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Film Night May 20, 2008


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Well I had the fine fortune of attending the show tonight in Boston. I'm a little tired from the evening so I'll just post the program, my thoughts on the show will come tomorrow.

Sound The Bells! (Williams)

Excerpts From Far and Away (Williams)

Sabrina (Williams)

Excerpts from Dr. Zhivago (Jarre-Karam)

Three Pieces from Oliver Twist (Bax)

(Fagin's Romp-Sleepless Night-The Chase)

Excerpts from Lawrence of Arabia (Jarre-Karam)

INTERMISSION

"The Magic of Harry Potter" (Williams)

Hedwigs Theme

Aunt Marge's Waltz

Diagon Alley

The Knight Bus

Fawkes the Phoenix

Nimbus 2000

Quidditch

The Chamber of Secrets

A Bridge to the Past

Harry's Wondrous World

E1 The Adventures of Mutt

E2 The Raider's March

E3 Over The Moon (ET)

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Sabrina was not listed in the program, it was a last minute change. I met someone after the show that worked at Symphony Hall and she told be what the encore is supposed to be tonight. She said the encore was going to be "Star Wars" with The Imperial March and Anakin's Theme to be performed.

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Hey guys! I'm getting ready for tonight...

Silly me, I left home without bringing a CD to possibly get signed. So I went out and bought another copy of KOTCS. (The one I had ordered hadn't arrived yet anyway.) Given this cardboard case, I think I'll keep it shrinkwrapped until later, since it'll be in my pocket all night. Anyway... Ok. Gotta get something to eat, get cleaned up, and then I'm off! Yay!

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Good concert. It was pretty unreal to be thirty feet away from John Williams himself. I really enjoyed Williams's selections for the first half of the program. The second half - well, it was all Potter, which was nice. Could have done without all the narration extolling the virtues of the books and the clips from the lame-ass films. The encores were "The Adventures of Mutt" and "Over the Moon."

I'd never heard the brass piece "Quidditch" before. It's a variation on the Quidditch fanfare.

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Hey guys. I just got back from Boston! Wow, what a trip. I have only been home for about an hour. I have to go do some unpacking, and I am exhausted. Haven't really slept in fours days, but....

A quick blurb. More to come in a day or two...

Attended Film Night on May 21. Loved the program. Met John Williams again...spoke with him more this time around, and had him sign my "Monsignor" CD (he had a few things to say about it). Took two pics....post them soon.

Saw Indiana Jones as well, and loved it. (but thats another thread!).

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What's the matter with the brass of the BPO? They've used to have one of the finest brass players in the world.

Tonight's concert was really terrible in the brass section, full of a lot of mistakes, and this was no first sight performance, but they've been playing the same music all over the week. Tonight they've even withdrawn the Quidditch theme from the Harry Potter Grand Suite (no wonder why).

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Yes, the brass was terrible... "Sound the Bells!" had the most poor performance I can think of.

But overall, I thought that the performance varied from very good to substandart. Far and Away was great.

Sabrina was good, but Tamara Smirnova seemed insecure on her solo.

The two Jarre pieces were ok, as was the Bax suite from Oliver Twist.

The Harry Potter Grand Suite was fun to listen again, but i missed Quiditch. Redgrave narrating was a bit annoying, even more because she was coughing all the time.

The best came with the encores: The Adventures of Mutt showed the orchestra in top form, while Raiders March didn't, with the principal trumpet sounding to weak.

The final encore was a favorite of mine, and always a pleasure to listen to, The Flying Theme from E.T.

All in all, despite the somewhat poor performance of the orchestra, another great chance to listen to Johnny Williams live :blink:

(...) and this was no first sight performance, but they've been playing the same music all over the week.

Actually, Peio, they even premiered some of this music and have been playing them for years now, like is the case of "Sound the Bells!"

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Yes, the brass was terrible... "Sound the Bells!" had the most poor performance I can think of.

I didn't notice it, but a brass player might have hit a wrong note on a sustain, because when Williams heard the chord they made he looked quite surprised.

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Yes, the brass was terrible... "Sound the Bells!" had the most poor performance I can think of.

I didn't notice it, but a brass player might have hit a wrong note on a sustain, because when Williams heard the chord they made he looked quite surprised.

Nah... I think the whole brass section had a bad day today...

Most of the pieces showed that -- and remember that I love the Boston musicians.

Even Tamara Smirnova playing wasn't as great as usual.

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On May 22, 2008, I had the opportunity to attend "Film Night" with the Boston Pops, conducted by film score composer John Williams. This was my second time viewing a program like this. I travelled to Boston a year earlier, in 2007, to visit and see the Pops perform. My initial reaction to the evening was one of joy. Nothing will ever capture the feeling that I felt when I first stepped into Symphony Hall a year ago, but I came very close to the same feelings. I enjoyed the program, although I felt it to be a bit weaker than the previous show I'd seen. The addition of Lynn Redgrave and a 35-minute Harry Potter Grande Suite was not as enjoyable as I thought it was going to be. I love some of the pieces that are included in the Suite ("Fawkes the Phoenix", "Harry's Wondrous World", "Aunt Marge's Waltz"), but in my opinion, some of the other pieces did not need to be made into concert arrangements ("The Knight Bus", "Quidditch"). After the performance, I was able to meet with John Williams (again), and was fortunate enough to have him sign my "Monsignor" CD and snap a few photos with me. Overall, it was a great evening.

SYMPHONY HALL PRIVATE TOUR

Even before the concert began, I was lucky enough to be able to go on a free, private tour of Symphony Hall with the head of Marketing and Customer Service at Symphony Hall, Randie Harmon. The tour came about in an odd way. A few days before I flew to Boston, I sent Symphony Hall an email asking a) if there would be an open rehearsal for the program, b) if the Symphony Hall tours were still taking place, and c) if so, if I could take one of these tours. A few days later, I received an email saying that, unfortunately, there were no more tours taking place, and that the tours would resume in the fall. However, the woman who emailed me offered to take my mom and me on a private tour of Symphony Hall at 4:30 on Wednesday night, just a few hours before the actual concert that I would be seeing. I jumped at the opportunity, and immediately emailed her and told her that I would attend.

We arrived at Symphony Hall at 4:25 PM (always early!) and were met by an extremely rude security guard. He looked like he thought that my mother and I had no business walking into the stage door of Symphony Hall. After a few awkward minutes waiting for Mrs. Harmon, the tour began. Let me say before I begin…wow! I have seen areas of Symphony Hall not open to the public, and not seen on any tour offered by the establishment.

Our first stop was the long hallway in which all of the offices are for visitors, and yes, John Williams. Unfortunately, he was not present, nor was Lynn Redgrave, but I did get to peek through the windows of John's office and Mrs. Redgrave’s dressing room. Very nice. After that, my mother and I were brought to the door that opens up to the actual stage in Symphony Hall (the one JW enters through at the beginning of the concert and after the intermission concludes). It was a surreal experience to be standing on the stage in Boston Symphony Hall. The notes for the orchestra members said “Boston Pops”, and the entire stage was set up for that evening's performance. I wasn't brave enough to ask if I could stand on the conductor's stand, but let me tell you, I almost asked. At this point, I regret that I did not ask.

After leaving the actual stage, we went to the first floor of where the audience sits, the orchestra level. It was just me, my mom, and Mrs. Harmon in the entire hall. Another surreal, unbelievable moment. I managed to snap a picture of the stage, which I'll try to figure out how to post here. Mrs. Harmon gave us a rundown of the history of the Hall, its creator, etc.

After that, we saw various other areas ;those not open to the public under normal circumstances were the Pop's dressing room and green room, the kitchen in Symphony Hall, the area directly under the stage, the area behind and under the stage, various storage areas (including the storage areas for all the instruments), and more. The entire tour lasted 45 minutes, and Mrs. Harmon kept telling us "This isn't normally on the tour". She also told us something else that I found interesting. The BSO pays for most staff members and most orchestra members to make the move to Tanglewood for the amount of time that the concerts will be played there, including house and car rental.

After the tour was over, we returned to the hotel to reflect on all that we had just seen, and prepare for the concert that was to take place in a few hours. I have never felt so lucky in my life. I just happened to stumble upon a woman who was kind enough to give myself and my mom a private tour of Symphony Hall for free. It was so nice, so interesting, and an experience I'll never forget.

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THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CONCERT AND IT'S PROGRAM

Now, onto the concert. As I said, I saw Wednesday night's concert, so I imagine John Williams had time to tweak a few things that may have been amiss from the performances on Monday night. First, the [almost] bad: As I said earlier. I wasn't too impressed with the program. Overall, it just didn't seem cohesive. You went from very serious, dramatic music ("Far and Away", "Sabrina", "The Films of David Leon") in the first half to fantabulous (haha) music in the second half, and it just didn't jive with me. I had really thought that I was going to enjoy the Harry Potter Suite more than I did, but by the time we got to the 5th piece or so, I was ready tiring of the music. And I don't really like to admit that, considering I am a huge fan of John Williams and his work. Lynn Redgrave wasn’t that bad, but the writing of the Grand Suite Narrative (Redgrave's script) was very vague, and for the most part, did not match up with what Williams played. The clips shown did not match the music, or Redgrave's blurb, and this was slightly annoying. The Good: "Far and Away" and "Sabrina". These two pieces ("Far and Away" was actually one large piece made from various excerpts of the score) made the evening for me. I loved, LOVED them. In fact, if the "Harry Potter Grande Suite" had been played in the beginning of the program, and the more dramatic half played toward the end, I would probably be writing something different right now. The change from "Wuthering Heights" to "Sabrina" was welcome, and Williams seemed particularly excited about it. He stated that "Sabrina" is a very rare concert piece for him, and that we were in for a treat. Overall, I enjoyed the concert, but I did not like the program on the whole, for reasons stated above.

JOHN WILLIAMS

Having seen John Williams conduct for two year s in a row now, I am glad to say that he looks in general good health and spirit. He seemed to be quite out of breath after conducting the "Far and Away" piece, while explaining "Sabrina", but I do not mention this like it is a bad thing. I would be doing the same thing. I just remember it, that's all. Don't jump on me for saying it (lol). He was very excited about the Indiana Jones piece ("The Adventures of Mutt"), but he cut his encores short by eliminating "The Raider's March". At one point while Lynn Redgrave was reading her script he blew his nose, so I think he was feeling a bit under the weather. Not sure though, because he looked fine when I spoke to him an hour later.

MEETING JOHN WILLIAMS (AGAIN!)

After the concert, I headed over to the inside stage door. I saw people walking in, so I tried doing the same (as if I was part of the group), but the teenage usher stuck his hand in my face and stopped me. So much for the private tour of Johnny's office. I waited for about 40 minutes with 7 or 8 other people (including one very annoying man who talked non-stop and acted like a know-it-all about JW), and then finally, John Williams emerged. He looked well, and he had that sparkle in his eye that makes him look 40 years younger than he actually is. He walked to a little girl that was present first, and this was amusing, because as soon as he walked out, she became very shy. She began looking down, and when he noticed this, he bent down as if to look up at her face. Very funny and enduring.

After he signed her program and spoke a few words with her, he turned to face me. I didn't realize I would be, but I was about 7-12 inches from his face. Now that I think about it, he must have been crouching slightly, because I am shorter than him, but we were eye-to-eye. This year I was not so shell-shocked, and was able to form words and speak to him. I stuck out my hand and introduced myself (something I was mad about not doing last year), and told him I loved the concert. He thanked me, and I asked him to sign my "Monsignor" CD cover. He looked at it, and his eyes widened slightly, and he said "Oh, look at this". I said something along the lines of "I know, this is one of your more lesser-known scores and I love it. I bet you don't see it signed often". He replied "No, I don't, and I am glad you like it." After he signed it, I asked if I could take a picture with him. He said "yes", and as we began to get ready to take a picture (turn toward my mom with the camera), my mom snapped the picture, way too early. I think we were still facing each other at this point. He and I both laughed, my mom called herself a bad photographer, and then we took another, corrected picture. And that was it. I thanked him again, he walked on, and I headed out.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

And now I am home. It was a fun experience, one that I will not forget. I did enjoy the program, but wish that the second half had been devoted to something other than HP. Meeting JW was a blast, and once again I say that he is the kindest person that I've ever met. When he walked out to greet us, he had his sharpie ready, and spent a few moments with each of us. Not all public figures do this, and the fact that JW does shows that he cares for his fans, and understands that he actually has fans. I'll be there next year when John Williams conducts the Pops. I am very much looking forward to it.

EDIT: Sorry about the formatting issues. I tried to fix them. :(

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I asked him to sign my "Monsignor" CD cover. He looked at it, and his eyes widened slightly, and he said "Oh, look at this". I said something along the lines of "I know, this is one of your more lesser-known scores and I love it. I bet you don't see it signed often". He replied "No, I don't, and I am glad you like it."

"I wrote wha... ?"

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Congrats.

I also saw the concert , will write a review at some point. Williams seemed a bit tired but in good spirits. A very kind man indeed, he seems surprised and overwhelmed by his fame I think

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Thanks for that fantastic report and congratulations for this unforgottable experience :) John Williams is the man.

It was an unforgettable experience, that is for sure!

Congrats.

I also saw the concert , will write a review at some point. Williams seemed a bit tired but in good spirits. A very kind man indeed, he seems surprised and overwhelmed by his fame I think

Did you see the Wednesday night concert? If so, were you there by the indoor stage door after the concert? I now wonder if we were both waiting for him at the same time and same place and did not know it.

Wow. Can we swap places for just one night odnurega1? ;)

One of these days, Williams will come over here.. one of these days.

I hope that you do get to see him in person. I really do. :huh:

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(...) he seems surprised and overwhelmed by his fame I think

With true greatness comes genuine humbleness.

Thank you John, for another wonderful evening :lol:

Miguel, are or were you in Boston?!

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I was at the show Saturday night. I had never been to a film music concert before so wasn't sure what to expect, but I generally had good time despite our seats being fairly far back. I have a question for people who have been to these kind of shows before. Is it normal for seemingly the entire orchestra to stand up for applause between every piece?

The first half of the program I couldn't really get into, because I wasn't familiar with any of those scores. When I go to see JW in concert, I want to see JW music, I don't know anything about zhivago, oliver twist, lawrence of arabia, etc. I kinda feel like I should see the movies now, though. Of course, he did play Sabrina and Far&Away in the first half, but I haven't seen those movies or heard those scores either! *hangs head in shame*

Then there was an intermission before the second half started. Which was great! It was all Harry Potter music from the first 3 films. Sometimes a screen came down and images from the first four (yea, four) films were played during a piece... but not every piece. Also Lynn Redgrave "narrated" in between every piece but it was really silly little pointless things that were all over the place, from talking about things in the books to talking about how much the films grossed (?). In the end it wouldn't have made a difference if she was there or not IMHO.

This was the first time I had heard the concert versions of Nimbus 2000, Diagon Alley, The Knight Bus, so that was really cool. Also, hearing Fawkes The Phoenix again was great... I had forgotten just how AMAZING that theme is. Gotta bust out my COS CD again now...

Anyway, then he came out for an encore. He started talking about Indy 4 and how it was now playing and that he thought we would all like it... and then somebody in the audience near us yelled "It was horrible!". What a jackass! Luckily JW couldn't have heard him from up front. Then he said (paraphrasing) "There is a character in the new movie named Mutt, well, his name... I'll let you see the movie to discover the secret of his real name. But he has a sequence where he's sort of sword fighting and swinging around on vines, and here is the music from it, Adventures of Mutt. You can find it in reel 6 I believe"

And then they played Adventures of Mutt. I was never too into AOM just based off the CD, but ever since seeing it live I have been loving it and listen to it often. Great piece!

This was followed by the Raiders March and Flying from ET. I don't think I will ever get sick of ET music...

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Does anyone know if JW stays in Boston between the Film Night concerts and those in Tanglewood in July? I am asking because I am regretting the fact that I did not bring my "Memoirs of a Geisha" CD cover for him to sign for a good frined of mine, whose birthday is in June. I am going to send it up there priority mail, and hope that he will get it? Does anyone think I'll have any luck, because all I see everywhere is that it usually takes a year for people to get a response.

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Does anyone know if JW stays in Boston between the Film Night concerts and those in Tanglewood in July? I am asking because I am regretting the fact that I did not bring my "Memoirs of a Geisha" CD cover for him to sign for a good frined of mine, whose birthday is in June. I am going to send it up there priority mail, and hope that he will get it? Does anyone think I'll have any luck, because all I see everywhere is that it usually takes a year for people to get a response.

I'm just guessing, but if he doesn't have any conducting date, he's probably back in LA.

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Darn. Maybe I should send it to LA, then? I don't know...I don't think I'll get it back by June 21st anyway, regardless of where I send it. I should have brought the CD cover with me...but I didn't.

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