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Cry, The Beloved Country
(1995)
Composed, Orchestrated, Conducted, and Produced by:
John Barry

Performed by:
The English Chamber Orchestra

Label:
Epic Soundtrax

Release Date:
November 21st, 1995

Also See:
The Scarlet Letter
Born Free

Audio Clips:
2. The Beginning of the Journey (0:32):
WMA (209K)  MP3 (258K)
Real Audio (160K)

3. The Train to Johannesburg (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

15. The Boys Club (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (235K)
Real Audio (146K)

19. Do Not Spoil My Pleasure (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (235K)
Real Audio (146K)

Availability:
Regular U.S. release, but completely out of print as of 2000. It often sold for $50 or more on the secondary market in the 2000's.

Awards:
  None.









Cry, The Beloved Country
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Sales Rank: 105700


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Buy it... if you regularly soak up John Barry's soothing and simplistically melodic tones for drama in the last two decades of his career.

Avoid it... if you're either deterred by an extremely wet and wishy-washy recording mix or are seeking any spark of life whatsoever from a veteran composer lodged firmly in his comfort zone.



Barry
Cry, The Beloved Country: (John Barry) The acclaimed Alan Paton novel about the relationship between culturally different fathers in South Africa who bond after their sons are both killed in the apartheid struggle has been adapted onto the stage and screen several times. The largely unheralded 1995 film version of Cry, The Beloved Country stars James Earl Jones as the black minister and Richard Harris as the white father, and although the acting was well received, the rest of the film was not. Considered too light of an adaptation, the film was disregarded by some critics and audiences as being too easy on the historic evils of apartheid. Lacking the kind of political punch necessary to provide a compelling reason to seek its message, the remake is typically shelved behind the more powerful 1951 Sidney Poitier rendition of the same story. Veteran composer John Barry was no stranger to composing for the cultural ills of the world, and especially for those set in Africa. At the height of the composer's activities in the 1960's, sprinkled throughout his James Bond scores were a handful of pieces that Barry had written specifically for African subject matter, a few of which recognized for major awards. In the 1990's, Barry had remained a composer best known for painting a soundscape to vast scenery and glorious colors. Thus, based on qualifications alone, Cry, The Beloved Country seemed like a good fit for the composer. The year of 1995 marked Barry's last year of major, successful film score production, with health and legal problems plaguing the composer during the years that followed. Unfortunately, Cry, The Beloved Country turned out to be indicative (even more so than The Scarlet Letter, which still showed signs of life in the composer) of the beginning of Barry's stylistic decline. The score for Cry, The Beloved Country was received very much like the film, criticized as a wishy-washy treatment of a subject that should have been scored with a much sharper edge. Thus, once again, the effectiveness of Barry's music in the film would have to be separated from the listening experience on album. As such, it was an all-too-common occurrence for the waning composer.

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The difficulty with Barry's work for Cry, The Beloved Country is that he approached the project with the same kind of romantic feel of 1985's Out of Africa rather than the more appropriate ethnic tension and spirit of 1964's Zulu. Granted, the films are obviously different in most ways, but Cry, The Beloved Country is a relaxing, delicate score for a troubled, disjointed film, raising immediate questions about the composer's stylistic choices for the score (if any, if you want to be a cynic about Barry's late career). The great irony of this entire situation, and bless Barry for doing this, is the noted transfiguration of the original Zulu theme into Cry, The Beloved Country. Whereas the theme was brutal (and meant for war) in Zulu, it is translated into a beautiful, somber piano piece for travel scenes in this score. The theme has the haunting feel of remembrance for Barry personally as well, drawing from his own glory days and performing the theme as almost a eulogy for his own declining career. Of great importance to the score, however, are two additional themes for Cry, The Beloved Country, both of which maintaining the high standards of string-performing excellence in harmony and beauty that Barry fans expect to hear. His romantic and lush styles here are slightly subdued, but always gracious in their presentation. Not much differs from the height of passion to the horrors of death in his music, with the latter receiving only a slight rhythm of rumbling timpani and single piano chords. The themes are all extremely repetitive, almost to fault (once again the norm for 80's/90's Barry), but on album, the score is as delightful as it is sleep-inducing. One of the consistencies between Cry, The Beloved Country and The Scarlet Letter is the recording quality. Instead of compensating for Barry's very soft, harmonious touch by emphasizing a crisp recording, the final mix is extremely wet and reverberating. Thus, a wishy-washy score becomes even more abstract, which is very effective if you want to relax to his music while seemingly sitting in the back row of a concert hall. But Barry critics will have plenty to find displeasing with Cry, The Beloved Country, from the echoing recording quality to the repetitive nature of the writing, and not even the source songs on the album can probably save the music for such listeners. Still, the score remains one of Barry's last truly enjoyable efforts. ****   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For John Barry reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.85 (in 27 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.47 (in 25,236 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.





 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  


Regular Average: 3.39 Stars
Smart Average: 3.3 Stars*
***** 83 
**** 71 
*** 58 
** 37 
* 43 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Bad match for film, but very good on album
  Mark -- 8/21/03 (12:27 p.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  




 Track Listings: Total Time: 54:17


• 1. Main Title - The Letter (3:36)
• 2. The Beginning of the Journey (2:10)
• 3. The Train to Johannesburg (2:48)
• 4. You've Been Robbed (1:28)
• 5. Emaxambeni (2:29)
• 6. I've Been a Bad Woman! (2:31)
• 7. Is It My Son? (2:32)
• 8. He Was Our Only Child (1:42)
• 9. What Sort of Life Did They Lead (1:25)
• 10. Hamba Notsokolo (2:37)
• 11. Bastards - Bloody Bastards (1:03)
• 12. Did it Seem Heavy (0:48)
• 13. Cry, Cry The Beloved Country (1:45)
• 14. Christ, Forsake Me Not (3:19)
• 15. The Boys Club (1:36)
• 16. We Taught Him Nothing (2:05)
• 17. Amazing Grace -song (3:33)
• 18. Go Well Umfundisi (1:09)
• 19. Do Not Spoil My Pleasure (2:38)
• 20. It Is My Son - That Killed Your Son (3:53)
• 21. The Marriage (2:55)
• 22. The Shadow of Death (2:53)
• 23. The Fifteenth Day (3:17)

(Track lengths listed only on CD)




 Notes and Quotes:  


The insert includes no extra information about the score or film. John Barry dedicated this score to South African President Nelson Mandela.





   
  All artwork and sound clips from Cry, The Beloved Country are Copyright © 1995, Epic Soundtrax. The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/24/96 and last updated 8/25/08. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1996-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.