One of the vital aspects of the James Bond series success was the music. The big, bold Bond action theme, the 007 intro at the start, the memorable title songs - they were great pieces of music, which are instantly recognisable. And synonymous with these great tunes, which are still being used in the series today, over 40 years later, is the name of John Barry, the composer, who created a huge legacy of film music.
One thing that distinguishes Barry's work, to my mind, is that the film scores can be listened to in isolation from the film. And so it is here. This is an album of orchestral music that is in turns stirring, romantic, martial and flighty. There are regular themes and motifs appearing throughout, associated with particular characters, but not knowing anything of the film does not diminish the litening pleasure. Compare this with, for example, the Italian Job soundtrack which requires a good knowledge of the film, and you will see what I mean. It is almost a symphony for Bond.
Added into the mix is a superb vocal track, delivered by the incomparable Matt Monroe. Along with Bassey's Goldfinger I consider this to be one of the finest Bond theme songs.
This is an excellent release from EMI. The sound comes through as clear as crystal and as sharp as a pin. There is a short booklet with a few notes, but this is largely disposable. As another reviewer has noted, not all of the tracks are lifted directly from the film, some are contemporary alternative recordings. But this does not really detract from the set, it is instantly recognisable as the from Russia With Love soundtrack for anyone familiar with the film. My one small niggle is that there is no dialogue from the film. Barry's music stands up very well by itself, but I would have liked the odd classic line thrown in That's not enough to stop me giving this excellent release of some excellent music 5 stars though.