David Arnold first came to the attention of the public through his work on Stargate and Independence Day which were hugely successful box-office hits. Arnold scored both of these using large traditional orchestral forces, in full heroic mode. This must also have impressed the producers of the James Bond franchise, since David Arnold was then asked to take over the mantle of resident Bond composer from John Barry. This is not an easy task since Barry has been scoring Bond Music for decades, and his broad sound is now very closely associated with the series. However Arnold has taken the essential elements of Bond and updated them for the 90s and beyond, by incorporating driving rock rhythms and the use of today's technology in the production.
To underline his place as the new Bond man, but at the same time to pay his respects to the work of John Barry, Arnold put much effort into his "James Bond project". This resulted in the "Shaken and Stirred" album containing many favourite classical bond theme-songs updated and arranged by Arnold and sung by a variety of well-known singers or groups, including Leftfield, Pulp, Chrissie Hynde, Propellerheads and Iggy Pop. A "making of" TV programme was created during the recording of this album and you may be able to catch this on TV at some point. Arnold has now done the soundtracks for Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, "Die Another Day" (with Madonna singing the title theme and appearing in a small on-screen cameo), Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. The action music is very techno at times, but the familar Bond landmarks are still there.
Though he worked with a number of singers on his "James Bond project", he has also collaborated with artists on their own songs. Notable examples of this include his work with Bjork on the hit song "Play Dead", and a song for Natasha and Daniel Bedingfield. Recently Arnold was awarded an "Academy Fellowship" by BASCA, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, who own and host the Ivor Novello Awards. The award was presented by Bond lyricist Don Black who is also a Fellow at BASCA, with Matt Lucas and David Walliams from the TV series "Little Britain" in attendence. Arnold's score for Casino Royale ignores the techno trend of recent years to go back to the largely acoustic basics of the earlier films. Stylistically everything "Bond" is there except the main theme which is only briefly hinted at until the end titles where Bond becomes the James Bond that we all know. The "Casino Royale" soundtrack is available at these links: Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
Arnold seems to be a very busy man. He was one of the judges in the Audi Reel Talent Award, where the winning films were shown in London in September 2007. Then he was working with the Kaiser Chiefs in the BBC Electric Proms in October. In another connection with Bond Music Arnold produced the latest Shirley Bassey album called "The Performance" in 2009. This is still receiving rave reviews and is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. David is also an active supporter of "Care International", and has organised concerts to raise funds for the charity. The 2010 "Concert for Care" was a major event, with a fantastic line-up to today's top film composers taking part.
Like many soundtracks these days, David Arnold's original score for "Made in Dagenham" is not getting a CD release, but is available to download at Amazon.co.uk. If you're looking for it in other online stores, be careful you don't order the song album by mistake! However "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" most definitely has a soundtrack CD release - check our Soundtrack Review for details. Two Series of Sherlock both jointly composed by David Arnold and Michael Price are so far available on CD. Sherlock Series 1 is at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, while Sherlock Series 2 is at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. Sheet Music from Sherlock (for piano solo, or violin and piano) is available from the Michael Price website.
In addition to his ongoing work on Sherlock, David Arnold has been busy this past 2 years working on the music for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Specifically, his role was that of Musical Director for the Closing Ceremony and for the Paralympics, and unfortunately that meant that he was not available to score the new Bond film "Skyfall" and Thomas Newman has scored that instead. However his work on the Olympics has been spectactular - see our review of A Symphony of British Music, a double album of music from the Olympic Closing Ceremony. This includes some heroic tracks by David Arnold and music by so many popular artists selected by Arnold. In a new departure for the composer, a stage musical version of "Made in Dagenham" has now been announced.
The "Shaken and Stirred" album is an excellent introduction to the work of David Arnold including cover versions of Diamonds are Forever, Moonraker, Thunderball, Live and Let Die and a short but truly amazing version of From Russia with Love sung by Natacha Atlas. (See the amazon links below for more details.) One track recorded as part of the project but not for some reason included on the album is You Only Live Twice - sung by Bjork. Piano sheet music is available called "Themes from Independence Day" from International Music Publications, including Flyers' Theme, Presidential Theme, Hiller's Theme and the Alien Attack Theme all integrated into a overture for piano solo.
The David Arnold official website is at www.davidarnold.com.
Here are some CD covers signed by David Arnold. Our thanks to Petr Kocanda for permission to use his collection of autographed CDs. Click any thumbnail to see the image full size in a separate window.