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John Williams & the Vienna Philharmonic: January 18/19 2020 w/ CD & Blu-ray coming August 14 2020


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15 minutes ago, Tydirium said:

 

I just took a quick trip through "Adventures on Earth" recordings on Spotify; you're right, they pretty much all have a B-natural at that spot. However, I'd like to note that at least the City of Prague Philharmonic recording features a B-flat too, just like this Vienna version. Of course CPO isn't the best orchestra in the world, but I'm thinking there might a published version out there that has a B-natural for whatever reason. Possibly a misprint, but still.

 

EDIT: Funny enough, just found some guy's MIDI realization of the piece (as in, he sat down and put in all the notes), which also features a B-flat. Must be a couple versions out in the wild(?).

 

Ah, that's interesting. I hadn't heard the Prague version, so wasn't aware there was another B flat version out there! Quite probably a misprint, then, and not altogether surprising. It's by far from the only printing error I've noticed, both in some of the piano reductions and also occasionally in a Signature Edition. (I'm still convinced the much-discussed E flat in cellos and basses at the beginning of Dartmoor 1912 is actually a misprint, and it should be an E natural as in the OST... )

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Some fact snippets I gathered from people who talked to people (in the orchestra etc.):   - The Philharmoniker were big fans of Williams as a conductor and specifically pointed out his sensi

In this topic, there has already been some speculation about WP seating on JW concerts and we had a good chat of our own with @Marian Schedenig so I decided to ask my friend who plays double bass in t

3 hours ago, bollemanneke said:

More shrill horns.

I realise that this is a historically important performance, but the LSO is just better. The Boston Pops too, for that matter.

 

320_sabrina_short.gif

(Williams shaking his head in irritation, captured from the Blu-ray)

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11 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

320_sabrina_short.gif

(Williams shaking his head in irritation, captured from the Blu-ray)

JW reacting to Thor's request to do a semiotic, diegetic, meta, post-modern,  Jungian, analytic, academic, treatise on his music.😉

13 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Wrong.

What did you SAY?

 

HEY MAN !

IM a film score insider.

I've interviewed HOLLYWOOD composers.

I demand you give me the REZPECT a HOLLYWOOD insider is due!😠😡

Screenshot_2020-08-03-17-11-18~2.png

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I admire Prague for being able to make recordings of various film scores, however I think overall their sound quality and performances are unquestionably crude sometimes. I don't know how much that is down to particular details like mic placements or on the performance side - the rehearsal and fine tuning of a piece. Like some of the action-heavy pieces they record often get mucky with syncing, particularly some of the faster brass staccato blasts and what not.

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2 hours ago, Arpy said:

I think most of my displeasure with them was because I had such a vivid recollection of the recorded pieces that I was constantly comparing them and obsessing over minor details and I'd let that cloud my judgement of the entire thing. Now I would say I've come to let go of all that and have become more open to experiencing these different interpretations with different orchestras etc.

 

I am slowly starting this transition :) 

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On 8/13/2020 at 6:15 PM, blondheim said:

I do find my blu-ray audios remind me of vinyl a lot, but I normally go in for CD quality as a fine baseline. I don't listen to anything below that for fun, only exploration. It is just a fact though that vinyl is the richest sound you can get out of your music. Although I can understand how surface noise would be a step back for many people. I like to think that life has surface noise so it has never really bothered me. I grew up with Thriller, etc. on vinyl. Some of the Japanese SACD releases I have are also pretty great for a rich stereo picture. Not so clinical and clean and separated as it can tend to be.

 

(I adore mono so keep that in mind.)

It just shows you have a great focus while listening. Nice.

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On 8/15/2020 at 8:58 PM, Tom said:

I liked the Rebellion Reborn before but did not consider it top-tier Williams. This version changes that--I can see why he programmed it and let it breath a bit more. 

I'm curious, what for you is revealed or made better about the piece with this performance? For me the slower tempo takes the punch out of it.

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5 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

I don't understand the stuff I've seen about this sounding amazing.  It sounds distorted and bass-heavy to me, very compressed and unbalanced.  And even ignoring the actual flubs, the performances are quite embarrassing at times, like the sections are completely out of sync with each other.  I still look forward to the blu-ray as a documentary film of an historic concert, but it just doesn't work at all for me as a standalone album.  The Dudamel album was much better and I didn't even like that all that much.

 

This.

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Funnily enough, nobody who mentioned "flubs and timing" issues could name exact time stamps. 

 

Regarding the trumpet section: there was only one mistake in the sunday concert: during Jurassic Park. It was fixed for the release. 

 

Regarding the horn section: there were 3 major flubs. One in the opening of Hook on Saturday, one in the opening of Jurassic Park. On Sunday the horn player missed the high note in Luke and Leia. All were fixed for the release.

 

That's it for actual major brass flubs or missed notes. Minor flubs can happen all the time.

1 minute ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Who are you? Only a forum clown?

At least I don't clown around in every topic 24/7

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Hey now

 

Everyone should feel welcome to talk about anything on this release including flubs or performance issues

 

Do not insult other members for discussing them.  If you don't want to read about them, close the thread and read another one.

 

Thank you.

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But the LSO only had one flub. I'm not going to timestamp every track, just listen to the finale of ET and the beginning of Hook.

 

I'm getting the impression that some people are determined to love this concert for what it meant, regardless of its content. Williams would have been far better off conducting the LSO somewhere. At least they have a relationship and at least that orchestra understands his music. I don't care how renowned and whatever else Vienna is or was in the 1800s, the LSO is better, the Boston Pops are better and the LA Phil are better. Period.

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1 minute ago, Jay said:

Hey now

 

Everyone should feel welcome to talk about anything on this release including flubs or performance issues

 

Do not insult other members for discussing them.  If you don't want to read about them, close the thread and read another one.

 

Thank you.

I was being facetious

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9 minutes ago, bollemanneke said:

the Boston Pops are better

This disqualifies further discussions about this topic :D

 

For example 0:32

 

Or 1:47and 1:50 here:

 

Boston Pops since a few years has the worst brass seciton of the big orchestras.

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This album will stick in the craw because I came so close but so far from seeing Williams conduct in London that February.

I understand why hearing other recordings and orchestras is interesting for appreciation of beloved pieces, but the differences cut both ways.

I'm not concerned about flub notes etc., but I see why some musicians want to turn their ear to that.

 

In short, here are my heretical opinions:

 

Devil's Dance - not as good as anything else from Mutter's recent album, I don't really buy the noodling.

Dartmoor, 1912 - when Williams-does-Vaughn-Williams, a change of pace doesn't stand out too much, and this is a nice rendition for that reason

Suite from Jaws - what fun to hear some of his oldest themes turned about playfully, and refreshing to not hear the shark's music at all!

Marion's Theme - is this a new piece? It's new to me, and I'm glad to finally have this slice of sheer iconic romanticism standing alone, even if the theme offers little in the way of B-theme facets.

Main Title from Star Wars - always a challenge, right? We've heard so many subtly different but all powerful and coherent performances over the years, but the force isn't quite with this one, I think.

The Rebellion is Reborn - totally agree that this loses a lot of power by slowing the tempo, but I do like hearing the instrumentation spaced out a little.

Luke & Leia - possibly my favourite concert piece by Williams, so I was sad to here it truncated in the bridges, as I find it perfect in its construction.

Imperial March - the presenter on Classic FM (UK radio) related that the brass section of the Vienna orchestra asked for this to be added to the programme, and when performed John said it was the best performance of it he can remember. It holds together well and has a good deal of punch!

Raiders March - Indy's going to have trouble galloping his horse to this one. Is it supposed to be a slower tempo than every other rendition I've heard?

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18 minutes ago, Steve said:

At least I don't clown around in every topic 24/7

 

I'm not joking about the mediocreness of this release. As I've already said, my main complaint is not about flubs, but about timing issues. And if you truly can't hear those, I guess that's a good thing since you'll be able to enjoy the performances more.

 

12 minutes ago, bollemanneke said:

I'm getting the impression that some people are determined to love this concert for what it meant, regardless of its content.

 

I've been increasingly thinking the same thing.

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4 minutes ago, Miz said:

Marion's Theme - is this a new piece? It's new to me, and I'm glad to finally have this slice of sheer iconic romanticism standing alone, even if the theme offers little in the way of B-theme facets.

 

It was written in 2008 coinciding with the release of Crystal Skull and Williams conducted it at various concerts, and then it was finally first recorded in 2017 for the Spielberg/Williams Collaboration III album. 

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4 minutes ago, bollemanneke said:

I completely agree, but I was referring to their studio recordings. Their Flight to Neverland is the only version that truly works for me.

I also like their studio versions. But I'm yet to find a Boston Pops concert performance of these pieces that comes even close. Most performances of them are filled with mistakes. I find it hard to compare a studio recording and a live release. So we must compare concerts and I'm yet to find a Boston Pops concert that comes close to the vienna concerts.

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6 minutes ago, Miz said:

Marion's Theme - is this a new piece? It's new to me, and I'm glad to finally have this slice of sheer iconic romanticism standing alone, even if the theme offers little in the way of B-theme facets.

 

It's 12 years old

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

I'm not joking about the mediocreness of this release. As I've already said, my main complaint is not about flubs, but about timing issues. And if you truly can't hear those, I guess that's a good thing since you'll be able to enjoy the performances more.

I hear them but only a few are really serious. What annoys me a bit is Mutters poor timing. 

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Okay, you're right, I will leave the BP out of this.

 

But you asked for timestamps: Jaws 1:04 and onwards summarises what Jurassic Shark said: there is no coordination and this happens in nearly every track. The players aren't in tune with each other. That's what struck me about the LSO in 2018: it sounded as if their common language was music, as if they were one body in perfect, perfect sync, so much so that it was quite surreal at times. Now, I'm absolutely not going to blame JW for this. It sounds more like the orchestra came unprepared, wasn't bothered to prepare etc.

 

At the end of the day, what I find really sad is that the trumpets manage to come in too late during the Star Wars opening, a piece literally everyone on the planet knows. I'm also sad that, given the current climate, JW will probably never conduct the LSO again, a group of musicians who deserve the honour much more than Vienna.

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After all much is a matter of taste. 

2 minutes ago, bollemanneke said:

At the end of the day, what I find really sad is that the trumpets manage to come in too late during the Star Wars opening, a piece literally everyone on the planet knows.

Yes I agree. That didn't happen on saturday. Strange they choose the sunday performance for the release. The trumpets did the best job on both days though. Only one noticeable mistake is quite amazing. 

 

On a side note: having performed many concerts myself, no matter how good you know or rehearshed a piece, the concert situation is always so much different.

3 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

I'll have to listen to that again. Timestamp, please. ;)

Hedwig for example. Even more noticeable than SW Main Title ;)

6 minutes ago, bollemanneke said:

JW will probably never conduct the LSO again, a group of musicians who deserve the honour much more than Vienna.

This is a daring statement. A bit unfair and bitter

11 minutes ago, bollemanneke said:

That's what struck me about the LSO in 2018: it sounded as if their common language was music, as if they were one body in perfect, perfect sync, so much so that it was quite surreal at times.

Sounds like emotions were big part of your conclusion here that LSO>VPO

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26 minutes ago, Steve said:

I find it hard to compare a studio recording and a live release.

 

Live orchestral recordings are quite common, and have to a large extent replaced studio recordings in the last 15 - 20 years. The big name orchestras dish up with one great live recording after another. When we've become so spoilt, it's hard to accept a live recording with a favourite composer that's comparatively subpar. Of course, most live orchestral recordings are of standard repertoire that the orchestra already knows, and requires less rehearsal time to get right. I suspect that the VPO didn't get enough rehearsal time for these concerts. Their management probably though it would be an easy job because it's "just" film music.

 

15 minutes ago, Steve said:

Yes I agree. That didn't happen on saturday. Strange they choose the sunday performance for the release. The trumpets did the best job on both days though. Only one noticeable mistake is quite amazing. 

 

Do we know whether all pieces on the album are from the Sunday concert, or did they, like they ought to, choose the best performance?

 

15 minutes ago, Steve said:

having performed many concerts myself

 

With the VPO, by any chance? ;)

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4 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Live orchestral recordings are quite common, and have to a large extent replaced studio recordings in the last 15 - 20 years. The big name orchestras dish up with one great live recording after another. When we've become so spoilt, it's hard to accept a live recording with a favourite composer that's comparatively subpar. Of course, most live orchestral recordings are of standard repertoire that the orchestra already knows, and requires less rehearsal time to get right. I suspect that the VPO didn't get enough rehearsal time for these concerts. Their management probably though it would be easy job because it's "just" film music.

Yes, but not so in film music. Here it is all recorded in the studios, patched together from the best takes, while in concert you only have one take. 

 

Regarding rehersal time in Vienna: I doubt they underestimated the difficulty of his pieces. Of course two rehearsals is not much if you have never done these kind of music before in a full concert. But on the other hand, their 2010 SW Main Title performance was also very very good. 

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6 minutes ago, Steve said:

Regarding rehersal time in Vienna: I doubt they underestimated the difficulty of his pieces.

 

Well, something isn't right. Either a lack of rehearsal, or problems understanding JW's conducting. I'd say the former is the most likely. A third possibility is that JW changed his tempi drastically from rehearsal to performance, due to jet lag or something.

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2 minutes ago, Steve said:

Yes, but not so in film music. Here it is all recorded in the studios, patched together from the best takes, while in concert you only have one take. 

 

Regarding rehersal time in Vienna: I doubt they underestimated the difficulty of his pieces. Of course two rehearsals is not much if you have never done these kind of music before in a full concert. But on the other hand, their 2010 SW Main Title performance was also very very good. 

 

It could also be a simple matter of economics; perhaps they couldn't afford to allot any more rehearsal time to a program they would only place twice and then never again?

 

Also, even "live" recordings these days are anything but... they're always mixes of multiple concerts... 

14 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

 

This. ;) 

 

I'm not so sure we can definitively say one orchestra is better than the other.... the Boston Pops has been playing Williams' music virtually non-stop for 40 years... both orchestras are truly world-class... 

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4 minutes ago, Matt S. said:

Also, even "live" recordings these days are anything but... they're always mixes of multiple concerts... 

 

The term is indeed misused, but at least some are recorded with an audience in concert.

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Just now, Jurassic Shark said:

 

The term is indeed misused, but some are at least recorded with an audience in concert.

 

No doubt!  I was just referring to the fact that a missed note one night could easily be fixed the next night, and on the recording you'd never know.

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3 minutes ago, Matt S. said:

I'm not so sure we can definitively say one orchestra is better than the other.... the Boston Pops has been playing Williams' music virtually non-stop for 40 years... both orchestras are truly world-class... 

 

I completely agree!  I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to tease @Steve, who I will admit I only just realized isn't @SteveMc.....oops.

 

I agree with whoever above said that "Rebellion is Reborn" was too slow.  Rose's theme sounded like it was in slow motion.

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7 minutes ago, Matt S. said:

It could also be a simple matter of economics; perhaps they couldn't afford to allot any more rehearsal time to a program they would only place twice and then never again?

 

I sure hope they plan to perform his music again. It can only get better! ;)

 

2 minutes ago, Matt S. said:

 

No doubt!  I was just referring to the fact that a missed note one night could easily be fixed the next night, and on the recording you'd never know.

 

Yes, and that's what they should have done in Vienna.

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