Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, New York City, NY
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra Conducted by JOHN WILLIAMS
John Williams’ ‘The Art Of The Score’
Concert Review by JohnnyEcks
Here I am again, gratefully, posting another review of another fanTABULOUS concert by Maestro Williams! Much like the dis-claimer on my last concert review I must mention that I am not a good writer. I am not the perfect speller. I don?t have perfect grammar and I have a tendency to ramble and write run-ons. I do apologize. I?m just a regular fan writing a rambled review! For those who read my Boston ?02 review, you know that I like adding in a back story. It adds depth to the review, I believe. However, should you just want to read the ?set list?, I have marked the pieces as bold (click here to read the back story of this concert).
I had no idea how the seats were, but we got the second tier box sets, toward the rear of the theater. Now, I have to say.. the ?Avery Fisher Hall? is laid out very strangely. The box seats aren?t angled toward the stage, but angled so that if you were sitting correctly you would be facing the box seats on the left side of the auditorium. So, in order to view the stage, one had to keep their heads turned to the right, or have their bodies pivoted in to the right. It was a little uncomfortable, but it was neat to be in a box seat. It felt very private. Also, the view of the far right and rear of the stage was blocked by the box right next to us. So, I couldn?t see the Basses (which is one of my fav. Strings instruments). So, I was a little disappointed, but hey? I was here watching the man!
After a thundering amount of applause, he grabbed his baton, raised his hands and starting spreading his magic. Here, as follows, is what he played:
Olympic Fanfare and Theme
Much like Boston in ?02; he started the concert with a real opener. This was when I noticed a few things that made this concert not as good as previous ones. For one, from where I was sitting, the acoustics was not that great. Sure, it was easy to hear?but because of the wall right behind me, it felt as though most of the sound was coming through my right eat. It threw me off balance for a bit. Plus, it wasn?t as bassy as I wished it to be? but nonetheless, it?s a nice piece and a great opener. The crowd ate it up, as did I.
Selections from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Before he started conducting, Williams showed that he has utmost class and waited for the latecomers to take their seats. once he got the thumbs up to from the ushers that they were all in, he started. Now, there are people rustling to get to seats, the hushed whispers of apologetic people asking for room to get to their seat in that row, and just low ambient noises taking place which interfered with the calm and low violins which start out this piece. A little distracting, but again.. no problem. I almost didn?t make it there, I was just happy to be there. Great piece, nice applause.
Suite from JFK
I really enjoy this concert arrangement. I was shocked when my girlfriend, Michele, said ? ?ohh.. I know this, it?s JFK?. I was impressed! She?s learning! Hahah?.
I have to say though; I enjoy the first half much more than the second half of the arrangement. But, overall, a very nice (if not a little too long) piece. Another disappointment of the evening was at several moments throughout the piece, the trumpets played a wrong note. I have heard wrong notes played before, but tonights really stood out.
Then he had a few words about the next piece, which at the mention of the name had a few people clapping (I imagine mostly JW fans, and little kids).
Suite From the Harry Potter Films
This is such a fantastic piece, nice to hear it live. Lots of applause
Fawkes, The Phoenix
My favorite piece, so far, from the Harry Potter films. Beautiful. Eyes watered a bit!
Fun piece just for woodwinds, concert piece that doesn?t appear in the film or on the cds (as far as I know).
Harry?s Wondrous World
This is a nice surprise, and a great finisher to this suite. Surprisingly, he used the arrangement from the ending of ?Chamber Of Secrets?, which has, my opinion, is the better ending.
Then the intermission. Lots a applause. My hands hurt already.
A few moments of talk, and he was back. To one of the highlights of the evening?
Tribute to the Film Composer
This is the piece he wrote and performed last year at the Oscars. This is such a great piece; I wish it was available on cd. Chucklings and applause at Rocky, Jaws, Psycho, and The Pink Panther and lots of applause at E.T. and Star Wars, which was preluded by the ?20th Century Fox? opener.
THUNDEROUS applause. We ate that piece up!
Selections from Far And Away
I had never heard this one performed live, and it was a real treat. I love this score, especially the finale. Great fun. Lots of applause.
Then the introduction of Dan Higgins, Christopher Lamb, and Mike Valerio for the performance of:
“Escapades for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra” (Music from Catch Me If You Can)
This is also a favorite of mine. Just a fun fun fun piece to hear live. And, a joy to hear Dan Higgins and Mike Valerio live for they are the performers on the cd. This piece was played exceptionally well!
Theme from Schindler?s List
Williams mentioned that the solo violinist?s (Glenn Dicterow) father used to be a member of the London Philharmonic and that Williams got to play with him a few times and has known Glenn since Glenn was about twelve or so. Nice little introduction. However, I have heard this piece played better. Glenn was great, but I hold this piece to very high standards because it was very moving and wonderful during the Boston concert, that nothing has compared since. Beautifully played however, just not my favorite performance.
Then onto the biggest disappointment of the evening?.
?Adventures on Earth? from E.T the Extra-Terrestrial
This is my favorite score of Williams. My favorite movie of all time, and my favorite score of all time. This is my favorite track. I have heard this played at all of the concerts I have attended, and I am sorry to say but this was the worst performance of it that I have ever heard. It started out wonderfully, but then the trumpet section all played a wrong note. They all hit the wrong chord. They all were harmonizing the wrong chord (or so it sounded) it was so glaringly bad that Michele (who doesn?t know music) even picked up on it. Worse yet, then the trombones (who play off of the same note as the trumpets but in a different measure) hit the same wrong note. It was like a double shock. I even saw Williams minutely shake his head. It put a bad feeling in the air and didn?t allow the music to touch me as it always has. There were also moments where they played s l o w. And the part at the end when the orchestra stops playing (when E.T. says “I’ll Be Right Here”) before swelling up again… I heard that several violins still playing and then quickly stopping. Very alarming and distracting, but still a nice finish. The audience was very kind, and they clapped the loudest for this.
But, he made up for everything (at least for me personally) with the encores?.
To Lenny, To Lenny
He mentioned what the circumstances were as to why he wrote this piece, and where it?s material came from (based on ?New York New York? by Bernstein. Written for his birthday gala). Great piece. He mentioned that he has never performed this live to a concert-audience before, but decided it would fit since it was his first time conducting a concert in New York. I ate it up. I love the feeling of this piece. Lots of fun.
The audience EXPLODED (as always) with this piece. He didn?t include, rightfully so, the ?20th Century Fox? opener which he did during Tribute to the Film Composer. Still, the audience went MAD! I loved every minute of it.
I was hoping for Indiana Jones next, but got:
The Mission Theme
I am used to him playing this last, for it?s the third time I?ve heard it in the 4 concerts that I?ve been to. He mentioned ?In case you get home too late for the news?.? This got some people chuckling, but got most of them giggling during the recognizable NBC Theme bit.
All in all, it was a great show (minus the few wrong notes). It was wonderful to see him again, and I cannot wait till I can see him again (hopefully back in Boston this May). Not my favorite show of his (Boston is held in high regard? rightfully so), but still a wonderful show and a great experience to be there for his premier concert with the NYP in Lincoln Center.
I hope you enjoyed my review. If not, I?m sorry.
Keep those cd?s spinning, and keep on humming. We all love Williams, and last night you were able to see it in the audiences? faces.
All the best,