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John Williams/Steven Spielberg/Detroit Symphony Benefit Concert -- June 14, 2014

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On Saturday, June 14, Oscar-winning composer John Williams and legendary director Steven Spielberg will join the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) for a one-night-only gala benefit concert for the orchestra. Tickets to this special concert appearance will be available starting April 14. Both artists are donating their services for this extraordinary event.

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It's very generous of Mr. Williams' to donate his services yet again. I attended the last Detroit concert he conducted in 2008. The orchestra is quite good, Orchestra Hall is very nice, and Williams is a good friend of DSO conductor Leonard Slatkin (his mother was a cellist for "Jaws" and he conducted half of the Williams 80th birthday tribute concert at Tanglewood).

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Anyone planning on attending this event? I'm strongly considering it!

Hope you got your ticket(s)!

Tickets for the John Williams and Steven Spielberg benefit concert at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra sold out in just 15 minutes Monday morning.

Fun quote from the comments:

Speilberg and Williams have combined to produce some of the most overrated and shallow movies/music, and are both responsible for lowering our standards and expectations by several steps. People throw money at these buffoons like they're gods.....I would actually rather go see Miley Cyrus...I would....and I cannot stand her, lol.

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Fun quote from the comments:

Speilberg and Williams have combined to produce some of the most overrated and shallow movies/music, and are both responsible for lowering our standards and expectations by several steps. People throw money at these buffoons like they're gods.....I would actually rather go see Miley Cyrus...I would....and I cannot stand her, lol.

Alan you should not have been that harsh on poor ol' Johnny and his sidekick. Nor Miley Cyrus.

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If anyone is interested, I'll post my reactions after the show. If not, at least thanks for providing this forum as an opportunity to share thoughts that aren't as well received with my circle of friends.

Enjoy the concert! I look forward to reading your and your girlfriend's reactions to the John Williams/Steven Spielberg experience. :)

Also, Hour Detroit interviewed DSO music director Leonard Slatkin about how his friendship with Williams sparked this unique event, and what ticketholders can expect to see at the concert.

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Hi guys. It's been ages since I posted anything, but I wanted to share some stuff from tonight.

A quick little video I cobbled together (from three separate clips) of Steven Spielberg keeping time to "Raiders"

http://youtu.be/Tqbhp-f-XJw

and a few of my photos, from row H seat 30
https://www.flickr.com/photos/shortfatguy/sets/72157644767839910/

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This was a beautiful concert! The players really poured their hearts into it, and it was incredibly moving to see Williams and Spielberg together on stage. The concert hall was absolutely packed -- I didn't see a single vacant seat. Here's a quick rundown:

ACT I

(Spielberg was not present for this half of the program. The concert received a video introduction by Maestro Leonard Slatkin.)

Hooray for Hollywood (Williams arrangement, set to montage of classic Hollywood clips; only video during Act I)

Selections from FAR AND AWAY

Suite from HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE (Hedwig's Theme, Nimbus 2000, Harry's Wondrous World)

Dartmoor, 1912 from WAR HORSE

Main Title from STAR WARS: Suite for Orchestra

ACT II

(Spielberg entered for this half and spoke briefly about each of these selections.)

Main Title from JAWS (Spielberg entered after this.)

Excerpts from CLOSE ENCOUNTERS (Set to creatively edited video clips from CE3K, emphasizing Barry's abduction and return.)

Techniques of Film Scoring: The Circus Train Chase from INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (Played without music, then with.)

Marion's Theme from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (Set to a lovely video montage of great Hollywood actresses.)

The Duel from THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (Set to a montage of great movie swordfights.)

Theme from SCHINDLER'S LIST (Soloist was DSO Concertmaster Yoonshin Song, I believe; no video.)

Adventures on Earth from E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL (No video.)

ENCORES

With Malice Toward None from LINCOLN (Thanks to Incanus for remembering the official title of this piece -- Spielberg simply introduced it as music for Lincoln's Second Inaugural. If memory serves, it was performed by the string section only.)

Raiders March from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

The concert program booklet was also unusually nice. I didn't snap any pics, but Doug Adams did, and you can see them on his Twitter feed:

https://twitter.com/DougAdamsMusic

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Thanks for the report John!

Oh and the theme from Lincoln is called With Malice Toward None. It has been making quite frequent rounds in Williams' concert programmes of late.

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What a fantastic concert. I've only seen Williams' music played once before, also at the DSO, but this time was even better. I felt like I was listening to original recordings of most of the pieces that were played. It was magnificent.

A few thoughts:

One of the most awesome things to see was despite the fact that Williams is a man in his 80s who needs to support himself a little bit when he gets on and off the podium, once he starts conducting, you'd never know it. It's absolutely brilliant. He has total control of the orchestra and seems to move so fluidly.

Spielberg was much stronger when he was just talking off the cuff. When he was trying to read notes, it just came across a little forced. I would have loved to just hear him tell stories about their time together over the course of 41 years. But after he came out, it was such a surreal moment watching Williams conduct the orchestra while Spielberg watched clips of Close Encounters being played. It's a sight I never expected to be able to glimpse in my lifetime, that's for sure.

I was really hoping for Jurassic Park since I've yet to hear it live, especially because it definitely could have fit in the program, which ended up feeling a little repetitious with the orchestra playing Marion's Theme and then having an encore of the Raider's March which has a significant portion of Marion's Theme in it. Although I will say that showing clips of classic film beauties during "Marion's", and the sword fighting montage during "The Duel" were really fun ways to mix it up.

All in all, I still don't know if it's really hit me what I saw. I have been a huge fan of both of these men for as long back as I can remember and having this opportunity was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

BIZARRE SIDE NOTE: Kid Rock was there and when they finished playing "E.T." he yelled out "E.T!", looked at a guy sitting next to him, shrugged his shoulders, and then left, not even staying for the encores.

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Disappointing to hear Slatkin referring to JW's concert works as "serious" pieces. I thought he was more accepting of film music than his peers.

I really don't understand your point. "Serious" is just a word to describe music written for its own sake. You're just reading to much into it... and the opposite seems to also be the case, as many folks around here seem to have the same kind of attitude towards concert music (or serious or whatever one wants to call it)!

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Was there any mention or hint of some of Spielberg's projects for the next couple of years?

The only specific references to future projects that I can recall were Williams' wry comments about the next STAR WARS film.

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Disappointing to hear Slatkin referring to JW's concert works as "serious" pieces. I thought he was more accepting of film music than his peers.

I really don't understand your point. "Serious" is just a word to describe music written for its own sake. You're just reading to much into it... and the opposite seems to also be the case, as many folks around here seem to have the same kind of attitude towards concert music (or serious or whatever one wants to call it)!

Words matter, and there's a pretty explicit suggestion that concert music is more artistically valid than film music

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Was there any mention or hint of some of Spielberg's projects for the next couple of years?

The only specific references to future projects that I can recall were Williams' wry comments about the next STAR WARS film.

I wonder if Spielberg even knows what his future projects will be? :rolleyes:

Thanks for the other video, ShortFatGuy. Great stuff.

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Disappointing to hear Slatkin referring to JW's concert works as "serious" pieces. I thought he was more accepting of film music than his peers.

I really don't understand your point. "Serious" is just a word to describe music written for its own sake. You're just reading to much into it... and the opposite seems to also be the case, as many folks around here seem to have the same kind of attitude towards concert music (or serious or whatever one wants to call it)!

Words matter, and there's a pretty explicit suggestion that concert music is more artistically valid than film music

That's your reading into it. I guess we can agree to disagree.

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It seems to me that "serious music" here refers to the formal sense indicated by Miguel, not as a dig at Williams' "popular music" output. Some folks do tend to draw unhelpfully rigid lines between these two spheres, using them as a club; others quibble about the definitions and their usefulness. Nevertheless, this is a well-established academic and critical term and the context matters a great deal. Slatkin has deep family roots in Hollywood, and has championed the works of John Williams in particular. They have been good friends for many decades. I don't see an insult here.

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By the way, the concert also included the "Jaws" main title (the concert version). It wasn't in the program, but it started the second half and was played before Spielberg came out.

The audience chuckled in recognition which caused Williams to turn and playfully put his finger to his lips. And when Spielberg got to the microphone, he quipped that he's been following "that darn shark" for years ... but that that's probably better than the other way around.

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Since this is a rare occurrence for Detroit, and likely never to happen again (Williams being there in person)...

Actually, given his relationship with Slatkin, I can easily see him back at some point, health permitting. Now Williams AND Spielberg together in Detroit ... that's less likely.

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Along with some friends, we walked by the hotel hoping to see him and I lucked out. He was coming back from a morning stroll with a woman companion and he happily signed for us and posed for a photo with me.

Serendipity and very happy John Williams fans.

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It seems to me that "serious music" here refers to the formal sense indicated by Miguel, not as a dig at Williams' "popular music" output. Some folks do tend to draw unhelpfully rigid lines between these two spheres, using them as a club; others quibble about the definitions and their usefulness. Nevertheless, this is a well-established academic and critical term and the context matters a great deal. Slatkin has deep family roots in Hollywood, and has championed the works of John Williams in particular. They have been good friends for many decades. I don't see an insult here.

Yeah, I guess I'm not saying Slatkin intentionally condescended. I just wish he was a bit more careful with his word choice

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