The Spy Who Loved Me: The Music of James Bond cover

The Spy Who Loved Me: The Music of James Bond

By


We want escapist entertainment with outlandish plots, big explosions and beautiful women. We want a man of action who could seduce the women, kill the bad guys and vanquish our fears. We want James Bond.
And since the films are hyperbolically intense from beginning to end, the songs, too, must be bold. A great Bond song must confront us with strong emotion, yet also tempt us with an ironic twist—like the twist of lemon in Bond’s martini.
It also helps to have a great vocalist with a signature voice to serve it up.
This NoteStream includes the complete Program Notes for the concert, and an introduction to tonight's Guest Artists.
To learn more about Music Director Carl St.Clair, click here.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars on 1 review

"Wow - wish I'd found these sooner! Much easier to read than the tiny print in the paper programs. Love that font change button!" 5 stars by




NoteStream NoteStream

NoteStreams are readable online but they’re even better in the free App!

The NoteStream™ app is for learning about things that interest you: from music to history, to classic literature or cocktails. NoteStreams are truly easy to read on your smartphone—so you can learn more about the world around you and start a fresh conversation.

For a list of all authors on NoteStream, click here.




Read the NoteStream below, or download the app and read it on the go!

Save to App


The Spy Who Loved Me: The Music of James Bond

Tonight's Program

Theme from Mission Impossible, Lalo Schifrin

Theme from Get Smart, Irving Szathmary

Theme from The Pink Panther, Henry Mancini

Theme from Alfred Hitchcock Presents (Funeral March of a Marionette), Charles Gounod

A View to a Kill, John Barry & Duran Duran, Scott Coulter

Windmills of Your Mind from The Thomas Crown Affair, Michel LeGrand, Scott Coulter

Against All Odds, Phil Collins, Scott Coulter

Sooner or Later from Dick Tracy, Stephen Sondheim, Sheena Easton

Whistling Away the Dark from, Darling Lili, Henry Mancini & Johnny Mercer, Sheena Easton

I Know Him So Well from Chess Benny Anderson, Bjorn Ulvaeus & Tim Rice, Sheena Easton

Separate Lives from White Nights, Stephen Bishop, Sheena Easton, Scott Coulter

INTERMISSION

Theme from Austin Powers (Soul Bossa Nova), Quincy Jones

Theme from The Saint, Edwin Astley

Theme from Charlie’s Angels, Jack Elliott & Allyn Ferguson

Pop Spy Medley:

“Private Eyes“ by Hall & Oates

“Hello“ by Lionel Richie

“Every Breath You Take“ by The Police, Scott Coulter

Mack the Knife, Kurt Weill Scott Coulter

Theme from James Bond, Monty Norman

Goldfinger, John Barry, Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley, Sheena Easton

Diamonds Are Forever, John Barry & Don Black, Sheena Easton

Skyfall, Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth, Sheena Easton

For Your Eyes Only, Bill Conti & Mick Leeson, Sheena Easton

Music for an Insouciant Hero

Espionage is as old as history. The first spy story that many of us learn, the biblical narrative of Samson and Delilah, is hardly the oldest.

But spies have a special affinity for the movies, and there is one fictional spy in particular—James Bond—who seems born for the silver screen. The devil-may-care 007 is the very model of the modern-day movie hero: handsome, insouciant, effortlessly sexy and seemingly indestructible. Everything about him is cinematic, from the impeccable cut of his bespoke suits (Savile Row, of course) to his sybaritic lifestyle, with its very dry, shaken-not-stirred martinis outnumbered only by beautiful women.

Timeless

Connery in Amsterdam in July 1971, recording for Diamonds are Forever. Image courtesy Dutch National Archives, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl

Timeless

Still going strong, the James Bond film franchise is by far the most durable in the history of the movies. It began more than half a century ago, but James himself doesn’t look a day older than—well, no age at all, really. Unflappably suave, he shows no signs of slowing down.

But the birth of James Bond is actually one of the more improbable events in British cultural history. It took place in 1952, when Ian Fleming wrote a book called Casino Royale that wove together the strands of his own rather checkered career.

At age 44, Fleming had been a journalist and stockbroker, and had worked in naval intelligence during World War II. But as his colleagues on Fleet Street might have said, he had not yet tried to “write long.“

Still, he showed a confident and highly original way with suspense narrative as he deployed the writing skills he developed: first at the aristocratic Eton College and later in studies in Germany and Austria, then professionally at the Reuters news agency.

Casino Royale

David Niven in Casino Royale, 1967. Public domain.

Casino Royale

Having worked directly for the director of Naval Intelligence in the Admiralty in London, his knowledge of intelligence operations and the wilder side of international espionage was keen. And even his background in the upper reaches of world finance came in handy as he situated the action of Casino Royale in glittering Monte Carlo, with Bond working elegantly under cover.

The fate of the world depended upon his ability to wear perfectly tailored clothes, hold his liquor, seduce beautiful women and play baccarat for stratospherically high stakes using other people’s money with casual effortlessness.

Like the spy game itself, the charismatic Mr. Bond seems always to have been with us. But what we now take for granted seemed startling in 1953, when he shattered the mold of British espionage fiction—just as the seemingly permanent verities of the British Empire had been shattered by the world wars.

Until then, the prototype of the proper British literary spy was Somerset Maugham’s character Ashenden—a shy, diffident playwright born as Edgar Brodie, later recruited to intelligence ops by a certain Colonel R. and given the name Ashenden as his cover.

In Ashenden’s world we can see a reverse template for Bond’s. Ian Fleming, aristocratic and well educated, arose from the same gentlemanly world as Somerset Maugham, and like Maugham he mined his own life and experience to create his fictional master spy.

But while Maugham gained his knowledge of espionage in World War I, Fleming’s Bond is a creature of the Cold War and the Atomic Age—a time when, as the writer Ed Sikov notes in his book about the film industry of the 1950s, Laughing Hysterically, moviegoers were deeply anxious about “the brute fact of the Korean War, the resulting boom in bomb shelters, and the nationwide dissemination of pamphlets about how to remain alive in a nuclear holocaust....“

When we went to the movies we took our nightmares with us. Ashenden’s manners, intellectualism and moral complexity seemed distant and irrelevant, and the world of Fleming’s great contemporary in espionage fiction—John le Carré—seemed way too serious, morally complex and drably real.

Goldeneye

UK cinema poster, Fair Use

Goldeneye

We wanted escapist entertainment with outlandish plots, big explosions and beautiful women. We wanted a man of action who could seduce the women, kill the bad guys and vanquish our fears. We wanted James Bond.

After the first couple of entries in the James Bond film franchise— From Russia with Love (1962) and Dr. No (1963)—it became clear that an iconic hit song should be part of agent 007’s standard equipment.

And since the films are hyperbolically intense from beginning to end, the songs, too, must be bold. A great Bond song must confront us with strong emotion, yet also tempt us with an ironic twist—like the twist of lemon in Bond’s martini.

It also helps to have a great vocalist with a signature voice to serve it up.

The Listener’s Guide to Bond’s World—and Bond Songs

If a song invites us to visit a musical world for a while, a Bond song takes us into a gleaming fantasy of romance and adventure.

Bond’s world is packed with action and populated by beautiful, eager women. The alcohol is copious, the gadgets ingenious and the epically evil bad guys bent on world domination. But ah, those women!

More than just looks, they also possess special skills that make them formidable antagonists or allies—expertise that suggests the possibility of other skills reserved for the bedroom.

Bond’s amazing gadgetry is most often lethal; though Fleming himself never owned an Aston Martin, he gave one to Bond and equipped it with rocket launchers and a passenger ejector seat.

Bond’s assignments and his fabulous gear are issued by his boss, M, most recently played by Dame Judi Dench in a prescient characterization that anticipates the icy competence of Angela Merkel and Theresa May, the new prime minister of Great Britain.

Shaken

Fair Use

Shaken

As for Bond’s famous martinis, “shaken, not stirred“ (no serious aficionado of fine spirits would actually shake them), killjoy academics calculate that Fleming’s narratives depict Bond consuming 1,150 units of alcohol in 88 days of work, an average of 92 units per week—four times the medically recommended maximum.

Then there are Bond’s weird, ruthless antagonists—villains who seem to think that world domination is the only salve for their wounded psyches. In the words of the English music-hall ditty, they kill for power because “Daddy never bought them a bow-wow.“

Now, about those songs: No pressure, Mr. or Ms. Composer, but a Bond song is expected to be a hit, with musical impact to match the movie’s spectacular action on the geopolitical battlefield and in the bedroom.

It takes a special kind of singer to provide this kind of gripping vocalism, and the biggest stars of the day have been recruited to the cause.

Some renditions have become iconic pop interpretations: Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger,“ Tom Jones’ “Thunderball,“ Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice“ and “Live and Let Die“ by Paul McCartney and Wings, to name just a few.

Our musical expectations click into gear and our detailed mental picture of Bond’s world automatically surrounds us with the first few notes of these songs. We know the musical ingredients: emotional intensity, dramatic phrases that build to rich climaxes and suggestive lyrics that use puns to conflate all of Bond’s abilities as a covert agent and a lover.

Loudness—big emotions and big, forte phrases are a must. When Carly Simon crooned “Nobody Does It Better“ with smoky ardor, she sounded like the first woman who ever said “baby, you’re the best.“

Sheena Easton

Sheena Easton

But frankly, nobody ever did it better than Sheena Easton, whose rendition of “For Your Eyes Only“ accomplished the impossible: Simultaneously big and intimate, it imbues a standard phrase in the espionage lexicon with smoldering double-meaning.

Look — There Goes Mac the Knife!

What’s a scoundrel like Mac the Knife doing alongside James Bond, a quintessential good guy? “The Ballad of Mack the Knife“ traces its lineage back to one of James Bond’s most illustrious forebears: the amoral, charismatic highwayman Macheath who was “captain“ of a gang of thieves in John Gay’s 1728 musical satire The Beggar’s Opera, an “anti-opera“ that interpolated popular operatic arias and folk songs of the day.

Macheath and Bond have much in common, especially their infallible way with women. Mackie has seduced every woman in his district of London from streetwalkers to the police chief’s daughter, and no matter how closely he’s pursued, a woman is always nearby to help him out.

The Beggar's Opera

Fair Use

The Beggar's Opera

In the movie version by Peter Brook, Laurence Olivier is a compelling Macheath.

In pre-World War II Germany, The Beggar’s Opera served as the basis for The Threepenny Opera, by composer Kurt Weill and playwright Bertolt Brecht with Elisabeth Hauptmann. “The Ballad of Mack the Knife“ comes from this acidly satirical “play with music.“

Not surprisingly, its success made it a target of the Nazis and forced its creators and Lotte Lenya, Brecht’s wife, to flee Germany for the U.S. Here, in a legendary 1950s New York production of Threepenny (translated from the original Die Dreigroschenoper), the outlaw Mackie Messer (knife) became “Mac the Knife.“ (Lenya would go on to play Rosa Klebb in the early Bond film From Russia With Love.)

Meet The Artists

Meet The Artists

Albert-George Schram, Guest Conductor

Equally adept at conducting classical and pops programs, Albert-George Schram has led a wide variety of repertoire for many orchestras in the U.S. and abroad. Schram is currently resident conductor of the Nashville Symphony and resident staff conductor of the Columbus (Ohio) and Charlotte symphonies.

He has conducted classical, pops, holiday and educational concerts for all three orchestras. He has also served as music director of the Lubbock (Texas) Symphony and the Lynn (Fla.) Philharmonic, and has held titled positions with the Louisville and Florida philharmonic orchestras.

Schram’s guest-conducting roster has included the symphonies of Dallas, Charlotte, Tucson, New Orleans (Louisiana Philharmonic), Oklahoma City, Spokane, Dayton and San Antonio, among others. His conducting engagements abroad have been with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, the Taegu Symphony in Korea, the Orquestra Sinfonica Nacional of Bolivia, the Orquestra Sinfonica Universidad Nacional de Cuyo (in Mendoza, Argentina), the National Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan and the Orchester der Allgemeinen Musikgesellschaft in Luzern, Switzerland.

Educated at The Hague Conservatory in his native Netherlands, Schram has also studied at the University of Calgary and the University of Washington. His teachers have included Rafael Kubelik, Franco Ferrara, Abraham Kaplan and Neeme Järvi.

Schram has worked with many distinguished artists, including pianists Lang Lang and Olga Kern and violinist Elmar Oliveira, among others. His vast performance repertoire has included the Requiems of Verdi and Berlioz, most of the standard symphonies (by Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mahler, et al.), the basic concerto repertoire, and music by such acclaimed contemporary composers as John Corigliano and Jennifer Higdon.

As a pops conductor, Schram has worked with James Taylor, Art Garfunkel, Chris Botti, LeAnn Rimes, Boyz II Men, Kenny G, Olivia Newton-John, Chicago, Aretha Franklin and many others.

He also has put together a variety of theme programs, including a Big Band show, a Ray Charles tribute, “Home for the Holidays“ (a Christmas program) and a romantic evening called “That’s Amore.“

Sheena Easton, Vocalist

Sheena Easton, whose career has spanned four decades, was born in Bellshill, Scotland, is the youngest of six children and is the mother of two children, Jake and Skylar. Her recording career has included Gold and Platinum albums in the United States, Europe and Asia.

She has sold over 20 million records worldwide, received two Grammys, and was the first— and still only—artist to have top five records on five major Billboard charts. In addition to her recording success, Easton is a top concert attraction around the world.

Easton also has a list of notable acting credits including a five-episode appearance on Miami Vice, a co-starring role opposite Stacy Keach in a John Carpenter-directed trilogy for Showtime titled Body Bags, and as a guest star in the cult syndicated series The Highlander and a starring role in UPN’s Ghost Stories.

Other guest roles have included Brisco County and Tech Wars, as well as a starring role in Showtime’s Outer Limits. Easton also appeared as a regular on the 2005 PAX TV show Young Blades. During 2004 Easton and Brian McKnight hosted a talk show originating in Las Vegas.

On Broadway, Easton starred as Aldonza/Dulcinea in Man of La Mancha opposite the late Raul Julia’s Don Quixote. Throughout its year-long run the play remained one of the five top-grossing hits at the box office. She also starred on Broadway in the hit musical Grease as Rizzo.

Easton has been busy with frequent appearances in Las Vegas, where she has been a major attraction for the last two decades, and she was recently inducted into the Las Vegas Hall Of Fame.

Seen in venues not only nationally, but internationally, Easton continues to perform her hits and fan favorites. She is most at home working with the band, but has expanded her love of the concert stage as a guest vocalist in various programs with symphonies across the nation and has made frequent appearances in “The Spy Who Loved Me.“ This allows her to blend her romance with various styles of music: American standards, pop and Broadway.

Scott Coulter, Vocalist

Scott Coulter is one of New York’s most honored vocalists.

For his work in cabaret, he has received five MAC Awards (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs), five Bistro Awards and two Nightlife Awards for Outstanding Vocalist and has performed at most of NYC’s top rooms including Birdland, 54 Below, The Oak Room at the Algonquin and Feinstein’s at The Regency, where he spent a record-setting eight months performing the revue 11 O’Clock Numbers at 11 O’Clock which he also co-created, directed and musically arranged.

His self-titled debut CD won the 2003 MAC Award for Outstanding Recording and was chosen as the best recording of the year by TheatreMania and Cabaret Scenes magazine which pronounced it “quite simply, the best these ears have ever heard.“

Coulter was director and star of A Christmas Carol: The Symphonic Concert in its world premiere with the Baltimore Symphony and reprised his role in the Emmy-nominated PBS production which premiered in December 2013.

Since 1997, Scott has performed around the country with award-winning songwriting duo Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich in their many revues. While singing with Goldrich and Heisler, he was discovered by Oscar and Grammy-winning composer Stephen Schwartz who then invited him to join the revue Stephen Schwartz & Friends. That revue (starring Schwartz and Coulter along with Liz Callaway and Tony Award-winner Debbie Gravitte) has been performing all over the world since 1999.

Schwartz has said, “One of the greatest things that can happen to a composer is to have his music interpreted by Scott Coulter.“

Coulter regularly performs in concert both as a solo artist and with a variety of legendary performers including Stephen Schwartz, Tony winner Ben Vereen and Grammy winner Sheena Easton. He has performed with symphonies all over the world including San Francisco, Baltimore, Seattle, Phoenix, Winnipeg, St. Louis and Calgary. He is also a director of many shows in New York and on tour.

Coulter is founder/owner of Spot-On Entertainment. He’s a resident director of programming at 54 Below (Broadway’s Supper Club) in NYC and is a graduate of the Cincinnati College- Conservatory of Music.

To learn more about Music Director Carl St.Clair, click here.