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Soundtrack review: Somewhere in time (John Barry, 1980)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Somewhere in time (John Barry, 1980)


I liked the movie “Somewhere in time” a lot. I remember watching it quite a few times with my parents when I was a child and I think that movie had something to do with my subsequent obsession with time travel. I loved the premise of the movie, I loved what Christopher Reeve’s character was able to do, and I dreaded that fateful second when he finds that coin and returns to his present. I also read the novel and liked it very much. Although it’s very sad, I like the story.
The score for such a sweet and sad love story had to be special. It was 1980, and there wasn’t a composer more capable of putting such a romance on notes than John Barry, the master of sweeping romantic scores. He had just composed “Hannover Street” the year before, and he understood perfectly the type of bittersweet and heartbreaking score a movie like “Somewhere in time” needed.  
In just 32 minutes, this album became a timeless composition; its main theme and the 18th variation of Rachmaninov’s “Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini” that’s used a few times during the film are two of the most recognizable film music tracks in history. It’s also one of the most beautiful pieces of film music ever written. The piano is simple and efficient, poignant and sad, gentle and romantic, never pathetic.  It’s a dream, just like the movie…it’s a sweet memory, old and dusty like the yellow pages of a book you keep returning to…The original recording actually sounds, at times, like an old record, a little scratched in some parts, a little faded in others, but I prefer this version to the remastered one released a few years ago…it fits the theme and my memory of the movie better.
To me, this gorgeous score is frozen in time at the moment when I first saw the movie. It’s like a bookmark I left in time, so I could return precisely to the point when this movie had such a strong effect on me…
My ratings:
Cue rating: 96 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 32 / 32
Album excellence: 100%
Cues to listen to:
Somewhere in time
The old woman
The journey back in time
A day together
Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini
Is he the one?
The man of my dreams
Return to the present
Theme from Somewhere in time
Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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