Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH
August 7, 2010
The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra Conducted by JOHN WILLIAMS
‘A Movie Music Spectacular’
- The Cowboys Overture
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind
- Harry Potter (Hedwig’s Theme, Nimbus 2000, Harry’s Wondrous World)
- Jaws (Theme, Out to Sea/Shark Cage Fugue)
- Far and Away
- Schindler’s List
- Star Wars (Imperial March, Princess Leia’s Theme, Main Title)ENCORES
- Yoda’s Theme
- Adventures of Mutt
- Raiders March
- NBC News Theme
Concert Review by Adam Thomas
Almost a year ago, I wrote a review about a fantastic afternoon of John Williams’ music as performed by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. I was pleased to be able to return and hear this fine ensemble perform yet another concert, this time conducted by the Maestro himself. The program of movie music by Williams was presented in tribute to the late Erich Kunzel, conductor of the Pops who passed away just a few weeks before last year’s Williams concert.
Despite a few distractions, such as cicadas, boats, and a train whistle (which Mr. Williams humorously noted was blowing at an Eb), and a slight relaxation of the usual concert etiquette, I found the outdoor venue of the Riverbend Music Center to be an excellent one, and the audience could not have asked for better weather that evening.
I was thrilled with the evening’s program, a list of standard John Williams masterpieces. In fact, if someone had never heard of the composer, I would have recommended this concert as “John Williams 101,” played better than ever by the Pops. Highlights for me included three “Harry Potter” selections (Williams gave special recognition to the celesta player, for deftly performing the “millions of notes in the part”), the “Schindler’s List” theme played softer and more beautiful than I’ve ever heard in a live performance, fan favorite “Star Wars” selections, and a wonderfully quirky and peaceful performance of “Yoda’s Theme” as the first—of FOUR—encores.
The second encore was “The Adventures of Mutt,” performed as a tribute to Kunzel by Williams, who recalled corresponding with Kunzel and hoping that the Pops conductor would one day conduct the piece in Cincinnati, which unfortunately never happened. Despite this solemn moment, Williams’ humor was in top form this evening. Many of his familiar anecdotes came up, from the story of “needing a better composer” for “Schindler’s List” to the “slow news day” story about the “NBC News Theme.” Perhaps his funniest comment, aside from the hilarious impromptu train whistle joke, was that the evening’s program was a chance to hear the music “without the distraction of the movies.”
John Williams was as energetic, musical, spry, funny, and gracious as always, maybe more so. The audience was certainly enjoying it all, and didn’t hold back in letting him know how they felt. A big congratulations and thank you to the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and the amazing Mr. John Williams. I’m so pleased that I was able to attend this fantastic musical event. With John Williams conducting, it couldn’t BE any better!
Concert review by ‘BurgaFlippinMan’ (originally posted on our forum)
‘An excellent performance! Yes, Adventures on Earth was a tad slow like it was on the Boston Pops cd, and there were one or two minor flubs in Superman and Raiders, but on the whole it was an amazing night and the Cincinnati Pops sounded as good as they do on CD! No surprises with the program so just about all the major material was covered with the exception of Jurassic Park. I was in row 5 so I got one or two decent pictures before I realized we actually werent allowed to take pictures and I didnt want to be a dick annoying ppl with my camera either.
Sadly I was dependent on friends for transport so I didnt get the chance to stalk the side of the stage after the concert. lol.
oh yea the encores were terrific too. when I saw there was no Indy on the program I knew it had to be in the encore. Then he gave us Yoda’s Theme, and when he came back and gave us Adventures of Mutt i was almost a little bit disheartened because I began to think that this was going to be Indy serving of the night (as much as I like Advetures of Mutt). Then he immediately launches into the Raiders March after Mutt ended….and gave us the Mission on top of that. I’m a happy camper.
Concert review by ‘Delorean90’ (originally posted on our forum)
I tried to go up to see him, but one of the ushers said she thought she saw him hop in the car and leave, and one of the people I was with said she actually saw something online that said he (probably?) wouldn’t be able to do any appearances afterward because of pressing travel matters/engagements/whatever. Oh, well.
It was indeed a great concert. One of the things that was a lot of fun was getting to experience a lot of his regular stories and things he does that I had read about, like the Schindler’s List “I know, but they’re all dead” story, and the bedtime sign at the end. His humor was evident, too. There was a great moment when a horn blew somewhere, and he said, “Is that a boat?” It blew again, and he said something to the effect of, “Eb, I think…”
I agree about The Raiders March–that was a highlight. One of my friends had told me at intermission that he had attended a Williams concert before where he gave three encores, so we were hoping for it, and the way he teased it out to the third encore, he had me praying that it would be The Raiders March. I’m normally pretty big on concert etiquette, but despite myself I gave a brief clap when it began–I was so excited! And then we started to head over to meet some people who were sitting in the rear seats (I was on the lawn), and he came up for the fourth encore, and I was just blown away. Great stuff.
Chuck, I agree–it was wonderful to see the enthusiasm of the crowd, and I think he appreciated it, too. He even sort of commented on it as he was introducing “The Mission,” saying something like, “Since you all have so much energy…” Excellent atmosphere–oh, and the weather and sky were fantastic. There’s a very special ambience to seeing a concert like that in that setting.
I had thought I would be satisfied now that I’ve seen a Williams-conducted concert, but now (maybe due to the fact that I still haven’t gotten to meet him), I want to see him conduct the Boston Pops Film Night all the more. Nevertheless, just to have had this opportunity was great–it was very surreal to know that that was JOHN WILLIAMS on that stage out there–I almost couldn’t believe it. It was a great experience.