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John Williams & the Vienna Philharmonic: January 18/19 2020


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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

25 minutes ago, carlborg said:

Both CD and DVD release confirmed!

Hell yes! 😍😍😍

For the recordings of the New Year's and Summer Night's concerts, it usually takes a month from concert to release. Probably will be a bit longer here, since this seems to have been put together on relative short notice, but I can't wait! 

 

Edit:

Also, on the climate of the Musikverein: Never really had a problem there, maybe the nervous energy of the audience heated things up a bit? My parents told me that the hall used to have quite sticky air before renovations, it's not too bad now. 😉

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24 minutes ago, handz said:

It was hot. But for me better than if there was some crazy air conditioning🙏

The latter is so true, thank god/Williams they built w/o A/C 150 years ago. Strangely enough sitting 6th row centre felt quite nice on Saturday, we even had a faint breeze (!) going at times; and I am quite easily getting too hot... ...hm. Where were you seated?

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44 minutes ago, hornist said:

One funny detail from the Sunday concert. After all these encores, Johnny made his usual go-to-sleep-gesture!!  This concert started 11 a.m.😜😜😜

He did that on Saturday, too. And he didn't come out to stage after that one.

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42 minutes ago, hornist said:

One funny detail from the Sunday concert. After all these encores, Johnny made his usual go-to-sleep-gesture!!  This concert started 11 a.m.😜😜😜

But I was actually tired (could not fall asleep the night before ) 😩

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6 minutes ago, carlborg said:

Glorified handrail 

Haha.  Well, the Cinderella liberty was actually beautiful - have the full recording 😎 The problem with violin is - it is not so load and when I was sitting on the balcony it was definitely not as good as from the first row. For these more intimate pieces, being closer to the podium is very beneficial 🙏

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1 hour ago, handz said:

Haha.  Well, the Cinderella liberty was actually beautiful - have the full recording 😎 The problem with violin is - it is not so load and when I was sitting on the balcony it was definitely not as good as from the first row. For these more intimate pieces, being closer to the podium is very beneficial 🙏

 

She wasn't quite as prominent/loud on the balcony as she was on my Saturday parterre suite, but still perfectly audible whenever she had the lead voice, and only not quite as clear (but still a recognisable colour in the orchestra) when she played accompaniment - more proof of Williams's talent as an orchestrator.

 

I heard Strauss' Vier letzte Lieder with Fleming from a similar seat a few years back. Thielemann conducted. I could barely hear hear at all.

2 hours ago, hornist said:

One funny detail from the Sunday concert. After all these encores, Johnny made his usual go-to-sleep-gesture!!  This concert started 11 a.m.😜😜😜

 

And I was happy he did - because he skipped it when I came to Tanglewood last summer!

4 hours ago, apples said:

One thing about the venue - Was it just me, or was it like an oven in there, jeez!  Where's the ventilation?!

 

I believe the higher seats are much hotter. The balcony on Sunday was quite sweaty, but parterre on Saturday was perfectly fine.

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back in Berlin. Four closing thoughts:

 

1. despite the historical scale of the event I can‘t let go of the thought that I feel like it was a missed opportunity to perform more unknown pieces like War Horse (which, besides CE3K, was my personal highlight). It’s obviously not my part to tell JW which of his music to perform, but the set list does not reflect his whole oeuvre at all. Then again, that’s also a more general concern I’m addressing here: The JW signature editions are great concert music but I wished there would be more actual score material as performed and recorded for the film. The last 20 minutes of TESB would make a marvelous concert experience IMHO. 

 

2. I witnessed one of the most hilarious scenes on Sunday after the concert at the stage entrance where about 50 people were waiting for JW and ASM. One of the usher came out for a smoke, standing in front of the door, just 1 meter apart from the waiting crowd, lighting his cigarette, standing there and looking like Daniel Craig‘s Bond, not giving a damn at all. Hard to describe, but I’ve had a blast.

 

3. As great as the concert experience was, I have to say that watching 1917 in a cinema yesterday night had an even more emotional impact on me...

 

4. I‘d prefer photos and/or real names instead of avatars in this forum. 😇

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7 hours ago, GlastoEls said:

He’s not on a conference call with the Royal Albert Hall and LSO is he by any chance Jay?! 😂

 

And why not schedule another Philharmoniker gig while he's at it!

1 minute ago, lemoncurd said:

4. I‘d prefer photos and/or real names instead of avatars in this forum. 😇

 

Hey, I got recognised by several people (not just you) based on my avatar! ;) 

8 hours ago, Martinland said:

What the?!? The two of us were in the 6th row as well

 

Nah, you were in row number 6, which was the 9th in total (including Cercle I, II, III) - two rows behind me in row #4. ;)

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4 hours ago, Martinland said:

Another review of the Maestro's VPO, Musikverein, Viennese, and European debut. <3

 

They are getting better and better it seems:

 

https://www.wienerzeitung.at/nachrichten/kultur/klassik/2046653-John-Williams-Sternstunden-der-Filmmusik.html

 

Hollywood Master Thrills With Excerpts of His Life's Work ... as soon as he approaches the podium, fans cannot stay in their seats ... ovations are worthy and justified ... lush, beautiful sound ... height of bliss towards the end of the concert ... etc.

 

This article is so beautiful! And funny :lol:

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14 minutes ago, Will said:

I agree with the wish that JW would program more actual film cues rather than only the concert suites. But that'll never happen, alas

You mean concert versions of themes? I would actually love to hear concert suites / medley based on material from the movies.  Or just give me  the ESB end credits, Ben's Death and Tie Fighter Attack and Final Battle from a New Hope and I will be happy. 

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1 hour ago, Marian Schedenig said:

One more factoid observation: The Philharmoniker used the standard "American" orchestra setup (violins on the left, violas/celli/double basses on the right, brass in the rear) instead of their usual setup (violins divided left/right, double basses line up in the rear). First time I've seen them do that I think. Anyone who spoke to the players know why they did that? To fit the 8 horns on the stage? Or because Williams prefers that setup?

I‘m almost certain that the Philharmoniker always accommodate the conductor‘s wishes. The split violins and basses at the back may be the default setup, but I‘ve seen them lined up in every way imaginable. For instance, when Bernstein was conducting them back in the day, they lined up fully American with even the celli on the far right. Carlos Kleiber‘s recording of Beethoven‘s 5th from the 70s features 1st violins - 2nd violins - celli - violas. A few years later, he used split violins for his recording of the 7th. 
Nowadays, the American lineup has gone out of fashion a little bit, but you can still see violas on the far right quite often. I think it‘s likely that Williams asked for it, though maybe they had to move the basses to the right due to space constraints.

 

What I‘ve always wondered is why in the opera they sometimes (always?) line up 2nd violins – 1st violins – rest . Do you know? Is it so the concertmaster can be seen by everyone?

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3 minutes ago, Matthias said:

What I‘ve always wondered is why in the opera they sometimes (always?) line up 2nd violins – 1st violins – rest . Do you know? Is it so the concertmaster can be seen by everyone?

 

No idea. Usually the orchestra pit is so cramped that I don't think I've ever paid attention to the arrangement of violins and violas. I do know they generally have the double basses at the rear and the brass split on the far left & right at the Staatsoper.

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17 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

No idea. Usually the orchestra pit is so cramped that I don't think I've ever paid attention to the arrangement of violins and violas. I do know they generally have the double basses at the rear and the brass split on the far left & right at the Staatsoper.

Looking at some footage, I think I was wrong. It's still 1st violins on the left, but the concertmaster doesn't sit where he/she would in a symphony setting, but further back - where you would expect the principal 2nd violins in an American setup. Hence my confusion, it's still a little weird. But enough of this off-topic stuff. 😉

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2 hours ago, handz said:

You mean concert versions of themes? I would actually love to hear concert suites / medley based on material from the movies.  Or just give me  the ESB end credits, Ben's Death and Tie Fighter Attack and Final Battle from a New Hope and I will be happy. 

 

Well yeah the problem is his concert arrangements are usually just arrangements of the main themes - SW main theme, Imperial March, Raider's March, etc. We don't get stuff like "The Asteroid Field," "Indy's Very First Adventure," etc. (at least not very often). 

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2 hours ago, Will said:

 

Well yeah the problem is his concert arrangements are usually just arrangements of the main themes - SW main theme, Imperial March, Raider's March, etc. We don't get stuff like "The Asteroid Field," "Indy's Very First Adventure," etc. (at least not very often). 

Both the concert performances are my favourite specialy 'Indys Very first Adventure'. If only this was recorded on cd!  I was actually disappointed that this ws not on the recent Williams Spielberg III album. 

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35 minutes ago, Tydirium said:

"Adventures on Earth" is probably the notable exception that gets performed very often, right?

 

 

 

 

Yep, that's one of the ones I was thinking of (it is shortened a bit compared to the film sequence, but still retains a lot)

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5 hours ago, hornist said:

This must be language/cultural thing, always I talk with the germans publicist/blumenkohl/mkkyver it always will end up badly, dont know why. 

 

it’s not bad to agree to disagree. but also pls bear in mind I‘m not a native speaker. And naturally, sometimes I don’t find the 100% correct/fitting word. happens.

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tchaikovsky

13 hours ago, Sandor said:


I predicted this 10 year ago...

 

 

Insightful essay that will also be true in 10 more years!
Herrmann will be remembered by the Psycho torch. And because new composers are influenced by him. Sometimes artists can pass the torch :)

Williams is extraordinary precisely because he is also popular in concert with all levels of ensembles. From student groups to community orchestras to major philharmonics.
His practice of writing film cues that resemble concert music had a completely unintended side effect of making him the most performed living composer. The other composers about as gifted as John either don't write for hit films or don't do a lot of concertizing. So his career is unique for both the number of torch themes and the number of performances.

Over time the concert performances will continue thanks to the appeal of characters like Superman, Harry Potter, Yoda, etc. And the quality of the music.
Kids dig live to picture:love2:

It's like if The Beatles had teamed up with Marvel, or Tchaikovsky with Shakespeare.

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