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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

17 hours ago, BB-8 said:

I've experienced the VPO (horns) mess-up during Lohengrin incidental music. Simone Young was conducting, and you should have seen her reaction - one hand grasping her mouth while shaking her head in disbelieve:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHJkno9yjRI
At 1:42:25...

 

I wonder which was bigger flaw : making a mistake (when hundreds of notes to play) or making theatrical gestures pointing that out? Think of that besserwisser. 

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8 minutes ago, Arpy said:

@Remco How could it be definitive? What sense is a collection of previously recorded material, played by other orchestras 'definitive'? As you say, you were forgiving of the mistakes when they were live, and the recordings made here were from those same performances.  

It's completely reasonable to have different expectations/evaluation standards for the live concert experience that you hear in person once and gets only better in your memory, and for a released album that is going to be relistened multiple times and compared to the other shitloads of already existing recordings.

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If those were your expectations then they were already set up to fail, and I'm not unsympathetic to Remco's and others' problems here I just don't see how the commercial release could be any different unless they rerecorded it all to flatten out the mistakes.

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1 hour ago, Arpy said:

@Remco How could it be definitive? What sense is a collection of previously recorded material, played by other orchestras 'definitive'? As you say, you were forgiving of the mistakes when they were live, and the recordings made here were from those same performances.  


Well we’re dealing here with an orchestra that has a higher reputation than any other that has recorded this kind of music – and they confirm that reputation in some of the performances here i.e. CEOTK which I consider superior to any other recording I know. It just saddens me that this level of excellence isn’t maintained on the whole album and especially since we’re never getting any new recording with JW and the Wiener/Berliner/Concertgebouw ever again. This was the chance to publish a legendary album, and they only got it 60/70% right in my opinion.

 

And @Holko’s post explains my thinking as well. I loved the concert, but back in january I already posted that I was worried whether they would be able to stitch together a polished concert recording.

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55 minutes ago, Pawel P. said:

 

30 or 40 percent wrong? How wrong? What do you mean? The only thing you can stick to in the flub/misatke category is the several seconds of the Main Title from Star Wars, which doesn't sound so terrible to tell you the truth - the rest, such as the slightly slower pace of Out to the Sea and Shark Cage Fugue and The Raider's March are the question of Williams' subjective choice.

 

Both Viennese concerts are legendary, despite the fact that they took place only six months ago, and the blu-ray is only a confirmation of this.  I've been to both concerts and now I've seen it at home three times, I've also listened to the CD a couple of times. And I couldn't be happier.


Sorry I could have been more nuanced – I meant that I’ll skip about 30% of the album because I have a hard time enjoying the music due to the sloppiness at moments. I don’t want to sound entitled, but I’m a professional musician myself and this nitpicking is something that’s part of my daily job. So I can’t just forgive the VPO. I’m happy for all of you who can listen through it (maybe I can too at some point, once I get past my initial disappointment). 
 

Anyway, I’ll refrain from any more negativity on this thread since I know very well how annoying it can be.

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@Remco I'm not calling for the end of critical discussion, far from it. I think nothing's quite perfect or as good as we expect them to be. My small grievance with this set is the sound is a little bassy and flat occasionally.

 

I am envious of you and other members here for getting to witness this concert live with Williams there, an experience which trumps any recording. Sadly I will never see Williams in person.

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31 minutes ago, Arpy said:

@Remco I'm not calling for the end of critical discussion, far from it. I think nothing's quite perfect or as good as we expect them to be. My small grievance with this set is the sound is a little bassy and flat occasionally.

 

I am envious of you and other members here for getting to witness this concert live with Williams there, an experience which trumps any recording. Sadly I will never see Williams in person.

In the CD booklet Williams is quoted to have said that next time he comes to Vienna he wants to look at scores of Schumann, Bruckner and R. Strauss.

So we can still hope that he may visit again...maybe for his 90th?

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18 hours ago, bruce marshall said:

60fps is mostly responsible for the live look.

That's not a reduced resolution.

It decreases the noise to signal ratio.

 

You get twice (slightly more) as many frames at half resolution, so you get the same (actually a slightly higher) number of lines altogether, but the difference in resolution in a single frame is still noticeable.

8 hours ago, moi said:
On 8/19/2020 at 4:44 PM, BB-8 said:

I've experienced the VPO (horns) mess-up during Lohengrin incidental music. Simone Young was conducting, and you should have seen her reaction - one hand grasping her mouth while shaking her head in disbelieve:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHJkno9yjRI
At 1:42:25...

 

I wonder which was bigger flaw : making a mistake (when hundreds of notes to play) or making theatrical gestures pointing that out? Think of that besserwisser. 

 

To be fair, it's the State Opera, so most people won't see the conductor's face. Also to be fair, unless it was a premiere or high profile night, those probably weren't the A-list players of the VPO. Depending on what else they've got going on and (I suppose) how interested they are in the work, they less or more likely to send substitutes. And often more likely with Wagner, it seems. I've heard them do a Rheingold where not a single note in the last 5-10 minutes seemed right. And also to be fair, those horns are supposedly much harder to play than those used by most other orchestras.

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2 hours ago, BB-8 said:

In the CD booklet Williams is quoted to have said that next time he comes to Vienna he wants to look at scores of Schumann, Bruckner and R. Strauss.

So we can still hope that he may visit again...maybe for his 90th?

He'll probably have to pay for the privilege.

I think Strauss is STILL in copyright!😞😠

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And for the Bruckner scores, he should revisit the Nationalbibliothek, where the originals are kept per Bruckner's testamtent.

 

Still, it certainly reads (if it's an accurate statement) as if he at least didn't explicitly rule out a return, unlikely though it is.

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2 hours ago, BB-8 said:

In the CD booklet Williams is quoted to have said that next time he comes to Vienna he wants to look at scores of Schumann, Bruckner and R. Strauss.

So we can still hope that he may visit again...maybe for his 90th?

Well, the orchestra has commissioned him to write a new fanfare for the annual VPO ball, so I think it is quite likely that JW will attend the ball when it is premiered and maybe even conduct the opening (that's perhaps less likely, but who knows - Blomstedt conducted it this year and he's even older than Williams). But who knows when there will be balls again in Vienna... 

 

44 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

Depending on what else they've got going on and (I suppose) how interested they are in the work, they less or more likely to send substitutes. And often more likely with Wagner, it seems. I've heard them do a Rheingold where not a single note in the last 5-10 minutes seemed right. And also to be fair, those horns are supposedly much harder to play than those used by most other orchestras.

And I thought that after the overture there was only noise in Rheingold anyway! 😅

To be serious, I knew that the opera was getting the short end of the stick in the arrangement with the VPO, but I didn't know it could be this bad! 😳 I've mostly seen them in concert (somehow 5 times already in this crazy year) and I think I've always seen familiar faces pretty much everywhere except in the periphery of the string sections. Then again, the types of concerts that I like to attend typically don't feature a big Wagnerian brass section.

Mistakes-wise, the JW concert was the worst I've heard them, though I don't think it was bad at all, especially since they really played inspired. My issues are usually with the interpretation instead, though cohesion can also be a problem - even in core repertoire. 

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20 minutes ago, Matthias said:

And I thought that after the overture there was only noise in Rheingold anyway! 😅

 

320_sw_trumpets.gif

 

20 minutes ago, Matthias said:

To be serious, I knew that the opera was getting the short end of the stick in the arrangement with the VPO, but I didn't know it could be this bad! 😳

 

It varies a lot. And keep in mind they practically don't have rehearsals at the opera, except for new productions. Everything else is done as a repertoire performance, so if a substitute player gets hired, I assume they have to learn the whole thing on their own (if they don't know it already) and then simply play it - live and with all the complications of a stage production.

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3 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

It varies a lot. And keep in mind they practically don't have rehearsals at the opera, except for new productions. Everything else is done as a repertoire performance, so if a substitute player gets hired, I assume they have to learn the whole thing on their own (if they don't know it already) and then simply play it - live and with all the complications of a stage production.

Yeah, you're right, the lack of rehearsals makes the idea of throwing substitutes in there without a strong core of Philharmoniker sound even crazier! 

 

3 minutes ago, Fabulin said:

The Last Crusade taught us that Austria can be effeminate, but this is a bit extreme, haha

You're right, we can't let Covid take our balls away! 😬

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3 minutes ago, Remco said:

Has anyone figured out which shots are from the saturday performance?

Only the 1st Williams speech. You can see he changes from blue tie to grey tie within minutes. Blue tie is from sunday. That includes all perfromances (at least visually).

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1 hour ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Redo? Like recording it again, or redoing the album releases?

Uhmmmmm....

You obviously missed THE GOT allusion!

You of all peeps!😅

1 hour ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Redo? Like recording it again, or redoing the album releases?

Like redoing the last season of GOT. 😎

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4 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Thas belongs in the not funny thread, Bryce.

Oh c'mon!

It is funny.

You're just embarrassed you fell for it.

😁

32 minutes ago, Steve said:

Only the 1st Williams speech. You can see he changes from blue tie to grey tie within minutes. Blue tie is from sunday. That includes all perfromances (at least visually).

Fire the continuity person!

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11 hours ago, Steve said:

Only the 1st Williams speech. You can see he changes from blue tie to grey tie within minutes. Blue tie is from sunday. That includes all perfromances (at least visually).

 

Also the speech before Tintin with Mutter where she demonstrates the sword movements on the violin. It was missing on Sunday.

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Just now, Gurkensalat said:

 

Also the speech before Tintin with Mutter where she demonstrates the sword movements on the violin. It was missing on Sunday.

Yes, true. This can also be seen on the Blue-ray Cover. And Williams wore cuff buttons on saturday which he didn't do on sunday.

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Hi Folks, 

 

Hope you’re well.

 

Does anyone know if/how I can watch the concert online? I don’t have Blu-Ray device and it would be great to re-live the concert somehow.

 

Thanks for everyone’s contributions (I follow the forums closely but generally scroll rather than post). 
 

Regards!

 

Liam.

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2 hours ago, liam0001 said:

Hi Folks, 

 

Hope you’re well.

 

Does anyone know if/how I can watch the concert online? I don’t have Blu-Ray device and it would be great to re-live the concert somehow.

 

Thanks for everyone’s contributions (I follow the forums closely but generally scroll rather than post). 
 

Regards!

 

Liam.

 

You can buy it digitally on Apple Music:

 

https://music.apple.com/us/album/john-williams-live-in-vienna-visual-album/1513603217

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16 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

And for the Bruckner scores, he should revisit the Nationalbibliothek, where the originals are kept per Bruckner's testamtent.

 

Still, it certainly reads (if it's an accurate statement) as if he at least didn't explicitly rule out a return, unlikely though it is.

Showing qualities of an Austro-German Kapellmeister, John Williams could return to conduct VPO repertoire like Zarathustra or Bruckner 6.

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9 hours ago, BB-8 said:

The Japanese Ltd Deluxe Edition shines in embossed pure gold.

20200821_130652.jpg

And the sound of the green UHQCD is superior.


How’d you order it? The site is in Japanese, and needs a Japanese address to register to buy anything. Also, what number did ya get?

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