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NEW Concert work: "Highwood’s Ghost", a fantasia for cello, harp and orchestra for cellist Yo-Yo Ma and harpist Jessica Zhou (Premieres August 19th at Tanglewood)

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Another? I thought Williams finished his Yo-Yo Ma/cello phase between the late 90s and the mid 2000s. But hey, I'm all for it if it is indeed a new piece. As they say, certain fads come and go. Yo-Yo forever! :) 

 

Coca+Cola+Coke+Yo-Yo.jpg

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50 minutes ago, Nick Parker said:

It literally says "new work", why on earth would it be anything but?

We don't want to get our hopes up here at JWFan. You should know that Nick.

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12 minutes ago, mrbellamy said:

I'm still not totally convinced he's scoring The Last Jedi.

Scoring session pictures with newspaper of the day in the picture and three sworn statements from people present or it didn't happen.

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9 minutes ago, artguy360 said:

JW loves Tanglewood.

And Yo-Yo Ma.

 

Hopefully this work will be a meatier one and not just a short showcase piece.

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6 hours ago, Incanus said:

We don't want to get our hopes up here at JWFan.

 

5 hours ago, Incanus said:

Hopefully this work will be a meatier one and not just a short showcase piece.

 

These two statements seem contradictory ;) 

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This is correct. The new Williams's piece will be dedicated to Bernstein (it is his centennial).

 

NEW YORK - John Williams, the prolific film composer who has scored "Star Wars" and other blockbusters, will premiere a new work dedicated to Leonard Bernstein, the Boston Symphony Orchestra said Wednesday.

 

The orchestra announced its 2018 season at Tanglewood, its summer home nestled in the wooded Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts, which will be dedicated to the centennial of the birth of Bernstein, arguably the most prominent conductor ever produced by the United States.

Tanglewood will on August 19 hold a memorial concert for Bernstein that will feature an original work by Williams for orchestra and cello, which will be played by Yo-Yo Ma

.

Andris Nelsons, a fast-rising star in classical music who is the Boston Symphony Orchestra's music director, will conduct the work. 

Williams -- the former conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra who remains artist-in-residence of Tanglewood, will conduct other nights during the season, including an evening of his film music.

 

A separate concert on August 25 in celebration of Bernstein will feature prominent singers including Audra McDonald and Susan Graham as well as Ma and members of orchestras with which Bernstein was associated.

 

Bernstein, who was born in Massachusetts, was music director of the New York Philharmonic from 1958 to 1969 during which time he became unusually prominent for a conductor with intensely expressive performances and regular television appearances. Bernstein, who died in 1990, remains best known as a composer for the Broadway musical "West Side Story" but also wrote three symphonies. The New York Philharmonic on Tuesday wrapped up its own centennial festival on Bernstein that featured prominent artists including violinist Joshua Bell and actor Jeremy Irons.

 

http://www.enca.com/life/entertainment/star-wars-composer-writes-bernstein-work-for-boston

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2 hours ago, TownerFan said:

He wrote the short piece "To Lenny!" (aka "For New York") in 1988, but I don't think he wrote anything else dedicated to him.

 

You're right. For some reason, I thought he was part of the group that was celebrated with "Happy Birthday Variations", but double-checking, I see it was Yo-Yo-Ma, Itzhak Perlman and Seiji Osawa. Besides, Bernstein was already dead by then.

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I tend to like Williams's concert pieces that are meant to honor an event or person more so than his regular concert works.  They tend to be more lyrical with (more) identifiable melody lines.  I hope, though, that it is a long, robust piece, versus a 5 minute deal--though I will ultimately be happy with anything.  

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Quote

Williams’ major work for 2018 will not be for film. It’s a fantasia for cello, harp and orchestra that will be premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra Aug. 19 in Tanglewood, Mass., as part of the Leonard Bernstein Centennial.

He is calling it “Highwood’s Ghost” and is writing it for cellist Yo-Yo Ma and harpist Jessica Zhou. Highwood Manor House is a building on the Tanglewood campus that already houses a bust of Bernstein that Williams himself commissioned and was unveiled in 2014. “Lenny always insisted that Highwood was haunted,” Williams says. “We had many parties with him in that gorgeous old house.”

 

 

http://variety.com/2018/music/awards/john-williams-could-set-oscar-record-1202658996/

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Cello and harp eh? Interesting combination. Great to see the Maestro busy with his concert works. :) 

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Cool! Williams can apparently never get too much of Yo Yo Ma.

 

Hoping the concert work is a TAD more accesible than some of the wild, avantgarde things he's written in recent years ("Conversations", "Scherzo for Piano and Orchestra").

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3 minutes ago, Miguel Andrade said:

Best news of the week! 

If this is as good as Conversations or Scherzo for Piano and Orchestra (just to follow the pieces mentioned earlier) I'll be in heaven! :)

 

Not doubting the quality of those pieces; I just hope this is a little less wildly experimental.

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24 minutes ago, Will said:

Wow!!! Very exciting. Last time JW wrote something for Yo-Yo at Tanglewood, we got the Cello Concerto. :)

Yes, though he also wrote, or at least premiered, the Memoirs suite for cello and orchestra at Tanglewood in 2006.  A fact which should bolster your excitement even more.  Given the title of the piece, I would guess the "spirit" of the piece (see what I did there) will be closer to Heartwood versus the concerto. 

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57 minutes ago, Tom said:

Yes, though he also wrote, or at least premiered, the Memoirs suite for cello and orchestra at Tanglewood in 2006.  A fact which should bolster your excitement even more.  Given the title of the piece, I would guess the "spirit" of the piece (see what I did there) will be closer to Heartwood versus the concerto. 

 

Yeah, probably true. Something like "Heartwood" would of course be nice too, although we did just sort of get that with "Markings." In any case, I'm sure it will be great!

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8 hours ago, Will said:

 

Yeah, probably true. Something like "Heartwood" would of course be nice too, although we did just sort of get that with "Markings." In any case, I'm sure it will be great!

 

Given the description of the piece JW gave to Burlingame and the instrumental combination (harp and cello), I guess this is gonna be again on the wistful side, like many of JW's concert works of late.

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14 minutes ago, Miguel Andrade said:

 Conversations and Scherzo are hardly experimental...

 

Perhaps not to you, but to me they belong among Williams' most experimental and "abstract" works (the flute concerto, IMAGES, Barry's Abduction etc.). The scherzo sounds like something Arne Nordheim could have composed in his heyday.

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I think Conversations might be one of JW's most wistful, intimate pieces he ever wrote. It's very personal and indeed the label of "private music" fits very well. The Scherzo is much more extroverted and vibrant, which is understandable as it's written almost as a showcase for a virtuoso pianist. It's very Bartok-ian and while it's ripe with dissonance and wild colours, I wouldn't label as experimental. However, I understand that some might find difficult to relate to it and might prefer the more consonant and placid writing of pieces like the Horn Concerto or Heartwood.

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Williams and experimental may be in the same sentence if one is refering to his score to Images. Not sure if there is anything else I would call truly experimental in his canon of work.

But you're probably right, and this has to do with one's own knowledge and embracement of vangardish movements in art.

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Yeah, although I appreciate lots of dissonance and "abstract" textures (Goldenthal or Goldsmith wouldn't be some of my favourite composers otherwise, for example), I think your tolerance level and familiarity with such idioms is much greater than mine.

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Can’t wait to hear it either; I hope it might get a commercial release after the premiere!

 

On a side note, that article was a nice read. It’s wonderfully reassuring to see JW talk about the future in a way that suggests he still has lots more to do and  plenty of eagerness to do it.

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