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  1. There is a chance Steven and the Maestro may have been talking about George Lucas. The reason I say this is that they whispered something between them and I remember Steven shrugging as is to say "I don't know". Then a short pause and then they both kind of looked out over the crowd, squinting their eyes. The first thing that occurred to me was that they were looking for George Lucas. Of course it is possible they were looking for someone else. I looked around a bit during the performance and did not see the Maker anywhere. Perhaps he was backstage. Good thing too. I might have passed out had George hopped on stage. Based on this photo linked from the main page it looks like Lucas was actually there. https://twitter.com/SFSymphony/status/380038023087267841/photo/1
  2. Michael Tilson Thomas introduced John Williams to start the concert, and then Williams introduced Spielberg after Jaws.
  3. I was fortunate enough to attend this concert. I've seen Williams around ten times and Spielberg introducing him twice, but the last time was at the 2006 Boston concerts, so it's been a number of years. Two things were particularly exciting about the program - inclusion of music from new films in the past couple years, and seeing Spielberg in a relatively intimate space. I've only previously seen him at Tanglewood, which is a giant venue compared to Davies Hall. This intimate atmosphere turned out to be phenomenal in the second half. Williams walked onto the stage to an immediate standing ovation. I've never witnessed this at any of his previous concerts or even at Davis Hall which I've been to at least 20 times. The tremendous reception lasted throughout the entire evening. My theory is that he has visited San Francisco so rarely in recent years that few people have ever heard him conduct, and in addition he only conducted one night, and the result is that diehard fans were the vast majority of people to get tickets. I recall the concert selling out the day that single tickets became available. Typically, even Friday and Saturday night concerts at Davies Hall have scattered empty seats, presumably due to last minute conflicts or absentee subscription holders. I literally didn't see a single empty seat this night. Hooray for Hollywood opened the concert, played above a montage of clips from classic films. My personal preference is not having video during montages if they have nothing specifically to do with the music. I'm there to listen, not watch random scenes from films. Williams began with a great deal of energy and his conducting strength is still there. He concluded with the same flourish and a genuine smile for the orchestra. A Far and Away extended suite came next, more subdued and sweeping compared to the first piece. I could personally do without this one since that score isn't my favorite. Williams then introduced 3 pieces from Harry Potter. I sensed that he spoke slowly and deliberately, almost as though he had trouble recalling them. That was worrisome. At any rate, he began with Hedwig's Theme, which is of course phenomenal and very commonly performed. Huge energy from the orchestra. Nimbus 2000 from the Children's Suite followed, which frankly was a bizarre choice. Being identical to the previous piece in thematic content, the piece is scored exclusively for woodwinds which sounded extremely weak compared to the full orchestra that had just played the same melodies. I understand wanting a more subdued piece in between the two soaring concert arrangements, so why not Dobby the House Elf, or even better, A Window to the Past? Finally, Harry's Wondrous World was spectacular as always. War Horse's Dartmoor, 1912 was the first of the newer pieces on the program. I'm not as familiar with this score so it was a pleasure to experience it without having the music already internalized. If it's not already obvious, the program consistently varies the tone, bookending more quiet pieces like this one with huge, soaring ones. Thus, Williams followed with the Star Wars / Blockade Runner concert arrangement. The audience unexpectedly burst into applause during the first few bars, which perplexes me - the program is in front of you, so how is it a surprise? The second half started with a surprise - instead of the first few notes of Close Encounters, we got those from Jaws - once again eliciting wild applause from the audience. I'm torn between my approval of the crowd's enthusiasm and my annoyance of their noisemaking. At any rate, the Jaws theme was unexpected and fun. Following, Spielberg came on to a thunderous ovation. The theme of his narration was a more or less standard pitch for the importance of the score's role in a film. He's occasionally appeared with Williams at similar events over the years with the same speeches. For Close Encounters, Spielberg mentioned music as a central communication channel between humans and the visitors. The excerpts accompanied the film clips, which were Barry's abduction and then various scenes from the finale. In this case, even though I don't personally prefer it, the addition of video actually makes sense, unlike with montages. Similarly, Spielberg first introduced the train car sequence from Last Crusade, rolling the entire sequence with dialogue but no score, and then Williams conducted the sequence with score, to illustrate the difference the score makes. This is one of those moments when Williams is truly the master at work. My seat was at the perfect angle such that I could actually see his video monitor with the visual cues, so rather than watch the film on the big screen, I chose to observe Williams constantly adjusting the tempo to synchronize the orchestra, speeding up or slowing down, all the while as he followed the actual pages of the score. These were marvelous moments. There was Spielberg to observe as well. He carried great enthusiasm throughout the performance, except growing somber when introducing the theme from Schindler's List. I watched him sit in complete, absolute stillness as Barantschik played the solos. Spielberg's head was bowed as if praying silently. His face was slightly obscured to me during these moments, and I could only imagine what was going through his head. Was he perhaps visualizing scenes from his own film, or reliving the time that Perlman first played this melody for him, or simply meditating? In stark contrast, during Adventures on Earth, Spielberg's love for the music was clearly visible. He nodded his head and moved his lips in sync with the soaring notes, almost forgetting that he was on stage. I believe Spielberg truly enjoys these events - as a director, he likely doesn't have that many chances to sit next to his lifelong friend, surrounded by one of the world's best orchestras playing the music he must know and love very much. Williams seemed tired but appreciative as the program drew to a close. Again, the crowd came to their feet in a thunderous ovation. As a first encore, Williams had chosen the cue for Lincoln's second inaugural address. I recall that Spielberg referred to his film and Williams' score as requiring "a tempered approach." I'd been hoping for a piece from Lincoln and this was such a beautiful choice. Truly a treat. The second and final encore was Raiders. There is a phenomenon I'll perhaps dub "The Raiders Surprise" - in which an uninformed but enthusiastic audience does not recognize the piece until the fanfare arrives in the 5th measure and only then interrupts the piece with applause. I've witnessed this phenomenon on at least three or four occasions. I have to say, this concert was one of the most memorable I've ever been to. Even though Williams didn't have the boundless energy that he's displayed in the past, it was a pleasure to witness him still in command of a great orchestra and playing beautiful new music. And of course, a rare chance to witness Spielberg rapturously appreciating the music of his own films. Truly wonderful.
  4. This is a longshot, but I figure with such a musical group this is my best chance. I'm looking for a specific pop/techno remix that is a medley of staple pieces in classical music. It's old enough to have been an LP. I think the first piece is Tchaikovsky's 1st piano concerto. Others include Flight of the Bumblebee and Beethoven's 9th. I recall it transitions to another piece every 5-10 seconds and there's a techno beat behind everything. Unfortunately I have no idea what it's called. Can anyone help? Update: Unbelievably, I just found it with google by searching for "classical medley pop" and it was the third page result... I'm stunned. Other similar search queries don't find it. For those curious:
  5. Yeah I did, that was kind of nice. I thought they'd change the tail slate for the Pixar luxo animation to be the one with Wall-E in it, but they didn't. Strange. I just finished another listen of the soundtrack and I remembered that the end credits visual style was disappointing for me. I wanted to see beautiful renderings or some interesting 2d visual style, not pixellated computer icons...
  6. Saw Wall-E last night and will probably see it a couple more times in the theater with different people so my thoughts may change. I had gigantic expectations being a Pixar fanboy and all that, and I thought it was really good overall. The interactions between Wall-E and Eve were out of this world amazing. I was near tears during several of their scenes and I was clutching my face agape for most of the movie. While the entire first half was drop dead gorgeous, I thought the second half was weak in comparison. The human storyline wasn't that convincing for me and kind of the combination of what actually happened to the people, plus the doomsday-esque themes developed, weren't that exciting for me, even though they were done well. These are really serious subjects that they portrayed in an over the top hyperreality - which they had to do to make it still "fun" and for kids - that are firmly grounded in reality through both visual techniques (like using live action for the present day, and transitioning that into the cartoony feel for the future) and narrative references concerning everything from wal-mart to the u.s. presidency, that will be obvious to the older audience. i guess just the fact that it was more serious made the second half less enjoyable. for me, the real standout was eve, who was amazing and i really enjoyed her character arc, which is much broader than wall-e's. she is the only one who makes a compelling choice in the climax. a quick thought on the score after seeing the movie, i think the opening song for the title sequence is so perfect. the bnl jingle really brings out the gross consumerism, and of course the music from hello, dolly fit really well, though i was surprised we saw and heard that clip so so many times, at least 4. overall, i loved this movie... can't wait to see it again.
  7. I thought I'd get the discussion going on Wall-E, which opens Friday. I just listened to the soundtrack by Thomas Newman and it was for sure an interesting listening experience. On the whole, he kind of takes his usual dissonant style and adds in some electronics to suggest both outer space as well as the robots themselves. There are snippets of electronic robot dialogue, which plays a large role in the film. It's a really interesting score, and I'm not quite sure what to make of it yet. People who don't like the action underscore he does (like the chase scenes in Nemo) that are kind of all over the place, will find the same thing here probably. Recently I've found that the first listen before seeing a film really doesn't do the score justice, which was the case with Crystal Skull. I can say that I wasn't blown away by the score. I kind of wanted something like the Nemo Egg Theme, which is on my short list for most beautiful themes written - but there wasn't anything like that, not that I can remember anyhow. None of the thematic elements really stuck on the first go. I'm sure the movie will be amazing though. Anyone else listened to this yet?
  8. They're a bit similar. It may just be the case that the opening motif (inverted in Williams' case) just sounds innately wizardly. Plus, like someone mentioned before, Williams' use of the diminished fifth makes it even more otherwordly than the Dukas theme. I really like this comparison.
  9. this poll is pretty obvipants... indifferent about most of everything zimmer has done, whereas i can't stand the amistad or rosewood scores.
  10. I got this because I really liked the first score. Pretty much done listening now, and I'm not that impressed. Probably my biggest gripe is that a lot of the action music is repeated with little to no variation from the first film. Sure it's fine to reuse themes, but so many passages just seem to regurgitate them without doing something new. This is particularly true in "Battle at Aslan's How." I liked the first couple tracks the best, but after that it just seemed like I was still listening to the first score. I didn't even recognize any new thematic material. Perhaps a lot of this was cut, but I'll probably see the movie and find out for sure.
  11. I've really enjoyed reading people's reactions to the samples, it sounds like this score is really special. I haven't listened to the samples yet, because I want to either listen to the album in its entirety or hear the music for the first time in the theater, without a tainted experience, though I haven't decided which one yet. I wanted to do the latter for Revenge of the Sith, but I caved a few minutes after the full tracks were leaked last time, hopefully I can resist this time around. I've waited three years for the next John Williams score, so I'm ok with waiting a few more days at least before I hear a single note. Whatever the score ends up being, I am hoping for some gorgeous variations on Marion's theme, there is no limit to how beautiful Williams can make that augmented fourth.
  12. I have been there many times it's a very nice theater. Also, unless the movie you are seeing in on the one screen they have on the first floor, once they take your ticket as you go up to the second floor, you could wander around there all day long seeing any movies you wanted with incredible ease. Agreed, this was our theater of choice when I was a student and it's a great venue with at least 2 digital screens. I'm really excited after seeing all the trailers, but a part of me wishes I hadn't seen anything. There are shots that are clearly from the final sequences of escaping whatever temple is housing the crystal skull. It looks a lot like the last scene in the Mummy Returns.
  13. being released by koch lerber films http://www.apple.com/trailers/independent/...2parts/trailer/
  14. Every previous year for a long time they actually had the clips of Trudeau and Lian Hanson talking. Is that not available this year? I can't find this, it seems like all they have are the snippets from the actual scores. This is really disappointing if it's true.
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