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Looks like Naxos Portara records is releasing their 5th John Williams Concerto on February 8, 2019 - the Maestro's 87th birthday. Leonard Slatkin once again leads the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, this time with Dennis Nulty on Tuba. Amazon is showing the digital-only release for $2.67 as a pre-order and Apple Music has the third movement available now as a preview (which is an odd choice as it is supposed to be continuous with the 2nd movement). (Have not checked Spotify or other sites.) Sometimes sites like eclassics.com sells uncompressed versions of these. (They have 2 of the older ones.) I know this piece was performed in 2014 in Detroit (along with the Flute Concerto), but I am not sure if this is that same playing. Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MG56GK1/ref=pe_385040_112047530_TE_DP Apple Music preview: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/john-williams-tuba-concerto-single/1449279307 Interestingly, when I added this to my library, the other two movements are visible but grayed out (presumably they will become active on Feb 8). I believe this will be the 8th recording released of this work (including the Charles Vernon bass trombone rendition from 2005). The artwork continues the style of the other concerti in this series: FYI - they have previously released: Horn concerto, 2010 Violin concerto (revised version), 2011 Cello concerto (2012 revision), 2015 Five Sacred Trees (bassoon concerto), 2015 On Feb 9 and 10, 2019, the Detroit Symphony is playing the Williams Oboe Concerto (with a live web stream on the 10th). So, I guess we will get this as an official digital release in the next few years. Link: https://www.dso.org/ShowEventsView.aspx?id=4915&prod=4914
On the latest episode of UnderScore, we sat down with Alan Snelling, assistant engineer to Eric Tomlinson on Star Wars (as well as Raiders, Superman and the rest of the original trilogy), who shared some wonderful recollections of the historic first recording of the Main Title. The remainder of the episode is a near hour-long musical exploration into the composition, orchestration and storytelling power of that infamous minute and a half of music. Enjoy! [This is the second episode in a six-part series on the score]
We all know that there are new Star Wars films coming in the future, and we know how much the prequels managed to deteriorate the iconography of the originals. One of the things that I think defines some of this iconography and identity of the original films is the LSO, their performance, and what I believe to be the techniques with which they were recorded. There is a gritty, edginess to the sound of the orchestra, which is completely lost in the prequel recordings. The new ones just sound too smooth. Does anyone feel the same way? I wonder what kinds of techniques were used back in the 70s and 80s to achieve this; I'm not sure if it is merely an analog vs. digital debate because it sounds like there are many more things going on, perhaps close-mic-ing the instruments, I'm really not sure. Do we hope that this could be something that John Williams and JJ Abrams will care about for the 2015 film? It would seem that John Williams would be an advocate for a smoother sounding orchestra these days. Does that detract? Do we care? Does it matter? How would they go about it if they DID care? Thoughts?