John Barry

High Road to China

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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. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi