High Road To China
Release Date: 2000
Conducted by John Barry
|1.||Main Title / A Nasty Headache||2:10|
|2.||The Flying Lesson||1:17|
|3.||Look Out Charlie! / A Hurried Exit||2:10|
|4.||Onto Waziri / Khan||1:27|
|5.||Escape from Waziri / Eve & Strute||3:18|
|6.||On to India / Arrival in Katmandu / Soulds Approaches||4:25|
|7.||The Dogfight / Journey to China / Anymore Surprises / The General's Cannon||6:11|
|8.||You'll Get Your Money / One Eye Open||3:06|
|9.||Raid on Chang's Camp / Finals & End Titles||7:20|
|14.||Love Me Tender||3:55|
|15.||When The Saints Come Marchin In||2:14|
|19.||Swinging At The Riverside||1:49|
|20.||Allemande from the Bach French Suite Number 5 in G Major||3:30|
|Total Album Time:||56:59|
|by David A. Koran
on May 17th, 2000
High Road To China was designed as a star making vehicle for Tom Seleck, who was gaining popularity among the T.V. viewers in his slick role as Magnum P.I. One could believe that his character in the film, was not designed as a recast of his persona, but a slight alteration to his T.V. alter ego. Setting the film in the 1920's has no real effect on Barry, but the subject matter of romance, adventure and airborne heroics lend plenty of ideas for thematic material. A wide and sweeping "Main Title" for High Road To China seems almost a given for Mr. Barry, who's major successes in this arena to date have almost followed a cookie cutter musical premise, lofty strings with towering brass filling in as support for the melody. Barry would later follow suit with similar orchestrations in scores for Dances With Wolves, Across The Sea Of Time and Out Of Africa. The "Main Title" theme appears in various forms throughout the entire score, reprised in bits and pieces, usually played in an "up" major but shows up occasionally in a "down" minor key for the more ominous and tense moments. The score throughout is playful in such a fashion when need arises, but unfortunately not much is developed after the several restatements of the theme. Overall, you could have punched out an eight minute suite of the main theme and the two or three accompanying minor themes and passages, but as a score, it's uninteresting after the first ten to fifteen minutes.
The previous berating of the production of this soundtrack lends back to the album's first inception as a highly collectible CD from Soundtrack Collector's Special Editions (SCSE) which was produced by John Lasher. A recently as last year, this CD could be hunted down for about $200 on the collectors market. A release by Hot Records, Ltd. Late last year helped cool the demand by providing a cheap and easily found re-issue of the same contents of the previously mentioned CD. This was the second release of a collectible Barry score by SCSE, the first being Body Heat, which still ranks as a John Barry classic and has yet to be re-released in it's original form. The latest version of the score comes from Next Decade Entertainment, which, in conjunction with Super Collector, has released an extended version of the score with somewhat longer and re-titled (in sequence) cues along with almost all of the source music heard in the film. This can be considered about as complete a recording as you will probably ever see for this film score. I do commend the album's producers for going into the minutia of the details and bringing almost ever salvageable scrap of music to the CD. If the same technique was applied to other "in-demand" scores, such as last year's Episode I, a legion of "fans" could waddle in contentment over the completeness of an overrated score. Although it's not so much the case here, I would hope that this is a trend that Super Tracks intends to follow with other similar promotional releases.
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Released: January 9, 2010