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Friday September 20, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday September 20, 2013 MYT 9:18:44 AM
by revathi murugappan
The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra being conducted by symphonic pops conductor Michael Krajewski.
Music and movies, especially spy thrillers, always go together.
WHEN John Barry and Monty Norman came up with the James Bond Theme back in 1962, they had no idea it would leave a lasting impression or become the opening track for every future Bond movie.
Six different actors have played the role of James Bond in 23 movies and the one thing that binds them is the music, which is associated with espionage. It has also inspired and paved the way for other compositions to be written for spy thrillers.
Last weekend, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) paid tribute to the music of James Bond and several detective movies. Under the batonship of symphonic pops conductor Michael Krajewski, the orchestra took us on a musical ride to celebrate some of the greatest mysteries on celluloid.
Each incarnation of Bond, starting from Sean Connery in Dr No to Daniel Craig in Skyfall, has given us a look at how to live the high life, one of sophistication and grace, but far from gentle. Likewise, the music has an air of suspense, with all the elements that spice up the character all women love – dangerous, classy, sexy, cheeky, incorrigible, flirty and fun.
The MPO started off with the signature theme before launching into From Russia With Love and You Only Live Twice. It set the mood for the evening when more dramatic scores were introduced.
To add a touch of Shirley Bassey (Barry’s favourite diva who sang in three Bond movies) to the night, soprano and Tony award winner Debbie Gravitte provided the vocals for some of the themes, namely, Diamonds Are Forever, The World Is Not Enough, Goldfinger, Skyfall and Sooner Or Later from Dick Tracy.
Her rendition of Goldfinger, probably the most recognised Bond film song, was flawless and the orchestra swelled to accommodate her soaring vocals.
To deviate from the Bond themes but in keeping in line with Secret Agent 007’s usage of high tech gizmos, the MPO embarked on the lighthearted Concerto For Cell Phone. The ring tone of the cell phone had to be timed perfectly with the orchestra and although the ringtone seemed pre-recorded, percussionist Timothy Peters was entertaining in his portrayal as a cellphonist.
As Krajewski so eloquently stated: “It is the fusing of art and technology in a meaningless way.”
The second half of the musical espionage continued with other spy thriller themes before Bond was reintroduced. I especially enjoyed the theme from Austin Powers (Soul Bossa Nova) composed by Quincy Jones. With a tint of Brazilian cool, the music brought to mind hilarious images of Powers and Mini Me.
Later on, the audience was treated to the less familiar Inspector Clouseau Theme from Pink Panther. Knowing that the audience would be more acquainted with the title score from Pink Panther, Krajewski led the MPO to play it and immediately, faces lit up.
To cap the night, Gravitte performed Skyfall, originally sung by Adele, who beautifully captured the essence of the movie. Gravitte, also an actress cum singer was no Adele but her delivery was pretty impressive. Though not as raspy, her voice projected passion and emotion.
The MPO then concluded with a selection of Bond favourites including The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, Live And Let Die, Thunderball and The Look of Love (from the Bond parody film, Casino Royale).
Clearly, the majority in the crowd, including this writer, were Bond fans and knew every tune.
For the encore, Krajewski led the orchestra in his arrangement of Mission Impossible. Anytime, the MPO plays a tribute to the movies, its mission is always possible.
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Lifestyle, Entertainment, James Bond, Music, MPO, Movies
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