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Anyone in the London / Hertfordshire area that missed out on the sold out RPO and LSO John Williams concerts may be interested in yet another John Williams 80th birthday concert, this one at the Watford Colosseum on Friday 16th November. Keith Lockhart conducts the BBC Concert Orchestra and London Voices (who of course performed on some of the Harry Potter and Star Wars prequel soundtracks). Details are here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk...rammes/b01nmdjp

Friday Night Is Music Night is something of a British institution, a weekly Friday evening broadcast of concerts from venues around the country, usually introduced by Ken Bruce. This concert will be recorded for broadcast on Friday 14th December on BBC Radio 2, so I'll try to post a reminder nearer the time. There are not many tickets left for the concert itself, so be quick if you want to go to it!

:tumbleweed:

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I bought one of the last tickets to this concert and was so glad that I went. While the BBC Concert Orchestra was never going to be able to quite match the sheer brilliance of the London Symphony Orchestra in their John Williams concert a week or so earlier, they are a more than capable ensemble and treated the sold-out audience at the Watford Colosseum to a jam-packed two hours of John Williams goodness. Former Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart took the baton (or at least he would have done if he ever used one!). A nice additional touch worthy of mention is that the tickets were printed with the words “Happy Birthday John!” Watford Colosseum has the feeling of a large school hall, with the front row of the audience so close to the orchestra that they looked in danger of having their eyes gouged out by the first violins and cellos!

One of the fun aspects of Friday Night Is Music Night, the longest running live music show on the radio, is that the exact programme is never revealed until the concert itself, so there was some fun to be had by trying to guess what pieces they were going to play; the two thunder sheets in the percussion section, for example, were a sure sign that we would be hearing The Witches of Eastwick. In fact the orchestra was very large - including five trombones, five trumpets, six horns and up to seven percussionists - although curiously there were only four double basses. The London Voices choir sat on the stage behind the orchestra and what they lacked in numbers (there were eight male voices and eight female voices) they more than made up for in ability.

The concert was introduced by regular FNIMN presenter Ken Bruce, who sat beside the choir. No programmes were issued so I have tried to remember everything that was played (I may have got the running order wrong, but you will spot any errors or omissions if you listen to the radio broadcast on 14th December):

High Adventure (the theme tune for Friday Night Is Music Night by Charles Williams)

Star Wars - Main Titles

War Horse - Dartmoor, 1912 (Ileana Ruhemann, flute)

Jaws - Main Theme

Call of the Champions (2002 Winter Olympics) *

Far and Away - Suite

Schindler’s List - Theme (Charlie Siem, violin)

Superman - March

Saving Private Ryan - Hymn to the Fallen *

INTERVAL

Raiders of the Lost Ark - March

Amistad - Dry Your Tears, Afrika *

The Witches of Eastwick - Devil's Dance

Hook - Flight to Neverland

Jurassic Park - Main Theme

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Harry’s Wondrous World

Home Alone / Home Alone 2 - Somewhere In My Memory *, Making The Plane, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas *

E.T. - Flying

High Adventure (the theme tune for Friday Night Is Music Night by Charles Williams)

* denotes pieces in which the London Voices sang

As you will be able to hear the concert on BBC Radio 2 on Friday 14th December (I will try to remember to post a reminder nearer the time), I will not go into too much detail here, but special mentions must go to Ileana Ruhemann for her lovely flute solo in War Horse and to Charlie Siem (a young violinist with whom I was unfamiliar) for his confident solo in Schindler’s List.

Make sure you tune in! :music:

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Again it looks like an absolutely brilliant and varied programme. I wish more JW concerts had been made in Finland this year but alas only Tampere Filharmonia was smart enough to perform his music for his 80th anniversary.

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Thanks for the correction, Miguel. Lockhart must have to do a lot of travelling now that he is also the BBC Concert Orchestra's principal conductor (maybe he couldn't get his baton through customs?).

Wow! How was Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas live?

I thought all three Home Alone pieces were great. The orchestra really seemed to enjoy playing this one and the choir singing it; I noticed that right at the very end of Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas the choir shouted an extra "Yes!", Macaulay Culkin-stylee, as the last chord was played. Ken Bruce announced beforehand that the programme would be broadcast close to Christmas, so it did not sound at all incongruous. Believe it or not this was the fourth all John Williams concert I had attended this year, but all four had something different to enjoy and included Williams pieces that I had never heard played live in concert before. I was very pleasantly surprised at the inclusion of Call of the Champions, for example, which I really wasn't expecting - I had to stop myself from singing "citius! altius! fortius!" along with the London Voices.

Can you guys outside the UK listen to BBC Radio broadcasts on the internet, either live or on the BBC iPlayer?

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I thought all three Home Alone pieces were great. The orchestra really seemed to enjoy playing this one and the choir singing it; I noticed that right at the very end of Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas the choir shouted an extra "Yes!", Macaulay Culkin-stylee, as the last chord was played.

Ha!

That's great!

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This concert was so fantastic! I live in the Netherlands and unfortunately, hardly any film music (left alone John Williams) concerts are performed, so I really wanted to visit a John Williams concert in the UK. Actually, I intended to visit the RPO concert in the Royal Albert Hall, but sadly I couldn't make it that date, so I was happy to find that the BBC Concert Orchestra was going to perform a Williams concert too! I booked a ticket and travelled all the way to London to see and listen to the beautiful music played by the orchestra and the London Voices. The selection of musical pieces was great, and I was thrilled to hear the Home Alone music too :) I also adored the performance of the Schindler's List Theme - it's such beautiful music, and I think I'm a fan of violinist Charlie Siem too now haha, he played with such great emotion!

I'm so happy I went and I can't wait to hear the concert again on the radio on December 14! I recommend everyone to listen!

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Thanks for the correction, Miguel. Lockhart must have do a lot of travelling now that he is also the BBC Concert Orchestra's principal conductor (maybe he couldn't get his baton through customs?).

Wow! How was Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas live?

I thought all three Home Alone pieces were great. The orchestra really seemed to enjoy playing this one and the choir singing it; I noticed that right at the very end of Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas the choir shouted an extra "Yes!", Macaulay Culkin-stylee, as the last chord was played. Ken Bruce announced beforehand that the programme would be broadcast close to Christmas, so it did not sound at all incongruous. Believe it or not this was the fourth all John Williams concert I had attended this year, but all four had something different to enjoy and included Williams pieces that I had never heard played live in concert before. I was very pleasantly surprised at the inclusion of Call of the Champions, for example, which I really wasn't expecting - I had to stop myself from singing "citius! altius! fortius!" along with the London Voices.

Can you guys outside the UK listen to BBC Radio broadcasts on the internet, either live or on the BBC iPlayer?

I think that Lockhart sometimes conducts sans baton. No idea why.

As for the "extra" yes on "Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas", that's how the concert version ends.

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The London Voices sounded... small?

There were only sixteen of them in the choir at this concert but they did pretty well I thought. Either they have cut Schindler's List or I misremembered the running order.

EDIT: Looks like I misremembered the running order!

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Wait until you hear the Home Alone sections coming up next. Wonderful stuff!

Hello , did anyone record this ? i would love to hear this if possible as was at work when it was on ... thanks !!

It should be available to listen to again in full on the BBC iPlayer via the website afterwards. :)

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Home Alone was great indeed!!!

It looks like the only bit of the concert not to make the radio broadcast was the brief Making The Plane music that was played in between Somewhere In My Memory and Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas. Listening to it all again on the radio reminded me of an amusing moment during The Witches of Eastwick when one of the percussionists whacked the gong a little too hard and had trouble stopping it resonating, much to the amusement of his colleagues in the kitchen department. It was as if he had a momentary lapse and thought he was summoning King Kong!

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Home Alone was great indeed!!!

It looks like the only bit of the concert not to make the radio broadcast was the brief Making The Plane music that was played in between Somewhere In My Memory and Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas.

I noticed the same thing, I was kinda surprised they didn't put it in! Would you have any idea why they cut that out? Only thing I could think of is that they weren't fully content with how it sounded. When they played it I found it to sound just a little unbalanced, perhaps due to the slightly disproportionate number of different instruments (many brass instruments and percussionists but only four double basses).

Though I do think that the rest of the concert was absolutely great! I loved hearing it again on the radio :)

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Would you have any idea why they cut that out? Only thing I could think of is that they weren't fully content with how it sounded. When they played it I found it to sound just a little unbalanced, perhaps due to the slightly disproportionate number of different instruments (many brass instruments and percussionists but only four double basses).

You could be right Marnix, but it may also have been due to time constraints or the fact that the audience was still applauding Somewhere In My Memory over much of the the beginning of the next piece. By the way, the programme is available to listen to again on the BBC iPlayer for the next five days; click on the 'Listen now' icon on the left of the large picture at the top. There are also a few nice pictures of the concert and performers on the website.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...rammes/b01nmdjp

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Was this really more than four years ago?!

 

Anyhoo, last week at the Watford Colosseum the BBC Concert Orchestra recorded a concert for Friday Night Is Music Night celebrating John Williams's 85th birthday.  It will be broadcast on Friday 10th February 2017 on BBC Radio 2 at 7:30 p.m.  See this tweet from conductor Stephen Bell:

 

 

The concert was presented by Mark Kermode and featured saxophonist Amy Dickson.  Catch her if you can!

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This was broadcast yesterday and is well worth a listen (the concert is available on the BBC radio player for the next 29 days via the link in my post just above).  There is also a nice interview with composer David Arnold during the interval in which he praises John Williams in glowing terms.

 

Here is a picture of saxophonist Amy Dickson and percussionist Steve Whibley on vibraphone playing Catch Me If You Can.

 

p04shlhl.jpg

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CATCH ME, IF YOU CAN was probably the best, and best played piece.

CAN YOU READ MY MIND? was lovely; ADVENTURES ON EARTH was...only half there, ditto CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. DRY YOUR TEARS, AFRIKA was passable, but not brilliant; Mr. Kermode's presence was superfluous, but I enjoyed his JURASSIC PARK joke (unfortunately, most of  the audience had no idea what he was talking about) .

All 'n' all, not bad, but the compressed sound let it down. Mark Kermode described ADVENTURES ON EARTH as "overwhelming". Since I wasn't there, I'll never know.

 

Ps, I won't be taking part in the great JOHN WILLIAMS mash-up.

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