Out of Africa (John Barry)
One of the dominant films of 1985, Sidney Pollack’s Out of Africa features the story of real-life Danish baroness Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep), whose relationship with Denys Hatton (Robert Redford) formed the basis for Blixen’s memoir, which she wrote under the pen name of Isak Dinesen. The film won seven Academy Awards out of eleven nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, and the fourth of composer John Barry’s five wins.
Many listeners will only recall the grand main title theme, and understandably so, for it is a romantic classic and one of the most popular and recorded pieces in film music history. That’s no reason to overlook the other wonderful themes that Barry created for the score though. The theme for Streep’s character is a tender woodwind piece which is thoroughly integrated into the score. Though Barry did write a theme for Redford’s character (heard in “Have You Got a Story For Me”, the character is mainly accompanied in the film by performances of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, a performance of which is included on the album. Since on album, these themes run pretty much back to back, it effortlessly makes a consistent and enjoyable listening experience from start to finish. The only departure from that style is the African source music that is heard in “Siyawe” (material that Pollack had initially wanted the entire score to be based around).
There are three albums of the score available, two of which contain the original recordings, and one which was released by Varese Sarabande featuring a re-recording of the score performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under the baton of Joel McNeely (who is responsible for many other fine recordings). For improved sound quality, the re-recording is recommended, but make no mistake, it’s easily enjoyable on any of its albums. This is one of Barry’s finest works, and though it may still stand a step behind his magnum opus, Dances with Wolves, there can be no denying it of the masterpiece status.
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1. Main Title (I Had a Farm in Africa) (3:14)
2. I’m Better at Hello (Karen’s Theme I) (1:18)
3. Have You Got a Story For Me (1:14)
4. Concerto For Clarinet and Orchestra in A (K. 622)* (2:49)
5. Safari (2:44)
6. Karen’s Journey/Siyawe** (4:50)
7. Flying Over Africa (3:25)
8. I Had a Compass From Denys (Karen’s Theme II) (2:31)
9. Alone in the Farm (1:56)
10. Let the Rest of the World Go By*** (3:17)
11. If I Know a Song For Africa (Karen’s Theme III) (2:12)
12. End Title (You Are Karen) (4:01)
* Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
** African Traditional
*** composed by Ernest R.Ball and J. Keirn Brennan
Music Composed, Conducted & Produced by John Barry
Orchestrations by Albert Woodbury
The score won an Academy Award and Golden Globe, and was nominated for a BAFTA.
The insert contains no additional information
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