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High Road to China (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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Album Review

High Road to China is representative of the lushly dramatic work that defines John Barry's output from the early '80s — one might even say it's typical to a fault. The sweeping emotional drama that galvanizes scores like Out of Africa and Frances returns here, but it seems as if Barry is simply going through the motions, creating a series of slow, densely textured themes that don't quite fit with the film's Raiders of the Lost Ark-inspired mish-mash of adventure, comedy, and romance. Soundtrack Collector's 1998 reissue expands the original release via ten unreleased source cues that offer the variety that the finished score does not — period themes like the Middle Eastern-inspired "Waziri," the Dixieland-influenced "Swinging at the Riverside," and the lovely harpsichord piece "Allemande from the Bach French Suite #5 in G Major" flesh out the kind of rounded, multi-dimensional work one hopes to hear from a composer of such consummate skill.

Biography

Born: 03 November 1933 in York, England

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

John Barry was one of the best-known composers of soundtrack music of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, but his career carried him through a multitude of music genres and styles. He was best-known in film in connection with his work on the James Bond pictures, but Barry was also the holder of five Academy Awards, none of them for the Bond movies. Born Free (for which he won Oscars for Best Score and Best Song), The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa, and Dances with Wolves are hardly unknown films...
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