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Omen II

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  1. Danny Elfman's percussion concerto will receive its world premiere with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in March 2021. Given the other selections in the concert, the charismatic Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra and ace percussionist Colin Currie, this could be a lot of fun! Danny Elfman's Percussion Concerto
  2. Attention fellow personages of the intersphere! The Philharmonia will be giving the European premieres of James Newton Howard's violin and cello concertos in June 2021 at the Royal Festival Hall in London. The concert will also include selections from his film scores. Both Esa Pekka Salonen and the composer himself are listed as conductors. There is no word yet on the violinist for the violin concerto (I guess that James Ehnes or even Hilary Hahn might be possibilities?), while the cellist for the cello concerto will be Andrew Shulman. An Evening with James Newton Howard It is good to see film composers such as James Newton Howard and Danny Elfman programming some of their concert works in addition to their film music. The concert is more than a year away yet on 4th June 2021, but no harm in pencilling it in the diary.
  3. A photo of Macclesfield Town v Exeter City from last Saturday. Macclesfield's Moss Rose ground in Cheshire lies just to the west of the Peak District National Park. The tower on the hill in the background is Sutton Common BT Tower, one of fourteen telecommunications towers built of reinforced concrete in the 1950s to maintain communications in the event of a nuclear war.
  4. This is one of my favourite movements from any symphony. I first heard it shamefully recently at the BBC Proms in 2014 performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko. I found it an incredibly moving performance. Luckily the concert was televised that season and is now available in full on YouTube (albeit not in optimum quality, although the sound is fine). The second movement starts at about 18:30 and is highly recommended for anyone new to this symphony:
  5. Hildur: "Remind me John, which birthday did you celebrate yesterday?" Johnny: "Belle Rosen and Aunt Marge. 88."
  6. Tell me about it! It's not actually particularly far as the crow flies, but just a really awkward cut across London without a direct route from where I live to where I work. I've been able to cycle it quicker than it takes on public transport or driving, which tells you all you need to know about rush hour traffic.
  7. The Barbican Centre in London had a special 'Beethoven Weekender' last Saturday and Sunday to celebrate the 250th anniversary year of Beethoven's birth. Over the weekend all nine of Beethoven's symphonies were performed by five of the great UK orchestras (Bournemouth Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia and The Hallé) and introduced by broadcaster and Beethoven aficionado John Suchet (the brother of Poirot actor David). I went to the second day (Sunday) and it was really fantastic value. The day tickets cost only £25 and you could attend as many or as few concerts as you wanted throughout the day. On the Sunday the RNS under Lars Vogt played symphonies seven and eight before The Hallé and Hallé Choir performed number nine under Sir Mark Elder. All the seating was unreserved so you could sit wherever you wanted. As well as the symphonies, there were performances of Beethoven's sonatas played by Tai Murray and on Beethoven's own violin by Daniel Sepec at Milton Court, as well as an exhibition featuring pages from Ludwig's original manuscripts, his ear trumpet and other items. In the pit theatre the Carducci Quartet played selections from his string quartets, interspersed with extracts from Beethoven's letters read by actor Simon Callow (Four Weddings and a Funeral). They even screened episodes of the bizarre 1970s cartoon Ludwig about a giant egg thing that likes Beethoven.
  8. If I am working at my base location my commute can be anything from one hour at best (if I am lucky with all of my connections) to one and a half hours (on a bad day) each way. However, I don't listen to music on my usual commute, partly because I prefer to have my wits about me on public transport and partly because my usual journey consists of five separate legs - two buses and three trains - so I am changing between different modes of transport quite frequently and I want to be able to hear the various announcements on the Tube, the bus and at stations. In the mornings I prefer to read the free paper, while in the evenings I like to read on my phone what all you reprobates have written about John Williams on the interweb while I have been hard at work. I sometimes listen to music on longer distance train journeys outside London, for example if I am working in another city or going to watch a football match somewhere, but I do most of my music listening at home. I think you might be missing the basic concept of a walking group there, Richard!
  9. I had some tournament mead with my dinner this evening and was curious to know if any of you had ever tried this most ancient of drinks before? Tournament mead is like traditional mead but with a touch of ginger added. It is a very unusual taste and quite unlike anything else I have ever tasted - quite sweet due to the honey but not in a sickly way. I think it is quite moreish once you get used to the taste. I picked up various different types from the Lyme Bay Winery near Axminster in Devon before Christmas (https://www.lymebaywinery.co.uk/mead).
  10. Earthquake is not complete, as it does not include several source music cues composed by John Williams, approximately eight minutes of which are audible in the theatrical version of the film. As far as dramatic underscore goes, I think everything is included on the new CD but I would have to watch the film again to be sure (I have not watched it since I received the wonderful new CD set). My uncertainty stems from the fact that there are a few scenes scored with music tracked from elsewhere in the film - the scene early in the film when Dr. Adams is buried alive is tracked mostly with music for The Death of Jody but I think there was music tracked from another cue as well. Also late in the film the scenes where the Mulholland Dam bursts and floods the city are tracked with music from A Crack In The Dam, Motordrome and some of the cues featuring Jody's motif, but again I would have to rewatch the film anew to check if all the music is accounted for elsewhere. There are definitely several source music cues missing from the set, however. First up is some easily listening jazz heard in the supermarket where Jody works (audible for about 38 seconds). Interestingly, the cue was also heard in one of the additional scenes shot for the expanded TV version a few years later, as Rosa listens to the radio while she applies her make up in her apartment before an unexpected visit from the creepy Jody. Next is a groovy pop cue heard as Lew Slade (George Kennedy) drowns his sorrows in the bar. The cue is audible for about 32 seconds in the movie. Immediately following that is a lengthy [1:47] source cue for a bar room brawl, the music featuring saxophone and hammond organ and sounding a little like Tom Scott's Starsky and Hutch theme. The same source cue can be heard again in the additional scene shot for the TV version mentioned above, as Rosa changes channels on the radio. The film version of Miles' Pool Hall is also not included. While the full album rerecording is included, the film version [1:46] is markedly different from the album version. Following that is another great piece of Williams source music [1:18] featuring hammond organ as Slade admires Rosa's T-shirt in the bar. You can hear both of these cues in this clip: Later in the film another piece of source music is played on solo guitar by one of the survivors in the Wilson Plaza. The music is heard when Walter Matthau's drunkard dances and again a little later when Remy (Ava Gardner) asks after her father's condition. While I am not 100% certain that the guitar cue is by John Williams, I do not recognise it from elsewhere and think it likely to be by Williams unless anyone knows any better. Completists will also have noticed the absence of the Hare Krishna chant and a brief snippet of Dee Barton's music for High Plains Drifter, the movie that Rosa is watching when the earthquake begins. Producer Jennings Lang worked on both Universal movies, so the latter was a nice bit of 'product placement'. The Hare Krishna scene permitted a little in-joke at actor Marjoe Gortner's expense, as he had risen to fame as a child evangelist:
  11. “Now there’s a Woman I can say no to!”
  12. There's a joke in there somewhere about the Vienna Philharmonic and the far right, but this isn't the time or the place.
  13. This is a complete stab in the dark as I have not yet watched The Post, but I know that John Williams is very fond of the American patriotic tune Chester by William Billings, written in the 1770s around the time of the American Revolutionary War. Williams actually conducted an orchestral arrangement of the piece (possibly his own) at one of his concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra, even though it was not listed in the programme. Is there any piece of source music in the film which sounds anything like Chester? Bernard Herrmann also quoted the tune prominently in his score for Williamsburg: The Story of a Patriot, as did William Schuman in the third movement of his New England Triptych. Perhaps Williams wrote a similar tune or used it as a departure point and titled it accordingly? A wild guess but you did ask!
  14. I think and hope that an expanded release of The Eiger Sanction is very likely given the recent fine expansion of another Universal score by Williams from the same period, Earthquake. Hopefully it will include a remastered presentation of the rerecorded album as well as the first ever release of the original film tracks. There is so much great music unrepresented on the OST, especially from the climbing scenes in the last third of the movie. The music for the scene where French climber Montaigne is mortally injured by falling rocks is classic Williams. I can't think of the other four, but the above would keep me going nicely for the year.
  15. As probably the youngest person in the audience, I was the only one not coughing!
  16. That's a fantastic album and in fact I was lucky enough to have been in the audience at the concert at which it was recorded, at the Royal Albert Hall on 16th November 2015. John signed my CD booklet for me when I met him after another Gershwin concert the following year. Here is a nice little video feature on the album in case you have not seen it: By the way, the 2-CD compilation album The Best of the John Wilson Orchestra includes two other Gershwin tracks that were performed and recorded at the concert but not included on the Gershwin in Hollywood album, so it is definitely worth checking out if you like your Gershwin. Firstly is the song I Was Doin' Alright from the film Goldwyn Follies (sung here by Louise Dearman of course), as well as New York Rhapsody from the film Delicious (with Ian Buckle on piano).
  17. A derby is the American term for a bowler hat (three of which are pictured beneath the 'Purple Derbys' credit!). My guess is that this credit could have been some sort of homage to the big band era where such band names, distinguished by the musicians' collective attire, were commonplace. My Dad was a jazz pianist (his preferred style was mostly stride piano from the 1920s and 1930s) and he would often get his fellow musicians to wear straw boaters during any gigs, just because it was a jazz thing to have all the band members wear matching hats of some description.
  18. That is certainly true, but it is worth noting that the soundtrack album rerecording also included some selections that cannot be heard as part of the now released film score recording: [3] City Theme is Williams's lovely album-only arrangement of his theme for the city of Los Angeles. [7] Love Theme is another album-only track which is essentially a poppier arrangement of the Love Scene music heard in track [5]. [10] Miles' Pool Hall is a rerecording of a source music cue heard in the bar where Miles chats with Lew, Rosa, Sal and others. The film version of this source cue remains unreleased, as do a number of other source music cues heard in the movie. [12] Finale, End Title was written for, but not ultimately included in the film as explained in the liner notes. The film underwent some late cuts just prior to release, including a poignant conversation between Lew and Denise at the end of the picture. I speculate that Williams's original version might have scored that deleted scene. Instead a tracked portion of the Love Scene music is heard in the film just before the end title music starts.
  19. I have not watched the film recently in tandem with the wonderful new CD, but I believe these are the film score recording tracks not represented at all on the album recording previously available: [16] A Crack in the Dam - This consists of three or four cues from early in the film when assistant dam caretaker Max inspects the Mulholland Dam, when he convinces the Chief Inspector that the cracks should not be there and when Dr. Stockle receives a laughably brief telephone call informing him that Dr. Adams has been buried alive. [20] Motordrome [0:00 to 0:46] - This is the cue where Miles shows off his new stunt ramp to Rosa. Miles On Wheels was of course rerecorded and extended significantly for the album. [21] Jody's Trophies / Sam's Private Thoughts - The music which accompanies Jody changing into his National Guard uniform, followed by a brief cue underscoring a conversation between Stewart and Sam at the Royce Building. [22] Aftermath - The magnificent cue commenting on the devastated city immediately after the Big One. [23] Chair Lift - This cue accompanies the improvised rescue by Sam and Stewart at the Royce Building using an office chair and a fire hose. [25] Refugees and Looters - This fine cue starts with the National Guard motorcade driving through the ruined city. [26] Jody Loses Control - The music which underscores Jody shooting dead his roommates in cold blood because they had been teasing him earlier in the film. [27] Jammed Door [0:00 to 0:16] - Max notices that a door at the dam has shifted slightly and realises that the Mulholland Dam is about to break. Note that The Death of Jody was rerecorded as the last part of the Watching and Waiting / Sam's Rescue album track. [28] The Tunnel - Superb cue scoring Stewart Graff's crawl (assisted by Lew Slade) through the collapsed rubble of the Wilson Plaza to rescue the people trapped in the underground car park. [29] Washed Away - The music from the climax of the movie as the storm drain is flooded before everyone is able to escape from the underground car park. [31] Aftermath (Alternate) [32] Refugees and Looters (Alternate) I would also be inclined to include [17] Lunch with Remy, as although it is the same theme as the album track Something for Remy, the scoring and tempo are markedly different. It would be a bit like not wanting to have the music for Darth Vader's Death because you already had The Imperial March. According to Mike Matessino's liner notes, the original film score recording was The fact that I had to double check should indicate how good the sound is on this release.
  20. I was lucky enough to receive this from Father Christmas yesterday and played it through for the first time this afternoon. It is such a thrill to finally have the film score recording, but a few words on the remastered 1974 soundtrack album recording to start with; while I never had any problem with the sound on the Varese Sarabande CD (which was actually the first John Williams score CD I bought back in the day!), the remastered sound on this new CD is phenomenal. I particularly noticed how much clearer the horns were on Love Theme, for example, but in every track I hear details I had not noticed before. The separation of the album versions of Miles' Pool Hall and Sam's Rescue into individual tracks - as per Williams's original intention - is also great. These two tracks could rightfully be asterisked with [* includes previously unreleased music], as both include significant amounts of music not heard in the Medley track, simply because it was faded in or faded out to create that Frankenstein's monster of an album track, much as I have always loved it. When I heard the clean opening of Miles' Pool Hall I thought they had switched reels on me there for a few seconds! The film score recording is fantastic to have. I have wanted to hear this music in good quality ever since I first watched the film years ago and realised that the music in the film was a different recording than what was on the soundtrack CD. I expected that if ever the music saw the light of day, it would at best be like one of those archival recordings Cloud 9 Records used to release with more pops and crackles than Edison singing Mary Had A Little Lamb, but not a bit of it - the sound on this is remarkably good. Although I was familiar with most of the unreleased music, there is so much of it that can finally be heard properly outside the film. Much of the cue Washed Away is pretty much inaudible in the film due to the sound effects, but now it can be heard in all its glory. There are also cues that are partially or even mostly dialled out in the film but can now be heard in full (I'm looking at you, Something For Rosa). I also love having the two versions of Aftermath, for a long time one of my most wanted unreleased Williams confections. The fascinating unused cue does not sound quite sad enough somehow, almost as if the music is reflecting the awesomeness of the natural forces at work rather than the devastation wrought by the quake. This is a great release and finally presents the music the way it deserves and in a way much more representative of the score as heard in the film. I think it's beautiful!
  21. Yes, the programme screened lasted an hour and a half (without ad breaks) so the YouTube video must be heavily edited. I would recommend watching the whole thing on BBC iPlayer if you have the means and wherewithal to do so. I should add that there was another excellent documentary screened straight after the Star Wars one, again featuring John Williams and his music very heavily. Score: Cinema's Greatest Soundtracks included interviews with a who's who of film composers including David Newman, Marco Beltrami, Quincy Jones, Howard Shore, Mark Mothersbaugh, Hans Zimmer, Brian Tyler, Tom Holkenborg, Christopher Young and many more, as well as several archive interview clips with John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Again, throughly recommended if you can watch it: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0002pf6/score-cinemas-greatest-soundtracks All of the composers - including Hans Zimmer - spoke gushingly of John Williams and his influence on their own music and careers.
  22. Did anyone else watch the new documentary The Galaxy Britain Built: The British Force Behind Star Wars about the making of Star Wars on BBC Four this evening? It was wonderful, not least because it included extensive discussion of the music by John Williams. As well as showing several sections of the famous 1980 BBC documentary of John Williams working on the score to The Empire Strikes Back, it also included recent interviews with bassoonist Robert Bourton and trombonist Denis Wick who played in the LSO on the original soundtrack. Both spoke very highly of John Williams and gave their recollections of recording the score in Denham, Lionel Newman getting the orchestra in line and much more. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000cdzt/the-galaxy-britain-built-the-british-force-behind-star-wars If you have the chance to watch it on the BBC iPlayer, I highly recommend it. A must for any Williams fans!
  23. This is one instance where it would be quite appropriate if the boxset arrived badly damaged in transit. I would like the top of my boxset to be sodden with seawater, the middle third to have scorch marks and smoke damage while the bottom third should be cracked and torn. In fact LaLa Land will have dropped the ball on this one if the box arrives in pristine condition. Good news is that my order has now shipped, although hopefully not on the SS Poseidon. Rescuer: "How many of you down there?" Red Buttons: "Six." R: "Is that all?" RB: "Did you save anybody else? Anyone from the bow?" R: "No. Just one insufficiently packaged specialist soundtrack boxset addressed to London with a hilariously inaccurate value declaration on the customs label."
  24. Thank you, James. Do the liner notes give any background information about the album track Finale, End Title from Earthquake [track 12]? The music is not heard in the film (for which the end titles are essentially the film version of The City Sleeps) so I have always wondered if it was a track that John Williams wrote specially for the album, or perhaps an earlier version of the end title music.
  25. I received my copy of The Italian Job yesterday, less than three days after ordering. Quartet Records certainly gotta bloomin' move on, didn't they?
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