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"Scherzo for Piano and Orchestra" - new Williams concert work debuting July 1 2014


lester1231
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  • 3 weeks later...

Just listened to this again after a couple of weeks--I find it better and better with each listen. I mention somewhere above that I hope this turns out to be a movement in a full concerto. Further speculation on my part: unless the Chinese orchestra specifically asked for a piano and orchestra piece (which seems unlikely to me), it seems that there is a good chance it is part of a larger concerto. Again, speculative, but if they asked him for a piece, but he was already committed to pieces like the brass composition, Star Spangled banner, etc, he could have then offered the Scherzo as a standalone piece (assuming that he had already been working on the overall concerto).

It also seems odd that there are no notes about the piece, which he usually gives for premieres. I realize I sound like a crazy person, so I will stop now.

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i hope you're right! He did a similar thing for Conversations (premiering a few movements before the entire piece was written)

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http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?pageID=6&forumID=1&threadID=104263&archive=0

Well, I've weighed in.

I hate FSM, which is why I rarely post these days - but sometimes it's worth diving in to take down some of its resident shitheads.

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  • 10 months later...

I just listened to this piece again, which I have not heard since last summer. The energy and vitality (and bizarreness) of the piece are so infectious.

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  • 7 months later...

I didn't much care for this, I'm afraid. Too wildly dissonant and just plain weird. We call it 'pling plong' over here. But once again, it demonstrates Williams' versatility as a composer. In either case, I certainly hope it gets a proper recording some day.

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I know what you mean, but the weirdness and dissonance didn't turn me off.  It sounded a bit like the classical equivalent of punk rock, which is surprising to hear coming from Williams, but in a good way.  You can sort of imagine him sitting down to write it with a "take THIS, motherfuckers!" attitude.  That makes me smile.

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Anyone hear a bit of Scherzo for X-Wings in there? Horns at 0:40, 1:25, 1:36, 7:28...the tutti ostinato starting at 1:45, the whole thing with the descending timpani and toms...and The Rathtars! at 2:04!

 

But my favourite bit is when the piano gets going at 2:24. The way Williams colours the piano with percussion is spectacular, it almost looks like Lang Lang is producing all those sound effects by himself. I mean, look at 3:29. That string glissandi + piano tremolo combination just sounds so natural together. Or that glissando at 3:42, and the slap stick which strikes when Lang Lang hits the highest note. Highly colouristic and original ways of the orchestra supporting the piano. In fact, that section is almost like a representation of what might be going inside Williams' head when he's composing something at the piano, where he projects his piano playing into what the orchestra will sound like. It's really quite fascinating!

 

And HOLY **** don't get me started on 7:37. Those piano punches...Williams friggin' nailed it! This is what I want modern piano concerti to sound like!

 

I would love to listen to a studio recording someday. Or, even better, study the full score...

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  • 5 months later...
2 hours ago, Jilal said:

Not sure if this has been posted elsewhere, but you can listen to a professional recording in MP3 format here:

 

http://www.hd-hall.com/music/detail/?id=125#?

 

Cool! How can I download the Williams piece? I don't speak Chinese. I only have a rip of the Youtube video.

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Great find!

 

Such a phenomenal motivic tour de force, not to mention absolutely stunningly orchestrated.

 

Still not too impressed with the performance, though. It's slower than it ought to be, and at the present tempo, it ends up sounding a bit too "deliberate" and pedantic.

 

Also, the soloist's cadenzas are a literal cornucopia of missed musical opportunities... Should have been played much more playfully... But the piece is great fun, and one can only hope other pianists discover it and use it as the powerhouse concertante vehicle it has the potential to become!

 

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Wow, the piece really comes "to life" with this new recording -- feels much more coherent than the Lang Lang/Youtube version, which was more wildly technical. It's still a harshly modernistic piece, but I can actually follow the structure and cadenzas now.

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45 minutes ago, Thor said:

Wow, the piece really comes "to life" with this new recording -- feels much more coherent than the Lang Lang/Youtube version, which was more wildly technical. It's still a harshly modernistic piece, but I can actually follow the structure and cadenzas now.

 

It's actually the same performance, only a much better recording :) 

 

This is a wonderful piece that grows at every listen.

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5 minutes ago, TownerFan said:

 

It's actually the same performance, only a much better recording :) 

 

This is a wonderful piece that grows at every listen.

 

Ah, then it must be the recording that does it. The improved sound quality brings forth all the (orchestral) details that passed me by in the Youtube video.

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2 hours ago, Thor said:

Wow, the piece really comes "to lie" with this new recording -- feels much more coherent than the Lang Lang/Youtube version, which was more wildly technical. It's still a harshly modernistic piece, but I can actually follow the structure and cadenzas now.

It is nice to hear the orchestra.  I think a studio performance would bring it out even better.  It is like 70's era disaster Williams scoring with some crazy piano thrown in. 

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  • 1 year later...
7 hours ago, king mark said:

what's the difference between the file lester linked and Jilal did earlier

 

The version @Jilal linked to previously is very slightly higher in amplitude, which caused some brief areas to be clipped.  Otherwise, they are nearly identical.  Both 128kbps MP3 so compression artifacts are noticeable.

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  • 2 years later...

I disliked this quite heavily at first, but once I heard it in better sound quality (instead of the horrible video rip of the Lang Lang performance), I started to appreciate it more. This, and "Conversations", are still a far cry from what I had hoped a piano work by JW would be, but it's mostly a matter of adjusting expectations.

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