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NEW John Williams concert work: Markings, for solo violin, strings, and harp - Premiering Sunday, July 16th 2017 at Tanglewood

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Clearly this is the piece mentioned in the Jon Burlingame Variety article

 

Quote

Williams may also compose a concert work [“for one of my favorite European artists,” whom he declined to name] this summer. Concert work has increasingly occupied him between films, including concertos for cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Gil Shaham and others. He is also committed to writing “a couple of minutes of music” for an animated version of retiring L.A. Laker great Kobe Bryant’s poem “Dear Basketball.”

 

http://variety.com/2016/film/spotlight/john-williams-afi-1201792072-1201792072/

 

 

And also, Andre Previn once told a story about how Mutter asked Williams to write a piece for her!

 

Quote

I admire Johnny Williams. He’s very good at what he does, and he writes very good themes. Now, Anne-Sophie made him an offer. She said, “Why don’t you write me a concerto?” And he said, “Oh, I don’t write that kind of music.” And she said, “Yes, you do. You write beautiful themes.”


FJO: But he wrote a trombone concerto?

AP: Did he?

FJO: It’s a pretty solid piece.

AP: He also wrote a bassoon concerto, which I like very much. Anyway, he back pedaled on that, but she kept asking and just recently he said, “Look, I’m not going to write one. I’m just not. I can’t do it. I haven’t got the background for it, and I don’t think I want to.” And she said O.K. But she said to me, “This is silly, because I’d play it everywhere.” I’ve known Johnny ever since we were both rehearsal pianists at a ballroom dancing school on La Brea Avenue. We used to take turns playing “Blueberry Hill.” Oh boy. Anyway, I don’t think he is willing to gamble with his own talent. He’s wonderfully talented and a tremendous orchestrator, but he doesn’t believe it. And a big piece—it’s a lot of pages. I don’t think that he has belief enough in his own talent, even though he has more than enough talent to do it.

FJO: Maybe it’s taking him too far out of his comfort zone in terms of the context.

AP: Comfort zone? He’s a millionaire.

FJO: I mean his comfort zone creatively.

AP: Oh, sure.

 

 

http://www.newmusicbox.org/articles/andre-previn-how-lucky-i-am-now/

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What I am missing?  Had not Williams already wrote his violin concerto when the above conversation took place?  Why would Williams proceed to say he would not know how to write "that kind of music?"

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2 minutes ago, Tom said:

What I am missing?

 

Well....

 

2 minutes ago, Tom said:

 Had not Williams already wrote his violin concerto when the above conversation took place? 

 

Exactly.  He had not.

 

2 minutes ago, Tom said:

Why would Williams proceed to say he would not know how to write "that kind of music?"

 

Because he's humble?

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The Previn interview is from 2015. I don't think Mutter has been asking Williams for a piece since the 70's.

The way Previn puts it make it sound odd, but the story might have been slightly different, Williams declining because he feels there isn't anything more he can add to the repertoire of the violin, and is too busy doing film work... I do recall a interview with Mutter from a couple of years ago, where she mentions how she would love Williams would write something for her, but that he kept declining because he is always too busy with film music.

Honestly, as much a great musician Previn is, he sometimes sounds a bit over the top with his recollections.

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This is great news! Always happy with new concert work from the Maestro and it is nice to see he finally relented and composed something for Mutter.

 

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On 11/21/2016 at 11:04 PM, Miguel Andrade said:

The Previn interview is from 2015. I don't think Mutter has been asking Williams for a piece since the 70's.

The way Previn puts it make it sound odd, but the story might have been slightly different, Williams declining because he feels there isn't anything more he can add to the repertoire of the violin, and is too busy doing film work... I do recall a interview with Mutter from a couple of years ago, where she mentions how she would love Williams would write something for her, but that he kept declining because he is always too busy with film music.

Honestly, as much a great musician Previn is, he sometimes sounds a bit over the top with his recollections.

Weird, because he would have written the original concerto in the 70's and then later Tree Song. Besides commissions from the really major orchestra, I wonder if he actually accepts many commissions or people ask, he has the standard no, and then one day he just writes it.

 

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59 minutes ago, Jilal said:

 

Has he been Previn to be wrong before?

I think it is clear Previn is mistaken for whatever reason.  He would not have pointed to the Bassoon concerto, had this been a conversation before the violin concerto (not to mention Sutter would have been like 15).   I think Williams said something like "I am not the ideal composer for the job" as a polite way of turning her down.  the "its not you, its me" of the music world. 

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AP: I admire Johnny Williams. He’s very good at what he does, and he writes very good themes. Now, Anne-Sophie made him an offer. She said, “Why don’t you write me a concerto?” And he said, “Oh, I don’t write that kind of music.” And she said, “Yes, you do. You write beautiful themes.”

FJO: But he wrote a trombone concerto?

AP: Did he?

FJO: It’s a pretty solid piece.

AP: He also wrote a bassoon concerto, which I like very much. Anyway, he back pedaled on that, but she kept asking and just recently he said, “Look, I’m not going to write one. I’m just not. I can’t do it. I haven’t got the background for it, and I don’t think I want to.” And she said O.K. But she said to me, “This is silly, because I’d play it everywhere.” I’ve known Johnny ever since we were both rehearsal pianists at a ballroom dancing school on La Brea Avenue. We used to take turns playing “Blueberry Hill.” Oh boy. Anyway, I don’t think he is willing to gamble with his own talent. He’s wonderfully talented and a tremendous orchestrator, but he doesn’t believe it. And a big piece—it’s a lot of pages. I don’t think that he has belief enough in his own talent, even though he has more than enough talent to do it.

FJO: Maybe it’s taking him too far out of his comfort zone in terms of the context.

AP: Comfort zone? He’s a millionaire.

FJO: I mean his comfort zone creatively.

AP: Oh, sure.

This is also kinteresting:

 

 

 

AP: If I were still working with films, which I haven’t done now since the mid ‘60s, I would probably fall back on certain clichés that I know work since I don’t want to spend a lifetime at it. Johnny Williams wrote in Tanglewood in the bungalow next to mine, and then he’d have his orchestrator [Herbert Spencer] come up and he’d hand him whatever he was working on. Johnny handed him something that looked like Meistersinger for God’s sake, and he said, “Let me explain this to you.” Herbie looked at the music, and he said, “No, I know this one.” The orchestrator didn’t mean any insult at all, but it was funny. I could see where he could take that very badly. But on the other hand, it was probably true. It was probably done on purpose. If you write movie music, you’re never given enough time, and they don’t want to hear anything brand new anyway. So it is very likely to be things that they’ve done before. You can always tell a Korngold score. You can always tell a Rózsa score. You can always tell an Elmer Bernstein score, because it’s watered down Copland. When Elmer Bernstein got a western to do, he’d say, “Oh yeah, I did Magnificent Seven. Let’s do that again.” There’s nothing wrong with it. It worked very well. It’s interesting music. You’re not going to wrack your brain thinking of novelties in a medium that doesn’t require it anyway. A very good film composer used to be a man called Jerry Goldsmith—brilliant and interesting music.

Indeed quite odd

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I think he means the Tuba Concerto which is frequently played by trombonists

But this just blows my mind. Idk if Williams was that stern but still surprising.

Although I think he seems to be a rather insecure person when it comes to his concert music. In addition to this (if you can), he cut large sections out of the harp concerto before the premiere, pulled the symphony twice from being performed, has "revised" the cello concerto to death, etc.

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18 hours ago, WilliamsStarShip2282 said:

Although I think he seems to be a rather insecure person when it comes to his concert music. In addition to this (if you can), he cut large sections out of the harp concerto before the premiere, pulled the symphony twice from being performed, has "revised" the cello concerto to death, etc.

 

Gil Shaham said in a recent interview that Williams always feels like he's "in the kitchen" when it comes to his music. The fact he revises and modifies things (especially his concert music) is mostly because he likely feels he can do better. Perhaps he's just a perfectionist. He's surely one of the humblest person on the planet and probably he doesn't feel like he wants to entitle himself any kind of "Look at me, I'm a serious composer, not just a film guy!" sentiment when it comes to his concert stuff. This also means he's pretty happy about his career in film (and that's where Previn usually scolds him even though in an affectionate way, saying this like "He's too talented to be satisfied just with film work"). That's likely why he dodged many requests from soloists and musicians asking him a concert piece, at least in the first place (and he got a lot of requests from many people asking him to write this or that).

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1 minute ago, Will said:

Technically, I could probably go to this, but it's not Williams himself and the piece will probably be a bore fest, at least on first listen.

 

You're asking for it, Will!

 

Look at my clenched fists!

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26 minutes ago, Bartokus Novus said:

 

You're asking for it, Will!

 

Look at my clenched fists!

 

Well, I'm just being honest... ;)

 

I do hope to be able to listen to it, though. 

 

Actually, I do suppose it would be a great excuse to see Tanglewood, though. My mom won't drive me to any night concerts (Parade included, massively unfortunately) but a day one like this might be fine...

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10 hours ago, Will said:

Technically, I could probably go to this, but it's not Williams himself and the piece will probably be a bore fest, at least on first listen.

No Williams concert piece has been a bore feast to me, on first listen or otherwise. 

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1 hour ago, Miguel Andrade said:

No Williams concert piece has been a bore feast to me, on first listen or otherwise. 

 

Same here, although some of them have been very challenging listens.

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I mean, for instance I was listening to the Oboe Concerto and Five Sacred Trees for the first time recently, and it was a tough listen.

 

Mind you, this isn't just limited to his concert work. Williams' work tends to grow on me. 

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4 minutes ago, BloodBoal said:

But his concert work, though? I'm not sure why some people try to convince themselves it's anything worthwile!

 

Are you kidding?

 

Soundings and Just Down West Street are delightful. 

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1 hour ago, Stefancos said:

You're a bright kid, Will. But not very good in spotting sarcasm or irony.

 

Perhaps Alvar should use emoticons, till you learn to see the difference.

 

I nearly always can spot it - and in fact my "Are you joking?" was meant to provide me cover in case it turned out to be sarcasm. :D

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5 hours ago, Will said:

I mean, for instance I was listening to the Oboe Concerto and Five Sacred Trees for the first time recently, and it was a tough listen.

 

Mind you, this isn't just limited to his concert work. Williams' work tends to grow on me. 

 

Really? I find the Bassoon and Oboe concerti among the easier listening ones in the Williams catalogue.

Now, Williams works also grow on me over the years, but I guess that they are never boring, even if demanding on earlier listenings. The same thing applies to most of my favourite composers.

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