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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better ....
Themependium is a creditable effort by Sony/BMG to produce a compilation of John barry's prolific music career. However, there is a but! Anyone purchasing this four disc set will be doing so because of a genuine desire to hear the great man at his musical best. What Sony/BMG have done is trawl through his extensive back catalogue to get a representative cross-section of...
Published on 12 Nov 2007 by M. HITCHEN

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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointing
A 4 CD box set on the Sony/BMG label containing 100 tracks of John Barry's music and if we are to believe the label on the box it's the "first ever complete collection of Original Recordings".

The packaging is slick and there is a fine booklet with an overview of Barry's career to date, written by the co-authors of Barry's biography.

There's no doubt...
Published on 25 Jan 2009 by IW


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointing, 25 Jan 2009
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This review is from: Themependium (Audio CD)
A 4 CD box set on the Sony/BMG label containing 100 tracks of John Barry's music and if we are to believe the label on the box it's the "first ever complete collection of Original Recordings".

The packaging is slick and there is a fine booklet with an overview of Barry's career to date, written by the co-authors of Barry's biography.

There's no doubt there is a lot of material on offer here, spanning tracks from Barry's early days with John Barry and The Seven right up to later works from Mercury Rising and Enigma.

I'm not, however, entirely convinced with this collection and have many misgivings.

Firstly, lets address Sony's "original recordings" boast. This is entirely spurious, some of these recordings are NOT the original ones. It's becomes very apparent upon listening that there are tracks here that have been lifted from the "Play It Again" sessions, "Moviola", "Moviola 2", Silva Screens "Raise The Titanic" and Silva Screens "The Last Valley". Now there's nothing wrong with these recordings, in fact these ones are all very good. The problem is that none of these recordings are the original recordings, they were all recorded at later dates. For Sony to market this collection claiming other wise is utterly misleading.

Along the same lines, I even think the title of this box set is misleading. "Themependium" suggests a collection of John Barry's Film/TV themes. There's nearly a dozen tracks here from Barry and his band from the early sixties. These are readily available on "The Best Of The EMI Years" to name just one of the many CDs out there. Likewise the inclusion of many of the Bond songs, as performed by the original artists, is somewhat redundant. Surely anyone with a passing interest in John Barry, already has one of the many Bond compilations available with all these songs. We even get the Andy Williams version of the 70's King Kong theme here, instead of the actual film score version! Honestly, who at Sony made such a ridiculous decision. By including all this vocal/band material, we are left with glaring omissions of some of Barry's beautiful thematic work. To name but just a few, there's no Lolita, High Road To China, Hanover Street or Indecent proposal.

Another problem I have is with the the track order on the CDs. I'm not sure any of the CDs work. From start to finish, you get a mishmash of styles. So, for example we get Donna Summer's vocal version of "The Deep" back to back to (a very poor version of ) the "Somewhere In Time" score or "Never Let Go" followed by "Zulu". If Sony have to insist on including all the vocal and band material, these would have been better suited on one CD. Leaving the other 3 CDs for the TV and film work. As things are, you'll be constantly pressing the skip button on your remote.

There's also a question mark over the sound quality of some of the tracks. The theme from "Out Of Africa", for example, is the original but sounds shrill and harsh, it clearly hasn't been re-mastered. Likewise "Mary Queen Of Scotts" has actually been mastered from an old record! You can clearly hear the stylus on the grooves at the beginning and during the middle of the track. I suspect this issue of sound quality is why some of the actual original recordings have not been included in this box set. It seems Sony/BMG can't be bothered re-mastering them. This is all a little disappointing, I was looking forward to hearing a re-mastered original version of the "Walkabout" theme, amongst other things. No such luck, I didn't even get the actual original version!

Despite these shortcomings, there are some of Barry's fine 80's/90's work which, unless you own the actual soundtrack recordings, are difficult to find elsewhere on CD, eg, Peggy Sue Got Married, Jagged Edge, My Life Love Theme, Coney Island, The Scarlet Letter and Cry,The Beloved Country. There's also tracks included from Barry's 70's Polydor period, which some Barry fans may not own.

Whether you should opt to but this box set, really depends on what you already have. If you have nothing of John Barry then I would probably recommend it, it's not bad value. If you already have a few things by Barry, then the law of diminishing returns kicks in big time. If you've got Moviola and Themeology, then it's difficult to justify parting with the cash for this, unless you like Barry's early band material. You'd get better value from the Silva Screens "40 Years Of Film", this isn't cluttered with vocal/band material and is actually a collection of film score themes, the sound quality of which is superior to much of this. Alternatively, there's Barry's later solo releases, The Beyondness Of Things and Eternal Echoes, though both of these are a little patchy.

I had high expectations for this box set but sadly these were only partially met. With a bit more care and imagination, this could have been a far stronger offering. It's definitely 3 stars, but given John Barry's back catalogue, it really shouldn't have been anything less than a 5 star.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Themependium - John Barry, 20 Feb 2011
By 
Nathan "Mod" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Themependium (Audio CD)
Firstly, Sony BMG should have hired Geoff Leonard (author of The Man With The Midas Touch & the sleeve notes) to compile the box because it's quite evident that Sony themselves had no idea what they were doing. Quite frankly it's an untter shambles.

The use of songs instead of the music is unforgivable. The use of a song - 'Are You In There' by Andy Williams that wasn't even featured on 'The King Kong' soundtrack is an insult to both JB and his fans.

Evidently, Sony BMG took the easy option wherever possible and relied on the recordings they had in their catalogue. The fact that they own Columbia gave them access to 3 LPs of JB's re-recordings which unsurprisingly they've used wherever possible. As Barry never re-recorded 'Peggy Sue Got Married'or 'Jagged Edge' they were left with no choice but to licence them from Varese. Another disgrace is the sound quality on some of these recordings: 'Mary Queen Of Scots' sounds like it was sourced from a bootleg. It in fact derives from 'Moviola' - recorded in 1992 on the Epic label which Sony by the way owns yet the compilers chose to source it from the LP, not a mint LP you understand but a well worn one. Odder still is that the other tracks which derive from 'Moviola' do not suffer the same fate. It's bonkers!

I'm also at a loss to understand the statement 'First Ever Complete Collection Of Original Recordings'. Complete? In what way is this complete when 'Robin & Marian', 'Night Games', 'Game Of Death', 'Swept From The Sea', 'Petulia' etc etc are no where to be found. As regards original well yes they are original but not in the way most music fans understand the term when buying CDs. The sticker should read 'Contains music from the original soundtracks and re-recordings conducted by John Barry during his career as well as recordings made by The Prague Philharmonic'.

Most of the tracks here are readily available elsewhere, but to Sony's credit they have included a handful of tracks that have never been comped and are only available on out of print albums. One track 'Barbara's Theme', which was the b-side to 'A Man Alone', has never, to my knowledge, appeared on either LP or CD.

Despite my misgivings, and you must understand that I have almost everything that JB recorded, the music is superb. And if you were to buy just one JB comp then let it be this one. It is unquestionably the most comprehensive as it includes music from every period of JB's career. And not only that he's conducting 99% of it.

My star rating is based on the quality of the product and not on the music which is a 5.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better ...., 12 Nov 2007
By 
M. HITCHEN "Mike H" (Worksop, UK.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Themependium (Audio CD)
Themependium is a creditable effort by Sony/BMG to produce a compilation of John barry's prolific music career. However, there is a but! Anyone purchasing this four disc set will be doing so because of a genuine desire to hear the great man at his musical best. What Sony/BMG have done is trawl through his extensive back catalogue to get a representative cross-section of John Barry's output and then fallen into the usual trap of using vocal chart versions where they exist rather than the instrumental arrangements. This I suspect is to make it more marketable to the general public even though - with no disrespect intended to Dame Shirley, Matt Monro and Donna Summer - these songs can readily be found on countless other albums. What can't easily be found are the instrumental versions (Born Free for example appeared as an instrumental on a JB double LP on CBS/Sony a number of years ago but on the re-issue as a cd was dropped in favour of the vocal version). No doubt his wonderful John Dunbar Theme would have suffered the same fate had a vocal version existed. While Themependium is a good compilation, definitive it is not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Barry" best., 30 Mar 2010
By 
Flickering Ember "I need a break and I wanna ... (Once Upon A Long Ago.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Themependium (Audio CD)
Although music is my life and I love films, I guess I am not as picky as other people as I was surprised by the slightly negative reviews for this impressively comprehensive compliation. For me, the music is a very important part of the movie-watching experience, and in my experience, John Barry has never dissapointed.

All the classic, well known pieces are included, alongside lesser known works and it's great background music to just create a perfect atmosphere wherever you are. I love reading to it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Boring., 14 Feb 2014
By 
Mr. Warren Gill (Guildford, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Themependium (Audio CD)
It's not what I expected at all, not very good and it will be dropped into the next jumble sale box. Not worth the money IMHO.
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5.0 out of 5 stars In Memory of a Fantastic Artist, 28 May 2013
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This review is from: Themependium (Audio CD)
A must buy if you can find this CD. It's just so fantastic, possibly the BEST John Barry Album, EVER!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best John Barry Collection., 25 April 2013
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This review is from: Themependium (Audio CD)
This is the best John Barry collection, that seems to be available at the moment. Very nice set, with a few I never knew were by John Barry!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch, 3 Mar 2013
This review is from: Themependium (Audio CD)
Top notch collection of theme tunes from Bond to Zulu, this is a must have for any fan of John Barry.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a fantastic collection of work, 10 Feb 2013
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Beyond my expectations a wonderful collection of the lifes work of a great composer, though only a summary of the great mans life and works, sadly missed
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5.0 out of 5 stars John Barry at his best, 16 Feb 2012
This review is from: Themependium (Audio CD)
This is probably the best compilation of John Barry's music, superb balance from his vast repetoir. The 4 disc set is excellently divided and addicitivly easy to keep playing.
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Themependium by John Barry (Audio CD - 2007)
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