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crocodile

John Williams Blockbusters (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) in Nottingham on May 12th 2012

32 posts in this topic

Anyone attending? I know I am. It's a very solid programme.

John Williams Blockbusters Concert

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Tommy Pearson presenter

Michael Seal conductor

Including music from: Star Wars • Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom • Close Encounters of the Third Kind • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban • Schindler's List • The Witches of Eastwick • JFK • Jaws • Saving Private Ryan • E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial • The Lost World: Jurassic Park • Superman

No-one writes a big film theme like John Williams - no wonder he's today's most popular living composer. And if you think his music is thrilling on the big screen, just wait until you hear it live at the Royal Concert Hall - as the world-renowned City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra plays a blockbuster concert of John Williams' very greatest themes.

Can't wait!

Karol

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Looks like a terrific concert. Sadly I can't be there.

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I'm attending the show in Dublin 2 days before this one where Michael Seal will conduct the RTE Concert Orchestra. I hope Prisoner of Azkaban will be on the program also! The Dublin will include

Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T., Harry Potter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, War Horse, Superman, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, Munich and many more.

Can't wait to hear War Horse performed. This is my first time attending a full Williams program, can't wait.

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Hey I want War Horse too! Hopefully it will be included here as well (who knows?).

Karol

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Same old, same old. :shakehead:

C'mon,guys, I want to hear "Jane Eyre", a "disaster" suite, "Exultati Justi", "The Reivers" suite, "Hell's Kitchen", "Seven Years In Tibet", "Soundings", and what do we get? Harry frackin' Potter. Yawn.

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Same old, same old. :shakehead:

C'mon,guys, I want to hear "Jane Eyre", a "disaster" suite, "Exultati Justi", "The Reivers" suite, "Hell's Kitchen", "Seven Years In Tibet", "Soundings", and what do we get? Harry frackin' Potter. Yawn.

Keep dreaming man, keep on dreaming!

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Same old, same old. :shakehead:

C'mon,guys, I want to hear "Jane Eyre", a "disaster" suite, "Exultati Justi", "The Reivers" suite, "Hell's Kitchen", "Seven Years In Tibet", "Soundings", and what do we get? Harry frackin' Potter. Yawn.

Keep dreaming man, keep on dreaming!

Actually, I've heard "Hell's Kitchen", and "The Reivers" suite (naratted by Sol Bibble, himself, Oliver Ford Davies). It was at the Barbican, July, 1998, with JW conducting the LSO, and I wouldn't mind hearing them again!

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Yes but most orchestras keep to the same old classic crowd pleasers, unfortunately. I know that at some rare occasions pieces like Hell's Kitchen from Sleepers are performed but SW, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park and Superman usually reign supreme.

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Same old, same old. :shakehead:

C'mon,guys, I want to hear "Jane Eyre", a "disaster" suite, "Exultati Justi", "The Reivers" suite, "Hell's Kitchen", "Seven Years In Tibet", "Soundings", and what do we get? Harry frackin' Potter. Yawn.

Keep dreaming man, keep on dreaming!

Actually, I've heard "Hell's Kitchen", and "The Reivers" suite (naratted by Sol Bibble, himself, Oliver Ford Davies). It was at the Barbican, July, 1998, with JW conducting the LSO, and I wouldn't mind hearing them again!

Well it's different when Johnny conducts, he can play almost anything he wants. It's very difficult

to get the sheet music for those rare movies. And the management have to also think the selling of the tickets, "Hell's Kitchen" and

"Images" wouldn't sell that much.

I think that program is just awesome, especially to celebrate JW's 80th anniversary.

Maybe I would ad Tintin and War Horse there, if they are already available.

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Well it's different when Johnny conducts, he can play almost anything he wants. It's very difficult

to get the sheet music for those rare movies. And the management have to also think the selling of the tickets, "Hell's Kitchen" and

"Images" wouldn't sell that much.

I think that program is just awesome, especially to celebrate JW's 80th anniversary.

Maybe I would ad Tintin and War Horse there, if they are already available.

Indeed. It is not quite that simple when trying to procure the sheet music for the more obscure material or even what you would think might be pretty common stuff.

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I think it's a nice program. Who knows? Maybe there's still something missing from it?

As strange as it may sound, JW is probably one of the few composer whose music I've never heard being played live. So it's a real treat for me.

BTW just got my ticket. :)

Karol

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Enjoy the concert! Especially since it is your "JW first". :)

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Update on the Dublin concert - A friend of mine who plays in the RTE Concert Orchestra said they'll be playing the Happy Birthday Variations!

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They play the Lost World, very nice. I of course can't attend as i am in Austria at that time but it would be absolutely amazing if this concert would get recorded.

To date sadly there is no real high quality recording of the true Lost World concert version available although it is an amazing arrangement. This concert if recorded could offer an opportunity to finally get a good one. The Kunzel one lacks instruments and in addition is played much too fast.

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I was at the Dublin concert last night. A truly fantastic evening, especially enjoyable as my first all-Williams program. The orchestra were on top form (apart from a few occasional fluffed notes in the brass) and Michael Seal conducted intelligently and with great composure. It was clear that he knew the music extremely well and knew how to get exactly what he wanted. The program was a good selection and well constructed.

Started with the Superman March. Fantastic, energetic performance from the orchestra, and a great opener.

We then had the Happy Birthday Variations. This was a real treat to hear live. Such a fantastic virtuoso showpiece for orchestra. They did a great job of it, didn't play a wrong note and gave a really expressive nuanced performance. And yes there was an audience sing-a-long for the climax!

This was followed by the excellent suite from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I was delighted this was included as opposed to the usual Hedwig's Theme/Harry's Wondrous World. The absence of a choir meant they just played 4 movements, starting with Witches, Wands and Wizards. Quidditch was wonderful, the flute solo was brilliantly done, I thought the snowball fight was a bit on the slow side but still good. Followed by Aunt Marge's Waltz, and the beautiful Bridge to the Past (I really enjoyed this, has it ever been properly recorded? If not stand by as this concert will probably be broadcast on national radio soon :D) and finishing up with the Knight Bus, which was truly fantastic to hear live.

After all that excitement, they slowed things down a bit with the theme from Schindler's List. This was okay, not the best solo performance I've ever heard but nice.

Then we had Jaws - Main Title, Out to Sea, and the Shark Cage Fugue. Brilliant. It's rare to hear such perfectly constructed counterpoint in a film score.

Following the most famous 2-note motif was the most famous 5-note motif with Excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This was another stand-out performance of the evening of what is probably my all-time favourite Williams score, superbly performed and conducted. I would however have loved to hear the longer version with "When you Wish Upon a Star" interpolated.

After the interval we were welcomed back with the Raiders March. The orchestra could probably play this one blindfolded at this stage, and it was a great energetic performance.

This was followed by the Olympic Fanfare and Theme. It omitted the opening "Bugler's Dream" fanfare and started rather suddenly just before the lyrical theme in the horns and strings, which I thought was strange. But good to hear it nonetheless.

Next up was the Homecoming from War Horse. This was slightly disappointing. It obviously wasn't the concert version that Williams conducted earlier this year with the extended flute solo. It sounded like an unofficial transcription (notwithstanding a pretty good transcription) of the OST track. It was generally well performed but with a few oddities such as incorrect note values in the flute solo ( a minor quibble) and also the first violins didn't come in straight on that high D with the Dartmoor theme but gave a long upbeat of a low A which sounded really odd and wrong. Also the horns were too "brassy" in parts where they should have been more mellow. So a slightly disappointing interpretation but still enjoyable for the most part. It's still beautiful music. I'll look forward to hearing the official published version some time in the future.

This was followed by the heart-breaking "A Prayer for Peace" from Munich. Wonderful string performance with a rich full sound.

Next up was J.F.K. the 5 minute or so Main Theme/Prologue. A slightly less played piece, and nice to hear. Beautifully performed trumpet solo.

This was followed by Jurassic Park.

Then to finish we had E.T. - Adventure on Earth. Was pleased they decided to play this as opposed to the flying theme. But it always disappoints me when we get to the final part where the bikes take flight and that glorious statement of the flying theme is cut out. It reminds me of the Lord of the Rings symphony where the heroic Fellowship theme in Khazad-dum is replaced by a low drone in the strings. There it sort of makes sense as we've just heard the Fellowship theme moments before. But I don't get it in Adventure on Earth. That's a piece that has to be played note-for-note from beginning to end. Oh well. The finale was glorious, and a perfect end to the program.

But there was still something missing, something that it is impossible to omit from a John Williams concert. Seal came back on stage to thunderous applause, picked up the microphone and said "I have one thing to say. "A long time ago . . . oh, you know the rest!", turned around and gave the downbeat. After a whole evening of exhausting music those trumpets still blasted out that high C for all they were worth amidst the cheers of the crowd. Star Wars was the icing on the cake to a wonderful evening. When that last chord struck the sold-out concert hall was on their feet roaring their appreciation.

A great performance by this wonderful orchestra who are a real national treasure. There's something special about how they play film music. Looking forward to many more wonderful shows with them. My only complaint was that 2 and a half hours wasn't enough for the multitude of great music by the Maestro.

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Great review, Tannhauser. Thanks for posting. I'd hoped to be there, but was on daughter duty.

The RTECO brass section is very strong, with their principal French horn being drafted in from the National Symphony last year. Good to hear they were all on top form.

Quint, you may already know but if not, London features 2 special Williams concerts later this year if you're able to make the trip:

http://www.rpo.co.uk/event.php?pid=1184

http://www.lso.co.uk/page/144/Music-for-the-Big-Screen-The-Best-of-John-Williams/467

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A great review tannhauser! Sounds like you have a great time (no surprise there). :)

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Great review, Tannhauser. Thanks for posting. I'd hoped to be there, but was on daughter duty.

The RTECO brass section is very strong, with their principal French horn being drafted in from the National Symphony last year. Good to hear they were all on top form.

Quint, you may already know but if not, London features 2 special Williams concerts later this year if you're able to make the trip:

http://www.rpo.co.uk...nt.php?pid=1184

http://www.lso.co.uk...hn-Williams/467

Hey, I want to see LSO in action! Thanks for that. :)

In the meantime... off to Nottingham!

Karol

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It was quite a night.

The gig started with Indiana Jones music. First, the obligatory march (of which I'm already kind of tired of) was followed by Parade of the Slave Children, which was really welcome inclusion. I wonder if anyone on the audience heard this piece before. I highly doubt it there would be too many people familiar with it.

Then we got a solid rendition of Schindler's List theme, followed by choirless performance of Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan. It reminded me how great this piece is and how I love Williams' noble low deep brass writing. As for Schinlder's List... it was probably the single weakest element of the evening. Competent, sure. But it requires a certain additional magical punch, the one that Itzhak Perlman delivered on the original recording. It's a simple piece, so the performance is what makes or breakes it, in my humble opinion. What was nice is that I could clearly hear all the woodwinds underneath, which, I think, was a nice touch.

What we got next is the abridged suite from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It scared quite a few children, I must say. Now, all the classic themes Williams had composed in his life are great. But this baby smashes most of them. It is such a powerful work, the whole score. I don't think Williams ever reached this high again. And CBSO made it really stand out.

The first part of the concert was closed by four pieces from Star Wars films, namely the main title, Princess Leia's theme, Yoda's theme and, obviously, The Imperial March. The last one, perhaps unsurprisingly, conjured Lord Vader himself with some stormtroopers and other characters. Quite tacky, if you ask me, but the crowd loved it, so what do I know?

After the 20 minute break we got to hear an energetic performance of Dance of the Witches, another obscure piece for most people. Then, its natural successor - Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban. A selection of cues opened by exceprts from Qudditch, Chasing Scabbers, The Snowball Fight and Secrets of the Castle (really hard to play, this flute solo!). Then they played Aunt Merge's March and finished the performance with Knight's Bus. That last one was a definite highlight of the whole evening.

The things went calm and somber again with the Prologue from JFK. It was a very good performance. For a second I thought I was listening to the album version. Pity they didn't play the extended suite. I'd kill to hear that being played live one day.

Another highlight of the evening followed... The Lost World. An exciting piece when played live. I know now what it reminds me so much of Jerry Goldsmith. It's not similar in style, but is driven by the same pulsating ballsy energy. It was slightly longer than the album version, with few bars added here and there. The whole room seemed to shake with the sound of all this percussion. Then we came back to Steven Spielberg's world with Jaws and The Adventures on Earth from E.T. Yes, it's kind of chopped up, but still works as a piece of music. Then the finale arrived with a rousing Superman's March and then an encore - Throne Room and Finale.

The members of City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra seemed to really enjoy themselves and it showed through their playing. I think it was on par with some better recordings out there. The brass had a lot to live up to and they did really well. The audience loved it and gave musician's and the conductor, Michael Seal, a long standing ovation at the end. Obviously, it would have been better to hear something more obscure or more recent (like The Adventures of Tintin, for example), but it was a blast and at several points I head tear in my eyes, which doesn't happen a lot these days. I reminded myself why I fell in love with all of this in the first place... even the pieces I was already started to take for granted.

Now... I want to see LSO performing Williams in November. Who's coming with me? I reckon it's time for some major JWFan summit!

And yes, I'm serious here.

Yours truly,

Karol

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Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It scared quite a few children, I must say. Now, all the classic theme Williams composed in his life are great. But this baby smashes most of them. It is such a powerful work, the whole score. I don't think Williams ever reached this high again.

It's awesome music, especially heard live. It would be lovely if there was a longer suite, multiple movements of this treasure.

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Sounds simply an awesome concert Karol! Thank you for a great report. :)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It scared quite a few children, I must say. Now, all the classic theme Williams composed in his life are great. But this baby smashes most of them. It is such a powerful work, the whole score. I don't think Williams ever reached this high again.

It's awesome music, especially heard live. It would be lovely if there was a longer suite, multiple movements of this treasure.

It is a fantastic piece of music and would benefit from a longer concert suite that would cover the wide range and scope of the score better.

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Great review, Karol.

The LSO performing Williams music is a perfect marriage as you can imagine, so you should definitely make the trip.

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Hmmm, Karol- let me look into this possibility of a meet up

It's actually do able for me school year wise. Now I'd have to see about cost.

Hmmmm, cost could be prohibitive from hotel, flight, regular expenses and of course concert tickets. I'll think on it.

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I can't buy tickets at the moment, but if there are still some left in a couple of weeks, I will definitely go. I've never even been to London so 2-3 day trip would be great.

Karol

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If you enjoyed either of these concerts you will love this one.

GOLDEN STATE POPS ORCHESTRA

Saturday, May 19, 2012

8pm. Warner Grand Theatre

San Pedro, CA (part of Los Angeles, California)

Steven Allen Fox, Conductor

War Horse (World Premiere of the official published version of Dartmoor 1912, double the length of the track on the soundtrack - written by JW himself)

Sayuris Theme featuring Cecilia Tsan on Cello

Star Wars

Harry Potter

Angela's Ashes

Far and Away

Lost World

ET

Indiana Jones

Tickets for adults are only $25 presale, or $45 VIP (includes valet, reserved seating and reception).

www.gspo.com

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The Dublin concert which I reviewed above will be broadcast on RTE Lyric fm next Saturday, August 4th, on the Movies and Musicals programme, 12 to 2pm GMT.

Can listen online worldwide www.rte.ie/lyricfm

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