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ACROSS THE STARS - Williams / Mutter collaboration album

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I just came to express my absolute adoration for this album! Such wonderful new arrangements and performance. Sublime! ❤

 

The use of articulations in Hedwig's Theme are brilliant; the voicings in Luke and Leia. The cadenzas. 😍

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On 8/31/2019 at 11:09 AM, Thor said:

First of all, I've never really been a big fan of solo violin stuff. Don't know why; something about the pitch and sound, maybe. Solo viola goes on my nerves immediately, solo violin is tolerable, but if I'm going to have solo strings, it's really all about cello for me (or tutti strings).

 

[...] I have problems whenever more 'clean-shaven' themes are rearranged with lots of ornamentation. It throws me off a bit.

 

I can totally relate to what you said! Even more so the second part.

 

On one hand it makes me sad not to be able to appreciate this album like many JWFANERS do. But at the end of the day being on this site does not require to like every album of williams’ music 😝

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On 8/31/2019 at 12:09 PM, Thor said:

But I have problems whenever more 'clean-shaven' themes are rearranged with lots of ornamentation. It throws me off a bit.

I will agree here.

 

I generally don't like arrangements of existing music, and to "show-off" a particular instrument on top of that.

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Anything with a strong melody would work. I'd like to hear The Reivers. From Superman... March of Villains?

 

All those comedic sprightly pieces could work as virtuosic pieces for violin: Isabelle’s Horse & Buggy from Stepmom, Follow Me from Always, Adventures of Mutt, Jim's New Life, Making The Plane, Presenting The Hook, The Basket Game, Tourists on the Menu, etc. 

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Listening to the album right now.  Some very nice writing here.  

The Duel from Tintin has actually been the big highlight for me, but, of course, the Star Wars arrangements are beyond gorgeous.

8 hours ago, Amer said:

I hope she meant the Love Theme and not the main title March

Actually, I'm intrigued with how Williams would approach the Main Title for violin and orchestra.  

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Just now, Disco Stu said:

 

Wow, this is the track we all lost our shit over earlier this year.  I think it's jaw-dropping (in a good way, heh).

Really? I think the violin playing is way too harsh and it's just written OTT. It's lost it's magic for me totally in this way. I have to turn it off and I love Violin Concertos. Walton, Korngold, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, etc... It's just way too harsh here, an't tell if it's the arrangement or the playing or both.

3 minutes ago, Holko said:

It's the only one I listened to in full so far and I love it!

I love Hedwig's Theme, just can't listen to this version without wanting to stick knives into my ears, lol.

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38 minutes ago, ocelot said:

Really? I think the violin playing is way too harsh and it's just written OTT. It's lost it's magic for me totally in this way. I have to turn it off and I love Violin Concertos. Walton, Korngold, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, etc... It's just way too harsh here, an't tell if it's the arrangement or the playing or both.

I think it is fine.  If it sounds harsher, less "magical" than the original, well, I think that was John's intention.  He wanted to craft "serious" concert pieces from his film melodies, not just turn out some Pops arrangements. 

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1 minute ago, SteveMc said:

I think it is fine.  If it sounds harsher, less "magical" than the original, well, I think that was John's intention.  He wanted to craft "serious" concert pieces from his film melodies, not just turn out some Pops arrangements. 

That's not what I mean about harsh. The Concerto's I mentioned are all concert pieces, and if you want harsh in that sense, listen to Bartok's, the middle movement. I mean Harsh in a way that is not pleasant to hear. It's not well played or crafted, especially the first half of it, to me, others can love it, that's the beauty of any art.

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On 8/31/2019 at 12:52 AM, hornist said:

Well, the magic is also in his 2010's scores, it just isn't so obvious and underlined. Wonderful stuff. 

Sure thing. Maybe I should have said the old magic. When I said he changed with times I really meant it. Today's brilliance or 1990's is different from the 70s, as they should be :)

 

On 9/1/2019 at 10:21 AM, theMaestraX said:

Impressive....most impressive!

Anne Sophie Mutter plays her violin like a true dedicated John Williams/Star Wars fan! :lovethis:

Yes, this makes all the difference!

 

On 9/1/2019 at 5:54 AM, Amer said:

...

 

Since the start of the millennium he has invoked special concert versions of the main themes of most scores. The main themes in the OST albums are written and structured that way and it's pure Williams genius as well as his embodiment of the craft that he has developed over the decades to optimise the life of his musical creations. So it's no surprise that since past few years he has been revisiting many of his themes including forgotten ones and reclaimed them back in New concert arrangements.

 

This collaboration with the violin is a love letter to the concert hall and the remarkable induction of Anna Sophie Mutter in Williams own reportire will surely bring a long health perspective for a long time. 

 

I can see the Grammy on this already. 

Agreed. Few projects get this kind of attention.
The concert versions are a chance to follow the musical lines a bit longer than the edit may allow ;)

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4 hours ago, TownerFan said:

 

I detected some small intonation issues here and there, it seems ASM sometimes struggles with that. From what I've been told, recording sessions ran longer than originally planned so that she could master all the pieces the way she wanted and also asked for many many takes. Perhaps she expected easier pieces, who knows.

 

I'll write a brief article for The Legacy of John Williams soon about this recording (I'm waiting for the deluxe version to come out), but for the time being I can say this is exactly what I expected and I'm enjoying it immensely. Yes, these kind of film score/classical crossover ventures can quickly turn into snobbery acts toward the film repertoire (as if JW music needs an international classical soloists to be considered as good as classical music), but imho this is not the case. It just seems a project born from the desire of a classical superstar to have pieces written especially for her, with the composer initially agreeing with some reluctance, but then progressively having more and more fun with it. Some pieces work better than others, but overall it's a truly lovely listening.

Agreed Maurizio, wholeheartedly!

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6 hours ago, Marcus said:

This is a miraculous album. 

 

Imagine being able to craft such imaginative, vital and energetic new takes on this music at 87! 

 

There's incredible flair and elegance on display here, but also deep thought -and a simply stunning (and daring) command of how to pit a violinist against an orchestra. 

 

What a marvelous, generous gift.

 

Have to echo this. The fact that this is critiqued so intensely at all really puts into perspective just how far beyond Williams is from his fellow film scoring peers. Each and every one of the arrangements on this album reflects a lifetime and wealth of musical knowledge and expertise, finely honed and crafted and now put to task in "classicalising" (if you will) already world class pieces of orchestral music. The violin writing in this is simply masterful. 

 

Can one imagine Junkie XL knocking out a 6 minute cello concerto based off of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? I think we can all answer that one and the reality is that this kind of thing should simply be absorbed and appreciated whilst it lasts as the world of film music is almost alien to this level of work nowadays!

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11 minutes ago, The Psycho Pianist said:

Can one imagine Junkie XL knocking out a 6 minute cello concerto based off of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? 

 

Sure he could. His string writing is actually quite impressive.

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13 hours ago, TownerFan said:

 

I detected some small intonation issues here and there, it seems ASM sometimes struggles with that. From what I've been told, recording sessions ran longer than originally planned so that she could master all the pieces the way she wanted and also asked for many many takes. Perhaps she expected easier pieces, who knows.

 

I'll write a brief article for The Legacy of John Williams soon about this recording (I'm waiting for the deluxe version to come out), but for the time being I can say this is exactly what I expected and I'm enjoying it immensely. Yes, these kind of film score/classical crossover ventures can quickly turn into snobbery acts toward the film repertoire (as if JW music needs an international classical soloists to be considered as good as classical music), but imho this is not the case. It just seems a project born from the desire of a classical superstar to have pieces written especially for her, with the composer initially agreeing with some reluctance, but then progressively having more and more fun with it. Some pieces work better than others, but overall it's a truly lovely listening.

I agree in that Williams music does not need anything extra to stand on it's own next to some classical pieces and they work beautifully together in a concert.

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1 hour ago, Thor said:

 

Sure he could. His string writing is actually quite impressive.

 

What string writing? Surely there are film composers with knowledge on how to specifically write for instruments, but Junkie XL surely isn’t one of them. And even if they do, it isn’t on the level that JW has displayed throughout his career and on this album.

 

The comparison between JW and Junkie XL is a bit irrelevant anyway, but I’m surprised at how the sheer craftmanship of Williams’ music seems to be... underestimated sometimes.

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6 hours ago, Thor said:

 

Sure he could. His string writing is actually quite impressive.

Say What?!

 

 

Happy so many of you are enjoying the album. There are a few nice pieces. Although, for me I wish I had someone dynamic who goes into her music with so much passion and loses herself like Janine Jansen, here with the incomparable Berlin Phil playing part of the second movement of Britten's Violin Concerto.

 

 

Or my favorite, James Ehnes, who's interpretation of the 3 movement Korngold Violin Concerto, in fact this whole CD is astounding. He keeps the original fast tempos with total precision in tune which many did not since Heifetz originated them with the Korngold and Walton. I believe Heifetz debuted both. All three concertos are so haunting in parts (opening and the theme around 2.40 and later in this movement) and vigorous in others, the last movement of the Korngold being spectacular, and the gentleness of the middle movement is almost a lullaby. 

 

 

But I am happy to see any musician want to work with Williams and be energized to record so much.

 

Sorry to derail the conversation a bit and thanks for letting me natter on.....

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7 hours ago, ocelot said:

Or my favorite, James Ehnes, who's interpretation of the 3 movement Korngold Violin Concerto, in fact this whole CD is astounding. He keeps the original fast tempos with total precision in tune which many did not since Heifetz originated them with the Korngold and Walton. I believe Heifetz debuted both. All three concertos are so haunting in parts (opening an

 

Sorry to derail the conversation a bit and thanks for letting me natter on.....

 

Oh, it's lovely to talk about great music for the violin! Curiously enough, James Ehnes made Williams' Violin Concerto part of his own repertoire since a few years--he performed it with Denève several times.

 

For Korngold's, I'm actually very partial to the Previn/LSO recording with Gil Shaham on DG. Previn then recorded it again with Mutter and the Berliner, but imho it's not as good. I also love the John Mauceri recording with Chantal Juilliet made in the mid-1990s. The second movement is particularly brilliant:

 

 

Boy, isn't it gorgeous music? It's reassuring to see this concerto becoming part of the standard repertoire as much as the Brahms Violin Concerto.

 

Back to Mutter, her style of playing surely isn't everyone's cup of tea. She's very German and shines with the Romantic repertoire, so ideally she should be perfect for JW music. However, you have to keep a certain lightness of touch when performing JW music, imho. I think the piece from Cinderella Liberty is a great example of that and probably one of the better cuts on the album.

 

 

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23 hours ago, TownerFan said:

 

Oh, it's lovely to talk about great music for the violin! Curiously enough, James Ehnes made Williams' Violin Concerto part of his own repertoire since a few years--he performed it with Denève several times.

 

For Korngold's, I'm actually very partial to the Previn/LSO recording with Gil Shaham on DG. Previn then recorded it again with Mutter and the Berliner, but imho it's not as good. I also love the John Mauceri recording with Chantal Juilliet made in the mid-1990s. The second movement is particularly brilliant:

 

 

Boy, isn't it gorgeous music? It's reassuring to see this concerto becoming part of the standard repertoire as much as the Brahms Violin Concerto.

 

Back to Mutter, her style of playing surely isn't everyone's cup of tea. She's very German and shines with the Romantic repertoire, so ideally she should be perfect for JW music. However, you have to keep a certain lightness of touch when performing JW music, imho. I think the piece from Cinderella Liberty is a great example of that and probably one of the better cuts on the album.

 

 

I'm so happy after all the years of snubbing Korngold's concerto it's now firmly one of the favorites. Seriously I do not understand the snubbery. I will check out Gil's recording for sure! And yes, one of my favorites is Cinderella Liberty on the album. I think she sounds way too harsh on others. You do need that lightness, like you said. I would love to here Ehnes interpretation of Williams concerto!

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3 minutes ago, Dixon Hill said:

Always love when some pretentious twats rightly whine about snobbery against film music and then cannibalize their own in the same sentence.  Perspective is a thing. 

Canibalize their own? What do you mean?

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31 minutes ago, Madmartigan JC said:

What an extraordinary album this is! I was eagerly anticipating it and I haven't been dissapointed in the least.

I understand and adhere to the criticism regarding some of the playing. Mutter is an extraodinary violinist, but many of her stylistic choices usually make for performances that are far from being my favorite.
 
That being said, the greatest thing for me about this whole project is that these arrangements actually exist at all. It's an unexpected gift to have JW himself revisit some of his compositions at this point in his career. His work is marvelous and in the future they might be played and recorded by any number of musicians. So for me, this performance may not be ideal in every respect. It sounds amazing and you can tell Mutter did put a lot of dedication to the project (we should actually thank her tenacity that Williams took the time and effort to produce it). And while I may not like some chocies to me that doesn't take away from the fact that these arrangements exist and we get to enjoy them.
 
I can't wait for the Deluxe edition, particularly to hear what he did with Princess Leia’s Theme. I am bummed, however by the exclusion of Witches of Eastwick, sincce that is one of my favorite JW pieces (especially the piano/violin arr.). Here's hoping for a second album!

 

Well said!

 

One thing I wonder is if these arrangements will be published for anyone to perform or if they will be kept exclusive for Anne-Sophie to perform, at least for the time being.

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8 hours ago, Dixon Hill said:

Always love when some pretentious twats rightly whine about snobbery against film music and then cannibalize their own in the same sentence.  Perspective is a thing. 

 

When the chips are down, these uhhh these “civilized” people, they’ll eat each other.

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14 hours ago, jc_Madmartigan said:

I'm very eager to listen to these pieces being performed live, unfortunately I won't make it to this saturday's live broadcast. Does anybody know weher it'll be available afterwards?

Will anybody be recording it?

Sorry, that was me. My clumsy account management skills apparently ended up with me unawarely creating two similar users.

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