Quartet Records is proud to present a brand-new recording conducted by Fernando Velázquez of another film score that is either lost or inaccessible – in this case no fewer than five films scores by John Barry: a suspense classic from the ’60s, a film adaptation of a classic play, and three television movies starring Katharine Hepburn.
John Barry would have turned 90 on November 3, 2023. The unforgettable music of this five-time Oscar winner continues to be celebrated around the world, and indeed the impact of his innovative scores for dozens of movies from the 1960s through the ’90s continues to reverberate to this day.
Disc 1 includes the complete score of SÉANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON (1964), a major work previously missing from the composer’s discography. It was one of his masterpieces for Bryan Forbes that, unfortunately, remained unreleased due to the absence of master tapes. Orchestrated for a small ensemble featuring vibrant percussion and woodwinds, it’s a mysterious, suggestive, unsettling score, reaching its culmination in the long rescue sequence.
As a bonus, we have included another rarity that deserves to be rescued. A DOLL’S HOUSE (1973) was one of Barry’s briefest scores: a single, sad melody for celeste, harp, harpsichord and piano, repeated three times during the film’s length.
Disc 2 is devoted to three lovely telefilms: a trilogy of period play adaptations starring Katharine Hepburn. LOVE AMONG THE RUINS and THE CORN IS GREEN, both directed by George Cukor in 1975 and 1979, respectively, contain memorable main and love themes, brilliantly orchestrated. The two scores are stylistically similar, featuring strings, woodwinds, piano and harpsichord. THE GLASS MENAGERIE, adapted from Tennessee Williams’ famous play and directed by Anthony Harvey (with whom Barry had previously worked on THE LION IN WINTER) was written for solo piano, performed by the composer himself, who always claimed to be a not-very-good pianist, but it was precisely this innocence and imprecision that Harvey was looking for. For our recording, celebrated pianist Silvia Mkrtchian has approximated the spirit of the original Barry recording.
If there is one thing that the five scores presented here have in common, it’s John Barry’s great ability to work with small, almost chamber-like ensembles, seeking the specific sound of each story without being an intrusive voice, always with a British personality of reserve and deftness.
Leigh Phillips has painstakingly reconstructed and orchestrated all five scores. They are performed by the prestigious Orquesta de Córdoba conducted by Fernando Velázquez. Recorded and mixed by Marc Blanes, the audio has been meticulously mastered by Chris Malone in the spirit of Barry’s original recordings. Elegant design by Nacho B. Govantes with cover art designed by Jim Titus graces a 28-page booklet with an in-depth essay by film music journalist and writer (and major Barry connoisseur) Jon Burlingame.