Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

James Bond Themes

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The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra treads where many others have gone before by recording an album of themes from the James Bond movies. In the hands of conductor Carl Davis and arranger Nic Raine, the 12 themes are, for the most part, given subtler, more romantic interpretations than usual. This is not true of the leadoff track, Monty Norman's "The James Bond Theme," which actually is taken at a slightly faster tempo than is typical. But "Goldfinger" is slower and more majestic than the well-known hit recording by Shirley Bassey. Although an electric guitar takes the melody line for much of "Live and Let Die," the Paul McCartney-composed theme is robbed of much of its power by Davis and Raine's approach, but, for example, Bill Conti's "For Your Eyes Only," with its slow, solemn melody, is perfectly suited to it. The conductor and arranger might have been better advised to try different styles appropriate to different themes, but they have created a consistent musical package of music originally written by a large number of composers. Still, there are better albums of these themes.

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