John Barry’s Goldfinger In Focus – Barry Russell

Original Book Review by Alan Rogers

“John Barry’s Goldfinger In Focus” is a slight book (a mere 40 pages in length) and is one of a number of study guides for students studying for a Music Technology qualification (other guides include “Danny Elfman: Batman In Focus” and “The Who: Who’s Next In Focus”). Although written with music students in mind, this book is written in such a way that it will be of interest to the general reader who wishes to learn about the general relationship between music and image in film. Written by Barry Russell, the author’s extensive experience as a teacher, lecturer and director of many education and community projects with several orchestras has resulted in a reference book that is a wealth of information on John Barry’s score to the classic 1964 James Bond film, Goldfinger.

The bulk of the book is made up of a chapter devoted to an analysis of the 15 cues found on the most recent CD release. For each of these cues in turn, a brief description of the music (e.g., specific motifs used as well as a description of the instruments used) is listed alongside specific bar numbers in tabular form, giving a detailed – but concise – summary of each track. As an example, at the beginning of the cue “Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus”, bars 1-4 “…begins with a jolly 12/8 feel, and a carousel-like riff in violins and flutes with a variation of Gold 2 [a specific motif touched on below] on horns. The harmony moves from F major to D-flat major 7”. Three of these cues – “Alpine Drive”, “Auric’s Factory” and “Dawn Raid On Fort Knox” – are expanded into “case studies” which offer a more detailed look at how the music is used within specific scenes (and includes additional information including specific timings, as well as a short summary of what is happening on-screen at specific points). I personally love pouring over this sort of detail for cues and, although I do not really understand much of the theory, the level of detail is set so that I can still get a lot of information from the analyses.  [Read more…]