John Barry: The Memorial Concert

Elen Hâf Richards writes about last week’s tribute concert to film composer John Barry at the Royal Albert Hall.

John Barry

John Barry

Wow! We performed at the concert at the Royal Albert Hall to commemorate the late film composer, John Barry.  The whole evening really was so much fun yet very moving, playing the original scores from the Bond films, Dances with Wolves, Out of Africa and others, but for me the finale was one of the most memorable experiences so far in my career with the RPO.

The moment everyone had been waiting for had arrived.  Dame Shirley Bassey concluded this fantastic evening with her legendary rendition of Goldfinger and Diamonds are Forever.  What a fantastic performance!  Dame Shirley certainly has such amazing star quality.  The first phrase she sang has such iconic connotations.  What a treat.

We also accompanied tenor Wynne Evans and the new up and coming singer Rumer in All the Time in the World made famous by Louis Armstrong, and also heard the current Bond composer David Arnold sing one of John Barry’s final song compositions which added a certain poignancy to the evening.  There were also introductions and fond memories by Sir Michael Caine, Sir Richard Attenborough, the lyricist Don Black and a very moving appearance from John’s widow and son.

The evening was not only a concert in memory of John Barry’s work, but also a celebration of what his work meant for those who enjoyed hearing his music.  He created another dimension to a moving picture, which gave the viewer an even deeper understanding of a character or storyline.  However, his pieces also stand alone as concert works, musical treasures which are an inspiration to many young composers today.


About Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Acknowledged as one of the UK’s most prestigious orchestras, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) enjoys an international reputation for bringing audiences worldwide first-class performances and the highest possible standards of music-making across a diverse range of musical repertoire. This was the vision of the Orchestra’s flamboyant founder Sir Thomas Beecham, whose legacy is maintained today as the Orchestra thrives under the exceptional direction of its new Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, Maestro Charles Dutoit.
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