Every time a new James Bond film is released, fans know there are certain things they can expect: a star who looks great in a tux, beautiful women, amazing gadgets, and a memorable title song.
When the series turned 50 in 2012, it occurred to Michael Krajewski, Principal Pops Conductor of the Houston, Atlanta and Jacksonville Symphonies, that a program of Bond music was something that orchestras might be interested in performing. “And quite a few orchestras did,” he says by phone from Florida. “But much to my surprise, three years later orchestras are still very interested in programming this.” One of those is the Buffalo Philharmonic, where Krajewski will be the guest conductor for “Bond and Beyond: 50 Years Of 007” on Saturday, May 2.
Though he wasn’t a huge Bond fan at the time, “I thought if I’m going to put on this program I needed to know about James Bond to know what I’m talking about. So I bought the DVD box set, watched all of them, watched all the extras, and now I know much more about James Bond movies than I ever thought I would in my life.”
The program will combine songs sung by soprano Debbie Gravitte with orchestral arrangements of lesser-known pieces of the film scores. “From Goldfinger we use the music that comes toward the end of the film when they’re spraying Fort Knox down with the gas that puts the troops to sleep. And we have a new piece that strings together music from chase scenes. It’s music that people probably won’t recognize because it’s in the background while the action is going on, but it’s is really very compelling.”
While the show will feature other Bond composers (and some non-Bond tunes, including the themes from Dick Tracy, Austin Powers and The Pink Panther), expect lots of John Barry, who Krajewski credits with establishing the Bond “sound.” “He established the parameters: the jazziness of the music, the minor keys and angular melodies, that dark, lush sound.”