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JW is writing a new violin concerto for Anne-Sophie Mutter - "Violin Concerto No. 2"


Matthias
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Finally got to see/hear it.

 

Never seen Nelsons conduct before, he looks like a young Zbigniew Preisner. Williams himself is impressively sprightly for 89 -- both the walking and the conducting. OK, so it's a little sluggish and not quite as precise as his younger years, but he always manages to get his point across, especially through body language.

 

The piece itself is fine, but not immediately "likeable" like the first violin concerto. It "jumps around" more, and seems more reliant on half notes compared to the first one (if that makes sense). No doubt to showcase the virtuosity of Mutter, but I think I generally prefer a more organic approach; the first violin concerto was written for other reasons than to showcase the talents of a particular violinist, after all. Maybe it will grow on me after repeated listenings (most of Williams' concert works do).

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48 minutes ago, karelm said:

 

It's hard to tell where you are in a piece when it is completely brand new to you.  You might enjoy Aaron Copland's "What to Listen for in Music" or Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts tv shows from the 1950's and 60's which are on youtube and very well explained walk through of elements of music and some masterpieces.  Classical music doesn't always come quickly or easily but rewards effort.

 

I would also recommend Bernstein's earlier TV specials on Omnibus. They can be found (for a subscription fee, cancellable after) on medici.tv. There are 7 in total and cover from Bach to modern music. They are a good companion to the Young People's Concerts.

 

I also have really enjoy Robert Greenberg's 20 or so lecture series on The Great Courses. These are pricey (but on sale from time to time) and some of them are part of Audible's credits (audio only). (They are available as video or audio - same content. The videos are illustrated a bit but I have found no loss in just listening to them.) 

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9 hours ago, TownerFan said:

FYI, all EU viewers with access to Arte.tv can watch the full concert for free until Aug 24:

 

https://www.arte.tv/it/videos/104491-000-A/anne-sophie-mutter-e-john-williams/

 

Shows up as free until 23/10/2021 at my end.

 

Anne-Sophie Mutter und John Williams mit einer Uraufführung - Programm in voller Länge | ARTE Concert

 

Don't quite see the point of DG Stage, but hope there is a hard physical release coming up.

 

DG could try fitting both violin concertos onto one CD, or combine No. 2 with the 2009 viola concerto (that also features prominent harp and timpani sections and seems somehow related).

 

John Williams - Viola Concerto (jw-collection.de)

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Listening a second time I think the piece is already far more compelling than I initially thought - It'll be hard for me to surpass the first concerto but that one also took me a lot of time to appreciate as the masterpiece that (I think) it is.

There's a couple of moments where Mutter and the orchestra seem to be out of sync, and since this is a premiere it is only logical that the performers may not have the kind of 'overview' on this big piece as they probably will have in the future. I'll be very happy if it gets a clean studio recording at some point.

 

Mutter is a great violinist by the way, but I'm not at all a fan of her playing. Although I must say it was much more tolerable for me in a modern piece like the concerto than in the encore for instance, I thought that was quite tasteless playing.

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Slightly off topic for a second, is there a CD version of concerto 1 that's in print and regarded as the best?

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"the best" is hard to say - it's worth getting both the original 70s version on Varese Sarabande, and the 2000s version recorded by Gil Shaham on DG, as they're sufficiently different both in some details of orchestration and development, as well as recording sound (dry vs lush).

4 hours ago, karelm said:

 

It's hard to tell where you are in a piece when it is completely brand new to you.  You might enjoy Aaron Copland's "What to Listen for in Music" or Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts tv shows from the 1950's and 60's which are on youtube and very well explained walk through of elements of music and some masterpieces.  Classical music doesn't always come quickly or easily but rewards effort.

 

This is a great recommendation (and thanks for pointing out the Copland, have to look into that)! The book version of Bernstein's YPC played a big part in opening up my musical education.

 

On the main topic of the new concerto, there's not a lot to say that wasn't already said ;) I was a bit lost (especially during the first movement) during the first watch, but on subsequent listens it quickly becomes more familiar - especially the beautiful last movement! Worthy addition to the Williams concert canon.

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While the reviewer may have a point in some way, I'm always amazed by these people's lack of putting their observations into perspective.

 

Quote

Maybe a rehearing will make things clearer, but the first time out, a listener could only admire the intricate writing and hand-in-glove playing without being drawn in. 

 

So true, and maybe that's why reviews of new music shouldn't be written upon first hearing...

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11 minutes ago, Remco said:

While the reviewer may have a point in some way, I'm always amazed by these people's lack of putting their observations into perspective.

 

He also seems to confused Attack of the Clones with Romeo and Juliet. But he makes up for it by giving Mutter a metal umlaut, just in cases.

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I also found the second review less than insightful.  I do like the title "The Crossed Stars" better than the actual one.  

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3 minutes ago, christian said:

I would be interested to read the liner notes for the violin concerto. Can somebody post it in the forum?

 

On 7/22/2021 at 11:04 AM, Not Mr. Big said:

From Doug Adams's Twitter 

E66CPseUcA8XzTX?format=jpg&name=large

 

 

 

 

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In case you are interrested, I'm writing a new Kazoo concerto for Jason LeBlanc.

 

It's not finished yet.

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9 hours ago, lairdo said:

 

I would also recommend Bernstein's earlier TV specials on Omnibus. They can be found (for a subscription fee, cancellable after) on medici.tv. There are 7 in total and cover from Bach to modern music. They are a good companion to the Young People's Concerts.

 

I also have really enjoy Robert Greenberg's 20 or so lecture series on The Great Courses. These are pricey (but on sale from time to time) and some of them are part of Audible's credits (audio only). (They are available as video or audio - same content. The videos are illustrated a bit but I have found no loss in just listening to them.) 

I second your recommendation of Robert Greenberg who has sly humor too but I think the courses a bit too pricey for most but are EXCELLENT traversal of the complexity of the topic.  The topic is sort of equivalent to "I don't get literature".  It's not a quick topic.  Anyway, I totally second the Greenberg recommendation!  He's a fabulous educator.

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I know this sounds really nerdy.... but i just saw the timing and the concerto is 35 minutes. For those there, was that not the fastest 35 minutes ever? I can't tell if it was the concerto or just seeing him on stage :lol:

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3 hours ago, WilliamsStarShip2282 said:

I know this sounds really nerdy.... but i just saw the timing and the concerto is 35 minutes. For those there, was that not the fastest 35 minutes ever? I can't tell if it was the concerto or just seeing him on stage :lol:

 

Yes, it's a really long piece. More than 10 minutes longer than his unreleased symphony, even. I don't have the running times of all his concert works in my head, but it must surely be "up there" among the longest ones.

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14 minutes ago, 80sFan said:

Excellent review.  Not just because it is positive, but it actually focuses on the music versus just one's expectations regarding it.  

I think it is okay to post the Youtube of the concerto.  If not, moderators please remove it.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Tom said:

Excellent review.  Not just because it is positive, but it actually focuses on the music versus just one's expectations regarding it.


My sentiments exactly. Thank you.

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Is the piano concerto Prelude and Scherzo played by Gloria Cheng will be ever uploaded as the Violin concerto no.2(it was on the second day)?

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1 hour ago, Hristo said:

Is the piano concerto Prelude and Scherzo played by Gloria Cheng will be ever uploaded as the Violin concerto no.2(it was on the second day)?

It will be.

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26 minutes ago, carlborg said:

It will be.

Do you know when? Also on YouTube there's only a 47 second excerpt of Highwood's Ghost conducted by John Williams. Is somewhere a whole video of the concert?

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4 minutes ago, carlborg said:

I can't disclose when, but I think we might get the American premiere first.

 

Thank you.

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https://imgur.com/dGgmc6CSomeone loves his clusters...https://imgur.com/dGgmc6C<blockquote class="imgur-embed-pub" lang="en" data-id="dGgmc6C"><a href="https://imgur.com/dGgmc6C">View post on imgur.com</a></blockquote><script async src="//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js" charset="utf-8"></script>https://imgur.com/dGgmc6C

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Can we have a serious discussion about how Williams doesn't remember which movie Across the Stars is from but somehow remembers the Hyperspace motif 40 years later to use for a quick cue in The Rise of Palpatine? 

 

Do we really expect that he remembers these things on his own when he can't remember a major theme from one of the movies? 

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24 minutes ago, SilverTrumpet said:

Can we have a serious discussion about how Williams doesn't remember which movie Across the Stars is from but somehow remembers the Hyperspace motif 40 years later to use for a quick cue in The Rise of Palpatine? 

 

I was thinking the same.

I'm guessing he's got his own overview of SW themes that he uses as a reference, or perhaps he's got a copy of @Falstaft's catalogue. ;)

 

29 minutes ago, SilverTrumpet said:

Do we really expect that he remembers these things on his own when he can't remember a major theme from one of the movies? 

 

He does remember the theme, just not the forgettable movie. ;)

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4 hours ago, carlborg said:

 

I mean a video of the performance not just an audio, but perhaps buying it.

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1 hour ago, SilverTrumpet said:

Can we have a serious discussion about how Williams doesn't remember which movie Across the Stars is from but somehow remembers the Hyperspace motif 40 years later to use for a quick cue in The Rise of Palpatine? 

 

Do we really expect that he remembers these things on his own when he can't remember a major theme from one of the movies? 


Haha, very good question! With Williams, it's sometimes hard to tell whether its forgetfulness or just self-deprecation. He's proven to to have a remarkable musical memory when it suits him.

 

As for "Falcon Flight," I suspect the helpful hand of a Star-Wars-based temp track could have been at play. Pure speculation on my part though.

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I wouldn't be surprised if that's all it was. 

 

I was even impressed that he remembered Luke and Leia after all those years, especially when he says he never goes back to his work.

 

Either that or his Across the Stars comment is just him not wanting to looking like a complete nerd remembering every little thing he's ever written.

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9 minutes ago, SilverTrumpet said:

Either that or his Across the Stars comment is just him not wanting to looking like a complete nerd remembering every little thing he's ever written.


Yeah, that’s our job!!

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56 minutes ago, SilverTrumpet said:

Either that or his Across the Stars comment is just him not wanting to looking like a complete nerd remembering every little thing he's ever written.

 

I think that's it. It's basically just a joke for the audience, detaching himself a bit in his usual self-deprecating manner.

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3 hours ago, SilverTrumpet said:

I was even impressed that he remembered Luke and Leia after all those years, especially when he says he never goes back to his work.

 

He did forget the middle section…

 

2 hours ago, Thor said:

I think that's it. It's basically just a joke for the audience, detaching himself a bit in his usual self-deprecating manner.

 

Or some adviser told him that he keeps mixing up the SW titles in his anecdotes and he turned it into a witticism.

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Well, he does seem to confuse the OT scores/films all the time. Those Luke/Leia anecdotes are funny but extremely baffling. 

 

Karol

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