‘Film Night’ at Tanglewood Reviews & Photos

“JOHN WILLIAMS’ FILM NIGHT”
August 11, 2018, Koussevitzky Music Shed, Lenox, MA
The Boston Pops Orchestra, BSO and TMCO conducted by Andris Nelsons and JOHN WILLIAMS

CONCERT PROGRAM

Andris Nelsons conducting

  • Theme from The Sea Hawk (Korngold)
  • Suite from A Place in the Sun (Waxman)
  • Excerpts from Psycho (Herrmann)
  • Theme from North by Northwest (Herrmann)
  • Theme from Laura (Raksin)
  • Excerpts from Sunset Boulevard (Waxman)
  • Suite from On the Waterfront (Bernstein)
    (celebrating the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth)

INTERMISSION

John Williams conducting

  • Superman March
  • Excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Call of the Champions (*)
  • Dry Your Tears, Afrika, from Amistad (*)
  • Four selections from Star Wars
    Duel of the Fates from The Phantom Menace (*)
    The Rebellion is Reborn from The Last Jedi
    Han Solo and the Princess from The Empire Strikes Back
    Main Title

ENCORES

  • To Lenny, To Lenny
  • The Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back

(*) Featuring the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Chorus

(Full program notes)

REVIEWS

EXTERNAL REVIEWS

  • Mass Live – After a well-received rendition of Superman March, Williams utilized the chorus for Call for the Champions, his theme for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. The chorus proved highly effective in the moving Dry Your Tears, Afrika from Amistad and Duel of the Fates from Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. – Full article

JWFAN REVIEWS

Report by ‘Foxfan’ (original forum post)

Even Andris Nelsons isn’t his enthusiastic self when having to follow the screen in front of him. Last year’s performance of Tintin had the opposite effect (too slow). I would have imagined an even quicker pace coming from him if it wasn’t for the “swashbuckling” montage.

Call of the Champions must have started behind as the beginning was performed extremely fast to catch up. That led to a few false notes from the orchestra, as with Duel of the Fates.

If they’re illustrating film scoring like “Indy’s First Adventure” and the final real from “E.T.” they have a purpose, but having a montage for every second piece throughout the night is way too much. The music would sound so much better if they didn’t have to be distracted with the clips. It’s why E.T. was recut to begin with!

“Dry Your Tears, Afrika” was one of the evening’s best performances. Williams gave it 110%, moved as though he was 20 years younger and even sang/mouthed the words along with the chorus. Hoping a video clip of that will get released some day. I wish Andris Nelsons could have come back onstage with his trumpet for “The Long Road to Justice”.

Williams’ giving the backstory to Amistad (how the words were translated from a French poem to English and back to Mende) was quite informative as well, minus the guy in the back of the shed who cheered “Woohoo” when the maestro pointed out that the Portuguese ship carrying slaves arrived somewhere in Connecticut, thinking it should be a source of pride.

He did conduct most of Duel of the Fates in 2 (every second beat), rather than every beat in 4/4 like on the “behind the scenes” DVD extra of the original recording. Still amazing though!

Another slight disappointment about the BUTI young artists chorus… there way too many girls compared to boys (I figure it must have been about 80/20). Sad that so many boys lost interest in singing that most orchestras outside Vienna can’t get a gender-balanced chorus. I noticed the same thing even in Amsterdam with a performance of Mahler 3 at the Concertgebouw in 2015.

TWEETS & PHOTOS