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Close Encounters Suite - Philadelphia Orchestra


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For anyone in the area, the Philadelphia Orchestra, for the first time in their subscription concert history, has programed a Williams piece. The interesting part here is that they have a chorus scheduled. The first half of the bill also includes a piece by Lindberg for chorus and orchestra. It can possibly be implied that they will use the chorus for Close Encounters too (it wouldn't seem sensible if they didn't). That would mark the first time I've seen the work performed in its original form.
April, 2015

Stéphane Denève - Conductor

The Philadelphia Singers Chorale - Mixed chorus

program

Williams - Excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Lindberg - Graffiti, for chorus and orchestra

INTERMISSION

Prokofiev - Excerpts from Romeo and Juliet

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I hope this is the start of more consistent Williams works, but this is amazing news. I don't have further details yet since the official announcement of the program is later tonight, but based on an

For anyone in the area, the Philadelphia Orchestra, for the first time in their subscription concert history, has programed a Williams piece. The interesting part here is that they have a chorus sche

I hope The Death of Juliet (from suite nr.3) is included in the excerpts. One of the most beautiful pieces ever.

I hope The Death of Juliet (from suite nr.3) is included in the excerpts. One of the most beautiful pieces ever.

It must be there! Indeed a great piece. A friend of mine says that in his opinion it is a bit too sweet as the ending of a tragedy such as Romeo and Juliet, but I disagree... it is totally heartbreaking, and the "sweetness" is what actually makes the effect. Also the cue that immediately comes before that in the ballet (Juliet's Funeral) is outstanding and should be played! Well, I am actually a great admirer of the whole ballet, it is perhaps the greatest among Prokofiev's works.

That is going to be a great concert program!

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I don't expect anyone to really remember this, but I posted this notice in the Eno thread (for whatever reason) when the voting was taking place, and it turns out that Williams' Essay for Strings was one of three works chosen by the audience to open each of the Friday through Sunday shows for the new season!!! I didn't know that until today, unfortunately, and I had tonight's concert. They're playing Williams on Sunday! Bah!

Now I have to figure out if I want to see the concert again just for that work (which was also played by the orchestra during its summer season a couple years ago to celebrate the maestro's 80th), but tickets are certainly not cheap. We'll see. It may be a last minute decision.

For all of you fans of Williams' concert works, a local classical/jazz station (WRTI) airs Philadelphia Orchestra concerts every Sunday, and they play the new season on a delay of about 2 months I think. I don't know if they would select this Sunday's version of the concert when they decide to broadcast it, or maybe even a compilation of all the pieces (the other two winners were Saint-Saens' Bacchanale and Borodin's In the Steppes of Central Asia), but it could mean we would have a new version of this rarely performed work. I'll keep you all posted.

That's now two Williams' works on this season, which is twice as many as they ever had on subscription before this year. It's cool to see his name above Mozart and Strauss. :)

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I caved and bought another ticket! When I saw this piece last, in 2012, it was in an outdoor venue (I was already very familiar with it from its inclusion on the Trumpet Concerto CD).

This concert was completely different and the impact was way more intense. The music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, came out, as he did on Friday, with a microphone and introduced the new season to the Sunday afternoon crowd. After mentioning Strauss , Mozart, and the soloist Lang Lang, he focused on the Essay ("a work by an American Composer, John Williams" ;) ) He said that he was surprised with the voting turnout since it was a virtually unknown work, and described it as a "fountain of notes", a set of variations culminating in a great climax, and a perfect workout for the great string section of the orchestra. He remarked that the selection was great representative of what the voting project was about, and the overall theme of the entire season, which was to give notice to lesser heard works (43 in all this season).

The Philadelphia Strings filtering in.

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Maestro Nézet-Séguin was extremely lively and engaged while conducting the players. I had a smile plastered on my face throughout the entire performance. They gave it everything, and when they finished, he turned around to an applauding audience looking overjoyed.

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I hope this is the start of more consistent Williams works, but this is amazing news. I don't have further details yet since the official announcement of the program is later tonight, but based on an article published today, the Philadelphia Orchestra is playing the Cello Concerto plus other goodies, on the regular subscription season!!!!

"The orchestra is announcing its season, which runs Sept. 30 to May 14, on Tuesday. It will include a mixture of choral and orchestral works, a three-week Vienna Festival, and two weeks of concerts by principal guest conductor Stéphane Denève, featuring the concert music of John Williams (April 28-May 7, 2016), with Yo-Yo Ma playing Williams' Cello Concerto."

Then there's this.....

"The John Williams festival includes, in addition to Denève-led concerts with cellist Ma, a May 4 benefit concert with Williams himself conducting some of his best-known film music."

Don't forget, this is 2016, not this year! A FESTIVAL!

This is terrific news!

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Okay, so I just came back from the concert that featured Close Encounters. Terrific! The choir was utilized! The hall organ too! It was the standard concert suite version and Denève definitely treated the score with the respect it deserves by employing its full forces. It was not rushed, taking about 12 minutes or so, similar to Zubin Mehta.

Oh, and here's a wonderfully repugnant review from a local critic sure to get your blood flowing!

"When I think of a Philadelphia Orchestra concertgoer, I tend to think of myself. I attend to hear works I know and love, freshly performed by a great orchestra, or to hear new or unfamiliar ones that will, hopefully, extend my musical sensibility. I don’t want tricks or gimmicks or projections that will stand between me and the music. And I don’t want to hear snippets, lollipops, or music that doesn’t belong in a concert hall.

This season, that last rule has been bent if not broken too often, as it was in this week’s orchestra program, which opened with music from John Williams’ Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Movie music can be of concert quality. One thinks, obviously, of Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, which was turned into a superb cantata, or of his Ivan the Terrible, which the Orchestra has also done. Then there is Shostakovich’s score for The Gadfly, performed in January’s concerts, and the scores of composers such as Copland, Bernstein, and Walton. Even Camille Saint-Saens wrote for the cinema.

But John Williams — “the great John Williams,” as Maestro Stéphane Denève introduced him in pre-concert remarks — is not of this company. He is an able and highly successful film composer, to be sure, and no harm is done in including him in a pops concert. But he didn’t belong on a regular series program, and the thinness of his material even in a 13-minute segment was painfully evident. The orchestra’s time and talent were wasted.

I emphasize the point because the orchestra’s local music-making has fallen by about a quarter in recent years with the conversion of the Mann summer concerts into an almost entirely pop affair from which the orchestra is largely excluded. The Mann was once a venue in which the orchestra could perform crowd-pleasers that would not then take up excessive space on regular programs. That outlet gone, they now dilute the season, unadventurous as it has become of late.

You would be correct to conclude that I did not attend this week’s concert to hear Williams, but rather endured the distraction for the sake of the other two works on the program, Magnus Lindberg’s Graffiti for chorus and orchestra, and a suite from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Lindberg is a contemporary composer of repute, and Prokofiev’s score is the greatest full-length ballet of the 20th century."

http://broadstreetreview.com/music-opera/the-philadelphia-orchestra-plays-john-williams

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Pathetic pseudo-intellectual litany of the usual "classical" composers who happened to write for films as ammunition against the modern hacks. Please. I once again ask which name will be remembered for the contributions to the world of its bearer: John Williams or Robert Zaller?

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Most of the orchestra players I know, love to play Williams now in 2015. In the 80's things were different. This idiot professor is stucked n that era.

CE3K is better than anything Lindberg has composed, sorry Magnus.

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