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bollemanneke

How important are the Signature Editions to JW and to you?

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How important is the order of individual cues and cues in the published suites to Williams himself? For example: if the LSO were to re-record all the Star Wars suites or if one wanted to do a Harry Potter concert, would JW prefer them to stick to the suite order, or would any order do? I know he doesn’t seem to care for the order in his own concerts, so what is the purpose of the suite form?

 

Since he tends to change little things before the suites are published, does this mean that he would not want orchestras to perform the original versions (for instance, the rather lacklustre original ending to Diagon Alley?)

 

How would he want people to remember his works? Would he prefer everyone to stick to Hal Leonard’s content or would he support performances (not LTP concerts) and re-recordings of the entire scores?

 

And how seriously do people here take the published content? Are they more important than what he originally wrote for the movies? Do you find the order of individual cues and cues in suites should be respected in compilations/performances?

 

 

 

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I can't speak for John Williams, but they have no particular importance to me. My interest goes towards the compositions themselves, mostly the original soundtrack recordings. Alternate suites and arrangements can be neat for variety sometimes, but it's not something I'm particularly interested in, whether it's "Signature Editions" or something else.

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From my end, I love the fact that, unlike many other composers, a lot of his most famous cues are available for purchase in some form or shape - and that they are not just arrangements made by anyone.

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There are lots of good transcriptions of the music, but especially with Williams's music, there's a lot of detail in there and it's nice knowing what is actually, definitely in there. 

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The Signature Editions are invaluable to me, first and foremost as a direct study guide of JW's prodigious orchestration skills. I have a large collection of them - over 30 titles. As mentioned above, it's very rare for film music to be published like this for a consumer market, and I'm delighted that it serves as a mean for fans to make a collection. Importantly, they're available to purchase by collectors just for the score, or (presumably for commercial performances) in full orchestral sets. I'm a collector and use them for reference and perusal. Therefore it does annoy me that some pieces are substantially re-arranged for concert, sometimes with little semblance of their original form. I'm quite indifferent to how orchestras choose to program the suites - usually I'm just glad to hear any of it performed at all.

If one day the rights holders care to commercially publish the entirely of the score for a given film, I would be absolutely delighted. I know Omni Publishing does this for certain movies, which is fantastic. I'd love to see the Harry Potter and Star Wars scores released in this format.

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Suites or cycles consisting of more or less individual pieces (like Smetana's Ma Vlast), and song cycles (especially a-cappella choir literature) are often performed just in parts in concerts. For Ma Vlast, most of the time all you get is Vltava, and it is common for just one or two pieces from a choral cycle to be on a programme, or for one particularly complicated piece to be left off it is beyond the means (vocal or just due to limited rehearsal time) of the performers. But if a suite or cycle is performed in full, I imagine it's usual and proper to stick to the published order, since that often also has a dramatic arc (e.g. the SW suite starting with the Main Title and ending with Throne Room). If only excerpts are performed, that arc may be lost, so the published order may not be relevant and a changed order may be better suited for a particular programme (perhaps even breaking up the cycle and performing other pieces in between).

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