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From Russia With Love : Work information

John Barry ( Music, Images,)
Lionel Bart ( Music, Images,)
Performed by
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Carl Davis (Conductor)

This work

Work name
From Russia With Love
Work number
1963-00-00 02:00:00

This recording

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Alan Peters
Dick Lewzey
Recording date

The Composers

John Barry

John Barry Prendergast was born on November 3rd 1933, the youngest of the four children of a classical pianist mother and a father who owned a cinema chain.  He played the Piano and Trumpet when he was young, as well as working as a projectionist in one of his father's cinemas.  During his time in the army he often gave performances, and took a correspondence course in composition and orchestration.  In 1957 he started the John Barry Seven group which performed jazz and rock tunes, appearing on TV and releasing EPs and singles on the Parlophone label.  However Barry preferred composing to performing, and in 1959 was asked to score his first film, 'Beat Girl'.  Other scores followed, but his big break came in 1962 when director Terence Young asked him to work on the film of an Ian Fleming book - Dr No.  There some confusion and controversy over authorship of the James Bond Theme (soundtrack composer Monty Norman was credited with writing it, possibly erroneously) but Barry was the one asked to write the scores for ten more Bond films, including Goldfinger (1964), From Russia With Love (1963), You Only Live Twice (1967) and Diamonds Are Forever (1971).

Barry is best known for his Bond music, but has written for many other films, from The Ipcress File in 1965 to Playing By Heart in 1999.  He scored the epic smash Dances With Wolves (1990), and wrote for The Horse Whisperer (1999).  Although that score (titled The Beyondness of Things) was rejected by the film's producers, the recording has gone on to achieve great popularity through its own merit.  Barry has also written stage musicals, themes to TV shows (including The Persuaders), and was director of the 60s pop label Ember.

Barry is very particular about his working style.  He detests interference and pressure from directors, producers or supervisors -  turning down an invitation to write for The Prince of Tides because it would have meant reporting to Barbara Streisand every day.  He also refused to work on Sleepless in Seattle because it would have meant sharing the soundtrack album with twenty other songs. 

Lionel Bart

An English composer and lyricist of Austrian-Jewish descent, Lionel Bart is most famous for his musical Oliver! (1960). He also provided songs for Tommy Steele and Cliff Richard, including Living Doll and Little White Bull.

Bart was born in London on 1 August 1930 and began his career as a graphic artist and scene painter. While a member of the skiffle group 'the Cavemen' in the mid-50s, he began writing songs for Tommy Steele, Cliff Richard and Billy Fury, and also worked on musicals for Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop. He was self-taught as a composer and relied on assistants to transcribe the music for him.

Bart's first West End success, Fings Ain't Wot They Used t'Be established a series of works about working-class communities. It was followed by the stylistically diverse Oliver!, with its combination of Jewish melody, music hall numbers and sentimentality, and Blitz! (1962), based on Bart's own experiences in World War II.

In 1965, Bart wrote the ill-fated Twang!!, a burlesque on the Robin Hood legend, beginning a period of personal and artistic decline. His musical La strada was withdrawn from Broadway after just one performance in 1969. Major London revivals of Blitz! in 1990 and Oliver! in 1994, however,  helped restore his reputation. He died in Hammersmith on 3 April 1999.

Bart's songs from Oliver! have entered the cultural language and include 'You've got to pick a pocket or two', 'Consider Yourself' and 'Food, glorious food'. As one of the most successful of all British musicals, it remains his most important contribution to musical theatre.

Related composers: Jerry BockSondheim, Richard Rodgers

Track listing

  • 2:58 min


From Russia With Love was the second Bond film and the first to be scored by John Barry. Based on Ian Flemming's novel, this 1963 spy thriller starred Sean Connery and Daniela Bianchi, and successfully establishes the Bond formula for the following films. John Barry's exciting score was perfect for the action sequences, and Lionel Bart provided a wonderfully romantic song for Matt Monroe to croon over the titles.