The Washington Post has a report on last night’s performance at the Kennedy Center, where Williams conducted the NSO in a program that included his concert works For Seiji and The Five Sacred Trees, as well as selections from Raiders, Jaws, E.T. and Star Wars
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
It was especially illustrative to hear some of Williams’s pure concert music — pieces in which he has more than a few seconds to set a tone and that allow for some ambiguity of expressive intent. “For Seiji!” is a tribute to Seiji Ozawa, who was until recently the music director of the Boston Symphony. Not surprisingly, this is a showpiece for virtuoso orchestra — proclamatory, skillfully wrought, easy on the ears and making judicious use of some Asian modes, presumably to reflect Ozawa’s Japanese heritage.
“The Five Sacred Trees” is an ambitious concerto in five movements. As one of the very few such works for solo bassoon, it ought to prove very popular with reed players. It would be hard to imagine a finer performance than the one it was given by Sue Heineman, the NSO’s principal bassoonist. For all of the score’s eerie sound effects and daunting registral leaps, Heineman’s playing was inevitably lyrical: She made the bassoon sing, now with pastoral sweetness, now with dry Mephistophelian elegance, now in a boggy bass croak. The NSO provided backing of unusual richness and variety; this composer knows a thing or two about orchestration.