Five Favorite Music of the 2012 Olympics Musical Director David Arnold

In just a matter of hours, the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London will be underway. So have you been following the Olympics coverage? It’s interesting how a lot of film folks are involved in the ceremony. British directors Danny Boyle (28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire)and Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Reader) have been tasked to conceptualize the Games’ opening ceremony, which reportedly will  be heavily influenced by Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. Now, serving as the musical director is renowned British composer David Arnold.

So I thought it’d be fitting that for this week’s music break, I shine the spotlight on Mr. Arnold and five of my favorite scores from his collection. But before I get to that, here’s some info about the 50-year-old composer:

Arnold made his debut into writing music for film in 1993 with The Young Americans, which was directed by his college friend Danny Cannon. He then went on to working on Stargate, amongst others, which led to him scoring two more films of Roland Emmerich: Independence Day and Godzilla. He’s perhaps known for his work on many James Bond films. As I’ve mentioned on my previous music break post Casino Royale, Barry was impressed with Arnold’s James Bond music album that he recommended him to Barbara Broccoli to work on the music for Tomorrow Never Dies. He has since scored four more Bond movies: The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.

He won’t be scoring the next Bond film Skyfall, but it’s not because of his Olympics 2012 commitment. As quoted in the Cultbox.com interview, Arnold said, “My availability wasn’t an issue. [The film’s director] Sam Mendes wanted to continue his working relationship with Thomas Newman.”  He is however, involved in the super massive James Bond 50th Anniversary movie box set, it might actually take 50 years to watch everything on that monstrous amount of content!

In any case, here’s five favorite David Arnold scores, and it’s no coincidence that his work I LOVE most is from a Bond movie! 🙂

Casino Royale

You’ve perhaps listened to the City of Lovers score which is my favorite of the entire album. But related to that is this Vesper theme:

The Word is Not Enough

Yes, another Bond movie. But I absolutely LOVE this title song performed by Garbage. Arnold co-wrote the song with Don Black, who’s also no stranger to the Bond franchise, having worked on music from Thunderball to Tomorrow Never Dies. The movie is terrible but I can listen to this over and over again. It’s cool, modern but also has a certain emotional feel to it. Too bad the movie itself doesn’t live up to this awesome song.

Here’s the gorgeous score itself which I quite like:

Independence Day

I’m not a big fan of Roland Emmerich’s work but ID4 is undeniably still one of the best alien-invasion disaster movie to date. In fact, it’s become a traditional viewing every 4th of July for a lot of people, and you don’t have to be Americans to cheer to Bill Pulman’s rousing speech as the US president: ‘…today we celebrate Independence Day!” One of the best things about that movie is the equally patriotic and heroic score, it even has that unabashedly defiant tone. Whenever I hear this end title score, I could imagine Will Smith punching the slimy alien with that smug look on his face! 🙂

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I didn’t like the third movie of the first one [maybe I just miss Mr. Tumnus, ehm] But I LOVE the majestic score. It has that epic, mythical feel to it which is perfect for the film, but yet it’s warm and heartfelt, I like the subtle sound of children choir in the background as well.

BBC Sherlock

One of the things I notice right away when I watched this marvelous BBC series is the lively theme song! It just fits the tone and this contemporary re-imagining of Sherlock of the 21st century. It has a bit of an ethnic feel to it and I love how fabulously whimsical and witty it sounds, just like the dialog. The music is composed by Arnold with his long-time collaborator Michael Price.



So do you enjoy any of these? Now tell me, what’s YOUR favorite work from David Arnold?

Music Break: Casino Royale Score (City of Lovers)

Happy Thursday everyone! It’s been over a month since my last music break, and I definitely could use one today.

As a preview to our monthly Bond post coming next week, I feel like highlighting one of my favorite Bond scores. I’ve posted my top five Bond title songs, but as far as main scores go, this one is definitely on the top of my list. So much so that it’s one of the twelve piece of music I wish I have with me if I were to be stranded on a desert island. I might as well bring the Blu-ray too, it’s not just a great Bond film, it’s a great film, period.

BondVesper_CasinoRoyale

The whole soundtrack is splendid, but City of Lovers is by far my favorite. It’s a love theme of sort as it’s played during the scene when Bond and Vesper arrives in Venice. It’s an impossibly gorgeous day and Bond has just typed in his resignation. He’s a man in love. But we know that such blissful state is short-lived and there is something hauntingly melancholic in this score… yet the soothing, elegant strings has that buoyant effect that gets me every time.


What I love about this score is that it sounds a lot like the classic John Barry’s Bond themes of the 60s and 70s, but there’s something fresh and edgy about ’em. So it’s no surprise that composer David Arnold is apparently a big fan of the Bond franchise, AND of Barry’s work. In fact, it’s Barry who recommended Arnold to Barbara Broccoli for Tomorrow Never Dies, having been impressed with his Bond-related project called Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project. (per Wiki) Since then the English composer has worked on the scores for two other Pierce Brosnan’s Bond movies, this one and Quantum of SolaceI do think this is the best and most memorable soundtrack since Barry left the franchise.

I’m looking forward to what Thomas Newman will bring to the table with Skyfall. He’s worked numerous times with director Sam Mendes in American Beauty, Road to Perdition and Revolutionary Road. Meanwhile, Arnold will be working on the score for the opening ceremony for this year’s Summer Olympics in London.


Are you a fan of Casino Royale‘s soundtrack? Please share YOUR favorite Bond score.