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John Williams Conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra - May 4 2016


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The situation kinda sounds equivalent to if Williams was Luke at the end of TFA, and, instead of a lightsaber, Daisy is handing him his baton, and he is unsure whether to take it and reprise his Star

A good friend of mine is in the orchestra, and was really kind in letting me come back stage.  An amazing concert!

Not exactly—Williams actually quit as director that night. It was widely reported around the country that the orchestra had discipline problems and that Williams felt he wasn't given enough artistic c

Would love to know what he's working during the concerts^. He said he'd love to go if he wasn't working. I guess he's always writing music.

 

And count me as another who doesn't think he looks too aged. Regardless, his mind seems as sharp as ever.

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Although Williams repeats a lot of the same sentiments he has said in several interviews in the past, it is always a delight to hear him speak on his music and music in general, which he seems to celebrate continually and is still in awe of his journey of exploration through it. And I don't think he looks too old or tired, quite the contrary.

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The press release for the concert on the jwfan.com site says that the May 4th show is sold-out. This is absolutely not true, in case anyone is wondering. I just picked up a pair in the famed Conductor's Circle. There are still a handful of really good seats left.

I cannot wait for this!

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9 hours ago, JonMcIntosh said:

The press release for the concert on the jwfan.com site says that the May 4th show is sold-out. This is absolutely not true, in case anyone is wondering.

 

Well, that's what the orchestra's website said when it was posted. Glad to see they put more tickets on sale.

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2 hours ago, Joe Brausam said:

So who else is going?  I've got a conductor's circle ticket.  Normally I don't like sitting there, but I don't think I'll ever have another opportunity to see Williams do what he does face to face.

Joe, why do you normally not like these seats? It's my first time in Philly, first time at this venue, and first time seeing Maestro Williams conducting his own stuff. I was looking forward to these seats.

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Just now, Joe Brausam said:

I made the same choice as you here though, these will be great seats for really getting to see him in action

 

Great! I called the box office to ensure that we could still see the screens from these seats and they assured me that there wouldn't be any sight problems.

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On ‎2016‎-‎03‎-‎31 at 8:19 AM, azahid said:

The Concert program sounds very nice. I hope they manage to record this for a future video release someday.

 

It would make a great Blu-Ray!

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I like this:

 

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Now he's one of the few 84-year-olds working in the thick of the film industry. At one point in the last decade, there was a three-year hiatus. Williams says he can't remember why. "Music," he says, "is something you don't leave."

 

 

Affirms my belief that he will write music right up untill the day he dies -- like you see in AMADEUS.

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But while everyone remarks at Williams' modesty and his superb, courtly manners, he did walk out on a Boston rehearsal when musicians hissed one of his pieces. So he stands up for his music, though his self-critical nature drives him to revise concertos many times.

Interesting.

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I didn't find it interesting at first, but before I knew it, it had gotten hold of me!

 

Seriously, sometimes I find myself randomly singing "A-meeer-icaaaa"...and I'm not even American!

 

I think it should be mentioned though, that almost immediately after, everybody apologized and were on good terms.  

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36 minutes ago, Tom said:

It was America the Dream Goes On, which is a bit over the top both musically and in terms of its lyrics. 

 

Yeah, that's the one. However, we do not know the circumstances of the "walk-out". Whether it was the musicians' reactions to the piece or some other factor. Perhaps they were just unruly that day, and Williams had a bad day, and it came to a halt.

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Seems that way. I can understand why things got a little haywire at the end of Fiedler's career. He had been there for more than 50 years, and players were obviously not taking him that seriously anymore. Lots of things to "tidy up" for Williams. I hope they've managed to stay disciplined throughout Lockhart's tenure as well (he's been the music director for 21 years now!).

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Thank you for the context @aviazn, obviously I was misrepresenting the complexity of the situation. I was aware that Williams quit (and returned later), but didn't realise that it was due to a longer-standing problem with the orchestra.

 

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...Williams took pains to encourage the audience to listen more carefully to performances.

 

My respect for Williams deepens yet again!

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17 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

People who book the tables as the Pops and have dinner and drinks during the concert should be shot by snipers positioned on the balcony of Symphony Hall!

 

I did that. But it was to sit close to the stage & Williams. And I did order a beer or two. But I agree that it's annoying with chatter etc. Ideally, I would have preferred a normal seating system.

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Wait, so the JW Dance comes from the 1984 July 4th concert, under a month after the resignation? So the members of the orchestra knew he was going to leave at that point?

 

 

If so...that's interesting. Unless it's a different orchestra he's conducting??? :huh:

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That concert was at the Hatch Shell, at Boston's Esplanade. Most likely it wasn't with the Boston Pops Orchestra, but rather with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, that while operates under the BSO organization, is made up of freelancer musicians from the Boston area.

Also, there is an interview made by a British television channel, in which bits of a rehearsal can be seen and where Williams has to call the orchestra members to attention. The interviewer asks him about that, wondering about lack of discipline, but Williams downplays it as it would be expected. The interview dates from 83 or 84...

Finally, I do remember reading the articles from the Boston Globe from that time, and I do recall mention of problems between Williams and orchestra during rehearsal of Varsity Drag -- maybe that was the Sid Ramin arranged piece?... Williams also conducts an arrangement of his own of that one every now and then. I have all of those on my files, and when I get the time, I might just check it out.

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43 minutes ago, Miguel Andrade said:

Also, there is an interview made by a British television channel, in which bits of a rehearsal can be seen and where Williams has to call the orchestra members to attention. The interviewer asks him about that, wondering about lack of discipline, but Williams downplays it as it would be expected. The interview dates from 83 or 84...

 

I have some faint memory of that, but it would be great to see again if the footage is available somewhere. I have this weird curiousity to see Williams pissed off. :)

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I completely understand goofing off in an orchestra.  It's just what happens.  I spent years in the trombone section, and was often the root of the trouble there, which made me the root of the trouble ensemble-wide.  BUT... to actually be disrespectful to the conductor, or composer, or arranger, especially if they're present, is beyond the pale, and Williams was right to get fed up with it.  There's just no reason for that, it's common decency and musical fellowship.  Why be an ass?

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Ooooh, here's another fun news story from right after he resigned, this time an AP wire report. Headline: John Williams Couldn't Take the Hissing

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1346&dat=19840617&id=nu8vAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ovsDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6559,265251&hl=en

 

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Musicians often relieve boredom and stress with a variety of antics, [longtime associate conductor Harry Ellis] Dickson said, and Fiedler encouraged their pranks.
 

For instance, while Fiedler was conducting the movie theme "Jaws," percussionists inflated a plastic shark and tossed it around on stage, he said.
 

Once they flew paper airplanes on stage, and another time a player let loose a live lobster to amuse a colleague, he said.

Williams, though, was not amused by a tradition of hissing while rehearsing new music.


"It is not unusual for the orchestra to hiss at what we consider bad arrangements. Some of the pieces do deserve it, but I think it particularly bothered John that is piece was included among them," a musician, who asked not to be identified, told The Patriot Ledger of Quincy.

The hissers never stepped forward, but the entire orchestra visited Williams that night to apologize and ask him to reconsider, Dickson said. "They feel very bad about this."


Craig Nordstrom, chairman of a players' committee, told the Globe, "There is a feeling of embarrassment."

Williams refused to reconsider, but promised to finish out the season, conducting four concerts on Boston's Esplanade, including the annual Fourth of July performance.

 

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