Jump to content

John Williams interview on Steinway & Sons website


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 58
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Looks like this is fairly recent:   https://www.steinway.com/news/features/owners/john-williams   Short, but lovely!

Wow, I found the ad I was thinking about by googling. As it turns out, it wasn't about Steinways or pianos at all, but rather about JVC stereo systems! But the faint memory of Williams sitting behind

Like Williams said in the interview, his concert works and film works form a symbiotic circle, what happens to one of them will affect the other. You must understand this.

Cool interview.  Isn't there an ad from many years ago with Williams on Steinway?  He speaks of working on the violin concerto for next summer, so the interview must have taken place last spring/early summer. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Huh, I wonder how old this actually is?  Talking about the Steinway he had "just gotten" and how he "went down to my local Steinway gallery and played some of them", doesn't sound like pandemic things

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice ! I could practically hear JW's smooth voice in my head talking about his new Steinway :)

 

Surprised to see him name-dropping Images. To think that that score is nearly 50 years old ! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tom said:

Cool interview.  Isn't there an ad from many years ago with Williams on Steinway?

 

Yes, and I think I have it in my magazine collection somewhere (it's on the backside of the mag).

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Disco Stu said:

 

So you're saying one of us needs to show up there one day and play Star Wars on a piano until he walks in?

 

This interview was very sweet! The interviewer got Williams off on the right start by talking about his daughter, I think Williams responded to the human element from there.

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Thor said:

 

Yes, and I think I have it in my magazine collection somewhere (it's on the backside of the mag).

 

Just to correct myself -- I now remember that I didn't see this John Williams/Steinway (at least I think it was Steinway; it was some form of piano) ad on any of my film music magazines, but an old National Geographic from the 70s or 80s. My dad has subscribed to NG since the early 70s, and I've often looked through them. I was utterly surprised to find the ad on the back cover on one of them. Out of left field, for sure.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish his concert music was more like his soundtracks. I disagree with the idea that they have to be so different.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, SteveMc said:

 

His concert work is not that far from his film work.  The same spirit is there, often the same sort of technical complexity.  The main difference is that the overall and thematic structures are more angular. 

 

Well said, for pretty much all of his concerti you can find examples of underscore written with a similar vocabulary.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

 

Well said, for pretty much all of his concerti you can find examples of underscore written with a similar vocabulary.

 

That's why my favourite is the cello concerto.

Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Nick Parker said:

Who's saying they _have_ to be?

 

Williams did. He talked about concert music being different than "commercial" music.

Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

That's why my favourite is the cello concerto.

 

The scherzo has always given me major Jurassic Park vibes.

 

 

24 minutes ago, Drew said:

 

Williams did. He talked about concert music being different than "commercial" music.

 

Let's look at what he says, when the interviewer asks about Williams' "Romantic aesthetic".

Quote

While It’s been very useful in my commercial work, my concert works have been very different, more in the direction that I might’ve gone if I hadn’t done so much commercial work. For example, I’m writing a concerto for Anne-Sophie Mutter at the moment, which will premiere next summer at Tanglewood.

 

In other words, his natural  proclivities and instincts have _always_--and we can hear this multiple times with pieces such as Essay for Strings and Prelude and Fugue--leaned to the voice we hear in his concert work. So you're asking a person to forsake themselves so they can write something to appeal to a certain kind of audience. The film work he's done is an outcropping of what is a deeply personal voice, not the other way around. This isn't me being elitist, this is me drawing the conclusion from Williams' own words.

 

And as several of us--including Williams in this very interview--have pointed out, his film and concert music have overlapped with each other over the decades, to the point where you can recognize the time he worked on something by their similarities with another: Tintin and Oboe Concerto, Tributes and TPM, so on and so on.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Nick Parker said:

The scherzo has always given me major Jurassic Park vibes.

 

Yeah! The entire concerto oozes of JP.

 

2 minutes ago, Falco said:

Song For World Piece also reminds me of JP

 

One of my very favourite JW ceremonial works.

Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, Tom said:

his concert music is brilliant (well, aside from the flute concerto)

Funnily enough, when I frequented a classical music board and shared some of JWs concerti there, the Flute Concerto got a lot of praise.  The others not so much.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Flute Conc is my favourite of his concert works that I’ve listened to in any depth, though Five Sacred Trees is probably a close second.

 

Talking of the Flute Conc, can anyone comment on my suggested timings for its four movements on the Varese LSO CD (VSD 5345)?

 

0:00 Movement 1

4:13 Movement 2

5:39 Movement 3

9:58 Movement 4

 

Inevitably there’s some guesswork based on the liner notes. Alternative solutions welcome

 

Mark

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I find that the piece is very original but it has a continual harshness that repels me, but to each their own.  It is a nice piece to throw out to those who claim Williams' music is just warmed over Holst or such nonsense.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, QuartalHarmony said:

Flute Conc is my favourite of his concert works that I’ve listened to in any depth, though Five Sacred Trees is probably a close second.

 

Talking of the Flute Conc, can anyone comment on my suggested timings for its four movements on the Varese LSO CD (VSD 5345)?

 

0:00 Movement 1

4:13 Movement 2

5:39 Movement 3

9:58 Movement 4

 

Inevitably there’s some guesswork based on the liner notes. Alternative solutions welcome

 

Mark

 

 

Been so long since I listened to it, but aren't there little pauses when the movements change?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I personnaly have a lot of affection for The Five Sacred Trees especially Es Mugna and Tortan that have two really different tone. I think Es Mugna is one of the most peaceful and soothing piece that Williams ever wrote IMO while Tortan is a really an ode to life making of the beginning of this concerto one of my favourites Williams' opening

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, May the Force be with You said:

I personnaly have a lot of affection for The Five Sacred Trees especially Es Mugna and Tortan that have two really different tone. I think Es Mugna is one of the most peaceful and soothing piece that Williams ever wrote IMO while Tortan is a really an ode to life making of the beginning of this concerto one of my favourites Williams' opening

 

I remember taking a trip to some canyon forests in Arizona back when I was first getting familiar with the piece as a teenager, and all I could hear when I looked at the beautiful sights before me was that first movement! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

It sure can be a hard pill to swallow that Williams doesn't really want to compose music like his "commercial" works.

 

The implication is that there is not a single composer in the world who both can compose such music and would want to if the Spielbergs and the Lucases were to be taken away.

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Fabulin said:

It sure can be a hard pill to swallow for sure that Williams doesn't really want to compose music like his "commercial" works.

 

The implication is that there is not a single composer in the world who both can compose such music and would want to if the Spielbergs and the Lucases were to be taken away.

I don't think this is what Williams means.  He says time and again that even at his age, he loves scoring films, especially when they "turn him on," to use his phrase.  It is more of a both/and versus either/or.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Drew said:

I wish his concert music was more like his soundtracks. I disagree with the idea that they have to be so different.

 

Come on! This is TOTALLY an action cue:

 

 

Some of his concert works are more accesible than others, I personally like a lot of them in their different terms. Like I *love* the Scherzo for Piano which a lot of people here find quite "noisy", but I also love Highwood’s Ghost, which I find quite accesible and very evocative. 

 

I also adore Rounds, which explores the Guitar in a such a fantastic fashion, Soundings which has a bit of everything in terms of how accesible it is (it starts very experimental and it ends jery jubilee-like, in what we associate more typically with Williams' music), the Viola Concerto with that lovely duel between the Timpani and  the Viola; and lastly the Essay for Strings comes to mind, which is very film-music-y to my ears, particularly in its second half.

 

That's what I like about his concert works, you got a bit of everything!

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

 

My personal 3 favorite of his concerti are the trumpet, the harp, and the viola.

 

Oooh, forgot about the Harp! Good one!

 

Have to listen to the Trumpet again, don't have it very fresh tbh.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really only familiar with The Five Sacred Trees but I'd love to explore more of his non-film work.

 

Is there a breakdown somewhere of all the various concerti he's written and recordings he personally conducted?

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Thor said:

Wow, I found the ad I was thinking about by googling. As it turns out, it wasn't about Steinways or pianos at all, but rather about JVC stereo systems! But the faint memory of Williams sitting behind a piano with a quote was correct. This might have been used on other magazines than National Geographic, but that's where I first saw it:

 

thme3tmt4sty.jpg

 

(sorry for this rather off-topic tangent; but I kinda got obsessed with it once this John Williams ad was mentioned earlier in the thread).

Thanks @Thor ! I was just thinking of this ad trying to remember that it had a piano and then you posted it, I still have this in somewhere.Do you remember which issue of NAT GEOGRAPHIC this was ? When I became aware of John Williams after my soundtrack to Superman; this was the first time I knew how he looked like!!

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Amer said:

Thanks @Thor ! I was just thinking of this ad trying to remember that it had a piano and then you posted it, I still have this in somewhere.Do you remember which issue of NAT GEOGRAPHIC this was ? When I became aware of John Williams after my soundtrack to Superman; this was the first time I knew how he looked like!!

 

Alas, no. My dad recently threw away all his National Geographics, as my parents are moving to a smaller place, so can't really check. It was one of my earliest introductions to his appearance too -- or at least right around the time I saw his face on the internet for the first time. The magazine issue itself, however, was from the 70s or 80s.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.