In my view, however, Barry’s best composition is his haunting, symphonic poem for “Out of Africa,” the 1985 film based on the 1937 book by Karen Blixen (aka Isak Dinesen) of the same name. He perfectly captured the mood evident in the lyrical opening lines of Blixen’s famous tome (listen here):
“I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across these highlands, a hundred miles to the North, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up, near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.”“I have a feeling that wherever I may be in the future, I will be wondering whether there is rain at Ngong,” Blixen wrote in a letter to her mother in 1919. Like Blixen’s Kenya, Barry’s poetry will linger in our musical imagination wherever we may be in the future. He will be missed.