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American Journey (a.k.a. The Unfinished Journey)


TownerFan
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I was listening to Williams' American Journey (a.k.a. The Unfinished Journey) and there's a small thing/minutiae that always puzzled me:

The 2nd and 3d movements ("Popular Entertainment" and "Arts and Sports") seem to be written for the same segment. The duration is the same and also the written titles seem to refer to the same segment (i.e. a montage of memorable popular icons from movies, tv and sports). They also both ends on the same chord and in the same textural way (harmonic strings) to lead on to "Civil Rights" movement. I once wanted to try to sync it up to the film to verify, but I never had the proper time to do it.

So, my questions is: could it be that "Arts and Sports" is the original piece Williams wrote and "Popular Entertainment" is instead the revised version? I guess Spielberg probably wanted a more Copland-esque/Americana feel to that piece.

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That makes sense.

I haven't seen the film since 1999 when it premiered. I always wondered why we had two similar titled cues but I can't remember the film that much.

When I saw the film it was New Years eve so I was probably already :drunk:

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That's a good question, I've haven't seen an airing since January 2000.

I don't know if it received a DVD/Video release. I did a quick check on youtube and the web and didn't come up with anything.

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The internet is full of comments from people who said they've never seen it, and are looking for it. I don't think it ever got released. Even PBS, the network that aired it, doesn't list it in their upcoming shows. You'd probably have to find someone who taped it, and could upload that. I doubt that I taped it, and if I had, I would probably not have it anymore.

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If memory serves me right, there were / are a few members here who taped it.

I only saw it air at midnight on Jan 1st, 2000 and then a couple of times the next day on one of the Discovery channels.

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I do believe that the reason that keeps it from being showed again/released on DVD has to do with rights of stuff used in the film. Some film footage that was compiled was licensed only for that one time presentation. Williams presented excerpts of it at the Hollywood Bowl and Boston, but if memory serves, was only a truncated version of the film.

Now, as for the segment not used in December 31, 1999, I know it was used at the 2002 Academy Awards, the year Williams served as musical director to the show. I've always wandered if he had composed it back in ´99 or later for the Academy Awards show, and recorded to be added to the American Journey CD.

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It seems to me he did a performance of Celebration 2001: The Unfinished Journey on an evening at pops tv show in 2001. (One of the few I caught on VHS and have a half crummy vid capture of the VHS tape)

Seems to me that version matches pretty well what is on the cd. Although I never saw the original version from the new years eve showing

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I remember the original 1999 performance. Music is the same as the Sony c.d. but didn't have the Arts and Sports segment. I figure it's not an alternate but a separate piece that wasn't used

Williams also played Arts and Sports at the Oscars in 2002

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My own theory is pure speculation, based also on the fact the piece has been never performed live as part of the Unfinished Journey suite. I didn't remember he performed the "Arts & Sports" segment at 2002 Academy Awards night, so maybe Miguel is right: he composed it for that occasion and then decided to include it in the CD recording suite because he felt it was fitting enough.

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yes, Williams played Arts and Sports just before the Oscar ceremony, when people were still shuffling around to get to their seats

it's something that might have been caught on some broadcasts and not on others (seemed like commercial break time)

I also think it was before the Sony c.d. was released so we had never heard it before

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Speaking again about American Journey, if you have the opportunity listen to the "Popular Entertainment" segment and then go to listen to "Hopeful Preparations/Vesuvius Camp" from Alex North's Spartacus--there's some nice channeling of sound and style imho.

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JUst found this:

http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/?fuseaction=composition&composition_id=2869

It says that the Suite we have on CD was adapted from the music of the doccumentary.

So there goes our unused movement explantation...

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  • 2 years later...

Too bad broadcast SQ is so bad in those days. I remember taping it too but it wasn't in black and white

LOL of course it wasn't black and white. And the video quality has more to do with the compression than with the original broadcast.

Oh God I remember those reports from December 31, 1999 as if it was yesterday...

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That excerpt from Evening at Pops was transferred to digital by a fellow board member who wasn't able to make a proper conversion from NTSC to Pal, hence the black and white image. I know I have this on video, but can't really be sure if it is the exact same transfer or a color one. Will have to check.

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Too bad broadcast SQ is so bad in those days. I remember taping it too but it wasn't in black and white

LOL of course it wasn't black and white. And the video quality has more to do with the compression than with the original broadcast.

Oh God I remember those reports from December 31, 1999 as if it was yesterday...

To be young again!

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Hello Guys !! i'm martyprod, the one who posted this video on youtube ! Hello Miguel (hey was up ? long time i have no more news from you !).

first i want to thank Miguel to have allowed me to put on youtube a part of his collection. other part come from me and has been recorded on a german channel called Onyx in the 90's/2000's year and rom other source but lot of them come from miguel, so guys, you can thank him a lot ! i just put the videos on youtube for maybe 60, 70% of them.

some informations about the unfinished journey color and quality issue :

1) i don't remember which is the source of this video. if it's from Miguel or mine.

2) the low picture quality is due to two issue added together: VHS transfer + lost of the color information due to a NTSC source converted in digital without a NTSC / PAL transcoder. it can be the source who was like that, i really don't remember this.

why a source lost his color ? because of lack of proper NTSC / Pal converter, or recorded in SECAM from a PAL source with no information. some of my videos are in black and white because i only got a PAL VCR around 1997, so everything i recorded on German satellite dishes until i got this PAL VCR is in black and white because we lost the color information when we record a PAL Signal with a SECAM VCR.

3) i have unfortunatly a few sources like this, like the last video i uploaded featuring Harry Connick Jr. i was asking myself: best is to post nothing or to post this videos, but in this quality ? i took the second solution. best is this than nothing.

i'm pretty sure that the source is the same (so miguel if you check your video, there is a possibility that you have it in black and white too), because a digital transfer of a NTSC VHS source in digital without a NTSC VHS VCR, f**k the color signal and give something hybrid, with some weird color. you all can see this on the video i uploaded of chick corea playing his COREA concerto at the boston pops below. fortunatly, it's a very few amount of videos.

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As always Martyprod, thank you for sharing your wonderful videos!

Thanks ! i have still some stuff to post including from my own collection. i didn't talked since a long time with miguel, so not sure if he would still be ok to convert to DVD the few NTSC VHS that i still have here. (i don't know if there are stuff from williams on them). miguel feel free to contact me in private if you're still ok with that !

i was in a big life mess, so i couldn't think about these videos during the last 3 years (moved to a new flat, lost my family, blablablabla, long story). trying to being back on track again and posting videos again, so more to come (not necessary from williams himself, but it's good music ! :). you can check my own work too for the ones who want where i do piano tribute to some composers (including williams) at www.didiermartini.com on www.youtube.com/user/didiermartini . thanks !! :)

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