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aviazn

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Everything posted by aviazn

  1. Inspired by Yo-Yo Ma's interview to @Maestro: 1. What does the poetry of Langston Hughes mean to you? 2. How has your background in jazz influenced your film and concert work? 2. What do non-black musicians owe to the black community for the music that they’ve given all of us, that we profit from?
  2. Wow, am absolutely loving this new take on The Chairman's Waltz, with such a quicker tempo than all the previous incarnations. It's the first one that legitimately feels like a waltz—fast enough to dance to. I absolutely adore Memoirs (both the original score and the cello suite) but never quite connected to The Chairman's Waltz. I thought it was the weakest of the ideas in the score. But this has completely changed that. And nice to see JW decide on a faster tempo for once, going against his ever-growing trend towards slower ones.
  3. Yes, a trailerized rock version of JW’s theme is still the go-to theme on the NBC broadcasts.
  4. Like that interview he did with Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards about Henry Mancini? Yeah, I'd watch that show.
  5. JJ baby, I was thinking that like, maybe this Kylo kid's theme could be like, a little like his granddad's theme. Like, throw in some brassy tritones, whatcha think baby? I kinda wish the interviewer had pushed him a little more on that political stuff at the end. He really starts to make allusions to Trump and global populism there. And this quote about climate change—this is the most John Williams-hipster-cool cat quote about global warming I can possibly imagine.
  6. When did he, like, start talking like he's like, a millennial or something? Seriously, that extended transcript is a great interview. Even if it treads quite familiar ground, there are little twists and thoughts and insights that I haven't read before—not unlike the Across the Stars album itself. Makes you wonder how much else is left on the cutting room floor when these interview segments are produced. Probably every producer hears him tell the Schindler's story and says Yes! That's a great story, that's definitely going in. To be honest though, I love that he still actually delights in telling that damn story. It's kinda adorable that he prefaces and ends the story by saying that he loves to tell it.
  7. This is more George Winston than jazz standard, but I still think it’s lovely: http://web.media.mit.edu/~mike/music/hawleyconcert-1986/mp3/07-Improv from Wonka.mp3 From this page: http://web.media.mit.edu/~mike/music/ Absolutely love this. Reminds me of this video: https://www.nbcnews.com/video/john-williams-plays-brian-a-special-tune-44467779920
  8. You can hear the bits used in the deleted scenes.
  9. Absolutely agree, crumbs. I think the maturity of Rey upon arrival is reflected by her theme not being merely a motif or melody or a signifier, but a piece with multiple elements and lines. And Williams hammers that home by making the very first time the theme appears in the film essentially a full, concert-suite-level statement—not doling it out bit by bit and developing it over the course of the film as he so often does. The theme arrives fully developed, as does Rey as a character. I can't remember any other JW character theme—especially a prominent one in Star Wars—that gets such a full treatment in its very first appearance (well, aside from Luke's theme).
  10. Article in the Berkshire Eagle: And a cute anecdote about his own changing societal views:
  11. I was thinking of action scenes, but you’re right, I’d forgotten about the battle before The Resistance and TR8R!
  12. To me, action or chase scenes that have large unscored sections (and then often have music kick in at a crucial point) is part of the DNA of Star Wars, its rhythm and pacing. And it’s an intentional choice by Lucas that has been lost in the sequel trilogy. It’s not just ANH, with Yavin and the Vader/Obi-Wan fight. Think of the parts of ESB score that Williams wrote and Lucas and/or Kershner trimmed away (Luke/Vader fight, and at a stretch, the piano figure at the beginning of the Hoth battle). Or all of the ROTJ speeder chase. The beginning of the pod race. The asteroid chase in AOTC. Obi-wan on the lizard with Grevious in ROTS. These sequences that are all visuals and editing and sound, to me, are just as much of a cue that I’m watching a Star Wars movie as the score. I wish we had more moments like those in the sequel trilogy, but it seems Abrams and Johnson have a hard time saying no to JW. Which, of course, I can hardly blame them for.
  13. LA Phil killed it in Seoul. I’ve heard nearly all the pieces on the program with JW and the Boston Pops within the last six years or so, and Dudamel and the LA Phil gave by far the better renditions. Sounded great too, especially considering they were playing amplified in a gymnastics arena. Agreed on the Adagio! Thought there was much more shape to this performance, and I definitely prefer Dudamel’s interpretation to the OST.
  14. Here's hoping Dudamel and the LA Phil pull this one out as an encore on their Asia tour of the "Celebrating JW" program.
  15. There obviously is nothing that can match the experience of a live concert, with the energy of a live audience. Having said that, I attended multiple concerts with JW and the Boston Pops when I lived in Boston a few years back and in each one found the tempos Williams chose in some pieces to be significantly slower than the original recordings. Of course, it’s all subjective, and it’s certainly not unheard of for conductors to relax tempos as they get older. But they were significantly slower to the point where I felt they were quite sluggish, and would definitely prefer the original recording. The most memorable performance of any Williams piece I ever heard live was of the Close Encounters suite with Osmo Vänksä and the Minnesota Orchestra—and I’d take that performance, as subjective as any live piece is—over any of the recordings.
  16. While I'm really glad to see these JW reevaluations from classical critics, what has begun to annoy me is that they all seem to think his music boils down to reviving the stylings of the old dead white guys in the classical canon and never acknowledge the tremendous (and innovative) influence of jazz on his music. It's as if jazz is just one of those styles that he "does" when films call for it—just like he can "do" Jewish music and "oriental" music—rather than being woven into the DNA of his writing. They've at least moved on from saying he is recycling Holst and Wagner to saying that he recycles them with consummate skill, and now cite those influences as markers of seriousness. But that is still all they seem to hear, which points to a lack of diversity in their ranks and also fails to identify what so often makes his neoromantic writing feel fresh and exciting. I'm reminded of what Yo-yo Ma told Tim: I wish JW would talk more about this part of his inner life.
  17. I don’t think Solo would have been elligible even if it had been submitted on time. You can try to weasel your way around some of those disqualifying criteria, but with Powell clearly being the sole “submitting composer”, I think there’s too much Williams in it for him to be elligible.
  18. I think it’s some of the things you mentioned that make it seem more “generic”—the orchestration being not particularly dense and the lack of a lot of harmonic motion in the main theme, especially, gave me a first impression that it sounded like someone else’s take on Star Wars music. In that sense, it’s more within the realm of what many other film composers would be capable of producing if asked to deliver Star Warsian music. If I’m being honest, if you played the first 15 seconds for me and told me that it was a generic demo track from an aspiring film composer’s personal website, I’d have believed you. Nevertheless, I agree with everyone who’s said this is an unexpected treat, and how lucky we are to be getting new and revisited JW Star Wars music at such a rate.
  19. I admit, I quite enjoy Tyler’s package for Formula 1. It’s probably just because I now associate it with F1, one of my favorite things in the world, but what can I say? It’s my favorite thing of his that he’s done since Children of Dune.
  20. Reposting this excerpt from a New Yorker piece by Russell Platt, which which I agree wholeheartedly. Even if Williams' influence isn't heard in classical new music in terms of his gestures or techniques, the level of accessibility to which so many composers aspire these days is undoubtedly influenced by his music:
  21. One of my favorite JW piano performances. Listened to it on the Tanglewood lawn under a perfectly clear summer night sky. Just magical. Continued here:
  22. Not only is it a fabulous arrangement, but I think it’s reached the pop culture saturation point where it is the definitive arrangement, the one most people think of when (if) they think of Anything Goes. Not sure if this has been posted before but there was this neat nugget in an old interview with the Dancing With the Stars music director:
  23. This was unseen by me, but apparently, during last night's Sunday Night Football game, in the middle of the Packers and Aaron Rodgers' 20-point second half comeback against the Bears, lead commentator Al Michaels compared Rodgers to John Williams. Nice to see the appreciation from his NBC colleagues.
  24. Love this clip from that ESB documentary—not for the actual performance, but the extroverted way he manages the LSO in rehearsal. Like trying to make a high school band behave. "Alright here it is, gents. Settle down boys." Seeing him work to keep them in line, it's a little bit easier to imagine him getting truly exasperated and walking off the stage in a huff over discipline issues, as in the famous Boston Pops meltdown. It's also fun to see the total command and efficiency he displays in rehearsing it on the sound stage—managing the brass section's endurance, working a particular bar and using it also to set levels at the same time.
  25. Completely agree with this. TBH War of the Worlds is my favorite Spielberg film since E.T.
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