John Barry RIP
I'm sure you've already heard the sad news that Oscar-winning English composer John Barry has died in New York of a heart attack, aged 77. The Internet is already awash with obituaries (click the title link for the BBC's). Rather than repeat what others are writing, I thought I'd mention two of his most unusual and atmospheric scores: The Ipcress File (1965) and The Quiller Memorandum (1966). I still own the vinyl LPs of these scores. Wanting to create a different sound to his James Bond scores, Barry chose a cimbalom, a stringed instrument traditionally played by Hungarian Jews and gypsies. This instrument is especially apposite in The Quiller Memorandum, which is about a neo-Nazi resurgence in Germany. The haunting Wednesday's Child is the main theme, given lyrics by Mack David based on the nursery rhyme and released as a popular song by Matt Monroe (CLICK for YouTube video).