Varese Sarabande (302 066 084 2 / VSD-6084)
Release Date: April 4, 2000
Conducted by Frederic Talgorn
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra
|1.||Main Title - Born Free||2:52|
|4.||Elsa At Play||5:29|
|6.||The Death of Pati||3:40|
|7.||Killing At Kiunga||2:34|
|8.||Waiting For Joy||2:16|
|9.||Holiday With Elsa||4:04|
|11.||The New Reserve||3:41|
|15.||Fight Of The Lioness||2:50|
|16.||Wild And Free||1:42|
|17.||Reunion - Born Free||6:20|
|Total Album Time:||52:44|
|by David A. Koran
on May 11th, 2000
I've had the opportunity to listen to original soundtrack recording, which has since been long out of print, and I think that Varese's re-recording is okay. It has a much better sound than the original, which can be attributed to the newer recording technologies. Overall, Talgorn has stayed true to the pacing and sound of the original, enough so that you could consider this a fitting replacement for the out-of-print version. The themes, like on the original, are quite repetitive after a while. It's a nice theme, but how many times can you rearrange it and still make it sound fresh. The main problem I had getting through the album (both versions) was that it was boring. Granted this is one of the first times were Barry used some of his musical thematic conventions that would later appear in his work on Out Of Africa, Dances With Wolves, and a slurry of James Bond films. Barry's brass arrangements are the prototypes to many of his mid-series James Bond scores and his take on strings and percussion reminds me of the "landscaping" cues from Dances With Wolves.
On the original soundtrack, John Barry teams up with Matt Munro (Thunderball) again for the title track on Born Free, which was originally removed from the film's soundtrack. As Paul Tonk.'s liner notes specify, that due to a cover version of the main title theme by Roger Williams went to the top of the U.S. charts, this version with Munro was re-instated back into the soundtrack of the film. On the Varese release, this isn't there, but, there are several more cues that didn't appear on the original release. A kind of "tit-for-tat" exchange, if only to get a complete representation of Barry's work on the film.
If you want soothing music that will put you to sleep, this will do it. I do see a reason for a re-recording of Barry's early orchestral work, and his first award garnering on at that. Much of this album has to be viewed in retrospect to the career that came after this score was done, which spans over thirty years. As an anticipated and exciting release, it is not. I'll reserve that for the similarly timed release of Bernard Herrman's Citizen Kane, which coincidentally was his first film score but also the first of his to get recognition via an Academy Award nomination. When it comes to anticipation of soon to be released works of John Barry, I look forward to the Bond re-issues or maybe even his sci-fi opus, The Black Hole. I would hope that this isn't the start of looking at a past career, but one that has a few more great scores to come.
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