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Omen II

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  1. Wonderful news, disciples! A little matter of fourteen of your Earth years after I visited John Williams Close in New Cross Gate, today I was able to visit John Williams Close in Kingston-upon-Thames while walking the London Loop, a 150 mile long-distance walk around London. Kingston-upon-Thames is a much more well-to-do area than New Cross Gate, so this John Williams Close is a gated private road a mere stone's throw from the River Thames. It is not far from Hampton Court Palace, where Henry VIII got up to all sorts of mischief, the fat fuck. My odyssey is not quite over, because since my original post a John Williams Boulevard - named after a former leader of the council in that neck of the woods - has been constructed in Darlington in the northeast of this sceptred isle. I have been to Darlington a couple of times but not since 2008. My promise to you: I WILL try.
  2. Camulodunum! Did you misbehave when you were in the army?
  3. There is a 25% off sale on Chandos's film music titles during the very merry month of May. The three disc compilation of Ralph Vaughan Williams film music is an absolute steal at £3.75 if you do not already have it. What better way to celebrate his 150th birthday than adding it to your collection? Chandos 25% off sale BUY BUY BUY! GOTTA COLLECT 'EM ALL!
  4. I went to see the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a very rare performance of Rued Langgaard's first symphony at the Barbican on Friday. It is a remarkable piece (finished by the Danish composer in 1911 when he was still only seventeen years old) and quite bonkers at times. There were nine horns (four of which doubled on Wagner tubas) as well as off-stage trumpets and trombones in addition to the healthy numbers already on stage. I was glad to have been in row S; any further forward and my ears might have started bleeding as if listening to the boîte diabolique in Look Around You.
  5. I think it says jazz-bos. A 'jazzbo' is a term for a musician or a fan of jazz. I think they have just hyphenated the word in the article.
  6. I feel I really should know the answer to this, as I did a course on Neronian literature and society as part of my degree! Marian is likely to to be right on Quo Vadis, which was one of the films I had to watch. I also remember having to watch Federico Fellini's Satyricon, which was a couple of hours of my life I will never get back.
  7. The Philharmonia Orchestra performed this at the Royal Festival Hall in London on Thursday. Although I had seen this a few years ago at the Royal Albert Hall, I decided to get tickets and I was so glad I did! The orchestra was on tremendous form and hearing the final sequence from the escape onwards was like listening to the original soundtrack - every sync point was hit just perfectly. They are a really great orchestra when it comes to film music. Although I have been to many live to film presentations before, I think this was the first time I had seen conductor Anthony Gabriele. He got everything spot on and I am pleased to see that he will be conducting the performance of Superman in London this summer. This was one of those concerts where you could just tell that everyone in the audience loved it, not only from their spontaneous applause at certain key moments and their reactions at the end but also from the buzz of excitement and chit chat as people made their way home afterwards. The programme was free and has a nice note from John Williams inside (no doubt they copy and paste and change the name of the orchestra, but still nice to see). You can read the programme here if you are interested. P.S. I was amused by the similarity - from a distance at least - between the conductor and one of the first violinists. They could have been twins!
  8. I went to this concert yesterday and it was really nice! Film composer Carl Davis was the conductor and is clearly a keen John Williams fan like we are. Before the concert there was a free discussion between him and Philharmonia horn player Kira Doherty, which was good fun. I wanted to ask him during the pre-concert talk whether he had ever listened to Thomas and the King and considered trying to programme any of it in such an appropriate venue, but unfortunately the talk overran so they could only take a couple of audience questions. For anyone who does not know much about British history, the musical is about the relationship between the mediaeval Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas a Becket and King Henry II. Becket was murdered by four knights in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170 after falling out with the monarch and was later canonised. As I had the day off work, I made the most of it by visiting the wonderful cathedral which has some magnificent stained glass windows amongst many other treasures (it is a world heritage site). While there was nothing in the programme I had not heard live before, there were a couple of pieces heard less often these days which I enjoyed the most, namely Born on the Fourth of July and the Love Theme from Superman. Carl Davis mentioned that these were among his favourites too. He had a couple of senior moments, for example reminiscing that he met John Williams when he was working on The Cardinal - I assume he meant Monsignor - but otherwise he was on very good form for an 85 year old. He has the amusing habit of sometimes counting in the orchestra as if he were conducting a jazz band ("A 1, 2, 3, 4...!"), which is just about more endearing than it is disconcerting. He also took the Olympic Fanfare and Theme so frighteningly fast that I thought the horn section was going to start crying! This was my first visit inside the Marlowe Theatre. It is a comfortable, modern all-purpose venue but presumably not built specifically for orchestral music, so the acoustics were ok but not great. It was difficult to hear the horn section in particular, as they were effectively projecting their sound into a black curtain at the back of the stage. The excellent Philharmonia Orchestra has a lot of brilliant young musicians, many of whom were on the last train back to London after the concert. It was fun to hear a couple of them singing the Superman theme out loud and proclaiming it to be "so good" as they walked along the platform at St. Pancras station before descending into the Underground, as football supporters do when returning from having seen their team win away from home.
  9. Here are a few blurry photos of the occasion (these inconsiderate people just won't make like statues and pose for me!). The first is of percussionist Colin Currie at the vibraphone, getting everything set up during the interval. In the third photo you can see soprano Grace Davidson in the centre of the choir with the boy soloist who also sang beautifully.
  10. I went to this concert too. It was great, wasn't it? It is worth mentioning that Danny Elfman was in attendance too and came onto the stage at the end of the concerto and again at the end of the concert.
  11. Tom Service regurgitates his obvious dislike for John Williams at any opportunity. He used his programme notes for the BBC Proms concert in 2017 (the one where Keith Lockhart conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra) to list classical works which Williams supposedly ripped off. In all other Proms programmes the same page is used to promote ‘further listening’ of music by the same composers featured in the concert.
  12. I would have had you down as more of an Amundsen man than a Scott man, @Thor! 🇳🇴🇬🇧
  13. I went to the live to picture presentation of this at the Barbican yesterday evening. It was something of a dream come true to hear this, one of my favourite film scores, performed live to the film - something I never thought would happen with a British film of this vintage. Before the film started, the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins played a kind of overture / suite of music from the film which included some sections of music not heard in the film, which was a great way to kick things off. The soprano soloist was none other than Elizabeth Watts, one of the finest singers in the country, whose voice was just about perfect for this. She was well supported by the ladies of the BBC Symphony Chorus, 32 choral singers in total. I realised how closely the women's voices matched the howling Antarctic wind in several scenes, such that it was sometimes difficult to discern what was the choir and what was the wind. Wonderful! I had seen the film before but it was quite a long time ago. It's actually a really good film - there were many poignant moments during which you could feel the tension in the hall, for example the scene where Scott's expedition party has to shoot the ponies one by one. It happens off screen while the camera focuses on each of the next horses in turn as their muzzles are cradled one last time by their human companions. I also noticed almost all the orchestra members who could see the screen watching transfixed as Scott (John Mills) delivers his final few words in the tent, knowing that he and his companions would not make it. Vaughan Williams's magnificent score was played perfectly and it did not matter that it occasionally drowned out the dialogue on screen. If you are interested, you can read the programme notes here.
  14. I would like to wish John Williams many happy returns on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday. I like his music and he is a nice man.
  15. English composer Roy Budd wrote a wonderful score for Flight of the Doves in the early 1970s. The film was shot in Ireland and the music is just lovely. 6:18 onwards in this suite is 😍.
  16. Also @Jay, would the shorter version of Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan count, or is that considered just an edited down version of the original?
  17. Am I imagining it, or was there a slightly revised The Face of Pan from Hook a few years ago? Also, when did our Johnny tinker with the Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra? I think we should be told.
  18. Interesting! Another good example of two countries separated by a common language. Denham is quite a well-to-do area and I reckon most residents there would be appalled to see it described as a suburb of London (for the record, I do not live in Denham ). It used to be a place where lots of actors (e.g. John Mills) and TV stars (e.g. Cilla Black) lived - close enough to London to commute easily but far away enough to feel like they were in the countryside and had some privacy.
  19. While I was familiar with many of the most famous songs from this musical, I had never owned any version of this score prior to this fine release. It is fun to hear so many Williamsisms in the scoring as well as possible influences on John Williams's own musical Thomas and the King, written a few short years after this film. There is a lot in To Life from FOTR that puts me in mind of We Shall Do It! from TATK, stylistically at least. One factual error in the booklet that I cannot help myself being pedantic about is the description of Anvil Studios as being in the "western London suburb of Denham". Denham is very close to London but is just across the county border in Buckinghamshire. If Boss Hogg were pursuing the Dukes of Hazzard west along the A40, he would have to have let Thames Valley Police take over by the time the General Lee sped past Anvil Studios on the A412.
  20. I think I would happily shell out for a box set of just the complete John Williams music from Lost In Space, The Time Tunnel and Land of the Giants. While I have enjoyed watching repeats of all three shows on TV over the years, they were all before my time and I passed on the various more recent expansions / box sets issued by La-La Land, all of which contained much music by other composers which I would not have listened to often enough to justify the expenditure. I know I asked the question earlier in the thread and the suggestion was politely poo-pooed at the time, but is there any possibility that the label might consider amalgamating the Williams selections into one release? Or would that be throwing good money after bad?
  21. I finally had the chance to watch this discussion today and the two hours flew by. It was really great! It was nice to hear Louise's comment towards the end about how so many musicians are inspired by their fathers. My Dad was never a professional musician but there was always music in the house. I credit to my parents a large part of my own love of music.
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