David Arnold - the new Bond composer

David Arnold: Independence Day soundtrack CD cover 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. Though perhaps Arnold had his sights on another franchise because he put together a further calling card, his "James Bond Project" resulting in the album "Shaken and Stirred" which respected the work of long-time Bond composer John Barry yet updated and arranged his well-known classic Bond theme-songs and persuaded a variety of singers oand groups, including Leftfield, Pulp, Chrissie Hynde, Propellerheads and Iggy Pop to record songs for the album. The resulting album impressed Barry who (unknown to Arnold) wanted to leave the Bond franchise and he recommended Arnold to the Broccoli family the Bond producers.

David Arnold: Stargate soundtrack CD cover A "making of" TV programme was created during the recording of this album which has beenbroadcast on TV, and it is worth checking this out if you can. It was certainly not an easy task to take over from Barry and update and replace his classic Bond Sound. Yet he was asked to and delivered a new Bond Sound which built on the original classic Bond sound using its essential elements, incorporating driving rock rhythms and the use of today's technology in the production. The result works very well indeed. 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), back-to-basics reboot of Casino Royale and its sequel Quantum of Solace. The action music is very techno at times, but the familar Bond landmarks are still there.

David Arnold: Casino Royale soundtrack CD cover 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.

David Arnold announces the 2010 Concert for Care 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.

David Arnold and Michael Price: Sherlock Series 1 soundtrack CD cover 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. Series 3 & 4 are also now available. Sheet Music from Sherlock (for piano solo, or violin and piano) is available from the Michael Price website.

David Arnold: A Symphony of British Music - double CD album cover In addition to his ongoing work on Sherlock, David Arnold had a very busy period while 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", though director Sam Mendes brought in Thomas Newman with whom he had previously worked. Nevertheless Arnold's track "The Name's Bond... James Bond" was used on both Skyfall and Spectre. Arnold's 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 been conceived and its world premiere took place in London's West End in 2014.

In recent years Arnold has been busy in the world of television, often working with co-composer Michael Price. We have had "Jekyll and Hyde" and additional series of "Sherlock", with the Steven Moffat/Mark Gatiss pair also creating "Dracula". Arnold has also featured as the sole composer for the BBC/Amazon long anticipated series Good Omens based on the Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman novel.

Films by David Arnold:

    David Arnold: Last of the Dogmen soundtrack CD cover
  • The Young Americans
  • Last of the Dogmen - a conventional orchestral score movingly depicting wilderness and the mysterious ways of the native americans who lived there
  • Stargate - by turns dark and mysterious, then uplifting and heroic
  • Independence Day - exciting stuff, effortlessly moving from gung-ho heroics with bits of pomp and circumstance to the nasty un-American aliens!
  • A Life Less Ordinary
  • The Visitor
  • Tomorrow Never Dies - new composer on the Bond scene
  • Godzilla - though the soundtrack album is mainly songs with only a few tracks by Arnold
  • The World is Not Enough - now confirmed as resident Bond composer
  • Wing Commander - main theme, with the film scored by Kevin Kiner
  • Shaft - the recent remake, which extensively uses the original Isaac Hayes theme and similar sounds
  • The Musketeer
  • Zoolander - some small sections of underscore between the song tracks including a starring role for Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax"
  • David Arnold: Tomorrow Never Dies soundtrack CD cover
  • Changing Lanes
  • Die Another Day - 3rd of Arnold's Bond films, with much Techno and Madonna
  • The Stepford Wives (2004) - the remake has lots of female voices and strings
  • Grindhouse
  • Amazing Grace - a traditional accoustic orchestral score for this story based on William Wilberforce's campaign against slavery; Wilberforce is mentored and supported by John Newton (played by Albert Finney) who wrote the lyrics for Amazing Grace
  • Stoned
  • Casino Royale (2006) - a "back to basics" score in the original John Barry jazz mold, with only brief hints of the Bond theme until the End Titles
  • Hot Fuzz - a lot of quick changes of tone, but a chance to play to various genre conventions
  • Quantum of Solace - with the theme song being a duet sung by Alicia Keys and Jack White
  • Made in Dagenham - the original film and now the stage musical
  • Morning Glory
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - picking up the story after "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" and "Prince Caspian" by Harry Gregson-Williams
  • Paul - some nice elements of pastiche, but the best track is an arrangement of John Williams' Cantina Band from Star Wars played by "Syd Masters and the Swing Riders"
  • The Inbetweeners 2 - Arnold working again with Michael Price (Sherlock) for this sequel film set in Australia
  • Independence Day: Resurgence - Arnold's original themes are re-used on this sequel scored by Harald Kloser and Thomas Wanker

TV Themes and Music by David Arnold:

  • Stargate SG-1 - Arnold's movie theme was re-used on the TV Series, with the incidental music written mostly by Joel Goldsmith (son of Jerry Goldsmith) and Neal Acree
  • Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) - theme for BBC remake with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, much of the incidental music provided by current Doctor Who composer Murray Gold
  • BBC Hall of Fame: Barbara Windsor
  • Doctor Who audio adventures - not strictly music for TV but based on a TV show, Arnold does a simple back-to-basics arrangement of the familiar Doctor Who theme composed by Ron Grainer
  • Little Britain - creating the stately theme and acting as resident composer for this comedy series featuring the voice of Tom Baker (are we seeing a pattern here?)
  • Sherlock - Sherlock Holmes updated to today's London by Steven Moffat, David Arnold shares the music credits with Michael Price (who recently scored the TV movie "The First Men in the Moon") due to time pressures - one theme seems to have a bohemian quality as per Zimmer's music for the Guy Ritchie movie Sherlock Holmes, though most of Arnold's music was written before the movie for a BBC pilot
  • Stiller & Meara
  • Come Fly With Me - keeping up his association with the Little Britain team
  • The Tractate Middoth - with Michael Price, in a production featuring many Doctor Who and Sherlock actors and crew
  • Jekyll and Hyde - again working with Michael Price, in a largely and large orchestral score
  • Good Omens - the TV series based on the Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman Novel
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea - animation short based on the book by Judith Kerr
  • Dracula - lots of atmospheric music co-composed with Michael Price

David Arnold - Recommendations:

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.

David Arnold - Memorabilia:

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.

David Arnold: Amazing Grace - signed CD David Arnold: Casino Royale - signed CD David Arnold: Godzilla - signed CD David Arnold: Independence Day - signed CD David Arnold: Last of the Dogmen - signed CD David Arnold: Paul - signed CD David Arnold: The Chronicles of Narnia - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - signed CD David Arnold: The Chronicles of Narnia - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Alt) - signed CD
David Arnold: The Musketeer - signed CD David Arnold: Tomorrow Never Dies - signed CD Kevin Kiner (score) & David Arnold (theme): Wing Commander - signed CD David Arnold: Shaken and Stirred - signed CD David Arnold: Die Another Day - signed CD David Arnold: Die Another Day (German) - signed CD David Arnold: Stargate - signed CD David Arnold: Quantum of Solace - signed CD David Arnold: The World Is Not Enough - signed CD