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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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For me, the essence of a good James Bond soundtrack has always been synonymous with the name of the composer John Barry. After his soundtrack for "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", that to "Moonraker" has had pride of place in my affections. Whether it was due to a sudden discovery or exploration of the symphonies of Bruckner or Mahler, his work for "Moonraker" is signified by many instances of low sustained brass chords.

As for the theme song, Shirley Bassey returned for her third and final vocal contribution in the opening track, her words floating in the air like the shuttle above the Earth. `I've seen your smile in a thousand dreams, ...' Why was this not a big hit?

"Space Lazer (sic) Battle" follows on this CD, a slow march with brass, snare drum and choir, as well as full strings, and some subtle electronic sounds too. The sound quality on the transfer is not as good as expected, the performance being muffled in places. "Miss Goodhead Meets Bond" is a slow version of the graceful title track; it segues into a nocturnal suspense. Repeated rising notes remind me again of Bruckner, and alas, once again the sound quality of the transfer to disc is poor, especially at the very end.

"Cable Car And Snake Fight" is full of suspense. A trumpet theme on a bed of sustained brass and strings segues into another march, again heavy on the brass and with snare drum. "Bond Lured To Pyramid" has a romantic other-worldly feel, sustained notes again in the choir. Woodwind imitate birdcalls, there are harp glissandi, and strings play an upwards figure that conveys us to heaven at the end by means of a rise of an octave.

The longest track (at six-and-a-half minutes) is the majestic "Flight Into Space". The introduction is like a Bruckner chorale. There is a marvellous trumpet call over a Bond signature riff played in the strings. When the trombones take the trumpet theme and move downwards, the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end: it is a magical moment. And yet the sound quality is really bad at times, worse than my old LP. Have I been sold a pirate copy?

As you would imagine "Bond Arrives In Rio & Boat Chase" is replete with Brazilian rhythms accompanying the main Moonraker theme in an upbeat arrangement. The boat-chase theme is a reworking of one that John Barry has used before in a previous Bond movie. Brass and strings alternate between providing the main theme and providing the rhythmic accompaniment. It is very effective, and a shame it ends so early.

"Centrifuge And Corrinne Put Down" combines sustained low strings and brass, but the harp plucks ominously as the strings play faster and faster and higher and higher. The woodwinds swirl in chaos and confusion but are silenced by brass chords that indicate the deed is done. The plucked harp at the end is fatefully reminiscent. The following track is "Bond Smells A Rat" and is again quietly menacing: sustained brass and a four-note rising figure alternates with sustained woodwinds indicating the clinical atmosphere inside the lab. The ensuing death scene is very Mahlerian.

And finally we have the end-titles, a disco version of the main theme with Shirley Bassey strutting her stuff.

Alas, with only 31 minutes of music, many might scoff at purchasing this worthy CD. And the quality is really bad in places. But the music is so wonderfully atmospheric, so imaginatively composed and arranged, that I would be loathe to go without this wonderfully evocative example of a brilliant soundtrack.
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on 13 February 2016
I'm a general fan of the Bond series, but Moonraker is one of the very few entries that I can't enjoy as a movie: having read the original book and seen the grounded realism of entries like The Living Daylights, Moonraker seems totally out of place and campy. The one part of the movie I do like, the music, is wonderfully presented here. John Barry seems in fine form, using an orchestral that sharply contrasts other Bond films of the time. Highlights include the ethereal "Bond Lured to Pyramid" and the six-minute "Flight into Space". There aren't any heart-pumping tunes here, only gentle melodic pieces intended for rest.

At least one other review of this release noted poor or inconsistent sound quality, but for me the quality is more than adequate. Many may be disappointed that there are not more tracks on the album, but the truth is that several tracks in the film itself were either recycled from Barry's earlier Bond work or were from classical pieces and film scores. For its current price (just under ten pounds), it is a little dear for something over half an hour. Wait for it to drop to about half that price, and this will be a worthy edition to any movie score collection. A short and sweet taste of Barry's work, separated from the inferior product it was made for.
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on 20 September 2000
Despite Bond going up into space the soundtrack, at least, remains firmly on the ground. Mr. Barry returns to produce his ninth score for the series in a more laid-back style to compliment the film's style. Also back for another shot was Shirley Bassey, doing her third title theme for the series.
The main title is a much slower affair to usual... Ms Bassey doesn't even have to shout, and is in keeping with the trend set by the last film. The song is reprised in a more speedy, discoesque way over the end titles, in line with the music of the time.
"Flight Into Space" is perhaps the most haunting theme of this soundtrack, lasting for over six minutes, covering the whole journey between Drax's Amazonian lair and the Space Station. Almost as involved is "Centrifuge And Corrine Put Down" where Bond is nearly killed and Corrine is actually killed.
Other goodies include "Space Lazer Battle" and "Bond Arrives In Rio And Boat Chase", the latter half of the latter song being a reprise of the "007" song, providing a small link between this most modern of Bonds and those of yesteryear.
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on 23 June 2015
I cannot add anything to all what has been said in the other reviews - but want to emphasize the very poor sound quality of this disc, compared to the other bond soundtrack cds (DAF and OHMSS are truly fantastic). Come on MGM, you NEED to do better - problem is where are those master tapes??????
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on 25 September 2015
Superb soundtrack and I love the way the Amazon chase uses the OHMSS theme as its basis. The space cues, especially the reveal of the station for the first time, are majestic and the choir fills out the music beautifully.
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on 17 May 2014
I am very much a John Barry admirer and find him to have been one of today's foremost composers.The Moonraker CD is played in my car quite a lot as I find all of the tracks simply wonderful. Moonraker was the best Bond film with the best Bond ( Roger Moore )and the best music.
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on 3 February 2011
Although "Moonraker" is generally regarded to be one of the weaker movies in the Bond series the score is defiantly amongst it's best ! Moonraker for me would easily rank in the top 3 Barry Bond scores of all time along with "Diamonds are forever" and "The Living daylights" After taking a break from scoring "The Spy who loved me" due to being a tax exile in the UK which prevented Barry from scoring the film in London, Barry was invited back by Cubby Broccoli to score the next bond movie in "Moonraker" (this largely due to the production being based in Paris which allowed Barry to return to the series) and it's definitely one of his best Bond scores. At a lean running time of 31 mins it's a little lighter on music than some of the other Barry Bond scores but it's not about quantity it's about quality and every cue on the album is just sublime ! from the majesty of "Flight into space", the exciting "Cable car and snake fight" and the "Space lazer battle" the great music just keeps coming! Some of Barry's scores would be somewhat repetitive, repeating themes and motifs too many times but "Moonraker proves to be different and every cue is highly melodic but doesn't overuse the use of the movies theme tune or the bond theme. Shirley Bassey returns for her final Bond outing delivering a vocal on one of the most underrated Bond theme tunes in my opinion. You also get the disco version which i think actually works slightly better, the choice is yours though.

The only downside though is that this re-master isn't that good and is a lot poorer than the other Bond remasters in the series, the sound quailty can be somewhat muddy on occasions, it depends on which cue your listening to. Pretty disappointing really as some of the other one's are of a much higher quality.

John Barry's theme's and motifs are still being used as a template to this day by composer David Arnold who has scored most of the Bond movies since they returned in 1995. Truly one of England's finest film composers.

A great loss to the industry. RIP John
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on 30 May 2002
Which 007 soundtrack album doesn't contain any hint of the James Bond Theme? Answer:Moonraker.
Apart from this oversight it's a very good album.
The title song is the only real let-down. It's too slow paced and Shirley Bassey seemed an odd choice given that this song didn't make any great use of her vocal power, but at least the shorter End Title version has a quicker disco style beat.
Unusually for Barry, the main theme isn't woven much throughout the score making appearances in 'Miss Goodhead Meets Bond' as a love theme and 'Bond Arrives In Rio'. 'Bond Lured To Pyramid' is a lovely choir track that seems a bit out of place in this score, but it's worth being there for the change of pace.
The tracks 'Cable Car & Snake Fight', 'Centrifuge & Corrine Put Down' and 'Bond Smells A Rat' are typical Barry suspense pieces, slow insistant build up to a powerful climax, with the latter being the best of the tracks with its deep growling brass and strings.
An old favourite returns on the track 'Boat Chase' - it's a version of Barry's own 007 Theme.
The two best tracks are 'Space Laser Battle' (oddly sequenced as track 2) and the real standout track in 'Flight Into Space'. This is a 6 1/2 minute tour-de-force from Barry ranging from a beautiful melody to dramatic brass as Bond gets his first sight of the space station and using some gentle choir work as with 'Bond Lured To Pyramid' to describe the beauty of space. It conjours up the image of a space flight perfectly.
Alas, not for the first time with a Bond album, it's the missing music that frustrates you. Where is the music used during the pre-credit scene where Bond and Jaws fall from a plane without a parachute? This contained the Bond Theme in a great arrangement.
Still, that inevitable gripe aside, this is good and varied listening. Definately recommended for the 'Flight Into Space' track alone.
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on 21 July 2012
Although people debate over this James Bond Film, John Barry delivers a great soundtrack. Although not up there with OHMSS etc it still has some great late 70's period pieces such as Space Battle and the disco version of the soundtrack. No extra tracks :( like some of the other Bond CD's.
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on 10 September 2002
Moonraker is one of the three or four most under-rated Bond films. Whether you like it or loathe it, the soundtrack shouldn't polarise opinion - it is outstanding and in parts quite breath-taking.
You would never guess that 'Flight into Space' is not a classical piece of music in its own right - a swooping, building concerto, it evokes the solemnity and majesty of space.
The title track is quite simply superb - again under-rated but a beautifully written love song for which Barry should be proud.
The rest of the soundtrack album is of equally high quality - my one criticism being that it should be longer.
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