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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

It's nonetheless an error that draws a lot of attention to itself.

 

1 hour ago, Thor said:

From now on, I'm going to avoid this thread as much as possible, so I'm as fresh as possible when I get the set.

 

As I said over on FSM, it will be a dual experience for me. On the one hand, immense frustration that I had to sell my ticket due to other obligations and the envy I feel towards those who were able to attend, and on the other hand delight in seeing Williams conduct a great concert, in sparkling sound and video. But I want to go in as unprepared as possible, to get the full impact.

 

Haven't ordered it yet, though. Hopefully, it won't sell out.

 

If you come to Nidaros we can watch it together! :)

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1 hour ago, tannhauser said:

Haven’t read the whole thread so apologies if it’s been already discussed. But what’s with that big fat dominant 7th chord in the brass at 0:34 in Adventures on Earth!? It’s usually a major 7th right?

 

Noticed this too! Misprint? Wrong note played? Very strange.

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4 hours ago, bigjimwilson said:

I've just had a thought while watching some of the video...... now as a disclaimer, obviously I adore John, why else would i be here?! :D and I really do respect the orchestra as being one of the best in the world, and I was at the concerts in person and honestly couldn't have hoped for a better experience...... so, with that said....

 

Does anyone here who might be more familiar with the orchestra than I am, (Marian?... I'm thinking maybe you) do we know how much of the Wiener Philharmoniker "A-Team" we have here? I'm thinking about orchestras here in the UK who regularly have players dep their places out to stand in players. I'm assuming it works the same way the world over?

 

I'll never forget the disappointment I felt after attending a Beethoven performance from the Hallé here in Manchester, and talking to one of the woodwind players in the pub afterwards. My friend mentioned that I was coming to the Williams night they were having the following week, and before the sentence was even finished, she rolled her eyes and said "hmmmm, all a bit 'pops' for me, I think I'll be depping that one out." I think my reply was just "wow. well, I couldn't possibly disagree with you more if I tried." I wanted to make some quip about being careful heading back to the busy bar, your musical blinkers might cause problems. But I left it :D 

 

Anyway. I've seen the Hallé on nights where they're obviously the top players, and I've seen nights where they were lacking in certain areas. Sometimes it's down to conductor, but I guess sometimes it's down to the experience of the players too. The majority of this concert recording is absolutely perfect. But, as is the nature of live music.. there are a few little flubs here and there. And yes, we can't forget that Johnny is getting on a bit, and I wouldn't be surprised if by the time the Shark Cage Fugue came round he was waiting for his second wind. None of this takes away from my huge enjoyment of the album. It's a snapshot of a wonderful historic moment in time, and this is how it happened. 

 

Having seen a few New Year concerts with the Vienna Phil, and watching some clips of them with Andris Nelsons, I'm noticing some familiar faces but also seeing plenty that aren't there in the Williams footage. Members come and go, I understand that, but I have no idea how regular change over is. So I suppose my question is.... with the orchestra not being well known at all for their "pops" performances, do you think the line up we have at these concerts is made up of the regular players, or more "understudys" who might have been more excited about the prospect of a Williams concert? Was our dear John snubbed by any of the orchestra regulars do we think?

Just a thought! Wondering if anyone else has a take on it. 

Possibly, a kind of "A-Team" of VPO was drawn together for Bernard Haitink's very last concerts last summer.

 

PROMS, Salzburg, Lucerne.

 

Now out on DVD and Bluray for comparison.

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17 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

Erm no? That guy looks more like a cheap Williams clone than like me.

Really, what's all the fuss about this Atmos?

 

It reminds me of the early 90ties DGG 4D era which flopped.

DGG has not always (not never) been a high-end recording house.

 

For timeless high-end approaches to capturing natural orchestral sound I would refer to Chandos, Hyperion and BIS.

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9 minutes ago, BB-8 said:

DGG has never been a high-end recording house.

 

I definitely disagree. Karajan had a mastering problem in the 70s and 80s as he got into his 70s and 80s, and could not longer hear treble. He unfortunately was practically a dictator and also their biggest seller so his influence permeated for a while. But there have been some amazing DG recordings over the years, most especially before that point.

 

Jochum's Carmina Burana from the 60s comes to mind immediately.

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I think it’s telling that quite a few players who are not playing on ‘Remembrances’ can be seen attentively listening with their eyes closed, and I think even visibly moved. Or it’s my wishful thinking?

 

Edit: Goodness, I’m annoyed by Mutter’s presence on this. A lot of times when Williams is talking about something interesting she just interrupts and talks about herself.

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On 7/17/2020 at 10:36 AM, Mattris said:

I noticed that Amazon pushed back the release of the Blu-Ray set to October 2, 2020.

 

Hopefully, the producers are taking the additional time to make some improvements, such as picking the best performances (across the two concerts) and polishing the overall sound mix.

 

On 7/17/2020 at 11:06 AM, Jay said:

The concert video was finished months ago and the stream is the same thing we're getting on disc.  The delay is only due to manufacturing delays of the physical product


That answers my question regarding why the Blu-Ray and CD set will not be released and delivered via Amazon today as originally scheduled. October 2; the wait is unbearable!

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8 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

They really captured the Musikverein acoustics wonderfully on this. It sounds just like it really did sound in the hall.

Except for ASM who appears too loud when she comes in on her single track solo.

15 hours ago, Steve said:

Compared to the Boston Pops concerts, the VPO performances are simply on another level. And the criticizm on the trumpets here seems over the top. They missed one!!! note the whole concerts. That was in Jurassic Park on sunday. Otherwise there were no flubs. I'm not calling timing issues a 

11 hours ago, blondheim said:

 

I definitely disagree. Karajan had a mastering problem in the 70s and 80s as he got into his 70s and 80s, and could not longer hear treble. He unfortunately was practically a dictator and also their biggest seller so his influence permeated for a while. But there have been some amazing DG recordings over the years, most especially before that point.

 

Jochum's Carmina Burana from the 60s comes to mind immediately.

 

Shostakovich 7 with Chicago and Bernstein. It's amazing! And evidence for just how perfect US brass sections are. This is a DGG live recording.

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46 minutes ago, BB-8 said:

Shostakovich 7 with Chicago and Bernstein. It's amazing! And evidence for just how perfect US brass sections are. This is a DGG live recording.

 

I agree wholeheartedly. Amazingly enough, that recording came out right around the time Karajan died. They either got their act together quick, or Bernstein, their other big seller, refused to let that happen because it's quite the lively mix. Those trumpets are absolute screamers.

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11 hours ago, Remco said:

Edit: Goodness, I’m annoyed by Mutter’s presence on this. A lot of times when Williams is talking about something interesting she just interrupts and talks about herself.

Her strong egocentric personality may have been imprinted through Karajan.

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1 hour ago, artguy360 said:

Listening to the album now on YouTube Music now. The acoustics are wonderful. Somehow I never noticed that The Rebellion is Reborn was part of the program. I'm so excited to hear the Vienna Philharmonic perform it!

 

Such an underrated concert suite, that one! Everyone seems so fixated on the fact John weaved two themes together, but if not the precedent set with the previous 7 scores, nobody would be any the wiser! A magnificent piece of music.

 

Only wish he'd performed Rey's Theme, but I assume it would've been the inferior Mutter version anyway.

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Finally started listening.

Flight to Neverland: So is this what I'm supposed to be so excited about? And is this really the Vienna Phil? How exactly does an orchestra with their reputation manage to be ten times worse and more sloppy than the Boston Pops? The horns literally miss the first note they have to play!

Close Encounters: Okay, this is much better, but give me Dudamel or Brossé any time instead.

Devil’s Dance: Wow! Overly long opening and cadenza, but Mutter is clearly in a league of her own.

Adventures on Earth: I do not like these trumpets and horns. Error in the brass. Cor anglais is top-notch. Too much vibrato in the strings. Timpani misses beat at the very end. Pity.

Jurassic Park: Now this is more like it. Two errors, but otherwise perfect.

Dartmoor, 1912: Those strings are so, so good. Now I’m hearing what I was hoping to hear from this orchestra. Really long silence between tracks, though.

Suite from Jaws: Surprisingly slow tempo and not everyone is always in sync, but I’m still hearing professionals at work. One Horn error. Again, awesome strings and trombones. Climax was fantastic.

More tomorrow.

 

 

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7 hours ago, BB-8 said:

Except for ASM who appears too loud when she comes in on her single track solo.

 

I think there's a significant mix difference in the different tracks. It's hard to judge (different amps, speakers vs. headphones, and the psychology of seeing the musicians in the video), but the surround mix seems to have very natural acoustics that sounds exactly like the Golden Hall, while the stereo mixes (both of the album and the full concert) have more of an "album" sound - good, but different.

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31 minutes ago, bollemanneke said:

Suite from Jaws: Surprisingly slow tempo and not everyone is always in sync, but I’m still hearing professionals at work. One Horn error. Again, awesome strings and trombones. Climax was fantastic.

 

What about that uneven flute playing?

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1 hour ago, bollemanneke said:

Finally started listening.

Flight to Neverland: So is this what I'm supposed to be so excited about? And is this really the Vienna Phil? How exactly does an orchestra with their reputation manage to be ten times worse and more sloppy than the Boston Pops? The horns literally miss the first note they have to play!

Close Encounters: Okay, this is much better, but give me Dudamel or Brossé any time instead.

Devil’s Dance: Wow! Overly long opening and cadenza, but Mutter is clearly in a league of her own. Adventures on Earth: I do not like these trumpets and horns. Error in the brass. Cor anglais is top-notch. Too much vibrato in the strings. Timpani misses beat at the very end. Pity.

Jurassic Park: Now this is more like it. Two errors, but otherwise perfect.

Dartmoor, 1912: Those strings are so, so good. Now I’m hearing what I was hoping to hear from this orchestra. Really long silence between tracks, though.

Suite from Jaws: Surprisingly slow tempo and not everyone is always in sync, but I’m still hearing professionals at work. One Horn error. Again, awesome strings and trombones. Climax was fantastic.

More tomorrow.

 

 

A joke it seems. Where are the supposed errors in JP for example? Utterly bullshit review, sorry.

1 hour ago, bollemanneke said:

Flight to Neverland: So is this what I'm supposed to be so excited about? And is this really the Vienna Phil? How exactly does an orchestra with their reputation manage to be ten times worse and more sloppy than the Boston Pops? The horns literally miss the first note they have to play!

 

Show me one Pops version that is better, please. And I'm not talking about the studio recording on the Spielberg Vol.1

 

1 hour ago, bollemanneke said:

Close Encounters: Okay, this is much better, but give me Dudamel or Brossé any time instead.

 

Best verison of close encounters ever. Brosse? LoL. The Dudamel version is fine too, though.

 

1 hour ago, bollemanneke said:

Adventures on Earth: I do not like these trumpets and horns. Error in the brass. Cor anglais is top-notch. Too much vibrato in the strings. Timpani misses beat at the very end. Pity.

 

Times for the errors, please. The brass is majestically here. No errors or flubs. Perfect version, best live version I know.

24 minutes ago, Steve said:

Suite from Jaws: Surprisingly slow tempo and not everyone is always in sync, but I’m still hearing professionals at work. One Horn error. Again, awesome strings and trombones. Climax was fantastic.

Timing for the supposed horn error, please. The tempo is fine for me. Almost perfect version. At least as good as the one on Spielberg Collection Vol. 1

 

 

As I said before, these are the best live versions of the tracks that I know of. I also like the Dudamel recording, but it is also patched together from four concerts. Some people here act as if this is my local Orchestra trying to play a difficult program. Pathetic. One can nitpick releases to death, or one can enjoy fantastic recordings. I choose the latter one.

 

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1 hour ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

I think there's a significant mix difference in the different tracks. It's hard to judge (different amps, speakers vs. headphones, and the psychology of seeing the musicians in the video), but the surround mix seems to have very natural acoustics that sounds exactly like the Golden Hall, while the stereo mixes (both of the album and the full concert) have more of an "album" sound - good, but different.

For this obvious balance problem, I think it was the right decision of the producers to discard all except one of the ASM pieces from the CD and vinyl releases.

Though a 2 CD set could have worked, combining all ASM arrangements onto disc 2.

But then given the ATS studiio album, I can understand why they just included Daryl's Dance.

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18 minutes ago, Remco said:

@Steve I’m happy for you that you don’t notice the errors, but @bollemanneke is totally right. 
 

Still, I can’t help but accept them because the sound is so glorious.

Minor errors at best. Horns are meant to fail in concert. It's such a difficult instrument to play. The intonation may not always be perfectly fine. Doesn't make it a error though.

I guess I'm listening to a different concert. I found more errors in the so highly praised Brosse London concert than in the Vienna one.

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1 minute ago, Steve said:

Minor errors at best. Horns are meant to fail in concert. It's such a difficult instrument to play. The intonation may not always be perfectly fine. Doesn't make it a error though.


I’m not talking about the Horns. The orchestra in general plays quite sloppy on many moments.

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3 minutes ago, Remco said:


I’m not talking about the Horns. The orchestra in general plays quite sloppy on many moments.

Their timing wasn't the best, I agree. Especially the percussionists often lacked timing. That was already noticeable in the concert hall. However that's nothing new. Orchestras rarely have good timing.

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4 minutes ago, Steve said:

There timing wasn't the best, I agree. Especially the percussionists often lacked timing. That was already noticeable in the concert hall. However that's nothing new. Orchestras rarely have good timing.


This relativism gets a bit annoying, I’m sorry. The Dudamel LA album didn’t have these problems.

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19 minutes ago, Remco said:


This relativism gets a bit annoying, I’m sorry. The Dudamel LA album didn’t have these problems.

Which tunes are you talking about?

 

On a side note: the dudamel album was merged together from 4 night.

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22 minutes ago, Steve said:

Which tunes are you talking about?

 

On a side note: the dudamel album was merged together from 4 night.

 

Yes and the orchestra familiar with this music. 

Not the bread and butter for VP. I loved this. 

I try to avoid this rathole, but now too drunk I sinked again🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️

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