Composer John Barry drew extensively on Gregorian chant for this music, accompanying a film about 12th century British monarch Henry II. This 2001 recording of the 1968 film score necessarily relies most upon the talents of the Crouch End Festival Chorus, which sometimes performs a cappella, singing in Latin or in wordless melody, once ("The Christmas Wine") in English. There are also many stark fanfares and occasional cues that employ more conventional dramatic ("To the Chapel") or elegiac ("God Damn You") music. So, Barry has not restricted himself to the available musical styles of England in the late 1100s, but he has provided much of that flavor. This recording is slightly longer than the original soundtrack album, and it is augmented with a six-part, 16-minute suite of Barry-composed music from the 1971 film Mary, Queen of Scots. Though it is fair enough to match up the music from two historical films about early Britain, the later one moves history forward 400 years to the 16th century, and Barry's style of writing changes considerably, to a much more calm and romantic set of cues that don't really follow on from what has been heard previously.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
|The Lion in Winter, film score|
|Mary Queen of Scots, film score|