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diskobolus

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    diskobolus got a reaction from Smeltington in John Williams in San Francisco!!! September 16, 2013   
    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.
  2. Like
    diskobolus got a reaction from Jay in John Williams in San Francisco!!! September 16, 2013   
    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.
  3. Like
    diskobolus got a reaction from Incanus in John Williams in San Francisco!!! September 16, 2013   
    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.
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