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New Podcast! The Baton: A John Williams Musical Journey


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Happy New Year to my fellow JWFan members! I am embarking on a new venture that I know will appeal to all of you. I am the host of the podcast “The Baton: A John Williams Musical Journey.” The po

Update: The podcast is available on iTunes and Spotify. It is also on the Podbean app, so there are plenty of places for you to hear the show and subscribe. Next episode online Wednesday!

John Williams was performing with the Houston Symphony in the fall of 1983. I was unable to go to the concert, but I knew one of the trombonists and had a heads up on the rehearsal. I waited outside t

On 9/24/2020 at 2:54 PM, bollemanneke said:

Yes, since I'm generally disinterested in Star Wars. Still enjoyable episode.

I am happy you enjoyed the episode despite your disinterest in the Star Wars films. I guess I am doing something right.

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Very interesting episode, since you and your guest diverged quite a lot in your opinions! It is a long time I listened to this soundtrack, so it was nice to revisit. And I finally had a minor revelation: The second half of the track "Birth of the twins" resembles "Neptun", the last track of Holst The Planets. So, music close to the end is inspired from music close to the end of the Planets, similar to Music at the beginning of Episode 4 is inspired by music from the beginning of The Planets (Mars)! I am sure this is no coincidence, but Williams did this deliberately, when he thought this would be his last Star Wars score.

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On 9/29/2020 at 9:44 AM, Gurkensalat said:

Very interesting episode, since you and your guest diverged quite a lot in your opinions! It is a long time I listened to this soundtrack, so it was nice to revisit. And I finally had a minor revelation: The second half of the track "Birth of the twins" resembles "Neptun", the last track of Holst The Planets. So, music close to the end is inspired from music close to the end of the Planets, similar to Music at the beginning of Episode 4 is inspired by music from the beginning of The Planets (Mars)! I am sure this is no coincidence, but Williams did this deliberately, when he thought this would be his last Star Wars score.

Interesting. I'm not as familiar with "Neptune," so the similarity escaped me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finally decided to start the podcast from the beginning. I listened to a few episodes, and realized that it makes a lot more sense to go in order. Tonight I stopped after The secret ways. Even in 1961, you definitely start to hear thé genesis of his style. Really enjoying your analysis of the scores. Not sure how long it’ll take me to catch up, but I’m definitely going to keep going in chronological order. 
Thanks for doing this

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2 hours ago, ricsim88 said:

I finally decided to start the podcast from the beginning. I listened to a few episodes, and realized that it makes a lot more sense to go in order. Tonight I stopped after The secret ways. Even in 1961, you definitely start to hear thé genesis of his style. Really enjoying your analysis of the scores. Not sure how long it’ll take me to catch up, but I’m definitely going to keep going in chronological order. 
Thanks for doing this

Yes, it is definitely the right thing to listen to the shows in order. Imagine reading someone's biography and starting on chapter 10?

 

Don't rush through them. All episodes will remain available long after I finish the series in December.

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9 hours ago, Trumpeteer said:

 

 

 All episodes will remain available long after I finish the series in December.

 

Will you continued in some fashion? Like the TV series or the concert works?

 

I have always hoped that JW would produce one or two more scores during your 2 years of podcasts, but Corona put an end to that so we will end with Ep.9 as No 110, right?

 

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I understand completely and am grateful for your investment. One tiny suggestion: If one TV series would really be worthy of a further podcast episode it would be the Theme and two episode scores for Amazing Stories, which are readily available, and at least "The Mission" is an excellent score from his (first) Golden age. Anyway I am looking forward for the remaining episodes, since soon you will enter what I consider now the second Golden Age from 2010 on. Thanks for your work!

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I can't believe the 100th episode of this podcast is now available for the world to hear. Where has the time gone? It feels like yesterday I was nervously recording the first episode, then watching "Daddy-O" with excitement. Well, that was two years ago this month, and this only shows how fast time flies when you are having fun.

 

Here's the 100th episode, covering the music from "Munich." People have said the score is boring and lifeless, but I think you need to hear it in the film in order to really appreciate it.

 

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17 hours ago, bollemanneke said:

Really liking the new episode so far. My first Brian Martell episode too, great co-host.

He was great for The Eiger Sanction, Jaws and Amistad. I always had fun recording with him.

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On 10/15/2020 at 7:05 AM, Trumpeteer said:

I can't believe the 100th episode of this podcast is now available for the world to hear. Where has the time gone? It feels like yesterday I was nervously recording the first episode, then watching "Daddy-O" with excitement. Well, that was two years ago this month, and this only shows how fast time flies when you are having fun.

 

Here's the 100th episode, covering the music from "Munich." People have said the score is boring and lifeless, but I think you need to hear it in the film in order to really appreciate it.

 

 

Congratulations, I just listend to the episode, very nice. One small thing; I think the solo at the end that you contribute to a clarinet, is in reality an oboe. Otherwise, as so often, your podcast made me rediscover this soundtrack I had only listened to once or twice.

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5 hours ago, Gurkensalat said:

 

Congratulations, I just listend to the episode, very nice. One small thing; I think the solo at the end that you contribute to a clarinet, is in reality an oboe. Otherwise, as so often, your podcast made me rediscover this soundtrack I had only listened to once or twice.

Sometimes I get those instruments mixed up. I often just say "woodwinds" unless it is clearly a specific instrument.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Listening to Lincoln. I remember when I heard this score for the first time in 2012, thinking that this might be it for Williams who turned 80 that year. Tintin, War Horse and Lincoln could have been the farewell, three masterpieces to show the versatility of his craft. But then Star Wars resurfaced, and he just kept going from highlight to highlight. Still hoping that there might be one or two more coming. 

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Just now, bollemanneke

Another great episode! I'm sitting here listening to Getting Out the Vote smiling like an idiot now. And incredible that you got to talk to a director. No pressure, but hoping for Chris Columbus and Steven Spielberg at one point too.

I always smile when I hear "Getting Out the Vote." Such a fun composition to go with a great montage sequence.

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Finished the Lincoln Pocast, great as always. Small correction: Rounds is not Williams first composition or recording for a solo instrument, since he composed at least several pieces for solo Cello before. Some you can hear on the YoYoMa CD with the Cello Concerto, another on YouTube with Lynn Harrell. Just FYI.

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3 hours ago, WampaRat said:

@TrumpeteerListening to the Book Thief episode right now. Terrific. How fortunate you got the director of the film on this one! Probably the best episode you’ve produced yet. Bravo!

Thanks. "Fortunate" is the best word to describe our opportunity to hear Brian give us this insight into John Williams' process. The story about sitting next to Williams while he played the piano was wonderful.

On 11/15/2020 at 2:12 AM, Gurkensalat said:

Finished the Lincoln Pocast, great as always. Small correction: Rounds is not Williams first composition or recording for a solo instrument, since he composed at least several pieces for solo Cello before. Some you can hear on the YoYoMa CD with the Cello Concerto, another on YouTube with Lynn Harrell. Just FYI.

Thanks for the clarification. I'll fix that.

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I reckon Alfonso Cuaron and Rian Johnson would be more than happy to geek out and talk about JW for an hour. I loved the tidbits from Cuaron in the Azkaban liner notes, he seemed thrilled to discuss that collaboration after so many years.

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