the sound quality is almost incomparably better. If you can sit and listen to this sumptuous feast of a score and not come away with a smile on your face and thoughts of romance - well, you're a harder man than I.