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John Williams albums by Philips Records (Boston Pops)


Jay
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  • 3 weeks later...

I never was, and I'm still not a fan of the "The Planets", but I always loved JW's interpretation.

 

I never really compared the execution with other conductors.

 

I said to myself, that in "theory" no one can conduct this work better than John Williams! :lick:

 

Even if I know that the BPO is not a "classical" orchestra, they can play pretty much everything with good taste and class. Some classical guides recommend this version.

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But what's the bit about the synthesizer all about?

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Just now, Jay said:

But what's the bit about the synthesizer all about?

 

I imagine the Tanglewood Festival Chorus may have been too small (?) and the available organ too weak (??), so they were augmented with synths? The work only has an offstage women's choir at the very end, so you need a large enough group for it to be heard at all in the auditorium.

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Listen to the end of Neptune, the fading women's voices. It's an offstage choir, usually placed around the hall, that slowly fades out, e.g. by opening the auditorium doors when the choir part begins and then gradually closing them.

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55 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

Listen to the end of Neptune, the fading women's voices. It's an offstage choir, usually placed around the hall, that slowly fades out, e.g. by opening the auditorium doors when the choir part begins and then gradually closing them.

It was used in the trailer to Star Trek: Generations if I remember correctly (and very effectively). 

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Maybe I'll ask my original question in a different way.

 

Regardless of why they chose to use a synthesizer for this recording, why did they feel the need to put that sentence about doing so into the booklet?  Was there a stigma against using a synthesizer in classical recordings back then?  Is there still one now?

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28 minutes ago, Jay said:

Maybe I'll ask my original question in a different way.

 

Regardless of why they chose to use a synthesizer for this recording, why did they feel the need to put that sentence about doing so into the booklet?  Was there a stigma against using a synthesizer in classical recordings back then?  Is there still one now?

 

I'd put it differently: There's a (rightful, I say) stigma against randomly changing a composer's work, including the instrumentation. If a synth is noted in the score, you use a synth, but if an trumpet is listed, you don't randomly substitute a trombone, or a clarinet, or a cello, or a synth. And especially not for human voices.

35 minutes ago, Bespin said:

KARAJAN!

 

Also one of my favourites, but I prefer the Kempe. It has more punch (interpretation, performance, and recording). I so wish Karajan had recorded it in the 70s, when he made his other pretty much unsurpassed Strauss recordings. His digital 80s versions are invariably a bit less exciting, and much flatter sounding - and the Alpensinfonie was one of DG's first digital recordings (and the first one they put on CD).

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6 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

I'd put it differently: There's a (rightful, I say) stigma against randomly changing a composer's work, including the instrumentation. If a synth is noted in the score, you use a synth, but if an trumpet is listed, you don't randomly substitute a trombone, or a clarinet, or a cello, or a synth. And especially not for human voices.

 

That's not to say that it isn't done, though. Sometimes with good reason, probably. It used to be common for symphonies to be arbitrarily edited and rearranged, especially if they were considered "unperformable" or "wrong" (most of Bruckner's works especially suffered that fate, both with and without his blessings, and most of the original versions only became common decades later). Mahler, in his career as a conductor, famously re-orchestrated some of the major symphonies he performed (e.g. Beethoven's 9th), though from what I've read those were tastefully done and mostly to account for then modern instruments - performing on original instruments, as is a norm today, wasn't done back then, so (as far as I understand) Mahler instead adapted the orchestrations so that the final sound was closer to what the composer would have expected when he wrote the original orchestrations (for instruments of his own time). Those are still performed occasionally, but you wouldn't go to a concert of a Beethoven symphony and hear the Mahler orchestration without it being explicitly mentioned. Liberties may be taken when something isn't specified exactly in the score, or when it's impractical and compromises must be made. Karajan apparently sometimes beefed up some orchestral effects (I believe he added extra gongs or bells to Pictures at an Exhibition, for example), without explicitly mentioning it (but then, Karajan did everything for presentation and effect; most of his concert videos are actually playback performances with instrument groups set up so the camera could get just the angles and composites he wanted).

 

You do often get adapted versions of works in concerts, of course, but not usually without clear credit. You wouldn't want to go to a concert expecting a symphony with a big orchestra and be surprised when a version for two pianos is presented instead when that's not what you signed up for.

 

Authenticity applies to interpretation as well. Until the mid 20th century (or later), most performances of "old music" (basically everything before, and sometimes including, the actual Classical era, i.e. up to Haydn & Mozart) were very "Romantic" interpretations (lots of pathos, big orchestra sound), which is very much not how they were conceived by their original composers. Partly that's due to the technological changes in instruments (as mentioned above), but also in the tempos, accents, etc. Today, the composer's original intentions weigh much more heavily (also because performance history has since been studied and better understood), and even if a performance you hear isn't done on period instruments, it's much more likely than a few decades ago to adhere more closely to the composer's intentions, both written and not (which is especially important for old music, because detailed performance instructions are a very modern things - dynamic markings were rare until Bach or later; ppp and fff didn't come into use until Beethoven; in older music, dynamics were usually not indicated at all and instead derived from such things as note lengths and rhythm, according to then common practice). A conductor performing a Mozart symphony with "incorrect" (i.e. neither written nor implied) tempo changes or dynamics would nowadays be considered at least unusual, if not outright "wrong". Compare e.g. Bernstein, of whom it has been pointed out (without contesting his musicality) that much of what he did in Mahler symphonies was actually nowhere to be found in Mahler's scores. The special relevance for "old music" comes of course from the fact that specific knowledge of its performance practices was essentially lost until after the Romantic era, so for a long time those works were performed "wrongly" simply because people then didn't know any better.

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On 6/11/2021 at 1:34 PM, Marian Schedenig said:

 

If you're in the mood for more film-style classical music with off-stage performers, try Richard Strauss' Alpensinfonie


The most film music-y classical music to my ears is the first movement of Bruckner’s 6th (Maestoso) and the last movement of Bruckner’s 8th.  The first couple minutes of the Maestoso sound like a Main Title cue for a superhero movie, and the last five or so minutes of it sounds like an epic Finale cue.

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31 minutes ago, MrScratch said:

The most film music-y classical music to my ears is the first movement of Bruckner’s 6th (Maestoso) and the last movement of Bruckner’s 8th.  The first couple minutes of the Maestoso sound like a Main Title cue for a superhero movie, and the last five or so minutes of it sounds like an epic Finale cue.

 

Much as I love the 6th with its rhythmically insane opening (one of my favourites of his and probably his most underrated symphony), I can't really imagine it in a film music context, simply because - like so much of his music - takes its time to develop and get to a point, so to speak. The 8th finale is easier, but then it really is programmatic action music. I've heard the coda used in a astronomy documentary trailer once, to great effect.

 

7 minutes ago, SteveMc said:

Don Juan by Strauss sounds a great deal like a film music suite.

 

Well, most Strauss tone poems to, for obvious reasons. But the Alpensinfonie is the most extensive and probably the most extensively and "literally" leitmotif-driven of the lot (and often has a bad reputation for it). Smetana's Ma Vlast is another candidate (most obviously and popularly Vltava, of course) - or to put it differently: All those Wagner-inspired ton poems fit the pattern. ;) 

 

With Strauss, you get yet another side: His operas. Parts of them are very film music like - Elektra perhaps most of all, because there the music actually narrates extensive scenes set in the past and not actually presented "live" on stage.

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When I listen to the finale to Rachmaninov 1st Symphony I always imagine it to be the soundtrack to the beginning to an oldfashioned swashbuckling movie, like in the Errol Flynn days.

 

Agree about Strauss and about Elektra, even more it is with Salome, I think, which is possibly the greatest opera of the 20th century IMO.

On 6/11/2021 at 8:00 PM, Jay said:

Maybe I'll ask my original question in a different way.

 

Regardless of why they chose to use a synthesizer for this recording, why did they feel the need to put that sentence about doing so into the booklet?  Was there a stigma against using a synthesizer in classical recordings back then?  Is there still one now?

 

I would say, yes, there was and is a general stigma against synthesizers in so called classical music, although some more modern composers used it from time to time. But they are widely regarded as a cheap imitation of acoustic instruments.  And one would NEVER use it as an addition to an established work which is instrumented conventionally with acoustic instruments. 

I understand that Williams used it just to augment the sound of organ and choir, not to introduce a new sound, but rather try to let the synth vanish and not be discernible. That I would say may be okay, because somehow it is kind of an extension of modern recording techniques using lots of microphones and manipulating the recorded sound afterward in the studio for the mix to achieve a desired result. So I personally would let it pass in this case :-)

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On 6/11/2021 at 8:00 PM, Jay said:

Maybe I'll ask my original question in a different way.

 

Regardless of why they chose to use a synthesizer for this recording, why did they feel the need to put that sentence about doing so into the booklet?  Was there a stigma against using a synthesizer in classical recordings back then?  Is there still one now?

 

Bottom line it's a deviation from the printed score, therefore it should be mentioned.

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  • 2 months later...

By Request...John Williams & The Boston Pops - Album by Williams, Boston  Pops Orchestra, John Williams | Spotify

 

By Request (1987)

 

A very interesting CD!  It runs 73:39, which to me is a clear indication it would have been a double-LP but nope, looks like they squeezed it all onto a one LP.  That must have sounded... less than ideal on that format...

 

So this is basically a "Greatest Hits" album of JW's own compositions, with 10 tracks pulled from prior albums in this series, and 5 tracks newly recorded and debuting here.  I think it's interesting to look at all the options they had available to them to see what they chose and what they left off

 

Included from prior albums:

  1. March From Superman from "Pops In Space"
  2. Yoda's Theme from The Empire Strikes Back from "Pops In Space"
  3. Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back from "Pops In Space"
  4. Main Theme from Star Wars from "Pops In Space"
  5. Excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind from "Pops In Space" (where it was called "Suite")
  6. March from Midway from "Pops on the March" (where it was called "Midway March")
  7. The Cowboys Overture from "Pops Around The World"
  8. The Flying Theme from E.T. from "Aisle Seat"
  9. March from Raiders of the Lost Ark from "Aisle Seat" (where it was called "The Raiders of the Lost Ark March")
  10. Luke and Leia Theme from Return of the Jedi from "Out of This World" (where it was called "Luke & Leia")

Which means they did not include any of these JW compositions from prior albums:

  1. Love Theme from Superman from "Pops in Space"
  2. The Asteroid Field from The Empire Strikes Back from "Pops in Space"
  3. Princess Leia from Star Wars from "Pops In Space"
  4. Adventures On Earth from ET from "Out of This World"
  5. Parade of the Ewoks from Return of the Jedi from "Out of This World"
  6. Jabba The Hutt from Return of the Jedi from "Out of This World"
  7. The Forest Battle from Return of the Jedi from "Out of This World"
  8. Swing, Swing, Swing from 1941 from "Swing, Swing, Swing"

I think they mostly made the right choices, generally going with the main theme options over secondary themes or arrangements based on film cues for the most part.  I probably would have chosen "Swing Swing Swing" instead of The Midway March, actually.  But in general the 8 they didn't include are all big enough hits that if any were included they wouldn't have felt out of place at all.

 

Actually come to think of it, I think if I could change anything about this album,

 

So then along with these 10 tracks, they recorded 5 new ones.  Two big hits from his 70s scores he hadn't recorded for any Pops album yet:

 

Theme from Jaws (1975) - A clear-cut must-include for a Greatest Hits album for sure.  And due to the relatively lesser sound quality of the Jaws original soundtrack album, it's quite nice to get a great recording of the arrangement he made for that album, performed quite well by the Pops here.   I'll always prefer to hear "The Barrel Chase" or "Out To Sea / The Shark Cage Fugue" at a concert over the theme arrangement, and it's great he eventually recorded those with the Pops during the Sony era.

 

March from 1941 (1979) - This is an interesting case like both Superman and Star Wars before, where the "concert arrangement" track on the original soundtrack albums were actually just edits made mostly from the end credits recordings.  So just like the Pops versions of those, here it's nice to get the arrangement played through as one continuous piece conducted by JW.  The Pops plays it very well here, though I wouldn't say it one-ups the original recording in any way.  And I would say that despite the film itself flopping, the music was already - 8 years later here - living on more than the film did with this great track, which has always been crowd favorite at any concert I've attended in which it was played.

 

and 3 recent compositions:

 

Olympic Fanfare and Theme (1984) - Well, this is one of my favorite compositions of all time, and it sounds great here.  While nothing will probably ever top for me my personal favorite (the Kunzel / Cincinnati Pops version), this rendition by the Pops is absolutely stellar, and one of my favorite tracks on the album.  This must have been especially nice to have at the time, since the 1984 recording was not commercially released.  I also much prefer this over the 1996 recording on "Summon The Heroes" where the opening bars replaced by Bugler's Dream (I'm not a fan of any recording of that arrangement)

 

Mission Theme (Theme for NBC News) (1985) - Man, this track is great!  I never would have guessed growing up as a kid that the catchy news music that would get stuck in my head was by the same guy who did Star Wars and Jurassic Park, let alone that there existed a full proper concert arrangement track of it.  I think it would have been really neat if he recorded the whole 4-part suite for one of these Pops albums somewhere, but this movement is certainly the highlight anyway and a great inclusion on this album, I love it.

 

Liberty Fanfare (1986) - I think that this is not only the weakest track on the album, but the lest "worthy" inclusion as well.  I don't know of many people who would consider this one of Williams' greatest or most notable compositions, and I wouldn't say time has been terrible kind to it either, as it's probably the selection on this album that's appeared on the least amount of other re-recordings or live concerts since.  It's certainly not a bad composition by any means, it is pretty optimistic and noble and well played here. For me it is just too similar to the feel of Olympic Fanfare and Theme, but a much less interesting and memorable version of that feel.  Of course, at the time the recording sessions for this album took place it was probably his most recent work, and they had no idea what it's legacy would be.  It's certainly an extremely worthwhile track to be included in this series of albums somewhere, it just seems odd to me to debut it on a greatest hits complication, I suppose.

 

 

So with those 10 existing recordings and the 5 new ones, they arranged them all into an album that bounces across timeframes and genres pretty well; I'd say the 73+ minutes goes by pretty quickly and at times almost feels like you're attending a proper concert and not just listening to a compilation CD.

 

It remains, almost 35 years later, still one of the best possible single albums you can give to a burgeoning Williams fan to get them started with learning what makes Williams so great and introducing him to the most successful period of his legacy. 

 

In fact, compared to Sony's later 'Greatest Hits 1969-1999" double-CD collection, the only film scores of his that already existed by this album's recording that are represented there but are not represented here are Temple of Doom, Sugarland Express, and The Reivers...three scores that interestingly would not ever get represented during the Philips era, though he would record Temple of Doom and Sugarland music with the Pops for Sony.

 

One final aspect I found funny is that this album includes not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, but 5 "March" tracks, a full third of the album by track numbers.  Yet somehow, the way the album is arranged, it doesn't feel like he's "the March guy", and luckily 3 of those 5 scores (Superman, 1941, Empire) have other tracks from their scores recorded with the Pops during the Philips era.

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12 hours ago, Jay said:

By Request...John Williams & The Boston Pops - Album by Williams, Boston  Pops Orchestra, John Williams | Spotify

 

By Request (1987)

 

A very interesting CD!  It runs 73:39, which to me is a clear indication it would have been a double-LP but nope, looks like they squeezed it all onto a one LP.  That must have sounded... less than ideal on that format...

 

So this is basically a "Greatest Hits" album of JW's own compositions, with 10 tracks pulled from prior albums in this series, and 5 tracks newly recorded and debuting here.  I think it's interesting to look at all the options they had available to them to see what they chose and what they left off

 

Included from prior albums:

  1. March From Superman from "Pops In Space"
  2. Yoda's Theme from The Empire Strikes Back from "Pops In Space"
  3. Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back from "Pops In Space"
  4. Main Theme from Star Wars from "Pops In Space"
  5. Excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind from "Pops In Space" (where it was called "Suite")
  6. March from Midway from "Pops on the March" (where it was called "Midway March")
  7. The Cowboys Overture from "Pops Around The World"
  8. The Flying Theme from E.T. from "Aisle Seat"
  9. March from Raiders of the Lost Ark from "Aisle Seat" (where it was called "The Raiders of the Lost Ark March")
  10. Luke and Leia Theme from Return of the Jedi from "Out of This World" (where it was called "Luke & Leia")

Which means they did not include any of these JW compositions from prior albums:

  1. Love Theme from Superman from "Pops in Space"
  2. The Asteroid Field from The Empire Strikes Back from "Pops in Space"
  3. Princess Leia from Star Wars from "Pops In Space"
  4. Adventures On Earth from ET from "Out of This World"
  5. Parade of the Ewoks from Return of the Jedi from "Out of This World"
  6. Jabba The Hutt from Return of the Jedi from "Out of This World"
  7. The Forest Battle from Return of the Jedi from "Out of This World"
  8. Swing, Swing, Swing from 1941 from "Swing, Swing, Swing"

I think they mostly made the right choices, generally going with the main theme options over secondary themes or arrangements based on film cues for the most part.  I probably would have chosen "Swing Swing Swing" instead of The Midway March, actually.  But in general the 8 they didn't include are all big enough hits that if any were included they wouldn't have felt out of place at all.

 

Actually come to think of it, I think if I could change anything about this album,

 

So then along with these 10 tracks, they recorded 5 new ones.  Two big hits from his 70s scores he hadn't recorded for any Pops album yet:

 

Theme from Jaws (1975) - A clear-cut must-include for a Greatest Hits album for sure.  And due to the relatively lesser sound quality of the Jaws original soundtrack album, it's quite nice to get a great recording of the arrangement he made for that album, performed quite well by the Pops here.   I'll always prefer to hear "The Barrel Chase" or "Out To Sea / The Shark Cage Fugue" at a concert over the theme arrangement, and it's great he eventually recorded those with the Pops during the Sony era.

 

March from 1941 (1979) - This is an interesting case like both Superman and Star Wars before, where the "concert arrangement" track on the original soundtrack albums were actually just edits made mostly from the end credits recordings.  So just like the Pops versions of those, here it's nice to get the arrangement played through as one continuous piece conducted by JW.  The Pops plays it very well here, though I wouldn't say it one-ups the original recording in any way.  And I would say that despite the film itself flopping, the music was already - 8 years later here - living on more than the film did with this great track, which has always been crowd favorite at any concert I've attended in which it was played.

 

and 3 recent compositions:

 

Olympic Fanfare and Theme (1984) - Well, this is one of my favorite compositions of all time, and it sounds great here.  While nothing will probably ever top for me my personal favorite (the Kunzel / Cincinnati Pops version), this rendition by the Pops is absolutely stellar, and one of my favorite tracks on the album.  This must have been especially nice to have at the time, since the 1984 recording was not commercially released.  I also much prefer this over the 1996 recording on "Summon The Heroes" where the opening bars replaced by Bugler's Dream (I'm not a fan of any recording of that arrangement)

 

Mission Theme (Theme for NBC News) (1985) - Man, this track is great!  I never would have guessed growing up as a kid that the catchy news music that would get stuck in my head was by the same guy who did Star Wars and Jurassic Park, let alone that there existed a full proper concert arrangement track of it.  I think it would have been really neat if he recorded the whole 4-part suite for one of these Pops albums somewhere, but this movement is certainly the highlight anyway and a great inclusion on this album, I love it.

 

Liberty Fanfare (1986) - I think that this is not only the weakest track on the album, but the lest "worthy" inclusion as well.  I don't know of many people who would consider this one of Williams' greatest or most notable compositions, and I wouldn't say time has been terrible kind to it either, as it's probably the selection on this album that's appeared on the least amount of other re-recordings or live concerts since.  It's certainly not a bad composition by any means, it is pretty optimistic and noble and well played here. For me it is just too similar to the feel of Olympic Fanfare and Theme, but a much less interesting and memorable version of that feel.  Of course, at the time the recording sessions for this album took place it was probably his most recent work, and they had no idea what it's legacy would be.  It's certainly an extremely worthwhile track to be included in this series of albums somewhere, it just seems odd to me to debut it on a greatest hits complication, I suppose.

 

 

So with those 10 existing recordings and the 5 new ones, they arranged them all into an album that bounces across timeframes and genres pretty well; I'd say the 73+ minutes goes by pretty quickly and at times almost feels like you're attending a proper concert and not just listening to a compilation CD.

 

It remains, almost 35 years later, still one of the best possible single albums you can give to a burgeoning Williams fan to get them started with learning what makes Williams so great and introducing him to the most successful period of his legacy. 

 

In fact, compared to Sony's later 'Greatest Hits 1969-1999" double-CD collection, the only film scores of his that already existed by this album's recording that are represented there but are not represented here are Temple of Doom, Sugarland Express, and The Reivers...three scores that interestingly would not ever get represented during the Philips era, though he would record Temple of Doom and Sugarland music with the Pops for Sony.

 

One final aspect I found funny is that this album includes not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, but 5 "March" tracks, a full third of the album by track numbers.  Yet somehow, the way the album is arranged, it doesn't feel like he's "the March guy", and luckily 3 of those 5 scores (Superman, 1941, Empire) have other tracks from their scores recorded with the Pops during the Philips era.

One of my earlier JW compilations. As you say, a proper greatest hits (up to that point) type album. Like many, I do disagree about the Liberty Fanfare which I loved when I first got this album and still do. Indeed, I used to enjoy it more than his older Olympic themes but find that it happily sits alongside them. However, the one track I almost always skip is the Jaws arrangement. I have always hated the ending he wrote for it - a rare misstep in his instincts of arranging something for the concert hall. The melodramatic ending where the whole orchestra play the shark theme sounds so much like the orchestral equivalent of someone going "duh, duh duuuuuuuh!" totally losing the primal feel of shark theme. The original arrangement was presumably meant to be represent the menace of the shark then it appears, an attack, then the silently swimming away again as the theme fades out. Building back up to an epic finale just doesn't work on any level. I can understand that sometimes a fadeout ending is hard to accomplish in the concert hall, but I don't think it need be an issue.

 

Otherwise... great album! The rest are great choices, superbly performed and well (if slightly quietly) recorded.

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This was one of my first and most played albums when I starterd my cd collection. In those days, CDs were very rare commodity, let alone a Williams cd to come by. Played this to death. Recently upgraded to new SHMCD format from Japan which is interestingly allowed me to hear more details,

 

Over the years I have come to absolutely adore  Liberty Fanfare (1986) and yes its more mellow and warm than the Olympic Fanfare. Its more in Williams reverential relective mode. I love the short brass ostinato rythm which he sort of reprised in the 'Space Camp' Theme, 

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Yea, I don't find too much enjoyment out of that Jaws theme arrangement either.  But everytime I've been at a concert where The Great Chase or Out To See / Shark Cage Fugue was played, those were wonderful moments.

 

And I'm really happy for anyone who really likes the Liberty Fanfare, maybe in time I will appreciate it more - who knows!

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45 minutes ago, Jay said:

Yea, I don't find too much enjoyment out of that Jaws theme arrangement either.  But everytime I've been at a concert where The Great Chase or Out To See / Shark Cage Fugue was played, those were wonderful moments.

 

And I'm really happy for anyone who really likes the Liberty Fanfare, maybe in time I will appreciate it more - who knows!

It’s weird. Considering how concisely JW understood how to represent the shark musically, it’s weird that the concert version seems to miss the point somehow. It turns it from a lurking, terrifying menace into one that’s more like Bruce in Finding Nemo… 

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It works fine as an album opener for the original Jaws LP though

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Just now, Jay said:

It works fine as an album opener for the original Jaws LP though

I love the rest of the arrangement it’s only the ending that doesn’t work. The original album version of the theme has the theme fade out to represent the shark disappearing back to the depth.

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On 8/29/2021 at 7:06 PM, Jay said:

Liberty Fanfare (1986) - I think that this is not only the weakest track on the album, but the lest "worthy" inclusion as well.  I don't know of many people who would consider this one of Williams' greatest or most notable compositions

 

jenna fischer raise hand GIF

 

I adore the middle passage, especially that simple little cello (bass?) fourth/fifth (?) drop at 1:56. I always thought the Cowboys Overture was exclusive to this album, but even if it's not, I declared By Request an essential release just for this fanfare.

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14 hours ago, Amer said:

This was one of my first and most played albums when I starterd my cd collection. In those days, CDs were very rare commodity, let alone a Williams cd to come by. Played this to death. Recently upgraded to new SHMCD format from Japan which is interestingly allowed me to hear more details,

 

Over the years I have come to absolutely adore  Liberty Fanfare (1986) and yes its more mellow and warm than the Olympic Fanfare. Its more in Williams reverential relective mode. I love the short brass ostinato rythm which he sort of reprised in the 'Space Camp' Theme, 

 

Don't you love it when you find someone who posts your exact same experience! You sir @Amer are a kindered spirt.

 

This was one of my first CD's back in the day to and oh it got played to the point my parents begged me to play something else! lol 

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Oh yea, the Cowboys Overture is amazing, a standout track of this album (and the only good track from the Pops Around The World album it was recorded for)

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I know I don't share the majority opinion on that one :)

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Whilst we're talking about Liberty Fanfare, I was surprised when I first heard it that the actual bell heard tolling just after the initial brass fanfare sounds so, well, broken on By Request. On Kunzel's recording it sounds clear, sonorous and, erm, not broken. On Lockhart's A Splash of Pops album it's somewhat between the two. I don't know whether the score specifies a particular type of bell or not - most professional orchestra's percussion sections would include a well-tuned set of tubular bells (which is what it sounds like Kunzel uses) but whatever was used on By Request sounds like a clanging old piece of scrap that has seen much better days.

 

Can anyone say if the rather dodgy By Request bell might be a reference to the Liberty Bell being cracked and therefore not sounding exactly as originally intended? Liberty Fanfare was written for the centenary of the Statute of Liberty, so it seems unlikely, but you never know... especially as an Englishman whose grasp of US cultural niceties isn't as firm as it might be!

 

Thanks,

 

Mark

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Like many others have said, this was also one of my earliest CDs… also was my first introduction to the wider breadth of JW’s music, beyond Star Wars, Superman, and Indiana Jones.

 

Like Jay said, it’s also to this day one of the very best single-disc compilations of JW music that exists.  

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By Request was one of my very first CD purchases, in fact I got that and the Spielberg/Williams Collaboration at the same time in the early 90s.  Those two CDs were the first I ever heard The Cowboys, 1941, etc. and made me want to really start collecting all of JW’s stuff beyond the big blockbuster scores.

 

I used to really dislike Liberty Fanfare but it’s grown on me somewhat, though I agree that it doesn’t belong on a ‘greatest hits’ album.

 

 

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For me, it was reading about BY REQUEST as a must in the FSM buyer's guide in the late 90s -- due to the fact that it included pieces not available elsewhere. I had no particular need for his Pops albums at the time (I'm not a completist of them now either), but I bought this from somewhere, probably ebay, based on that.

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