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"Celebrating John Williams" concert (Gustavo Dudamel/LA Phil, Disney Concert Hall, January 24-27, 2019) - 2CD set available on March 15

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Am I the only one drawing parallels between this release and the LSO’s A Life In Music?

 

On paper, they’re kind of the same, but this release has just enough subtle changes to get the even the old guard excited (even though Han Solo & The Princess 2.0 clearly should have been included).

 

Curious how it’s such a hit-and-miss game with us JWfan:ers.

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26 minutes ago, rough cut said:

Am I the only one drawing parallels between this release and the LSO’s A Life In Music?

 

On paper, they’re kind of the same, but this release has just enough subtle changes to get the even the old guard excited (even though Han Solo & The Princess 2.0 clearly should have been included).

 

Curious how it’s such a hit-and-miss game with us JWfan:ers.

 I was actually thinking the same earlier today. I don’t dislike the LSO recording, obviously it’s an amazing orchestra and a very good recording. Although I don’t like the high B natural (third of the chord)  in the first trumpet part on the last chord of the SW main title. I find it in very poor artistic taste.

 I only listened to the Dudamel recording once, in my car...but I already find a lot of incredibly nice musical things about it. I can’t wait to listen to it again with my headphones.

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1 hour ago, Locrius said:

Isn't it actually the fifth of the chord?

Yes, absolutely, high D, not B. Which to my ear makes it even worse. Not an excuse, but I really don’t listen to this recording much. Although I love Phil Cobb’s playing.

Thanks for waking up my memory 

For what it’s worth, the third on the last chord of ESB works great. The 5th on that LSO SW recording, not so much.

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23 hours ago, pete said:

Except for one horrible issue that affected just the area I was sitting in - the staff let a continuous stream of late arrivals in to the most expensive area from the quiet moments of Close Encounters through to Harry's Wondrous World, and I could hear the footsteps of the female ushers who were wearing highish heels and walking on concrete. They seemed to do a lot of unnecessary walking. A couple of times I could hear ushers speak into their headsets

 

I filmed a little, so as you can see I wasn't paying much attention to the music. I remember at the Barbican concerts, nothing distracted me at all except for occasional coughs, but yeah that was a concert hall and humans do cough from time to time. I'm not sure the video really conveys how distracting that all was. On a scale of 1-10, the distraction level was at least 500.

 

 

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Is the "Throne Room" recording on this album the first time that that piece's concert extension has come before the end title music?  I'm referring to the little "reset" that happens at the 2:00 mark on this recording.  On the Episode III OST, it's a tag after the "Princess Leia" and "Battle of the Heroes" reprises, almost the last thing we hear if I recall.  Is this earlier placement where it's always been in concert recordings of "The Throne Room"?

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3 minutes ago, igger6 said:

Is the "Throne Room" recording on this album the first time that that piece's concert extension has come before the end title music?  I'm referring to the little "reset" that happens at the 2:00 mark on this recording.  On the Episode III OST, it's a tag after the "Princess Leia" and "Battle of the Heroes" reprises, almost the last thing we hear if I recall.  Is this earlier placement where it's always been in concert recordings of "The Throne Room"?

 

That extension has been there in concert performances since 1978 at least.  I think the first recording of it was Zubin Mehta's with the LA Philharmonic.

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On 3/20/2019 at 8:56 AM, Ricard said:

Indeed, Mehta recorded the suite in December '77, a few days before the Charles Gerhardt recording in London.

 

Is this what is on this album? (Image attached.) If so, I believe all of those tracks (Side A was SW and Side B CE3K) are coming out on the the Deutsche Grammophon LA Phil 100 30+ disc set. Side A/SW is paired with Also Sprach Zarathustra on CD 2 and Side B/CE3K is paired with Holst The Planets on disc 3.

https://www.deutschegrammophon.com/us/cat/4836100

 

I think it comes out tomorrow although Amazon shows it as unavailable to order. Barnes & Noble has it, and I think iTunes will too (but possibly only 100 tracks from the full set).

 

-----

Separately, got a notice from Amazon that my physical copy of Celebrating John Williams CD set is confirmed for release date delivery on March 29.

 

"We have good news! One of your pre-ordered items is now eligible for release date delivery and has been upgraded at no additional charge. Your new delivery estimate is:

 Gustavo Dudamel/Los Angeles Philharmonic "Celebrating John Williams [2 CD]"
   Estimated arrival date: March 29, 2019"

R-1306122-1218510833.jpeg.jpg

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I should note that this album has been released on CD and some parts on SACD over the years, so the LA Phil collection is not new. Actually though, think it's great that the collection does include these John Williams tracks.  

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Absolutely great performances, but I find the recording/mixing really quite awful. And there are some horrendous edits that I don’t associate with the supposed quality of Deutsche Grammophone. It seems like the production for this album was quite rushed...

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2 hours ago, Remco said:

Absolutely great performances, but I find the recording/mixing really quite awful. And there are some horrendous edits that I don’t associate with the supposed quality of Deutsche Grammophone. It seems like the production for this album was quite rushed...

The record company sent me the album yesterday so I had the opportunity to listen to it. I can't agree that the recording/mixing  is really quite awful - in my opinion the whole set sounds very good. Of course, I have in mind that it's a recording from the concert, not from the studio.

 

Did you listen to it from the CD?

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8 hours ago, Pawel P. said:

The record company sent me the album yesterday so I had the opportunity to listen to it. I can't agree that the recording/mixing  is really quite awful - in my opinion the whole set sounds very good. Of course, I have in mind that it's a recording from the concert, not from the studio.

 

Did you listen to it from the CD?

 

I listened to it on Spotify - I’d assume there is not too much of a difference with the CD. What I dislike is a kind of artificiality to the orchestral sound that doesn’t reflect the way an orchestra sounds when you would hear it in any live setting. 

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Yes - but at 320 kB/s the orchestra is still mixed the way it is. It just sounds a little strange to me at times. Somebody said it earlier: some instruments sound like really far away and then snare and harp is very close, with a reverb that to me doesn’t sound very realistic to me. Still fantastic playing though!

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31 minutes ago, Remco said:

some instruments sound like really far away and then snare and harp is very close

 

I've made similar comments regarding this album. The Lockhart album, which of course also was live, had some of the same problems.

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Yes, sure, an mp3 would be good enough to judge a recording, I guess. Reverb, etc. Discounting a certain “flatness”, but that’s not what you mean, so sure.

 

The “live recording-issues” hasn’t really bothered me.

 

I recently set up a new sound system. I’ll give the Lockhart album (and the Dudamel when it arrivesa spin and compare it to some studio recordings.

 

If anything, I have a feeling the live recordings will feel more... well, alive, in lack of a better word. “Bigger”, maybe? We’ll see.

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5 minutes ago, rough cut said:

I’ll give the Lockhart album (and the Dudamel when it arrivesa spin and compare it to some studio recordings.

 

In Lockhart's The Patriot,  pay attention to the brass - if you can hear them, that is.

 

5 minutes ago, rough cut said:

I recently set up a new sound system.

 

What did you get? I'm planning to upgrade mine.

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Nice.

 

As for myself, I'm an old-fashined stereo-and-CD kind of guy. My setup consists of an old Nad C350 amp and B&W 603 loudspeakers, currently with a shitty budget line Denon CD-player that I'm thinking of upgrading to Denon's new DCD-800NE. I'll probably upgrade the amp too in the near future.

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Still, good stuff.

 

Currently, I play all my music through my laptop, but I’ll buy the Sony UBP-X800m2, that plays just about anything, come summer.

 

But that’ll be for Blu-ray audio, SACDs and old DVD-Audio discs. I’ll probably keep using digital files as my source of music as I don’t like too many discs lying around.

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2 minutes ago, rough cut said:

Ok ok, but that seems like minor complaints. I thought you meant the “echoey” ambience that comes with a live recording.

 

That's just the most obvious ones. And I don't at all mind the reverb of a good concert hall!

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16 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

An interesting review, but it would be nice to hear your thoughts on the unbalanced orchestral sound in the recording.

 

I know there are some strong critical opinions about sound/balance quality of this recording. I avoided to talk about it because I'm not uber-savvy when it comes to judge tech stuff like this. I have good ears and I think I can recognize a great recording from a bad one. In my opinion, this recording has good sound quality, even though uneven in certain spots. I'm sure it sounded much better in the Hall itself. However, I wanted to stay focused on the quality of the performance and on Dudamel's approach to the music, because that's what I felt was important to comment on.

 

Btw, when I write this kind of op-ed pieces for the wesbite, I use the tag "Musings" to clarify these are simply my own personal thoughts, it's not musical analysis or insight into the creative process.

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I think you're giving yourself too little credit - it's OK to comment on the sound quality and balance if you feel you have something worthwhile to say about it; you don't have to be any kind of expert to be able to do that. Attending lots of live concerts and listening to lots of orchestral recordings, and not least knowledge of JW's works that Dudamel performed, should give you the necessary insight into how it should sound.

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5 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

knowledge of JW's works that Dudamel performed, should give you the necessary insight into how it should sound.

 

And variation is not permitted?

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Is this release of the Label DG a US release or a European? I ordered via, Amazon UK  and they haven't been able to ship and giving me a 1 month delivery time. Strange. Although  it says shipping soon. 

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9 hours ago, Amer said:

Is this release of the Label DG a US release or a European? I ordered via, Amazon UK  and they haven't been able to ship and giving me a 1 month delivery time. Strange. Although  it says shipping soon. 

 

German Amazon lists it as in stock. Perhaps Amazon UK is showing the first Brexit delays?

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