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John Williams concerts in London (1985/1996/1998)


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Some anecdotes from the pre-concert talks (given by, I think, two older members of the brass section who had been in the LSO since at least 1978) In one of the statutory ten-minute breaks in rec

467947464_LSOinSpace1978.pdf filmharmonic85.pdf

Finally dug out my programmes and tickets from 1998: I sat in the Stalls both nights, seats H40 on 2nd July and K30 on the 3rd. My scribblings in the programme give the following extra de

I was at the concerts in 1996 and 1998 but unfortunately I do not have any photos, much as I wish I did.  The 1985 concert was a little before my time, but I have seen some photos of the concert on a thread on Film Score Monthly a couple of years back.

 

Filmharmonic 85 - photos not mine

 

4 hours ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

When was the date of the 1985 concert?

 

16th November 1985.

 

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4 hours ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

If anyone has a programme from his June (or was it July?) concert in 1982, that would also be great.

 

There were two LSO concerts conducted by John Williams in the open air sculpture court at the Barbican on 8th and 9th August 1982.  You could try emailing the archivist at the LSO (Libby Rice) who might be willing to email you a scan of the programme(s) if you ask nicely!

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Wow, such a nice programm! Does anyone know if one concert was recorded? I read somewhere that one london concert was broadcasted on radio. Would love to hear that.

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30 minutes ago, E-Wan said:

I have the programme of 1998 concerts scanned:

 

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lsoconcert2.jpg

 

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Nice, I remember going to that one!  Don't think I got to the pre-concert talk unfortunately, but I do remember having a new found appreciation for the Tuba Concerto which was much more energetically performed than the single recording available at the time (the two more recent ones are massive improvements, both performance and recording wise).

23 minutes ago, Steve said:

Wow, such a nice programm! Does anyone know if one concert was recorded? I read somewhere that one london concert was broadcasted on radio. Would love to hear that.

I think it was the 1996 concert which I also went to and used to have an off air recording on tape from Radio 3, but I think it got lost in a move unfortunately. I think it was the first ever Williams concert I went to and featured the premier public performance of Summon the Heroes. Or at least the first live performance and certainly the first time I'd heard the full thing, magical.

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I have a few photos from the 1998 concerts. I was sitting pretty close to the front. I've just got the physical photos and I don't have a scanner, so I'll just take photos of them with my iPhone. I haven't shared them, I'd almost forgotten I had them actually until recently going through some old travel photo albums. 

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2 hours ago, Miguel Andrade said:

Thanks for posting. How odd. Neither the 1996 or 1998 concert programme feature Summon the Heroes. Unless I’m going blind?! I’m 90% certain that it was at the concert in 1996 (which I’m also fairly certain was the one broadcast on radio 3) as it was the Olympics that year. Wish I could find the tape of that broadcast... 

 

Interesting how the publicity blurb kinda has to sell his music somewhat to the classical crowd. Whereas now you’d have to fight to get a ticket! I certainly don’t recall having any trouble getting decent (and not hugely expensive) tickets. And for the first one I was at school the second at uni. 

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2 hours ago, Tom Guernsey said:

Thanks for posting. How odd. Neither the 1996 or 1998 concert programme feature Summon the Heroes. Unless I’m going blind?! I’m 90% certain that it was at the concert in 1996 (which I’m also fairly certain was the one broadcast on radio 3) as it was the Olympics that year. Wish I could find the tape of that broadcast... 

 

Interesting how the publicity blurb kinda has to sell his music somewhat to the classical crowd. Whereas now you’d have to fight to get a ticket! I certainly don’t recall having any trouble getting decent (and not hugely expensive) tickets. And for the first one I was at school the second at uni. 


Summon the Heroes definitely replaced the Olympic Fanfare in the 1996 concerts.  The listing on the flyer posted by Miguel had changed slightly by the time of the actual concerts, as is wont to happen with these things.

 

I still have the programme from the concert and have taken a quick photo.  I remember that one of the encores was the Raiders March and I know they also played The Sugarland Express with the flute substituting for a harmonica, but I cannot remember if that was in the 96 or one of the 98 concerts.

 

 

60BC338B-3B72-466F-9DEC-44EA973CBA71.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Omen II said:


Summon the Heroes definitely replaced the Olympic Fanfare in the 1996 concerts.  The listing on the flyer posted by Miguel had changed slightly by the time of the actual concerts, as is wont to happen with these things.

 

I still have the programme from the concert and have taken a quick photo.  I remember that one of the encores was the Raiders March and I know they also played The Sugarland Express with the flute substituting for a harmonica, but I cannot remember if that was in the 96 or one of the 98 concerts.

 

 

60BC338B-3B72-466F-9DEC-44EA973CBA71.jpeg

Aha thank you. That makes more sense! Sugarland was maybe three encore? I think the Raiders March was too given that it didn’t appear on the main programme and nobody seriously believed he wouldn’t do it! Jaws too possibly. I’m fairly certain he did three encores. And he usually did one thah was a bit left field and then a super crowd pleaser.

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I love how the Throne Room music is listed as the Royal Presentation in the programme notes for the LSO in Space concert from 1978.  I will henceforth be using that title in preference to the more locative Throne Room.

 

Although it was not that long ago (43 years), it is still surprising to see just how few women there were in the LSO in those days - just the clarinet and the two harpists.  Most of the major orchestras in the UK have a pretty even male / female split today by accident or design, indeed it is not uncommon to see orchestras comprised of more women than men nowadays.  Also, with a few exceptions, the names of the players are overwhelmingly British in 1978, while the LSO is much more multinational in 2021.  Just an observation on how times have changed in a relatively short period.

 

Useless factoid alert: the son of the fourth bassoon player was in my year at school.

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11 minutes ago, Omen II said:

Although it was not that long ago (43 years), it is still surprising to see just how few women there were in the LSO in those days - just the clarinet and the two harpists.

 

The Wiener Philharmoniker only had a woman on the harp, and strictly refused to change that until 1997. And from what I read she usually was absent when group photographs were taken.

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40 minutes ago, Omen II said:


When watching the New Year concert on TV, I usually spend most of the time counting how many women there are in the Vienna Phil this year!

 

😆

 

Although nobody has asked, here are photos of the two programmes from John Williams’s 1998 concerts with the LSO.

 

 

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I have a sneaking suspicion that the day I went for one of the second dates (I went to one each of both programmes) with the Tuba Concerto, it was somewhat less well attended than the Star Wars/ET etc. night. I honestly don't remember him performing music from Far & Away or The Lost World. Or Celebrate Discovery. I have a feeling that was one of those slightly left field Williams concert works that didn't get an official recording until some years later. Funny, I bet most/many people wouldn't have thought twice of about Oliver Ford Davies at the time (myself included), but a year later he'd probably have been a minor celebrity given that he was in The Phantom Menace as one of Queen Amidala's advisers.

 

I do remember BOTFOJ though and it being terrific, notably the solo trumpet. Conversely, I think the horn player split one of the notes during the JFK suite. I think it's quite tricky and a very exposed solo, albeit a bit of a shame as I think the rest of his performance was superb.

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44 minutes ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

@Tom Guernsey,

JW and the LSO opened with THE LOST WORLD, on Saturday 4th July.

 

What the programmes don't tell you is that the encore for the 2nd, was THE RAIDERS MARCH, and that the encore for the 4th, was HELL'S KITCHEN.

I’m sure it did open with TLW. I just don’t remember. Although you reminded me about the cue from Sleepers which I now remember at that concert as an encore. I think there was a bit of a “what is this?!” in the audience but everyone went wild for the Raiders March. Of course!

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25 minutes ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

Out of interest, Tom, where were you sitting, for the concerts?

Honestly I don’t remember precisely but think we had pretty good seats in the stalls. Certainly didn’t skimp on getting a good view. How about you?

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17 hours ago, Tom Guernsey said:

Honestly I don’t remember precisely but think we had pretty good seats in the stalls. Certainly didn’t skimp on getting a good view. How about you?

I was right in the middle of row D, both nights.

Did you try to get JW's autograph, on the Saturday? 

 

 

 

Filmharmonic '76 was broadcast on ITV, if anyone can find it.

The Summer '82 concert featured a long track from a then-unreleased film, called E.T.

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22 minutes ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

I was right in the middle of row D, both nights.

Did you try to get JW's autograph, on the Saturday? 

 

 

 

Filmharmonic '76 was broadcast on ITV, if anyone can find it.

The Summer '82 concert featured a long track from a then-unreleased film, called E.T.

I think I might have been a little further back than that but not too far. I think I tried to get autographs all of the times I went to see him but without success. I’ve resigned myself to not getting it now but it’s all good. I’ve met enough of my film music heroes to be satisfied!

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On 4/26/2021 at 9:57 AM, Jay said:

Trying to remember now, which CD is it that has the flute version of the Sugarland theme?


This 2-CD release does...

 

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EDIT:  And the recent “The President's Own” US Marine Corps Band digital release of selections from the 2003 and 2008 concerts conducted by Williams also features the flute version (from the 2008 concert that I attended):
 

 

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13 hours ago, thx99 said:


This 2-CD release does...

 

image.jpeg
 

image.jpeg

 


EDIT:  And the recent “The President's Own” US Marine Corps Band digital release of selections from the 2003 and 2008 concerts conducted by Williams also features the flute version (from the 2008 concert that I attended):
 

 

I’ve not listened to the Presidents Own album yet but the Marine Band compilation is great. Well played and a really nice selection too. 

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5 minutes ago, Tom Guernsey said:

I’ve not listened to the Presidents Own album yet but the Marine Band compilation is great. Well played and a really nice selection too. 

 

@Tom Guernsey, the “President’s Own” IS the Marine Band. 😁

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On 4/26/2021 at 2:53 PM, QuartalHarmony said:

 

The 1996 concert (slightly edited, I think) was broadcast later that year on Radio 2 - I also must have had a cassette of this, but I don't think I could now locate it.

 

 

 

That recording has floated around for years.

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17 minutes ago, QuartalHarmony said:

In one of the statutory ten-minute breaks in recording ?ESB, a member of the orchestra was demonstrating a new toy they'd got which allowed them to get a few notes lower than the instrument (I think it was a trombone) normally would. The musicians all enjoyed the demo, JW was meanwhile looking through his score for the next few cues and didn't seem to notice. They went back to recording. The next day, when the parts were being handed out, JW had added some extra notes by hand in the ?trombone part which would normally be impossible but meant the player could then use his new toy. The players were touched and impressed that JW had not only noticed the new toy but immediately given them chance to use it.

 

Ha, that's fantastic!

 

Now I want to know what ESB cues feature really low trombone notes (and how they handled this for the LTP concert).  @BrotherSound any idea?

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Before you do, please remember that my memory of it being ESB is hazy, as is the trombone reference! You can fit extensions to double basses too (and, since the basses sit closer to the conductor than the brass, might fit the story better since JW could have overheard more easily).

 

Even if I'm right on both counts, it could well be that it's just a lower octave doubling that we're talking about - this wouldn't be terribly noticeable if it were omitted in later performances. Even if it wasn't, you get this problem elsewhere in music - Mozart's clarinet concerto is a well-known example, with several notes going below standard clarinet range due to the original instrument used - and the solution is usually very dull: miss out the notes or transpose them to be within range.

 

Mark

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1 hour ago, Omen II said:

A completely random memory of these concerts is that in those days you had to pay for the concert programmes (the LSO now issues free programmes to ticket holders).  I remember that for one of the concerts, I left my programme on a seat outside the hall while I went to the loo and someone had nicked it by the time I got back, so I had to buy another programme.  If the perpetrator is reading this, I would just like them to know that they will always be a c*nt and that I haven't forgiven them.

 

You generally have to pay for programmes in Austria. I usually buy one as a memento, but there's a 50% chance I'll forget it on the seat after the concert without ever having read it.

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11 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

You generally have to pay for programmes in Austria. I usually buy one as a memento, but there's a 50% chance I'll forget it on the seat after the concert without ever having read it.

I’m surprised the LSO don’t charge for programmes. Every other classical or film music concert I’ve been to in London charges. And usually quite a bit. The ones for the live to picture presentations are daylight robbery. But I’m a sucker so I buy one anyway!

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I remember the 1998 concert. I was in the army then, and had neither time nor means to travel (in fact, I don't think I had travelled much abroad on my own at that point). But some of the FSMers who attended kindly sent me a postcard, signed by everyone. Sounds a bit like "rubbing it in", but it was actually quite heartwarming. Wish there were some good video recordings of these 90s London concerts.

 

I also remember reading about the 1996 concert in FSM at the time, but again - was in high school then and not in a position to travel.

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6 hours ago, Tom Guernsey said:

I’m surprised the LSO don’t charge for programmes. Every other classical or film music concert I’ve been to in London charges. And usually quite a bit. The ones for the live to picture presentations are daylight robbery. But I’m a sucker so I buy one anyway!

 

Oh, "event" concerts are always different. I think I spent close to €20 on the LOTR Symphony programme - and at least half of it was adverts.

 

In your typical Austrian concert or opera house, you have to pay for the programme, usually something between €3.00 and €3.50 (i.e. the latter with tip). At the State Opera, which operates on the repertory system (i.e. everything they play in a season, they usually play on multiple dates, but the secondary cast may vary), you can also get just the day's cast sheet for (iirc) €0.90. That's also an inlay in the programme booklet (because the booklet stays the same as long as the production stays active, often for years, sometimes even for decades). But in the concert houses, you usually have to buy the programme if you even want to know what they're playing (you can also find the list in correct order on the website, but nowhere else). I once had a chat with an elderly lady from the US who approached me and complained that they basically force you to buy the full programme just to know what you're listening to, and that such a thing would be unheard of in America.

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Here are scans of the photos I previously posted as lower-quality iPhone pics with some glare. They're from the first night of the 1998 concerts.

 

And a little anecdote from 1998. On the Friday morning, there was an open rehearsal which I attended. I recall parts of the tuba concerto and The Cowboys Overture being practiced. And at the conclusion of one piece, some other people attending the rehearsal started clapping. I'd never attended a rehearsal before, but I just knew that was a big no-no. Williams was annoyed and turned around and said, "We're trying to work here". -< STFU!
 

A few highlights for me - I was expecially excited for the pieces I had never heard before: Sound The Bells and Celebrate Discovery. And I'm pretty sure I had not heard the tuba concerto. The Lost World shook the hall. I was worried a big dinosaur would burst in and eat us all - it seemed possible. Hell's Kitchen was an unexpected surprise. Olympic Fanfare, The Devil's Dance, and The Asteroid Field were other highlights for me. Well, kind of everything was a highlight. Schilndler's List almost moved me to tears - you could hear a pin drop. Even the coughers stopped for that. And I remember Williams dancing a little at the podium as he really got into Far and Away. One flubbed note in Arlington still haunts me to this day. And Williams mentioned he'd be returning the next year to record the new Star Wars movie. Hard to believe now that at that time there were only three Star Wars films - has it really been almost 23 years?

 

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Whilst digging out the programmes, I also found an article from ?Classic FM magazine from around Spring 99, mainly covering the recording and release of the TPM score. Most of the article is the usual fluff about Star Wars being popular (duh), Williams having recorded the music for all of them with the world-reknowned LSO (ditto), but there was a short section with one of the horn players from the original Star Wars sessions who was brought back for TPM. Some nice anecdotes that I don't think are that well known (snoring horn player, for example?) and confirmation that the ANH recording sessions in March 1977 were, indeed, Maurice Murphy's first paid gig with the LSO.

 

There's also a reference to the 1998 concerts, where the audience's reaction to JW was, apparently, even more adulatory that that afforded to Bernstein, Solti or Abbado!

 

Mark

 

 

JW1.jpg

JW2.jpg

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