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Big Name conductors and Williams' music


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Admittedly, and what is to be expected, the majority of great 20th century conductors was not active anymore by the 1980s. From among those that were, however, I found that they didn't really conduct

Hmmmmm...uhmmmmmmm....huh....well....

Morton Gould   André Previn conducted JW's symphony.   John Wilson   Krzysztof Urbanski   Christoph Eschenbach   Franz Welser-Möst

Don't forget Leonard Slatkin. He is fairly well-regarded and a major champion of Williams' work. Another up-and-coming star (Philadelphia's lead guest conductor and St. Louis' new MD) is Stéphane Denève, also a major champion of Williams. And while it may have been just that one New World Symphony concert down in Miami, MTT did in fact conduct Williams.

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He certainly doesn't need anybody to ' champion' his film music; it wasn't written to be performed in it's original conception..

He plays his own music  to large audiences.

It would be like one of those ' tribute' bands who tour as

imitators of famous rock bands!

 

Now, his symphonies, concertos ...thats a different case.

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5 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

André Previn conducted JW's symphony.

And wanted to keep him away from Hollywood. Did he ever conduct the music from the film scores?

2 hours ago, Score said:

James Levine commissioned, conducted and recorded JW's harp concerto "On Willows and Birches". 

Likewise, that's a new concerto. What about the other 90% of JW's repertoire?

5 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Morton Gould

John Wilson

Krzysztof Urbanski

Christoph Eschenbach

These are not "big names" compared to Harnoncourt, Solti, Jansons, or Marriner. I was asking about the latter group, which performs usually with well-funded, famous orchestras.

5 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Franz Welser-Möst

Welser-Möst only did that because he was a replacement conductor when Ozawa fell ill. He wouldn't on his own accord. My observation is that Williams' music being conducted is a very unusual thing, usually caused by some special circumstances, unlike a concert with the music of Brahms or Rimsky or Ravel or Bizet.

5 hours ago, Tydirium said:

Don't forget Leonard Slatkin. He is fairly well-regarded and a major champion of Williams' work. Another up-and-coming star (Philadelphia's lead guest conductor and St. Louis' new MD) is Stéphane Denève, also a major champion of Williams. And while it may have been just that one New World Symphony concert down in Miami, MTT did in fact conduct Williams.

St. Louis, assistant to Ozawa... such things link them to a specific local public or personal influence. I have a suspicion that Williams has a much better standing "locally" as an American composer than as an international composer. I wonder how will it look like in the future. Initially Verdi also had a much stronger Italian presence than internationally, which changed over time. Maybe the same will be with Williams.

4 hours ago, Steve said:

Andris Nelsons conducted his music. A big name in the classical world. 

Point taken. Let's see with what orchestras and in what circumstances will he continue to do so.

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23 minutes ago, Fabulin said:

These are not "big names" compared to Harnoncourt, Solti, Jansons, or Marriner. I was asking about the latter group, which performs usually with well-funded, famous orchestras.

 

All of those I listed are big names, and the orchestras they conduct are certainly "well funded".

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23 minutes ago, Fabulin said:

Point taken. Let's see with what orchestras and in what circumstances will he continue to do so

He has conducted every major orchestra in europe and US. He is the leader of Gewandhaus Orchestra and Boston Symphony these days. And he conducted this years new year's concert in Vienna.

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Does Marin Also qualify as a "big name" yet? She's chief conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra now, which is after all Vienna's primary orchestra for contemporary music. And as far as I know, she has conducted Williams' music in concert before.

 

6 hours ago, bruce marshall said:

He certainly doesn't need anybody to ' champion' his film music; it wasn't written to be performed in it's original conception..

 

I disagree. While support the film is its primary function, it seems clear (if not from the way he writes, then from the fact that he's been writing and recording concert arrangements of his themes along with the original score for decades) that Williams very much deliberately writes at least part his scores as music that can (and often will) be performed in concert.

 

1 hour ago, Jurassic Shark said:

To get back on track, I have the impression that Riccardo Muti of the CSO and JW are mutual admirers. But has Muti ever performed JW in concert?

 

I've read statements to that effect a few times over the past few days. Where does that come from? Just from the one photo where they met at the Musikverein (which seems rather inconclusive to me), or is there more?

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1 hour ago, Fabulin said:

And wanted to keep him away from Hollywood. Did he ever conduct the music from the film scores?

 

I'm only familiar with Previn conducting the symphony, as previously mentioned. But he has PERFORMED John Williams film music as pianist, on this album:

 

R-3081759-1314845075.jpeg.jpg

 

It has "A Million Bucks" from CHECKMATE and "Tuesday's Theme" from BACHELOR FLAT (the latter is sort of, since it was 'inspired' by Tuesday Weld's character, and does not appear in the movie as such).

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

I've read statements to that effect a few times over the past few days. Where does that come from? Just from the one photo where they met at the Musikverein (which seems rather inconclusive to me), or is there more?

 

Yes, mainly that, and wasn't there a video of them hugging or something?

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2 hours ago, Fabulin said:

Likewise, that's a new concerto. What about the other 90% of JW's repertoire?

 

I have no idea. I just remembered that case, because I found it interesting that a major conductor had asked JW to write a harp concerto. Everything happened many years before the scandal, of course.

 

1 hour ago, Jurassic Shark said:

To get back on track, I have the impression that Riccardo Muti of the CSO and JW are mutual admirers. But has Muti ever performed JW in concert?

 

I've never heard of Muti playing Williams. He did play and record some film music, by Rota and Prokofiev (Ivan the Terrible, although it was the oratorio arrangement by Stasevich), so he is definitely open-minded towards the genre. I think I would be thrilled to hear Muti conduct JW. He is a conductor who gives his best with operatic writing, and he might be suited to that kind of film music.

 

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Levine did not record the Harp Concerto for commercial release. He only conducted the premiere and was replaced in the following performances by Daniele Gatti at the Carnegie Hall opening season concert of that year and by former BSO assistant conductor Shi-Yeon Sung. The later was the one released, digitally only, on BSO's own label (https://open.spotify.com/album/2SI8usquY1KZwBKnm4TzTc).

 

 

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3 hours ago, Fabulin said:

Welser-Möst only did that because he was a replacement conductor when Ozawa fell ill. He wouldn't on his own accord.

I understand Welser-Most has conducted Korngold in the past, though possibly not his film music.

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12 minutes ago, Score said:

 

I would rather call it a private recording. The three concerts were broadcast on WCRB and I recorded all of them.

Now, if I was trying to make a single euro out of it, then Thor would be right. As it is, I wouldn't call it a bootleg.

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When we refer to conductors championing music, it usually refers to composers who are unknown, underappreciated, and not part of the repertory.

.

Ives and Bach

Mahler

come to mind.

 

Does JW fit into that category?

 

Btw Arrangeing film music for concerts ( usually conducted by the composer) is not equivalent to an original concert composition ( not talking about adapting part of a score into a full blown composition e.g. SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC)

 

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3 hours ago, Miguel Andrade said:

 

I would rather call it a private recording. The three concerts were broadcast on WCRB and I recorded all of them.

Now, if I was trying to make a single euro out of it, then Thor would be right. As it is, I wouldn't call it a bootleg.

 

Ah, I see. Then "bootleg" was a wrong word for it, sorry. Thanks for the clarification.

 

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On 8/16/2020 at 3:02 AM, Steve said:

Andris Nelsons conducted his music. A big name in the classical world. 

 

Undoubtedly because of the Boston connection.  I know Nelsons conducted the first half of a Film Night concert at Tanglewood a few summers ago... he even performed the trumpet solo in "With Malice Toward None" from Lincoln!

 

 

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23 hours ago, Miguel Andrade said:

 

I would rather call it a private recording. The three concerts were broadcast on WCRB and I recorded all of them.

Now, if I was trying to make a single euro out of it, then Thor would be right. As it is, I wouldn't call it a bootleg.

It's still a bootleg:

 

 
Quote

 

adjective
 
(especially of liquor, computer software, or recordings) made, distributed, or sold illegally.
 
noun
  1.  
    an illegal musical recording, especially one made at a concert.

 

  1.  
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On 8/16/2020 at 1:59 PM, Thor said:

 

I'm only familiar with Previn conducting the symphony, as previously mentioned. But he has PERFORMED John Williams film music as pianist, on this album:

 

 

Not only the Symphony but also Essay for Strings, that he also premiered.

 

By the way, other big name in the conducting world and a former LA Phil music director, Esa-Pekka Salonen has conducted Williams music, both film (excerpts from Star Wars) and concert hall music (violin concerto).

Not sure if you would count Lawrence Foster as big name conductor, but he has conducted Williams music and even conducted the European premiere of his Cello Concerto.

Carl St. Clair (of the Pacific Symphony) and Stefan Asbury (director of the TMC Orchestra) have also conducted both film and concert music by Williams. Again, not sure if you count them as big name conductors.

Our own Joana Carneiro (former assistant to Salonen at the L.A. Philharmonic, music director of the Berkeley Symphony and one of Portugal's finest conductors) have conducted his film music on several ocasions.

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  • 5 months later...
On 8/16/2020 at 3:25 PM, Muad'Dib said:

Maybe it's JW who didn't want to? I imagine him being very embarassed at the prospect of Lenny conducting his music.

It makes perfect sense. I can't imagine Bernstein would have refused to conduct Williams' music had Williams asked him.

 

I've never seen a composer of this caliber who was so ashamed of the quality or worthiness of his own music, safe maybe for Brahms at times.

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