Following the huge success of John Williams – The Berlin Concert , which topped the German pop charts earlier this year, Deutsche Grammophon is now proud to present the world premiere recording of John Williams’ Violin Concerto No. 2. The work was written for and recorded by the venerated composer’s friend and frequent collaborator Anne-Sophie Mutter. Her impassioned performance was given with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Williams, who celebrated his 90th birthday on 8 February.
The new album also includes three film themes newly arranged for the violinist by their composer – the Theme from The Long Goodbye, “Han Solo and the Princess” from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and “Marion’s Theme” from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Williams: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Selected Film Themes is set for release on CD and digitally on 3 June 2022, while the Concerto itself will also be simultaneously released on vinyl.
Williams and Mutter have worked together often since she gave the first performance of his Markings in Boston almost five years ago, and have co-starred on two previous hugely successful Deutsche Grammophon albums: Across the Stars (2019) and John Williams in Vienna (2020). Williams’ second violin concerto reflects his deep admiration for the lyrical warmth and dynamism of Mutter’s playing and for her sense of musical adventure.
John Williams recalls: “When Anne-Sophie invited me to compose a concerto for her, I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to write for one of the world’s greatest artists. It was also a challenge, of course, because there are so many great violin concertos in the repertoire.”
Scheduled for release on 19 August, a special single-disc Blu-ray edition of the album will feature all tracks in Pure Audio – also available in Surround and Dolby Atmos – along with films of last summer’s world premiere of the second violin concerto at Tanglewood, together with the artists’ encore performance of “Across the Stars” (from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones); the three film themes in concert from Boston; and a 25minute interview with John Williams and Anne-Sophie Mutter at Tanglewood. A 10-inch vinyl version of the three film themes will be released on the same day, available exclusively online from the DG Store.
To whet fans’ appetites, a new single and video of the concerto’s second movement, “Rounds”, will be available from 11 March. This will be followed by “Han Solo and the Princess” on 29 April, with a special YouTube premiere for its video on 4 May – Star Wars Day. The e-single and video of “Marion’s Theme” will be released on the same day as the album, 3 June, while the video of the Theme from The Long Goodbye will come out with the Blu-ray album on 19 August.
John Williams/Anne-Sophie Mutter
Boston Symphony Orchestra
VIOLIN CONCERTO No. 2 & SELECTED FILM THEMES
John Williams – Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 2
for Anne-Sophie Mutter
- I. Prologue
- II. Rounds
- III. Dactyls
- IV. Epilogue
World Premiere Recording
- Theme from The Long Goodbye
- Han Solo and the Princess from The Empire Strikes Back
- Marion’s Theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark
The joint albums and performances by the legendary film composer John Williams and the star violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter are undoubtedly among the highlights of recent years. This album is the latest in a longstanding friendship and collaboration between the world’s acclaimed artists: Mutter performs John Williams’ Violin Concerto No. 2, which the composer wrote for her.
Williams says of his Violin Concerto: “For me, this piece is primarily about Anne-Sophie Mutter and about the violin as a masterpiece of the art of violin making. (…) Ultimately, this great artist herself became my inspiration and driving force.” The present recording for Deutsche Grammophon, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Williams himself, was written shortly after the world premiere of the Second Violin Concerto in Tanglewood in July 2021.
The Boston Globe wrote, “Even in this premiere, Mutter carried the solo like an old friend, shaping every phrase with purpose and panache.” The lyrical and deeply personal concerto follows the album with three fantastic encores: Popular film themes from Williams, including from Star Wars and Indiana Jones, all of which he has completely re-arranged for Anne-Sophie Mutter. The expressiveness of Mutter’s playing is reflected in various details of the violin concerto, but also in the beautiful film melodies, as is her virtuoso brilliance and the lyrical warmth of her violin tone.
Source: Deutsche Grammophon