Sunday, 23 March 2014

"Somewhere In Time - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" by JOHN BARRY (1994 Beat Goes On CD Remaster - Reissued In 2013) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...The Journey Back In Time...."

Jeannot Szwarc's "Somewhere In Time" has been both a filmic and musical cult since its release in 1980 - and a mere twenty seconds into the opening theme and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand why. The film is gushingly romantic in a way that might be called 'soppy' these days (starring Christopher Reeves, Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer) and John Barry's score is simply sublime - beautiful icing on an already very tasty cake.

Remastered by Beat Goes On from the original tapes and released July 1994 on BGOCD222 (use Barcode 5017261202222 in the Amazon Search Bar) - "Somewhere In Time - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" by JOHN BARRY has been reissued at last in September 2013 using the same version as before (31:53 minutes).

Disappointingly the gatefold slip of paper that is laughably referred to as 'restored original artwork' on the silver sticker that accompanies these reissues is 'technically' right. Front and back cover and that's it. But it offers up nothing new - and it's a shame that Beat Goes On (BGO) didn't take this reissue opportunity to spread the wings a bit and fit the insert out with some proper celebratory liner notes (especially given Christopher Reeves sad demise).

1. Somewhere In Time [Side 1]
2. The Old Woman
3. The Journey Back In Time
4. A Day Together
5. Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini [Side 2]
6. Is He The One
7. The Man Of My Dreams
8. Return To The Present
9. Theme From "Somewhere In Time"

Tracks 1 to 9 are the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to "Somewhere In Time" by JOHN BARRY - released October 1980 in the USA on MCA Records MCA-5154 and October 1986 (belatedly) in the UK on MCA Records MCF 3333. All music composed by JOHN BARRY except "Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini" by Rachmaninoff. Piano solo on "Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini" played by Chet Swiatkowski - Piano solo on "Theme From "Somewhere In Time"" played by Roger Williams.

What matters is the music and it sounds gorgeous and lush - quiet when it needs to be - full of presence and warmth too and not just ratcheted up for the sake of volume (probably done by the resident Audio Engineer Andrew Thompson although it doesn’t say so). With most soundtracks the 'theme' or 'refrain' is repeated in varying guises throughout - and it's no different here. But frankly the main "Somewhere In Time" theme is so incredibly haunting and poignant that any amount of variations is welcome news as far as I'm concerned.

A rather nice deviation is "Rhapsody On A Theme..." with a deft Piano Solo from Chet Swiatkowsky. And it all ends on Track 9 with a final performance of the 'theme' by piano soloist Roger Williams. The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to "Somewhere In Time" may be short for sure compared to today's 20 and 24-track releases (it only just nudges over 30-minutes) - but it is 'oh so sweet' and more measured for it.

I've been a lifelong Barry fan (and its not just because of the surname) and at one time had over 30 of his original soundtrack albums. But even by his lofty "Out Of Africa" and "Diamonds Are Forever" masterpiece standards - "Somewhere In Time" is exceptional in its entirety.

Get this solid gold star in your reasonably priced car as soon as possible. And it's a lifetime regret that I never saw the Maestro live (my brother did and talks about it today). Oh well - gotta settle for the next best thing...

PS: There is also an extended 19-track re-recording version of "Somewhere In Time" from 1998 done by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by John Debney (with John Barry's permission). Although it's not the original soundtrack per say - Varese Sarabande VSD-5911 (Barcode 030206591125) comes recommended by many fans and has beautiful 20-bit digital audio. If you want only the original music - there is also a further reissue of the original 9-track album in Japan-only on MCA Records. It's an Audiophile K2-HD Mastering CD version remastered in 2013 by Takeshi Hakamata from original US tapes (use Barcode 0602488963350 to locate a copy). 

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