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Omen II

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  1. This is great news! These are three of my favourite Williams scores and I am particularly excited about the prospect of having the film recordings of the score for Earthquake as well as the soundtrack album. It is good to see that they appear to have extracted the Miles' Pool Hall track from the medley and presented it on its own as a separate track, yet still retained the entertaining Medley album track as a bonus. There appears to be no sign of the two effects-only tracks (Earthquake: Special Effects and Aftershock), but worse things happen at sea, as Red Buttons, Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine would attest. I can't believe that I wrote my analysis of the Earthquake score nearly seventeen years ago! I gave speculative cue titles to all of the unreleased tracks in the absence of any documentary evidence whatsoever, so I am chuffed to bits that I got at least one of them right (The Aftermath, a fantastic little cue by the way)! I am assuming that Williams again nixed the inclusion of most of the source music cues in the presentation of the score proper? There are several fun source tracks from the film that I would love to hear in full one day. Perhaps Williams can be persuaded to approve a separate CD release of all his groovy 70s source cues one day. I am sure that the availability of the original film recording of the score will increase the appreciation of Williams's work on this movie.
  2. No, as I did not want to Badger him while he was having his tea! Besides, my soup was not going to eat itself. When I told my brother afterwards he said I should have spoken to him, as it is probably very rare that anyone recognises him. Oh well.
  3. This was brilliant. I had never seen the film all the way through before so it was a great opportunity to rectify that as well as to hear William Walton's magnificent score. The original soundtrack was performed in 1944 by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Muir Mathieson, while this evening's performance was courtesy of the equally talented Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Frank Strobel. The Crouch End Festival Chorus sang the various choral parts with great aplomb. The Agincourt battle scenes owe a lot to Alexander Nevsky, both visually and musically, which I thought was rather nice. The programme notes here are well worth a read if you are interested in the film and / or the score. Also I was sitting at the same table as film composer Nigel Hess in the Riverside Terrace Cafe before the concert started. I was eating soup while he was eating crisps. Truth.
  4. He meant that he did not know about Gandalf having a staff in the Lord of the Rings films, so as far as he was concerned his idea to have the Bulgarian boys bang staffs on the ground in the fourth Harry Potter film was an original one. Mind you, we have had Alien v Predator so why not the franchise mash-up spin-off Gandalf v Dumbledore? I am thinking Brian Tyler for the music (natch) and can see the tagline now: "One packs a staff, the other packs a wand. Together they deliver."
  5. He was his usual genial self in a conversation with Justin Freer. He related a few nice anecdotes about writing the score, saying that he had written most of it at his holiday home in France. He talked about how he had struggled to come up with something suitable for the Hogwarts brass band music, Mike Newell rejecting his early attempts because they were not quite 'quirky' enough. By chance he was with his family at a restaurant in France when a local brass band came in to entertain the diners - he suddenly realised what he needed to do and asked the waiter for a napkin so that he could scribble down his ideas! He explained that the brass band music therefore has a bit of a French flavour to it. Interestingly, he said that he felt more comfortable writing music for film than for the concert hall, feeling that film music was his métier. It was also his idea that the Bulgarian Durmstrang boys should enter the hall banging staffs on the floor rather than carrying wands and noted that the music he conceived (with the drums punctuating each strike of the floor) ended up in the film exactly as he had written and recorded it. He joked that he did not know anything about Gandalf at the time and knew he had made the right decision because one of his sons told him, "Dad, that's really cool!" He also talked about having some difficulty coming up with one of the waltzes (it might have been the one for Neville, I cannot quite remember) and ended up writing it in a taxi on the way to a meeting with Mike Newell, before singing it to the director to great approval. He also talked about how he approved of all the musical decisions that Mike Newell had made, which is not always the case when he watches back the films he has scored. For example, he had written some music for the scene early in the film when Harry sees the skull in the sky after the Quidditch World Cup. He agreed with the director's decision to drop the cue in question, appreciating that the scene worked better without music.
  6. I made a very late decision to go along to the evening performance of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire yesterday and was glad that I did. I had a ticket to the talk with Patrick Doyle before the final concert and thought it might have been a bit rude to bugger off home straight afterwards, so I bought a cheap ticket for the gallery. I think I had seen the film once when it was on TV a few years ago but remembered almost nothing about it, so it was nice to see it again and on the big screen this time. Justin Freer announced just before the film started that Patrick Doyle was in the audience (in fact his wife and at least a couple of his grown up children were with him, including Abigail who sings on the track Underwater Secrets on the soundtrack album). Not only did this mean that he got a particularly enthusiastic and well-deserved cheer when his name appeared during the end credits, but it also meant that he was able to come out on stage at the end to thank the orchestra and take a bow. One nice little quirk I noticed was that most of the orchestra were swaying from side to side as they played the various waltzes in the end credits! Here are a couple of my customary blurry photos:
  7. Here is a rehearsal video of the ninth movement One Last Breath:
  8. I went to the European premiere of Whitacre's The Sacred Veil at St. John's Smith Square in Westminster last night. It was a very moving experience, especially for anyone who has lost someone close to them. The piece tells the story of the courtship, love, loss and search for solace of Charles Anthony Silvestri (Whitacre's best friend and writer of the words to many of his works, e.g. Sleep) following the death of his wife Julie from ovarian cancer in 2005. The work is in twelve movements as follows: The Veil Opens In a Dark and Distant Year Home Magnetic Poetry Whenever There Is Birth I'm Afraid I Am Here Delicious Times One Last Breath Dear Friends You Rise, I fall Child of Wonder Such a premise runs the risk of bathos or coming across as quite maudlin (dare I say especially for a stiff-upper-lip British audience), but it really was outstanding in both the words and the music. Some of the words were taken from Julia Silvestri's own diary entries and e-mails (Dear Friends in particular I found heartbreaking). The words were projected on a screen behind the choir which was a neat idea, as it allowed the audience to pay full attention to the choir and musicians (pianist Christopher Glynn and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler) instead of following the words in the programme. When it finished a couple of the choir members were wiping tears from their eyes. If you get the chance to see this piece performed, I heartily recommend it. It will be recorded for release next year on Signum Records.
  9. I enjoyed Lewis 'Sebulba' MacLeod's turns as Boris Johnson and Donald Trump and would certainly like to see David Arnold's programme suggestion of Hans Zimmer v Rachel Portman come to fruition!
  10. Classical music lovers would probably be most familiar with his Eclogue for piano and strings, Five Bagatelles, the clarinet concerto and the cello concerto. But I take your point. Love's Labour's Lost, which I posted somewhere earlier in this thread, deserves to be better known and played more often as well.
  11. There's nothing like a bit of Gerald Finzi at this time of year when the evenings are drawing in. One of his lesser known works is Farewell to Arms, the second part of which (Aria) is especially beautiful. Here it is sung by Ian Partridge with the New Philharmonia Orchestra.
  12. I would be very surprised if Anne-Sophie Mutter stopped her performance due to concerns about copyrighting. It was clearly distracting her enough that she felt it was affecting her performance for whatever reason, therefore I completely understand her stopping the performance and asking the young woman to stop. It might be that she was in a crabby mood that day and might otherwise have let it go, but that is her prerogative as the performer (Williams himself has gone on record as saying that she is a woman you cannot say no to). It might be partly a generational thing too. I grew up in an age without smartphones whereas many youngsters nowadays are used to having every aspect of their lives recorded for posterity as soon as they emerge from the womb (literally in some cases!); they therefore see nothing wrong in videoing anything and everything that happens to them and are less bothered by others that do so. I still feel a little self conscious just taking a couple of still photos with my camera at the end of a performance during the applause and cannot envisage myself ever recording during a performance in a classical concert. For me it is not a question of whether or not I can still enjoy the concert at the same time as videoing it, it is a question of whether or not I could do so without affecting other people's enjoyment of the concert. I usually do find the use of smartphones during a formal performance very distracting. At somewhere like the Royal Albert Hall where the seats in the stalls and circle are very steeply raked, you can easily see when someone in the rows in front of you turns their phone on. It seems that so many people cannot sit still for three quarters of an hour without checking their phone. I was at a Proms concert a few weeks ago where a man actually took a telephone call during a magical performance of John Luther Adams's In the Name of the Earth, until he was quickly taken to task by the people sitting around him. That said, I am open to accusations of hypocrisy here given that I have enjoyed the occasional video taken by concertgoers and indeed have linked to them plenty of times here. For example there was a video of the final scenes of E.T. live in concert that was brilliant, although I am glad I was not sitting behind the person taking it!
  13. It was the world premiere of Skyfall in concert at the Royal Albert Hall this evening and the audience was treated to two Newmans (or should I say Newmen?) for the price of one. The score was conducted by David before Thomas appeared on stage with him at the end. Bless! They should do a concert together some day and with Randy too, why not? Apologies for the crappy photo but here's the evidence:
  14. I am glad I was able to keep you "across the Czars", so to speak.
  15. From the description I am guessing it must have been Czarina Russell.
  16. I think that An Architect's Dream from The Towering Inferno and The City Sleeps from Earthquake would both make ideal accompaniments to the montages of those late costume designers and cinematographers whom we cannot quite place.
  17. The Sunday evening performance by the Philharmonia was astonishing, especially considering that it was the second time they had played the score today and the fourth time this weekend. Even after all these years and my familiarity with the score, there were so many little details I noticed in the orchestration for the first time. If someone had told me even five years ago that one day I would be able to hear the whole of the Battle of Hoth sequence and The Asteroid Field played live to the film I would not have believed them. It was great to hear the round of applause during the end credits when John Williams's name appeared and also to see Dirk Brosse hold up the score at the end.
  18. I will be setting off soon for the evening performance. I am very much looking forward to it. By the way...
  19. Michael Giacchino will also be conducting a Christmas variety show at the Royal Albert Hall on 20th December 2019. Colour me intrigued! https://www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/events/2019/royal-albert-hall-christmas-variety-show/
  20. I caught the last half an hour or so of that match on TV and was very impressed with the Dutch. Their third and fourth goals were the culmination of two excellent team moves. You are in a very difficult group with the Germans and also Norn Iron going well so far, so qualification could go down to the wire. I went to the England v Bulgaria match at Wembley on Saturday and we won 4-0 with Sir Henry Kane Esq. scoring a hat trick. In truth Bulgaria offered very little and were a far cry from their great team of the 1990s with the likes of Stoichkov, Letchkov and "the werewolf" Ivanov. I am also going to Southampton tomorrow evening to watch the England v Kosovo match, the first ever meeting between the two countries and the first time I will have been to an England home game anywhere other than at Wembley Stadium.
  21. I command you to trudge around the rough areas of Philly with your hands in your pockets like Bruce Springsteen in the Streets of Philadelphia video, but singing If We Were In Love from Yes, Giorgio in the same mumbling style as the Boss in said music video. And please, report back on how the Williams / Bergman classic goes down in the 'hood.
  22. Ben Stokes needs to be knighted. Now, please. Jack Leach too, might as well.
  23. Here is a nice performance of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's Stabat Mater Dolorosa by the Academy of Ancient Music. Of added interest to John Williams fans is that the video was recorded at All Saints in Tooting, where the album version of The Fury was recorded with the LSO.
  24. Here is an all-too-brief excerpt of Harry's Wondrous World from Friday evening's concert. It was the second encore.
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