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4.5 out of 5 stars
Moonraker (Soundtrack)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 April 2010
What a cracker of a soundtrack...I know that when compared to other Bond films like Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Casino Royale that Moonraker is weak enough (I still liked the film though!) But its soundtrack is certainly up there as one of the best.
My favorite has to be track 7, 'Bond arrives in Rio' it comprises of the moonraker theme played in a samba style and then it jumps to an old reliable 'On Her Majesties Secret Service' played at a slower tempo. Also 'flight into space' truly conveys the void of space..in a bond kinda way! I bought the CD instead of download as its good value and you always have a hard copy backup, also you can import it into itunes on the highest bit rate to give excellent audio quality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2002
The soundtrack to this bond epic is typical of the type of scores being composed by John Barry in the mid to late 1970s. Along with the Black Hole and Raise the Titanic his scores throughout this soundtrack are quite thought provoking. The film in its day was greatly overshadowed by Star Wars and the like , however, the music is great. Shirley Bassey gives her best performance in the main title and the 'Bond arrives in Rio' tune is much in keeping with Roger Moore's typically charming yet deadly portrayal of 007. If you like Bond buy it, if you like great driving music buy it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 July 2011
A truly great film soundtrack, whimsical title track with Shirley Bassey in more restrained mood, plush strings, operatic drama with the space segments and two fantastic tracks in particular stand out: Bond Arrives In Rio and the end title with a light disco twist. Barry at his best, this ranks with his other great soundtracks like King Kong and Raise The Titanic of a similar period and musical style. Comes with a nice booklet with info on the film and music plus photos.
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on 15 January 2011
Whether you loved or hated Moonraker you can't deny one thing, the score for this film has to be one of John Barry's most powerful and in some parts darkest scores. If you haven't seen this film you could quite easily listen to flight into space and actually close your eyes and imagine you are indeed flying through space! Unfortunately due to the score being recorded in France there are missing pieces of music like the Moonraker shuttle being hijacked. Whether this ever makes it onto a future soundtrack release I don't know but if you like classical music, or your a Bond or Barry fan then add this to your soundtrack collection.
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on 13 April 2013
This has some of John Barry's best musical moments in. Its stylistically a little like "The Black Hole", which was a disappointing film with a great soundtrack. Moonraker has some brilliantly evolving strings sections in, with John Barry's trademark block brass chords under the strings. The theme song inevitably feels a little dated now, but the orchestral sections of the score are well worth having. My only disappointment was the length of the soundtrack - just a little too short for what I hoped. Still, John Barry's music is brilliant in this soundtrack and I am glad I bought it.
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