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Omen II

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  1. Very sad news. I was so lucky to see Michel Legrand for the first and sadly now the only time with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in September. It was a really great concert. Although he did look every one of his eighty-six years when he shuffled out onto the stage, as soon as he sat at the piano the years rolled away. Incidentally, I think they have his birth year wrong in the original post (he was born in 1932 in the same month as John Williams). Apologies for my trademark blurriness, but here is a photo of Legrand with conductor Paul Bateman and the RPO at his recent concert.
  2. 1939 boasted many all-time classic films as well as many all-time classic film scores. Here is just a selection of some of the great scores from that year: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Wuthering Heights, Beau Geste, Gunga Din, The Rains Came (Alfred Newman) Gone with the Wind, Dark Victory, Dodge City (Max Steiner) The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Juarez (Erich Wolfgang Korngold) Gulliver's Travels (Victor Young) Son of Frankenstein (Frank Skinner) Goodbye, Mr. Chips (Richard Addinsell) The Four Feathers (Miklos Rozsa) Of Mice and Men (Aaron Copland) The Wizard of Oz (Herbert Stothart) Stagecoach (Richard Hageman) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Dimitri Tiomkin)
  3. Yes, I think most of the audience were in the Christmas spirit and it was great to watch the film with an enthusiastic but respectful crowd. There was a family with a couple of young children sitting to my left and although the little girl was obviously a little tired towards the end, she and her brother were roaring with laughter as Kevin inflicted catastrophic, life-changing injuries on the two hapless burglars. Their laughter was infectious. I was amused by the conversation of another grown up family in the row behind me who had not realised that the film would be screened at the same time as the music was played! I am not sure what they were expecting when they bought their tickets. They were also completely thrown when the choir walked on stage for the second half and it took them a while to work out that they were not additional members of the orchestra (despite there being about sixty extra people, none of which was carrying a musical instrument which is usually a bit of a giveaway). They then concluded that they must have been 'substitutes' (😲) and even resorted to checking their phones for photos they had taken in the first half to confirm that they had not been on stage before the interval. You can see from my photos above that the choir must have had about sixty people in it, so observation could not have been their strong point. I could have easily turned round to correct them but it was just too funny to interrupt them. @serenifly Indeed I had good seats in stalls block J, row 10. I see from your picture that you must have been a little further round and a few rows forward. They are usually good seats for live to film concerts, as you can see the screen and the orchestra easily without having to change your focus too much or crane your neck, while the sound is still good.
  4. Home Alone at the Royal Albert Hall this evening was the tenth different John Williams score I have seen and heard played live to picture at the venue and it was surely one of the best. Being able to attend so close to Christmas was a real treat too. Ben Palmer (who is obviously a big John Williams fan) conducted the Cinematic Sinfonia and the Crouch End Festival Chorus and it was honestly like hearing the original soundtrack. I loved the scene in the church with the choir singing live and expertly dialling their volume up and down in synch with the picture. Setting the Trap was absolutely incredible - the orchestra played it superbly (the drum kit was played live rather than tracked) and really loudly, it was goosebump-inducing. As seems to have happened at other venues, they played Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas from Home Alone 2: Lost In New York as an encore, a wonderful performance to round off the evening.
  5. Vangelis proved beyond any reasonable doubt that he still had it when he guested on Shooting Stars a few years back. Epic stuff!
  6. The grand finale of the John Wilson Orchestra's final concert of its 2018 UK tour at the Royal Festival Hall yesterday evening was a spellbinding performance of Adventures On Earth from E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial (stopped horns with bells pointing skyward at the end and all). Every time I see the orchestra they just seem to get better and better. John Wilson also had some nice things to say about the score in the programme: The concert also included a lengthy suite from Max Steiner's Oscar-winning Now, Voyager score. Apparently it is John Wilson's absolute favourite score and he transcribed the score to create the suite.
  7. I went to a sublime Christmas concert given by Eric Whitacre and the Eric Whitacre Singers at St. James's, Spanish Place (a beautiful Catholic church in Marylebone, London) yesterday evening. I've had such a horrible year and this was the first time it had really felt like Christmas for me, hearing such flawless choral singing in an amazing building. For the encore, the choir - just nine men and nine women - donned Christmas jumpers to sing We Wish You A Merry Christmas to the audience and there was a retiring collection for the charity Save the Children. Anyhoo, one of the many highlights of the concert was a lovely rendition of Philip Stopford's Lully Lulla Lullay.
  8. The drive from Land's End in Cornwall to John O'Groats in northeast Scotland is about 840 miles and would take at least 14 and a half hours by the quickest AA recommended route, assuming you did not stop for any length of time. You would have to drive for 120 miles before you reached the first motorway (the M5) at Exeter. Best of British luck to you @Richard in your Hebridean venture, old bean!
  9. It might be of interest to some here that the site of the former Denham Film Studios (and subsequently Anvil Studios) where Williams recorded many of his classic scores is currently being developed by Weston Homes for housing, with apartment blocks bearing the names of famous film directors and actors such as 'The Spielberg', 'The Lucas', 'The Lester', etc. There is even one called 'The Hamill', although disappointingly I do not think 'The Williams' is anywhere on the development. The access road into the new development will be called Stanley Kubrick Road. It amuses me that both La La Land and Varese Sarabande struggle to locate Anvil Studios in their liner notes for John Williams releases. In Jane Eyre, for example, the former lists Denham as being in London while in the recent Dracula release Varese hedges its bets by locating Denham in both Middlesex and Buckinghamshire (see page 8 of the CD booklet). Denham is actually a village in Buckinghamshire just outside London with the studios the other side of the River Colne from the London Borough of Hillingdon. I think the confusion probably stems from the fact that Denham is often listed as being part of nearby Uxbridge, which is in Middlesex and therefore part of Greater London. I recall from Mike Matessino's recent talk in London that the tapes from one of the scores bore the address of Anvil Studios as "Denham, Uxbridge, Middlesex." Denham also has an Uxbridge post code (UB9) despite being in Buckinghamshire outside Greater London. Aren't you glad I've cleared that up for you? 🤓
  10. Yes, sources tell me that Williams marked the score ‘sine vestibus’. He is always pushing the envelope.
  11. I doubt it Joe, only because the video was obviously recorded several months ago in the summer. Many of the musicians are wearing shorts (and some are even barefoot!), so I guess that John Williams must have written this music several months ago. We had a very hot summer in London but late October is not really shorts weather in the UK, unless you are in Newcastle.
  12. I saw this with the London Symphony Orchestra this evening and it really was superb. Of course there were none of the musicians who played on the original soundtrack recording back in 1977, but it was still that LSO sound that we know and love. Interestingly, the second violins were positioned to the right of conductor Ludwig Wicki rather than next to the first violins to his left - not unusual for some classical concerts, but I cannot remember seeing such a set up for a live to projection film concert before. The audience in the Royal Albert Hall was very respectful and there was very little whooping and hollering during the film (not even for the climactic destruction of the Death Star), perhaps because many in the audience will have come straight from work after a long week. However, as soon as the end titles started there was a roar of appreciation and instant standing ovation for the orchestra, with an especially loud cheer when the John Williams / London Symphony Orchestra credit appeared on screen. Now when are they doing The Empire Strikes Back?
  13. I was eagerly awaiting my lovely new Dracula: The Motion Picture CD twofer by John Williams today but instead returned home from work to find the dreaded grey 'Fee to Pay' card from Royal Mail, surely a visitation more terrifying than that of the Transylvanian count himself. The scoundrels have levied an extra £14.20 customs charge, including an £8 'handling charge' (🤯) for the privilege of gleefully kicking my package around the floor of the delivery office for an extra day or two. Royal Mail should change the wording on the card from "Unfortunately we can't deliver your item because there is a fee to pay" to "Fortunately we won't deliver your item until you give us some beer money, you streak of piss." Oh well, what can you do?
  14. It's a long time since I have seen the film, but I remember that one of the pieces of music heard is the Sicilienne from Pelléas et Mélisande by Gabriel Fauré. Could that be the piece of pre-dinner music to which you are referring?
  15. Terror Out Of the Sky (William Goldstein) Deadbolt - The Arthurian Edition (Milan Kymlicka) Skyway to Death (Lee Holdridge) ‘Milk’ off of Sesame Street (Robert Dennis) From Hell It Came and other themes (Darrell Calker)
  16. Michel Legrand wrote that. Were you thinking of Love Story or A Man and a Woman?
  17. Tracks 6 to 16 on disc 2 are the source cues from Superman: The Movie. While the liner notes do not explicitly state that John Williams conducted the pieces, no other conductor is mentioned and they do state: "John Williams recorded several pieces intended to emanate from car radios or stereos. All the John Williams source music was recorded at Anvil Studios."
  18. I received this in the mail today, which was very quick from the United States. With no disrespect intended to Ken Thorne or Giorgio Moroder, I headed straight for the John Williams source cues on disc 2. Lovely stuff!
  19. If I was pushed to choose my favourite score by Ennio Morricone, it would have to be his music for the 2005 Italian TV movie Cefalonia, starring Luca Zingaretti and Luisa Ranieri. The main theme Dammi La Mano has an almost hymnal quality, building and building from a simple and quiet opening. There are no skippable tracks at all on the album, with a great mix of beautiful romantic cues (including some magnificent trumpet playing, for example in Nell'isola, Soli), fine choral writing, references to the Italian national anthem and tense but very listenable action music for the battle scenes.
  20. It's really quite touching to read those messages in English, German, French and Spanish from his disappointed fans from all over Europe. I really hope that John Williams gets to see them.
  21. Yes, it does seem to me very unlikely that they would have been unable to secure a replacement conductor familiar with John Williams's music at, what, ten days' notice? There are numerous conductors just in the UK alone who are excellent interpreters of his music who would have cleared their diaries and absolutely bitten the VPO's hands off at the prospect of conducting the orchestra at the Musikverein. Major orchestras find replacement conductors and performers all the time when the billed musicians are incapacitated, often with very little notice. Far more likely to my mind is that either John Williams did not want anyone else 'stealing his thunder' (which is perfectly understandable, I am sure I would be the same) by getting in on his special gig and / or that the Vienna Philharmonic did not want to give just any random conductor the honour of being the first person to conduct a whole programme of John Williams at a venue as prestigious as the Musikverein. Just my two pennyworth.
  22. Although the LSO's longest serving musician Colin Renwick was listed in the programme, I am not sure if he was actually in the orchestra on the night. I did not spot him during the concert and cannot see him in any of the photos. I think he joined the LSO in 1978!
  23. Ginette Decuyper, the first violinist who introduced Yoda's Theme, joined the LSO in 1994.
  24. Could the release of the two later Airport movie scores be a precursor to a magnificent George Kennedy / Jennings Lang disaster tetralogy? Airport '75 could be next (another John Cacavas beauty) then - leaving the best till last - John Williams's Earthquake deluxe corinthian edition. You heard it here first!
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