For some reason John Barry's score for Raise the Titanic - the 1980 film starring Anne Archer, Alec Guinnes, David Selby among others - never got an official release. And for some other reason the original orchestral master tapes have been lost for years, which has made a release of the original score impossible. This has, of course, been a big disappointment for many film music and Barry aficionados.
Now, thanks to Silva Screen, and the City of Prague Philharmonic, conducted by Nic Raine, we are given a complete release of Barry's classic score for the first time ever. That this is a re-recording, and not the original recordings, shall not intimidate you. The music has been reconstructed, basically with a laser disc release of the film as reference - since Barry's drafts also are missing - by Nic Raine, who previously has worked with John Barry as an orchestrator for 15 years - so he should know what he is doing - and the City of Prague Philharmonic have once again done a marvelous job.
On to the score then. What's it like? Well, it sounds incredibly much like a traditional epic Barry score, like Somewhere in Time, Out of Africa and the other classics, although much darker, deeper and mystical. Basically Raise the Titanic is fifty minutes of slow and emotional writing for strings, tons of low brass chords and melodic horn phrases. We have all heard it many times before, but neverthless it is good and relaxing listening to, although sometimes quite boring, to be honest - the music has a tendency to get a little too monotonous. The main theme is also classic Barry style. Lush, majestic and somewhat nostalgic and timeless it is presented for the first time in the "Prologue". There are a wealth of other themes as well, such as the beautiful "requiem for the lost", to quote the liner notes. It is really a stunning theme, filled with grief and reverence, performed by slow, sweeping strings, supported by low brass, and is heard in the "Main Titles" and "The Titanic Uncovered", among other cues. There's also a wonderful waltz theme in "Gene Explores the Titanic".
The release includes excellent liner notes, with info on the film and comments on every score cue by David Wishart.