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Comments about the soundtrack for Casino Royale (David Arnold)
John Barry tribute

Eric
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  Responses to this Comment:
Brendan Anderson
SomeGuy
John Barry tribute   Wednesday, December 6, 2006 (11:49 p.m.) 

I enjoyed how David Arnold paid homage to John Barry by making the score sound like his old mentor's work. The thing with Arnold though is that he doesn't have much of a style of his own.


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Brendan Anderson
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  In Response to:
Eric

  Responses to this Comment:
Eric
G.K.
SomeGuy
Re: John Barry tribute   Thursday, December 7, 2006 (11:23 a.m.) 

> The thing with Arnold though is that he
> doesn't have much of a style of his own.

Oh I wouldn't say that at all. Arnold's style is unmistakable at this point. There are elements of his writing that run throughout all his different genres...you can hear it most often in his accompaniment figures such as:

-His melodic layering is his most telling characteristic. No matter what is happening in the melody or accompaniment, it always involves some form of melodic theme or motif. Almost more than any other film composer working today, Arnold maintains melody all throughout his writing and also layers melodies on top of melodies to create a very "busy" sound.

-His frequent use of the minor i chord to minor iii chord progression (heard serving as villain music throughout Independence Day, Godzilla, Die Another Day, Stargate, etc. etc.)

-His rhythmic fanfare figure (heard most prominently in the opening trumpet fanfare of the Independence Day End Credits - shows up also in little accompaniment figures in The Stepford Wives, The Musketeer, Stargate, his Bond scores, etc.)

-His rhythmic emphasis on beats 1 and 2 of each measure or sometimes beat 1 in eighth notes (i.e. opening guitar riff of You Know My Name, the entire rhythmic structure of Pipeline from The World is Not Enough, emphasis of beat 2 thoughout Indpendence Day's action cues, etc.)

-His sweeping melodic style (very similar melodic figures can be heard in the romantic cues of Last of the Dogmen, Enough and [bleep!] Royale among others)

All of these are huge aspects of the style that makes up David Arnold's writing. I would recommend listening a little closer to the various scores of his career to hear how this style plays out.

-Brendan


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Eric
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  In Response to:
Brendan Anderson

  Responses to this Comment:
Brendan Anderson
Re: John Barry tribute   Thursday, December 7, 2006 (11:43 a.m.) 

Brendan, to the average listener who doesn't know music as well as you apparently do, Arnold doesn't sound very distinct. I can recognize a Danny Elfman, James Horner, or John Williams score immediately because they have a unique style. Arnold's music, on the other hand, isn't famous for that "David Arnold style." I think he's talented and a far better composer than, say, Graeme Ravell -- I own Arnold's soundtracks for Stargate and Independence Day, but what I'm saying is that he isn't nearly as original as Williams or John Barry.

> Oh I wouldn't say that at all. Arnold's style is unmistakable at this
> point. There are elements of his writing that run throughout all his
> different genres...you can hear it most often in his accompaniment figures
> such as:

> -His melodic layering is his most telling characteristic. No matter what
> is happening in the melody or accompaniment, it always involves some form
> of melodic theme or motif. Almost more than any other film composer
> working today, Arnold maintains melody all throughout his writing and also
> layers melodies on top of melodies to create a very "busy"
> sound.

> -His frequent use of the minor i chord to minor iii chord progression
> (heard serving as villain music throughout Independence Day, Godzilla, Die
> Another Day, Stargate, etc. etc.)

> -His rhythmic fanfare figure (heard most prominently in the opening
> trumpet fanfare of the Independence Day End Credits - shows up also in
> little accompaniment figures in The Stepford Wives, The Musketeer,
> Stargate, his Bond scores, etc.)

> -His rhythmic emphasis on beats 1 and 2 of each measure or sometimes beat
> 1 in eighth notes (i.e. opening guitar riff of You Know My Name, the
> entire rhythmic structure of Pipeline from The World is Not Enough,
> emphasis of beat 2 thoughout Indpendence Day's action cues, etc.)

> -His sweeping melodic style (very similar melodic figures can be heard in
> the romantic cues of Last of the Dogmen, Enough and [bleep!] Royale among
> others)

> All of these are huge aspects of the style that makes up David Arnold's
> writing. I would recommend listening a little closer to the various scores
> of his career to hear how this style plays out.

> -Brendan



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Brendan Anderson
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  In Response to:
Eric

  Responses to this Comment:
Eric
Re: John Barry tribute   Thursday, December 7, 2006 (1:00 p.m.) 

> Brendan, to the average listener who doesn't know music as well as you
> apparently do, Arnold doesn't sound very distinct. I can recognize a Danny
> Elfman, James Horner, or John Williams score immediately because they have
> a unique style.

I would challenge you to evaluate how many Williams Horner or Elfman scores you have as well as how much time you have devoted to listening to them compared to how many Arnold scores you have and how many times you've listend to those. Williams Horner and Elfman have been producing commercially available film music for over 30 years. Arnold has only been on the mainstream stage for 10 years or so and even then doesn't write nearly as many scores per year as any of those other three.

The point is, an inability to recognize Arnold's style compared to a style like Elfman is not a fault of Arnold's but rather more a fact of the amount of material available to listen and learn his style. I will guarantee you that if you took 10 Arnold scores (still only a tiny fraction of the number I'm sure you've listened to by Horner or Williams) and listened to them one right after another you would hear many of the stylistic items I was talking about. You don't need to "know" anything about music to hear it. I realize I'm a fanatic, yes ( ), but I really don't think I'm hearing things that aren't there. My recommendations for this "stylistic listening" challenge:

Stargate
Independence Day
Last of the Dogmen
Godzilla
Tomorrow Never Dies
The Musketeer
The World is Not Enough
Die Another Day
Four Brothers
[bleep!] Royale

-Brendan


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Eric
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  In Response to:
Brendan Anderson

  Responses to this Comment:
kingdomcome
Re: John Barry tribute   Thursday, December 7, 2006 (3:13 p.m.) 
• Now Playing: Independence Day  

Thanks for the link to your show. I enjoyed it very much. It made me proud to be a film score fan. Let me know where I can find more of your podcasts.

Please don't get me wrong -- I like David Arnold a lot. His work for "Stargate" got me hooked. I think he lost me with his score for "Godzilla," was weakest and most forgettable. More recently though, I did appreciate his score for "Changing Lanes." "Stepford Wives" reminded me too much of Danny Elfman.

Eric


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kingdomcome
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Eric

  Responses to this Comment:
kingdomcome
David Arnold   Wednesday, December 20, 2006 (2:50 p.m.) 

I am not an lover of Arnold's work. Casino Royale is too close to The World Is Not Enough and his constant arrangements of The James Bond Theme do this classic theme no favors! it feels so terribly tired. I would rather have Eric Serra who composed Goldeneye and who gave us the most profound action score I think I have ever heard. If only Arnold could create music that was so different to anything we had heard before, for example Serra's choice and use of instruments is breathtaking. Perhaps Arnold is trapped in a no win situation creatively. These two Bond producers seem hell bent on churning out films that are the same over and over again. The recent music sums up how I see these two producers - "we're bringing Bond back to Fleming's Bond"!! all cynical hype and hiding what they really mean. . . which is that we have said this in the past and got away with it. We are and have been creatively bankrupt and we don't know what else we can do.



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kingdomcome
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kingdomcome
David Arnold   Thursday, December 21, 2006 (11:49 p.m.) 

I have a feeling that Arnold's strength may well be in the John Barry school of composition - although my guess is he won't develop it fully until he is more mature/much older. The Bond/Elektra snow scene cue from TWINE is an excellent example of where I think Arnold should steer to. I think he concentrates too often in areas that most composers could easily achieve with eyes and hands bound.



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G.K.
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  In Response to:
Brendan Anderson
Re: John Barry tribute   Friday, December 8, 2006 (5:35 p.m.) 

> Oh I wouldn't say that at all. Arnold's style is unmistakable at this
> point. There are elements of his writing that run throughout all his
> different genres...you can hear it most often in his accompaniment figures
> such as:

> -His melodic layering is his most telling characteristic. No matter what
> is happening in the melody or accompaniment, it always involves some form
> of melodic theme or motif. Almost more than any other film composer
> working today, Arnold maintains melody all throughout his writing and also
> layers melodies on top of melodies to create a very "busy"
> sound.

I wouldn't call melodic writing an exclusive Arnold- trademark. It is a pity that not more composers do it, but that doesn't automatically make it a unique trademark.


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SomeGuy
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l.ca)

  In Response to:
Brendan Anderson
Re: John Barry tribute   Thursday, February 15, 2007 (5:35 p.m.) 

> Oh I wouldn't say that at all. Arnold's style is unmistakable at this
> point. There are elements of his writing that run throughout all his
> different genres...you can hear it most often in his accompaniment figures
> such as:

> -His melodic layering is his most telling characteristic. No matter what
> is happening in the melody or accompaniment, it always involves some form
> of melodic theme or motif. Almost more than any other film composer
> working today, Arnold maintains melody all throughout his writing and also
> layers melodies on top of melodies to create a very "busy"
> sound.

> -His frequent use of the minor i chord to minor iii chord progression
> (heard serving as villain music throughout Independence Day, Godzilla, Die
> Another Day, Stargate, etc. etc.)

> -His rhythmic fanfare figure (heard most prominently in the opening
> trumpet fanfare of the Independence Day End Credits - shows up also in
> little accompaniment figures in The Stepford Wives, The Musketeer,
> Stargate, his Bond scores, etc.)

> -His rhythmic emphasis on beats 1 and 2 of each measure or sometimes beat
> 1 in eighth notes (i.e. opening guitar riff of You Know My Name, the
> entire rhythmic structure of Pipeline from The World is Not Enough,
> emphasis of beat 2 thoughout Indpendence Day's action cues, etc.)

> -His sweeping melodic style (very similar melodic figures can be heard in
> the romantic cues of Last of the Dogmen, Enough and [bleep!] Royale among
> others)

> All of these are huge aspects of the style that makes up David Arnold's
> writing. I would recommend listening a little closer to the various scores
> of his career to hear how this style plays out.

> -Brendan

Thanks for explaining. Otherwise, I used to get annoyed when ppl used to say that Arnold is copying Barry all the way.


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SomeGuy
(bas4-toronto12-1088720971.dsl.bel
l.ca)

  In Response to:
Eric
Arnold has his own style   Thursday, February 15, 2007 (5:33 p.m.) 

> I enjoyed how David Arnold paid homage to John Barry by making the score
> sound like his old mentor's work. The thing with Arnold though is that he
> doesn't have much of a style of his own.

Arnold has his own style. Arnold's music sounds more bombastic than Barry. Barry certainly provided the edge to Bond music, but he also sounded delicate in the action cues. Arnold does not have Barry's delicacy. Perhaps, he has his own brand of delicacy (which can be heard in the early parts of "Miami International" with some electronic samplings which do not sound like Barry). Compared to Barry, his action cues sound more forceful, more like a "BAM! BAM! BAM!" thing. I hope you understand what I am saying. Arnold also gives a kind of electronic edge. As far as love themes and the James Bond theme goes, I dont really think there is any other classy way to score it other than going the way of John Barry. It is what that has made Bond scores a big standout. Arnold just arranges the orchestra in a way like Barry did to his Bond scores. This is the only similarity I can find. If you check out other scores like Stargate or Independence day, you will find that Arnold has his own style.



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