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  1. 24 points
    This new arrangement debuted Wednesday, January 31st in San Diego, conducted by Williams himself, as an encore. You can read @KingPin's description of it, here. The new arrangment was just played again, last night in Glasgow, Scotland, and that performance is on Youtube! What do you think?
  2. 21 points
    A toast for many more years of wonderful music. And thank you for bringing so much joy to my little life. Happy Birthday, Maestro!
  3. 16 points
    Hi everyone, sorry for not posting this sooner. Work has been a bit crazy today and I’m just now getting some down time to put this write-up together for the sold-out concert. I will say this up front: I do not have any recordings from this performance (sorry to disappoint!), so I’ll do my best to especially the new material that was performed which I’m sure people are curious about. San Diego Symphony Associate Conductor Sameer Patel conducted the first half, which opened with Hymn to New England. Overall, the orchestra was well-balanced during this piece, although the brass was a little choppy on some of the entrances (slightly-off intonation, cracked notes – things probably less noticeable to an untrained ear but), but an overall decent performance. Next was the Suite from Far and Away, which was beautifully executed. The flute solo of the Joseph and Shannon love theme was absolutely exquisite, and the faster parts were played with vigor that perfectly captured the Irish setting. The whole concert itself was quite flute-friendly as you will see throughout this review. Out to Sea/Shark Cage Fugue followed, and it would have been a flawless performance of the piece had the trumpets not entered a beat early towards the end of the piece. It happened in a section of the music where there was a lot of counterpoint happening in the music, which probably makes it harder to find one’s bearings. It took several seconds for the orchestra to re-align. It was very noticeable, as even my friend who I attended the concert with, who wasn’t familiar with the piece at all, sensed that there was something wrong. As a result, this piece was probably the biggest disappointment of the evening. Closing the first half was a three-movement suite from E.T. First was Three Million Light Years from Home, which was my first time hearing this live. I thought it was a fantastic performance of the piece. During the action music portion, the strings played with ferocity and energy. Stargazers was next, and the harp and flute solos were simply sublime. The celeste player missed some notes at the end of the piece though, so there were some awkward empty beats where the celeste is supposed to pick up a portion of the melody from the harp. Ending the set was Adventures on Earth, which needs little introduction and was flawlessly executed. John Williams came out to conduct the second half of the concert, opening with a well-played rendition of The Adventures of Mutt. The timpanist came in a measure early in one spot, but he recovered quickly, and it was less prominent that the trumpet flub in the Jaws cue from earlier because I did a quick double-take when it happened just to be sure. Williams then got on the microphone and introduced the Suite from BFG, explaining that the flute flurries were meant to represent the chasing of dreams in the movie (which I have never seen). The flute solos were played brilliantly, and the orchestra was in perfect synchronization with the piece. Personally, this was one of the highlights of the evening for me. Three Harry Potter selections followed. The Chamber of Secrets came first. It was well played, but the balance didn’t allow for the fast string triplet figures to carry though very well. The piece sounded more bass and percussion heavy, drowning out some of the other orchestration. Nimbus 2000 for woodwinds was next. Williams’ old age started to show here, as he described the piece as characterizing Harry’s wand rather than his broomstick, and then immediately stated that he couldn’t remember what the wand (broomstick) was called in the film, even though it’s literally the title of the piece! Regardless of his little memory lapse, the piece was played quite well. Harry’s Wondrous World rounded out the set, which was well-played. Sabrina was next, and it was the arrangement for solo violin and orchestra from the Cinema Serenade album. The concertmaster, Jeff Thayer, was soloist. Williams initially started with a rushed tempo at the introduction, but promptly brought it back to a statelier, more romantic tempo once the violinist entered. Beautiful playing by the soloist, and easily another highlight of the concert for me. The program concluded with selections from Star Wars. First up was The Rebellion is Reborn from The Last Jedi, which was flawlessly executed. The tempo was slightly faster than on the original soundtrack, but the sound balance I thought was superior in concert. Rey’s Theme followed, and Williams again shared a quick story of his infatuation with Daisy Ridley before starting the piece. Rey’s Theme was played exquisitely, although the only oddity was that Williams added a sustained low brass chord at the end of the piece as the celeste plays its final note. I didn’t feel that the addition of the chord was necessary, as I much prefer the sort of open-endedness that the solo celeste leaves, almost symbolizing the mystery of Rey’s origins. The Main Title from A New Hope rousingly closed the program with usual pomp and pizazz, and it elicited a big applause from the crowd upon hearing the first downbeat. There were two encores. The first was the new arrangement of Han Solo and the Princess, which was completely unexpected but a pleasant surprise all the same. Although Williams never specifically alluded to it, I couldn’t help wondering whether revisiting this piece had something to do with the upcoming Han Solo standalone film. As stated previously, this piece bears hardly any resemblance to the original concert version. The original version is more horn and woodwind prominent until the piece hits the climax, whereas this new version very much features the strings section throughout. The cellos are given the theme first, and the theme itself has been heavily modified and developed by Williams. The violins work through some thematic variation, and then the woodwinds take over the theme. The piece continues to build to the climax, at which point it leads into the version heard at the end of the end credits of Empire Strikes Back, which I think may be the only time in the piece that the theme is heard in its original unadulterated form. As the climax dies down, it leads into a sweet and delicate solo flute cadenza that was another variation of the melody before coming to a gentle close (again, more flute being featured throughout the evening). I sort of view Williams' approach to this new piece as a combination of the Marion’s Theme concert version and the revised concert version of The Face of Pan: prominently modified from the original concert version, but still with sweeping orchestration that is characteristic of Williams’ current lyrical style. The second and final encore was the Imperial March, which was played perfectly and needs no further description. Despite the orchestra having some trouble spots, it was overall a great evening and well-crafted program, even if everything wasn’t perfect. Though Williams himself looks physically spry on the podium, it is quite evident when he speaks that his age is having an impact and that these types of performances are becoming increasingly exhausting for him. But the audience loved him and gave him a long standing ovation. Fun evening overall.
  4. 14 points
    Congratulations Maestro! Surprised it wasn't The Post, but IMO The Last Jedi is the greater technical achievement. The Post is a fantastic and restrained score but Williams can write scores like that in his sleep; the complexity of writing in TLJ (and the clever integration of older themes and musical easter eggs) is simply unsurpassed by his contempories; only Williams can write at such a high technical level with music for orchestra. I think it's also the music branch recognizing that an 85 year old writing music like this (and with such volume at 180+ minutes) is almost incomprehensible, and rewarding him for his continued dedication to the saga. Once all is said and done, every film in this new trilogy should have a score nomination and it'll hopefully be capped off with a book-ending win.
  5. 13 points
    I guess this will also be available on demand as usual, but for anyone who wants to hear it live, there it is.
  6. 12 points
    I'm with crumbs on this one. Every single discussion about this score that I've been involved in on this forum has died a premature death. Chen, you might not want to hear it but you're one of the worst offenders. If you're not policing people's interpretations of leitmotif, you're comparing Star Wars to LOTR and how much more thematically consistent that work is. Read the room - sometimes opinions are better left unsaid, particularly if they have the potential to prevent any kind of constructive discussion. Contrary to what you may think, the majority of posts about TLJ aren't exactly "Dis iz awezom", but the conversation sure as hell can't progress past "I really like this score and here's why" when people are constantly having their opinions questioned and challenged. It's intimidating and exhausting and makes posting here unpleasant.
  7. 12 points
    It's not about getting "upset" at the fact people don't like the score. It's the fact that we can't have a single thread on a JOHN WILLIAMS FAN FORUM to discuss the score's merits without the usual suspects coming in to condescendingly inform us how wrong we are for liking it. It's derailed literally every TLJ thread on the main forum. I'm not the only poster to basically throw their hands in the air and give up discussing the score due to this; the predictable, ignorant comments about the score's "lack of originality" kill any discussion about its merits. Who gives a fuck if it quotes existing concert suites? Every bloody score in the series does this! As soon as someone started bitching about the post-Main Title ANH motif, I'd had enough -- where was all the outrage at the post-Main Title music being repeated from TPM in AOTC? And all the other various recycling that occurred throughout the prequels? Selective memory, convenient as always. The man is 85 and could have retired decades ago, like most people in their 60s. Instead, we're still fortunate enough to be receiving multiple scores a year and yet all people can do is focus on the negatives, even when presented with a score filled to the brim with brilliance! Staggering level of entitlement.
  8. 11 points
    Probably just a composer's urge, but here is a theory: the theme was always romantic but with just a hint of bittersweetness to it. Now that Williams has scored the whole arc of Han and Leia, maybe he thought a new version was in order that still captured the romance but also gave a place to the heartbreak of the relationship.
  9. 11 points
    Dzadza

    JW won another Grammy

    Escapades For Alto Saxophone And Orchestra From Catch Me If You Can" — John Williams, arranger (John Williams) -- WINNER
  10. 10 points
    Or maybe those defending Williams' work truly believe it is a great soundtrack, even for a Star Wars score, and have just as every bit a right to their own opinion as those criticizing the score? "...or they're in denial"... that's pretty ironic coming from you, judging by your taste and professed love for certain objectively poor movies.
  11. 10 points
    It's a MASSIVELY underrated score! So many people write it off as being "Mostly just HP1 rehash with some nice new themes", but its so much more than that! Also the performance by the LSO is impeccable and the OST album is really well assembled and a great listening experience. That being said there's a TON of amazing unreleased music and a proper release one day will really open a lot of people's eyes to it I think.
  12. 10 points
    I wonder if he's even really taking offers anymore through his agency, but I bet either way they're fielding stuff through the year. We know he still takes commissions for concert works plus "Dear Basketball," and of course The Book Thief he went after himself. It doesn't make sense that there haven't been plenty of other things floating around him in the meantime that we just never hear about, even if they were never considered. It does seem like he's lately more receptive to people he already knows, though, like people who are able to just contact him directly. If Kobe Bryant hadn't befriended Williams beforehand and instead just offered him the project out of the blue, he might not have considered doing it. I wouldn't be too surprised if Chris Columbus asked him to do something out of his recent directing/producing stuff like Night at the Museum, The Help, Percy Jackson, or even Pixels... But I'm also sure the industry knows what it takes to get John Williams at this point. Whether it's budget or schedule or whatever else, I think it is probably true that a lot of people don't even consider him. But the whole "nobody wants his style" thing...I think if you were to go up to any filmmaker currently working on a movie -- assuming they have no particular attachments to another composer and aren't specifically looking for something non-orchestral -- gave them a blank check and no deadline and said "Surprise, John Williams would love to score your movie!" most of them would probably pass out before they could finish saying yes.
  13. 10 points
    Thank you for alerting us to this, Paul (and welcome to the forum!). I saw Richard Kaufman conduct the RSNO in an all-Williams programme in Edinburgh last year and it was fantastic. Kaufman seems to be able to persuade John Williams to let him perform some of his lesser known music and even a couple of premieres. I hope I am not stealing your thunder but it looks like someone else has posted the performance on YouTube:
  14. 10 points
    Rian Johnson is currently geeking out about JW on Twitter, which is nice. This proves they recorded a new main title for TLJ
  15. 10 points
    Is it Elgar's first nomination? I think it is. Karol
  16. 9 points
    I won one the other night, looking forward to getting it.
  17. 9 points
    So, what about this? https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10156337836338755&id=56031953754
  18. 9 points
    If anyone's curious, a little essay of mine on the score just went up: http://musicologynow.ams-net.org/2018/02/quick-take-motives-modulations-and.html It may not convince those of you who are still unimpressed with TLJ, but hopefully it does show how Williams's artistry extends not only to themes, but also characteristic harmonies and modulations. And, there's a nice little lesson at the end about the dangers of analyzing just from the soundtrack album or film score proper.
  19. 9 points
    There is absolutely no measure by which TLJ can even be called a disappointment let alone a failure. 91% on RT. 85 on MC. 7.5 on IMDB. Over 600 million in the US. Over 1.3 billion WW. No. 1 film of the year in the US. No. 1 film of the year in the world. 4 Academy award nominations. How on earth can you even conceivably call it a failure? (and I don't even like the film all that much)
  20. 9 points
    Jay

    Game Of Thrones Showrunners tackle Star Wars.

    Hopefully Djawadi doesn't score them
  21. 9 points
    It tickles me that Williams, apparently while scoring the biggest film of 2017, in his spare time created a 6 minute concert piece arrangement seemingly just for fun. Gotta love that work ethic. You also have to love this new batch of concert pieces we've been getting, like with Marion's theme and now this, that have allowed us to experience these older Williams themes now being channeled through their creator 30+ year later. Being able to hear Old Williams vs New coalesce together while also getting to hear how Williams "refines" his themes of old to fit stylistically to the composer he has evolved to be today is a really beautiful and unique experience.
  22. 9 points
  23. 8 points
    An Evening with John Williams in Concert London Symphony Orchestra Conductor: John Williams Friday 26 October, Auditorium 7:30pm £21-£90 Source
  24. 8 points
  25. 8 points
    Thread title says it all. JW was firing on all cylinders for Nixon and I don't think it gets the recognition it deserves. The entire score is oppressively weighty and dark but not in a monotonous way. The main theme is brilliant. It's basically the story of the Nixon presidency in about 5 minutes of relentless, pounding music that is at times full on evil, and others beating with the drum of breaking news, and then strangely, maybe defiantly and stubbornly dignified in a twisted kind of way. The music really lives up to the title "The Turbulent Years." I can't think of another JW main theme that has such a clear narrative structure and is so varied in the emotions and ideas it expresses: I don't know why this main theme isn't talked about more often as among JW's best. The rest of the music takes us to Watergate with some kickass JW conspiratorial music, into Nixon's childhood with some bittersweet, yearning music that somehow also maintains hints of the oppressive weight from the rest of the score, and right into some powerful, pounding music for some of Nixon's biggest political moments like his convention speech. Even in its quieter moments the music is scored with such dramatic flair that it demands to be noticed such as in the opening scenes of the film where the low, driving brass and high strings contrast beautifully as we go deeper and deeper into the White House and Nixon's state of mind. What do you think? What are y'all's impressions of the Nixon score? What other highlights from the score should we all be aware of?
  26. 8 points
    William Ross really did a good job writing the entire score
  27. 8 points
    wow, that was just beautiful .incredible I didn't read about it in the other thread and I didn't know it existed (I'm glad I just found out now because I'd have been be pissed nobody recorded the first performance) and I'd never imagine he'd ever write this considering he ignored the original for so long I still really want to hear the San Diego performance because it was conducted by Williams himself and could be even better It reminds me of how he transformed Regaining a Son into Elegy for Cello and Orchestra, or Harry's Wondrous World into Family Portrait
  28. 8 points
    Is that new Williams music??
  29. 8 points
    Johnson gave JJ the opportunity to move Star Wars beyond what it has done before. They already did all the "seduction" to the light/dark side in this film. So JJ will have to think of another angle. There's a lot of SW tropes ep 9 cant use because ep 8 already concluded them, and i find that interesting.
  30. 8 points
    Thought I'd chime in to wash away the tiresome, toxic negativity that pervades this thread from the usual suspects. This score is just fucking magnificent. Listened to most of the action cues again tonight on repeat and still can't believe the level of detail, vibrancy and energy contained in this score. Grateful every day that we're so lucky to be receiving not only new music from the Maestro, but music as sublime as this! A man in his mid-80s has no right to be creating music like this; as John Powell said, he puts composers half his age to shame!
  31. 8 points
    LSO will perform the original SW in November! Plus 5 more non-LSO (I assume) performances in Mancs, Brum, Liverpool ( @Quintus), Leeds and Cardiff after that. Karol
  32. 7 points
    Interview is now online: https://www.kusc.org/series/kusc-interviews/ Direct link to file: https://www.kusc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2018-02-15-williams-the-post.mp3
  33. 7 points
    A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets.
  34. 7 points
    Complaining about TLJ's use of older themes is like complaining about the Force Theme in Losing A Hand from ESB because it's a theme he wrote for ANH. Williams' usage of existing themes in TLJ, most notably TFA themes, is undeniably masterful. Retrospectively it'd be nice to think he was intentionally holding back on TFA from developing the new themes to their fullest potential (which is unusual for Williams and more in line with what Shore did for LOTR -- a concept I was hounded down about because, "Williams just doesn't develop themes that way.") Personally I think it's more likely his health condition on TFA prevented him from extrapolating upon those themes to their fullest potential in TFA, but TLJ's plotting (taking place directly after TFA) conveniently allowed him to write music he probably intended for TFA. Regardless of your thoughts on the score, it's undeniable that TLJ is filled with energy and vibrancy that TFA often lacks, resulting in a restrained score which, in hindsight, works perfectly as an introductory score to a new trilogy of scores.
  35. 7 points
    The best seats for sound are generally considered to be in the stalls and the grand tier boxes. I would recommend blocks H, J, L or M in the stalls and because the rows of seats are steeply raked your view will not be blocked by the people in the row in front of you. I prefer the rows towards the back of the stalls rather than the front, as the further back you are the higher up you are and therefore will see more of the orchestra. The parts of the hall directly opposite the stage (so at 6 o'clock if the stage is at 12 o'clock) can be good for live in concert screenings, but the sound of some sections of the orchestra can be completely lost (e.g. the violins). If you can, I would definitely try to avoid the sections of the circle nearer the stage (blocks P and Y), as many of the seats have a restricted view in that you can only see half the orchestra. Some people like the seats in the arena (especially the front few rows to be up close and personal with the conductor), but because the rows are all on the same level you cannot see some of the players towards the back of the orchestra and can have your view blocked by the person in front of you as the seats are not staggered. I also like the second tier boxes as there are only five seats in each and you get a great view of everything from most of them (except from the 'fifth' seat at the back, which is sometimes sold as restricted view). The pictures below show the view from the back of the circle (1), from one of second tier boxes (2) and from the stalls (3).
  36. 7 points
    "Walt Disney World announces updates for American Adventure at Epcot, including new American icons in finale" http://www.insidethemagic.net/2018/02/walt-disney-world-announces-updates-american-adventure-epcot-including-new-american-icons-finale/ "New American icons are being added to the show’s finale, including legendary 'Star Wars' composer John Williams, astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and accomplished ballerina Misty Copeland. Also, the 'Golden Dream' anthem has been re-recorded with an all-new orchestration to bring the music and lyrics to life in a new way."
  37. 7 points
    that never happens .I'd rather have all the music in all cases
  38. 7 points
    the non franchise score that would benefit most from an expansion is The Patriot
  39. 7 points
    Your profile pic is very appropriate. JW himself seems shocked at this revelation.
  40. 7 points
    You may remember this legendary thread from back in the day. Well imagine my pleasant surprise to open the free Metro newspaper on the train to work this morning and read this from the 60 Seconds interview with DJ Edith Bowman on page 14: I cannot find a link so have typed it out verbatim. Good lass!
  41. 7 points
    "Kathy baby, it's Johnny. Listen sweetheart, one of the neighbour kids just showed me the Hans Solo trailer on the Youtube. Really aces, first class all the way I've got to say. I notice there's a scene where Hanses spaceship is in some sort of caper chase. Really looked like something George would do. Of course, I would not want to impose, but if it would take some pressure off of Jim Powell, I'd be happy to score that gag since I'm doing the main theme anyway. But don't do anything just on my account, I'll just get started writing it just in case. OK. See you at the Oscars. Kisses bye bye."
  42. 7 points
    I think this has a potential to become the best SW film of 2018. Karol
  43. 7 points
    I see this arrangement as such a surprising gift. It’s not like anyone was looking forward to it, simply because nobody knew it was coming. Williams is well over 80 years old. He doesn’t have to write these things, but he keeps doing it. Disappointing is really not the appropriate word to use I feel.
  44. 7 points
    With all due respect amigo, I think there's a difference between raising a dissenting opinion and adding nuance to a conversation (or a "discussion", as you say). Reading a thread on The Last Jedi movie and seeing you say "The problem with the film is it's subversive to be surprising, and is not dramatically satisfying" over and over, for example adds little for me. I can apply similar complaints for threads focusing around the score. You criticise this thread for being superficial, but citing the same issues you have over and over is, as has been mentioned, off-putting and the same thing you claim to want to avoid. You think people should give more to this thread rather than simply stating banal "I like this score, it's good"? Why don't you ask people directly to expand their comments? Conversation and dialogue isn't a chess match (that in this case has the first pawn being moved from starting position again and again). I was talking with a pretty intense Christian the other day, and I disagree with a number of tenets and ideas held within theiatic religions. But when he would share something regarding his philosophy, I didn't just keep saying, "Yeah, well science proved that wrong." "Mmm, you sure about that?" He was really passionate about this stuff, so I asked him more questions, as I wanted to actually have a conversation with him, and see how his perspectives contributed to who he was as a person. Every once in a while I would bring in my own religion and compare an idea to what he would say, and state my differing perspective...and ya know what, we had an awesome conversation, and left it with a higher understanding and respect for one another.
  45. 7 points
    More details to come, but the first encore was a BRAND NEW arrangement of Han Solo and the Princess!!!
  46. 7 points
    Actually, that's a clever bit of foreshadowing. Everyone connects their seatbelts properly, male and female connectors, but Grant has two female ones, and he still makes it work. Life finds a way.
  47. 7 points
    To me the score to The Last Jedi far outshines The Post, so I'm happy he was nominated for that one. Someone above said they gave up on JW winning another Oscar after he did not win for POA. I agree, that AND Memoirs of a Geisha which I believe was two years after.... Exactly! Thank you! His orchestral writing is second to none right now. His orchestrations and and sheer magnitude of some of the writing is mind boggling. I love how he makes the orchestra work, and you can hear how much they love playing it too. A different sound comes out of the orchestra when they are relishing the music in front of them. BTW that is why samples will never truly capture the orchestra. It's the people playing the instruments that give it life! And you can hear it here and in all his Star Wars scores. One of my best friends, Roberto Sorentino, sits 4th chair cello in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. we were talking about the same thing. It's a different energy when they are doing film scores and they get to someone like Korngold, Waxman, or Williams. The writing is on another level and it's doesn't bore them to sleep to play it. Although it reminds me of two years ago when they were on tour in China and he was so jet lagged he fell asleep in the middle of the concert, hahaha. OMG I would have been mortified, lol, but I'm sure it happens to the best of them on tour all the time
  48. 7 points
    Congratulations to John Williams for his historic 51st Oscar nomination!
  49. 6 points
    Now we need a concert version of Willie's theme from ToD
  50. 6 points
    It's the T-Rex Chase and what kinda sounded like an edit of the ending of The Lost World. By the way, that's the kind of sequel we want. It's a car commercial and it looks better than Jurassic World 2.