Enigma by John Barry available at Amazon.com



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Enigma (Soundtrack)  by John Barry

Review by Steve Townsley


Enigma (Soundtrack)  by John Ba


Enigma (Soundtrack) by John Barry

Category  |   Score

Originality 3
Music Selection 3
Composition 7
CD Length 6
Track Order 6
Performance 8
Final Score 5/10


John Barry


Quick Quotes

If you can listen to more than a few bars of Enigma and not recognize it beyond all reasonable doubt as a John Barry score, then no film music aficionado are you! " ***

James Barry - SoundtrackNet Reviews Enigma




Composed and Conducted by John Barry
Performed by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Executive Producers - Mick Jagger & Victoria Pearman; Music editor – Cliff Kohlweck
Recorded at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, 27-30 November 2000
Released by Decca Records - April 16, 2002

John Barry has provided a suitable-yet-unremarkable score for Michael Apted’s World War 2 suspense-drama. The score is very European sounding—which is to say (more clearly), it is slow paced and relatively unwavering in tone. I should note in advance, that while I dearly love the progressing mellow strains of John Barry, I am writing this review not for myself, but for you, the reader and consumer. You are the curious one, here, money in hand, waiting to make the crucial decision whether to purchase or pass. So allow me to do my best to appease your curiosity.

This CD, most likely, isn’t for you.

And I say that, not knowing whether you, enthusiastic reader, are a Barry fan, a fan of soundtracks pertaining to World War II, or just someone looking for a good listen.

As most Barry fans will attest, Barry has his own style—it works for him, though what you find here you will likely find neither new nor particularly noteworthy in his repertoire. It is differing—though not by much. For the themes contained herein--romance, drama, action--Barry has certainly written above present caliber.

Individuals looking for a War soundtrack will not find the “drum and the fife” here, as it were, nor any emboldening substance. Mr. Barry has not provided any music that is particularly evocative of the time period—and there is, perhaps, something positive to be said of that, Barry’s music on the whole, does have a sense of timelessness about it. It is only the inclusion of two period-music source tracks (20 and 21) that truly anchor the story of the score in the early 1940s. In this much, the songs serve their purpose, and are pleasant enough for the casual listener. Rather notable, as a track, is Vaughn Williams’ “Dives and Lazarus” (Track 22) which closes off the album. It is represented quite beautifully here, and makes for a pleasing close to a bleakly-toned album. Barry’s gentlest moments in the Main Title (track 1) are revisited too often (tracks 6 and 10, for example) in similar manners to be particularly effective. A light and uplifting theme is introduced in the two-part cue “Simply Wonderful/Finding Crib” (track 12), but it is quickly quelled as it fades to its’ subsequent cue. The theme is recalled interestingly in a minor key in “Goodbye to Hester” (track 16), and it is pleasantly revisited in its’ (more-or-less) entirety in the final score tracks (18 and 19)—though the End Titles (track 19), as anticipated, does fall into a retread of all included themes, even the dour ones before lifting up briefly once more at the close.

For a good listen—well…Barry’s certainly provided a fairly non-intrusive background score. Purchasing the score for this reason is as good as any. As previously mentioned, the tracks on the whole are fairly even and unwavering in tone. Most of the music bleeds very well together, and is pleasant, mellow and non-engaging.

This is a score that is almost surely for die-hard Barry fans only. I write this hoping that the average consumer will not dismiss Barry as a composer, but that you might (if you have not already) seek out Barry’s stronger and more personable scores.=

Track Listing and Ratings


Title Time


1 Main Title 3:41  ***
2 Where Does One Pee? 1.21  **
3 Police Chase 1:16  ***
4 The Quarry 2.50  ***
5 Tom Explains Enigma 1:23  *
6 Is That What Happened? 4:25  ***
7 Wigram Arrives 1:39  **
8 The Convoy 5:36  *
9 Waiting for Signals 2:46  **
10 Tom Goes to Cottage 1:26  **
11 She Moved On 2:06  **
12 Simply Wonderful/Finding Crib 1:53  ***
13 Trip to Beaumanor :59  *
14 At Beaumantor 1:21  *
15 The Train 2:40  *
16 Goodbye to Hester 3:00  ***
17 Puck Dies 1:17  **
18 London 1946 2:26  ****
19 End Credits 4:58  ****
20 “The Black Bottom”; DeSylva/Brown/Henderson 2:54  **
21 “You’ll Never Know”; Warren 3:23  **
22 Dives and Lazarus Vaughn Williams 2:49  ****

Total Running Time


*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.


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