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John Williams and the Berlin Philharmonic...?


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So yesterday (May 11) I watched the live conversation “horn hangout” of Sarah Willis and Stefan Dohr from the Berlin Philharmonic and questions could be ask by the viewers. So I (and probably also oth

Too traditional? The Berliner recorded George Fenton's Deep Blue in 2003, and later had a full concert of film music with Rattle. I wouldn't have expected them to refuse to play Williams, and even les

I seem to remember a sort of semi-announcement in 2006, where the Berliner Philharmoniker put up a notice for a summer concert at the Waldbuhne with John Williams conducting. That disappeared after a

I would say different, not necessarily better ;-)

 

Let’s hope this does happen and Williams remains healthy. 
 

I wonder was Sarah Willis about to say “..... but he doesn’t like to fly long distance.” as that’s the line that the LSO communicated for years.

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10 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

But I imagine with his pending US concerts, the Corona lockdown, and his advancing age, if Williams returns to Europe once more I'd imagine it'd be for the LSO or another Vienna gig.

 

Or perhaps he'd like to conduct all the top five orchestras in the world, including the Berliners and the Concertgebouw.

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I’ll eat my hat if he got to conduct the Concertgebouw orchestra. I don’t think they’ve even performed anything by him yet. 
 

Anyway the Berlin Phil is a better orchestra and he’s much more at home with the LSO. That seems far more likely to me.

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It is a bit odd that the more traditional, regional Vienna Philharmonic was able to convince him to come. The more international and technically perhaps more virtuosic Berlin Philharmonic seems like a more natural fit. Maybe the city of Vienna with its history and concert halls played a part in the decision. Vienna certainly must be a special place for lots of classical musicians - after all, most major orchestras visit here every year.

Concerning future concerts, it‘s gonna be interesting to see whether he wants to conduct other major European orchestras or deepen the relationship with the LSO & VPO.

 

2 hours ago, Remco said:

I’ll eat my hat if he got to conduct the Concertgebouw orchestra. I don’t think they’ve even performed anything by him yet. 
 

Anyway the Berlin Phil is a better orchestra and he’s much more at home with the LSO. That seems far more likely to me.

Interesting that someone from Amsterdam would say that about the Berlin Phil. 😝 After all, the Concertgebouw orchestra is usually ranked by music critics at the very top along with the BPO.

I don’t really think the quality of playing is much of a factor when choosing whether to conduct the LSO, BPO, VPO or Concertgebouw - they are all among the very finest in the world.

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19 minutes ago, JTWfan77 said:

I very much doubt Williams will be travelling long distance in the future, and certainly not abroad. I think that ship has sailed, so to speak.

Could very well be. After the vienna cancellation in 2018 I was so sad  thinking I could never see him in concert. I was wrong and got to see him this year (best weekend ever) :)

So I think there is still hope for a return to europe.

36 minutes ago, Matthias said:

It is a bit odd that the more traditional, regional Vienna Philharmonic was able to convince him to come. The more international and technically perhaps more virtuosic Berlin Philharmonic seems like a more natural fit. Maybe the city of Vienna with its history and concert halls played a part in the decision. Vienna certainly must be a special place for lots of classical musicians - after all, most major orchestras visit here every year.

No other city has such an extensive history with classical music. Vienna is the home of classical music. Many of the great composers lived there or at least visited regulary. It is very special for Williams to be in this group, conducting your own music in the golden hall :)

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3 hours ago, Steve said:

No other city has such an extensive history with classical music.

...and, as I stated in the other thread years (!) ago, Vienna is one

of the cradles of golden symphonic film music. Max Steiner

came over from here, as did Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

I am pretty sure this was one of the major reasons

for Maestro Williams to accept this honour.

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5 hours ago, Matthias said:

 

Interesting that someone from Amsterdam would say that about the Berlin Phil. 😝 After all, the Concertgebouw orchestra is usually ranked by music critics at the very top along with the BPO.

I don’t really think the quality of playing is much of a factor when choosing whether to conduct the LSO, BPO, VPO or Concertgebouw - they are all among the very finest in the world.


Haha well it’s maybe due to overexposure since I’ve heard them frequently but if they’re playing standard rep (i.e. Strauss, Mahler) with a conductor that they like, they’re absolutely amazing. But if not, they can sound like they don’t give a shit about what’s going on. It’s really fascinating how they’ll just drop the ball after deciding they don’t like the conductor. The audience will give a standing ovation regardless!
 

Anyways, their winds and brass are truly some of the best. Only their string section is objectively lacking compared to the Berlin Phil. There’s definitely a difference in quality there.

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1 hour ago, Remco said:


Haha well it’s maybe due to overexposure since I’ve heard them frequently but if they’re playing standard rep (i.e. Strauss, Mahler) with a conductor that they like, they’re absolutely amazing. But if not, they can sound like they don’t give a shit about what’s going on. It’s really fascinating how they’ll just drop the ball after deciding they don’t like the conductor. The audience will give a standing ovation regardless!
 

Anyways, their winds and brass are truly some of the best. Only their string section is objectively lacking compared to the Berlin Phil. There’s definitely a difference in quality there.


Haha, yes, I can relate to that. Things are not so different here in Vienna. Since I‘ve heard them quite often, I‘m definitely more aware of negative tendencies in the VPO‘s playing. So it becomes a little bit of a "the grass is always greener elsewhere"-situation. When another great orchestra comes visiting, it‘s usually with a program that they‘ve performed a few times before - meaning they’ve had more practice than 2/3 rehearsals.
The VPO mostly invites the conductors it knows and likes, but nonetheless only some (given the right repertoire) can get the orchestra to play at their peak ability. Standing ovations are generally rare. However, the Viennese very much adore their orchestra - and rightfully so.

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JW and the VPO had a mutual courtship over the last few years. Both his management and the orchestra management worked really hard to make it happen (and thanks heaven it did just right before the epidemic crisis started).

 

It's not unusual to take years for things like this to actually happen.

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Sarah Willis actually was at Tanglewood this past summer, she played with the orchestra on film night, and she posted a picture on instagram... or maybe facebook of an interview she had done with Williams that day (or around then), and then said video interview was never published. I wonder if it had to do with another concert that never happened...or has yet to.

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3 hours ago, WilliamsStarShip2282 said:

Sarah Willis actually was at Tanglewood this past summer, she played with the orchestra on film night, and she posted a picture on instagram... or maybe facebook of an interview she had done with Williams that day (or around then), and then said video interview was never published. I wonder if it had to do with another concert that never happened...or has yet to.

I think the interview, or at least parts of it, will still be in the upcoming documentary (or video essay?) "The World without Beethoven". In the production company's showreel, there is a snippet from the interview. The World without Beethoven part starts at 6:07, the JW snippet is at 7:15 :

http://www.bfmi.at/showreel.html

 

I would be weird if the entire interview was only about Beethoven, though. 

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I actually saw the Berliner Philharmoniker play Music of John Williams in the Berlin Waldbühne in summer with Simon Rattle. There they gave a full concert of film music.

I understand if Williams does not like to travel that far at his age. And if he did, would I manage to get a ticket?

 

But I would like to see some time in the future Anne Sophie Mutter perform her upcoming violin concerto of Williams in Berlin with the Philharmoniker. Actually, the first time I visited a concert at the Berliner Philharmonie as a boy she was performing a violin concerto of Mendelson Batholdy with the orchestra. So, that somehow would close a cirlce for me.

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4 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

Would it? Perhaps they drifted off and talked about other things as well, but the purpose might still be to get his input on Beethoven. It's rather nice to think that they would set up an interview with him specifically for a Beethoven documentary, i.e. consider his opinions on the topic significantly relevant.

Yeah, perhaps you’re right. After all, the idea of the documentary seems to be to ask a wide variety of artists about the impact of Beethoven (including for instance Jazz musicians). I guess part of the reason why I think it‘d be a bit weird, is that WilliamsStarShip2282 said that Sarah Willis didn’t know what happened with the interview (haven’t seen her post myself). If the interview was specifically for a yet-to-be-released Beethoven documentary (entirely hosted by her), I‘d assume she would have some idea about what’s happening with it.

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