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New Podcast! The Baton: A John Williams Musical Journey

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You stole my idea! :)

 

But that's OK. I have my own Williams podcasts planned (over multiple episodes) covering his career, but not a one-by-one basis as yours.

 

I'll have a listen.

 

Edit: OK, had a listen. A couple of comments:

 

You forgot to fade down the Dudamel interview, so you talk over it. You also forgot to remove a 'goof' at the end of the DADDY-O episode.

 

It is not entirely correct that he had not written anything original prior to YOU ARE WELCOME. The piano sonata, for example, predates that film.

 

Williams didn't work on PETER GUNN untill 1958. So not 1957. This was after he had signed a contract with Revue.

 

Otherwise, a good basic, intro to his early days. 

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34 minutes ago, Thor said:

You stole my idea! :)

 

But that's OK. I have my own Williams podcasts planned (over multiple episodes) covering his career, but not a one-by-one basis as yours.

 

I'll have a listen.

 

Edit: OK, had a listen. A couple of comments:

 

You forgot to fade down the Dudamel interview, so you talk over it. You also forgot to remove a 'goof' at the end of the DADDY-O episode.

 

It is not entirely correct that he had not written anything original prior to YOU ARE WELCOME. The piano sonata, for example, predates that film.

 

Williams didn't work on PETER GUNN untill 1958. So not 1957. This was after he had signed a contract with Revue.

 

Otherwise, a good basic, intro to his early days. 

Thanks for listening, and for pointing out the little goofs in the first episode. The dates I found in my research had his involvement with Peter Gunn in 1957, but it could have been off.

 

When I was talking about writing something "original," I was referring to music for film or other media. I read something about a piano sonata in his early days, but could not find a definitive date for it. So, I left it out.

 

Sorry I beat you to the punch on the podcast idea. I was certain someone had done something like this in recent years, and was extremely surprised to find nothing.

6 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Interesting. How do you deal with the copyrights of the music clips in the podcast?

 

The show falls under "fair use," meaning I do not need to worry about copyright:

 

"...brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder."

 

The podcast falls under criticism, so I'm OK. I spoke with two lawyers about this before starting because I didn't want to do all this work only to be shut down by a movie studio.

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Thanks for listening, and for pointing out the little goofs in the first episode. The dates I found in my research had his involvement with Peter Gunn in 1957, but it could have been off.

 

PETER GUNN premiered on television in September, 1958 -- a couple of months after he had signed with Revue (although the GUNN assignment had nothing to do with the Revue work). The album (from which you played) was released in 1959.

 

 

 

When I was talking about writing something "original," I was referring to music for film or other media. I read something about a piano sonata in his early days, but could not find a definitive date for it. So, I left it out.

 

There is no exact date, but it was composed in 1951 -- most likely an exam piece while at UCLA. It is likely the wind quintet also predates WELCOME.

 

 

 

Sorry I beat you to the punch on the podcast idea. I was certain someone had done something like this in recent years, and was extremely surprised to find nothing.

 

The show falls under "fair use," meaning I do not need to worry about copyright:

 

"...brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder."

 

The podcast falls under criticism, so I'm OK. I spoke with two lawyers about this before starting because I didn't want to do all this work only to be shut down by a movie studio.

 

It's fine for now, but be aware that it may get trickier when you get to more familiar material with commercial album releases, and if you play whole tracks. If you're offering downloadable podcasts rather than webcasts, and you play whole tracks, you're in deep water. That's why I've only done webcasts myself (streaming rather than downloading).

 

But keep up the good work!

 

 

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3 hours ago, Faleel J.M. said:

Inspired by the Goldsmith Odyssey?

No, I did not know about that podcast until just an hour ago. That one is good, but I won't be deviating from the chronology or lumping two scores into one show.

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Listened to the first episode earlier, listening to the second now. It's very nice and I appreciate the research and information you provide. The pace is pretty good as well. Two suggestions:

1. Since you are going solo and don't have a co-presenter to converse with, I would scrub your scripts a little more to take out any excessive words like overusing "very". I would approach the scripts like a written article, with the same tightness and economy.

 

2. Since you are going chronologically, I think it is tempting to make claims like "John Williams had yet to discover the idea of writing themes for characters" but of course this is not true. Musical themes had been written for characters for films and television long before JW started doing so and even longer in music written for opera, ballet, etc. Because he hadn't done it yet doesn't mean he was unaware of the possibility. There were probably other reasons why he didn't write a character theme for one film or another.

 

Other than that, good stuff. It's nice to hear these excerpts from JW's early career. I look forward to more episodes.

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19 hours ago, Thor said:

You stole my idea! :)

 

But that's OK. I have my own Williams podcasts planned (over multiple episodes) covering his career, but not a one-by-one basis as yours.

 

You should do a webcast about your least favourite expanded soundtracks!

 

:)

 

Edit: I realized that this would require a series of webcasts.

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6 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

I've bought that expansion, but haven't had time to listen to it yet! But I'm prepared to be utterly disappointed.

 

Well, have you listened to the OST album? Do you know this score at all?

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2 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Of course I have. Several times!

 

Coz I only really know the main song. Now what it's called again? 😂 

 

Anyway, I hear the expanded soundtrack is just more of the same... I own both the OST and the expanded LLL soundtrack, but I have never listened to both from beginning to end!

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2 minutes ago, Josh500 said:

 

Coz I only really know the main song. Now what it's called again? 😂 

 

Anyway, I hear the expanded soundtrack is just more of the same... I own both the OST and the expanded LLL soundtrack, but I have never listened to both from beginning to end!

 

It's not bad, just not one of my JW favorites. It's still better than anything from Zimmer and Goldsmith, though. ;)

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I'll check this out, but I'll definitely give a full listen to my obvious favourites: STAR WARS, E.T., CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, RAIDERS, SUPERMAN (to name a few), and the more recent TINTIN, WAR HORSE, and THE POST. 

 

A splendid idea, and I'll bookmark it.  :up:

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1 hour ago, The Illustrious Jerry said:

I'll check this out, but I'll definitely give a full listen to my obvious favourites: STAR WARS, E.T., CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, RAIDERS, SUPERMAN (to name a few), and the more recent TINTIN, WAR HORSE, and THE POST. 

 

A splendid idea, and I'll bookmark it.  :up:

You will have a long wait. The earliest film there won't be discussed until sometime in fall 2019.

12 hours ago, artguy360 said:

Listened to the first episode earlier, listening to the second now. It's very nice and I appreciate the research and information you provide. The pace is pretty good as well. Two suggestions:

1. Since you are going solo and don't have a co-presenter to converse with, I would scrub your scripts a little more to take out any excessive words like overusing "very". I would approach the scripts like a written article, with the same tightness and economy.

 

2. Since you are going chronologically, I think it is tempting to make claims like "John Williams had yet to discover the idea of writing themes for characters" but of course this is not true. Musical themes had been written for characters for films and television long before JW started doing so and even longer in music written for opera, ballet, etc. Because he hadn't done it yet doesn't mean he was unaware of the possibility. There were probably other reasons why he didn't write a character theme for one film or another.

 

Other than that, good stuff. It's nice to hear these excerpts from JW's early career. I look forward to more episodes.

I agree about #2.

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13 hours ago, Trumpeteer said:

No, I did not know about that podcast until just an hour ago. That one is good, but I won't be deviating from the chronology or lumping two scores into one show.

 

Haha -- we Goldsmith Odyssey folks noticed your new podcast yesterday and wondered the same thing...we would have been perfectly happy if we had inspired you (or inspire anyone else to do Odysseys for other great composers). But I figured since you wrote about it being "a podcast unlike any of the others out there," you probably weren't aware of ours on Goldsmith...of course there are obvious differences as we are an unscripted group discussion (pretty tough to be unscripted solo, of course).

 

A couple notes: we set out to be chronological from the beginning, but started out (like you) thinking we would only cover the feature film work, and decided after just a few episodes to actually tackle Jerry's output more comprehensively and tackle all the TV work we could find as well. So we had to break chronology a little bit to cover everything. At this point we have a strict chronological schedule. We also only combine shorter things; it didn't make sense to cover the short Toccata for Solo Guitar on its own episode, so we fit it in with Face of a Fugitive. Our other twofers were not films but TV episodes. Our only threefer was for the three 1960 episodes of Gunsmoke Jerry did; it didn't make sense to split one of them off on its own. Pretty sure it's the only threefer we will ever do, though. If we covered each episode of television individually rather than "lumping" them in twos, we would be spending another couple years on this podcast and we're already planning on this taking a decade or more. :) 

I applaud you and look forward to checking out your journey through Williams!

 

Yavar

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3 hours ago, Yavar Moradi said:

 

Haha -- we Goldsmith Odyssey folks noticed your new podcast yesterday and wondered the same thing...we would have been perfectly happy if we had inspired you (or inspire anyone else to do Odysseys for other great composers). But I figured since you wrote about it being "a podcast unlike any of the others out there," you probably weren't aware of ours on Goldsmith...of course there are obvious differences as we are an unscripted group discussion (pretty tough to be unscripted solo, of course).

 

A couple notes: we set out to be chronological from the beginning, but started out (like you) thinking we would only cover the feature film work, and decided after just a few episodes to actually tackle Jerry's output more comprehensively and tackle all the TV work we could find as well. So we had to break chronology a little bit to cover everything. At this point we have a strict chronological schedule. We also only combine shorter things; it didn't make sense to cover the short Toccata for Solo Guitar on its own episode, so we fit it in with Face of a Fugitive. Our other twofers were not films but TV episodes. Our only threefer was for the three 1960 episodes of Gunsmoke Jerry did; it didn't make sense to split one of them off on its own. Pretty sure it's the only threefer we will ever do, though. If we covered each episode of television individually rather than "lumping" them in twos, we would be spending another couple years on this podcast and we're already planning on this taking a decade or more. :) 

I applaud you and look forward to checking out your journey through Williams!

 

Yavar

I have listened to a couple of episodes and really enjoyed them! I am not dealing with any of John Williams' TV work, only to mention that he was working on something in TV while composing a film score.

 

I only plan for this to be a two-year project. I am anxious to see the Goldsmith Odyssey go for a decade!

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3 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

I support you in not agreeing about #1; that suggestion would make the podcast less lively.

 

@Trumpeteer, do you include TV movies in your survey?

I will briefly mention "Heidi" and others as they come up in the chronology, but they will not get solo episodes. 

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That's sad as Heidi is a lovely score. I think you should consider including TV *features* at least. Hell, especially if they got soundtrack albums at the time.

 

I think Jane Eyre got a theatrical release in some territories and TV only in others. It would be a real shame if you skipped over it because it's my single favorite Williams score, just profoundly gorgeous (and hugely influential on later Williams scores).

 

Yavar

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1 minute ago, Yavar Moradi said:

That's sad as Heidi is a lovely score. I think you should consider including TV *features* at least. Hell, especially if they got soundtrack albums at the time.

 

I think Jane Eyre got a theatrical release in some territories and TV only in others. It would be a real shame if you skipped over it because it's my single favorite Williams score, just profoundly gorgeous (and hugely influential on later Williams scores).

 

Yavar

This is worth considering, Yavar. 

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I have enjoyed these so far. One thing I think might be nice would be to post on your webpage for each podcast a YouTube link to music (if available) for any un-released scores. There are a few I have been unable to find and I think this would complement the podcasts nicely.

 

Keep up the good work!

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2 hours ago, MarkRSmith said:

I have enjoyed these so far. One thing I think might be nice would be to post on your webpage for each podcast a YouTube link to music (if available) for any un-released scores. There are a few I have been unable to find and I think this would complement the podcasts nicely.

 

Keep up the good work!

Thanks for listening! I will consider that for future shows. There won't be much to find for these earlier films, though.

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13 hours ago, MarkRSmith said:

John Williams was performing with the Houston Symphony in the fall of 1983. I was unable to go to the concert, but I knew one of the trombonists and had a heads up on the rehearsal. I waited outside the Music Hall, spoke for a minute or two when he arrived, got the picture/autograph (ROTJ/Superman), and then went inside for the rehearsal. I don’t recall there being anyone else other than musicians (no security – I just sort of walked in). The rehearsal was enjoyable – I remember them running through Jubilee 350 (which I had never heard before) as well as Jabba’s theme.

 

In 2013 he came back to Houston and I had an opportunity to have him autograph the picture – I think he was amused as we both had aged a little…

 

Haha, wow! That's an awesome story! 

 

Thanks for sharing!

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Just finished the episode about The secret Ways. Very interesting and informative, and the music in this movie is already starting to sound like early 70s Williams. I especially hear Images in the main theme, but also shadows of the Desaster movies and Eiger Sanction. The association to Jaws was a bit far fetched for me, but also nice. Keep up, the podcast is great!

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