by Mike Telin
You can argue whether Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, or Daniel Craig made the best James Bond, but one thing is certain: Ian Fleming’s character is super cool.
Fans of 007 anticipate the release of each new film to see what forces of evil the British Intelligence Officer will thwart, but their iconic theme songs are a big part of what makes Bond films so special.
On Saturday, November 12 at 8:00 pm at Severance Hall, the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, under the direction of Carl Topilow, will present “The Name is Bond…James Bond!” The evening’s special guest will be singer, actor, and comedian Rachel York.
“Rachel’s a great Broadway performer, and an absolutely delightful person,” Carl Topilow said during a telephone conversation. “She’s had quite a career, and we’re looking forward to having her with us.”
In addition to Monty Norman’s James Bond Theme, which has been a constant since the 1962 film Dr. No, the evening will include Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, and Moonraker, all made famous by Shirley Bassey, as well as A View to A Kill (Duran Duran), You Only Live Twice (Nancy Sinatra), Die Another Day (Madonna), and From Russia with Love (Matt Monro).
Topilow noted that many of the Bond songs have won or been nominated for Academy Awards for Best Original Song. Some of those that will be featured on Saturday’s concert include Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die, Carly Simon’s Nobody Does It Better, Sheena Easton’s For Your Eyes Only, Adele’s Skyfall, and Sam Smith’s Writing’s on the Wall.
When asked if he has a top-five list of Bond songs, Topilow said that he thinks they’re all pretty good. “I do like Live and Let Die, and Nobody Does it Better — which was written by Marvin Hamlisch. I worked with him a couple of years ago, and that song is very special to me.”
Topilow noted that the evening’s playlist is not made up only of Bond songs. “There are a couple of non-Bond tunes from detective movies, like the song Sooner or Later from Dick Tracy — another Madonna tune, this one written by Stephen Sondheim, so you know it’s going to be special. The theme from Peter Gunn is also cool — there’s a great section for jazz solos that will feature Paul Ferguson and Jack Schantz. Maybe I’ll break out my clarinet and join them, but I’m not sure what the best Bond color would be,” said Topilow, who is known for his multi-hued collection of clarinets.
Like Bond, who favored Savile Row suits, Topilow is keen on looking good. “The first Cleveland Pops concert is always exciting because I get to wear a new Joseph Scafidi jacket. This one is really stunning.”
To conclude our conversation, I asked Carl Topilow if he has a favorite Bond actor. “I don’t know,” he said, “but I do like Daniel Craig.”
Published on ClevelandClassical.com November 7, 2016.
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