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The accounts of each score read more like music reviews than music analysis
on 12 December 2014
I should have expected to see more detail concerning the music itself. If, as the author maintains, the James Bond scores are significant as music, not only in terms of their place in popular cultural history, we should have been granted information as to key, harmonies, chord and tone, detailed orchestration and recording techniques. The accounts of each score read more like music reviews than music analysis. The author generally describes what is apparent to most enthusiasts of the music (the principal market for the book, presumably). One might have expected to see the odd snippet of music manuscript. Compare with Wilfrid Mellors's account of Beatles music where technical musical analysis was presented in such a way as to be accessible and interesting to non-composers/musicians. There is much entertaining information into issues surrounding the production of the Bond films and the book is well written - a mercy given the repetitive nature of series production. But with a book published by OUP devoted to the music, I think a more mature assessment of the creative originality of John Barry in particular was vital, but in my view largely absent. Too much showbiz, not enough music. A little disappointing.