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"A Gathering of Friends" Williams / Yo Yo Ma album with Pablo Sainz-Villegas & Jessica Zhou


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Gorgeous. This will be a beautiful album.:woop:

 

Interesting that JW chose to record with the NY Phil given that he hasn't conducted them in many years. 

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Looking forward to this!

 

Would’ve been nice if they’d released a deluxe version with a bonus CD with the iTunes EP of Memoirs Of A Geisha.

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9 minutes ago, Jay said:

Whatever that video is supposed to be doesn't show for us in America

 

Old Friends from Howard Shore's first Hobbit score. I "understand" the reasons why YouTube blocks certain videos in certain regions - but why can't they at least show the title of the blocked video to provide some context?

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9 minutes ago, rough cut said:

Looking forward to this!

 

Would’ve been nice if they’d released a deluxe version with a bonus CD with the iTunes EP of Memoirs Of A Geisha.

 

That's a really good idea.  "The Ultimate Edition" as Sony likes to call it.

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So by my count, this now makes SIX studio recordings Williams has personally conducted of Schindler’s List:

 

OST - Itzhak Perlman, Boston Symphony

Williams on Williams - Tamara Smirnova, Boston Pops

Cinema Serenade - Itzhak Perlman, Pittsburg Symphony

Treesong - Gil Shaham, Boston Symphony

Across the Stars - Anne-Sophie Mutter, Recording Arts Orchestra of LA

A Gathering of Friends - Yo-Yo Ma, NY Phil

 

Has there been any other work he’s conducted as prolifically?  (Not counting the various Star Wars OST main title crawls or the live recordings of concerts)

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32 minutes ago, Jay said:

 

I doubt official score albums being on Sony Music had anything to do with his Boston Pops re-recording contract, other than the fact that Sony could mix them together for compilations like Greatest Hits 1969-2019 and the 80th birthday CD

 

Soundtrack album rights always go to the highest bidder, as far as I know, but I guess existing relationships between artists and labels also come into play. It seems JW had some kind of contract with Sony starting from 1990 that went alongside the Boston Pops contract (the Star Wars Skywalker Symphony album came out at that time too), but I guess there are always clauses that let the artist be featured on recordings from other lables, especially big names like JW (on the DG release of TreeSong, there is a line saying "John Williams appears courtesy of Sony Classical").

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10 minutes ago, Steve said:

As the four-movement concerto was performed over the last three decades, Williams made significant revisions to the score. Ma noted that the new version incorporates even "bigger changes, structural changes," with a final movement that turns into "one glorious song, spinning and spinning, spinning to the very end."

 

It is hard to know if Ma is speaking of a revision relative to the original or last revision.  It comes off as a new major revision and the final movement sounds fantastic.  

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1 hour ago, Matt S. said:

I would have loved it if they included the cello/orchestra arrangements from Angela's Ashes.  Or even something from Seven Years in Tibet -- I wonder why JW has never gone back to that score?  I've never heard of him ever playing it in concert either (there's nothing on the BSO archive about it).

‘Elegy for Cello and Orchestra’ is an adaption of material from the ‘Regaining a Son’ track from ‘Seven Years in Tibet’. It’s one of my very favourite JW concert pieces.

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27 minutes ago, rough cut said:

Would’ve been nice if they’d released a deluxe version with a bonus CD with the iTunes EP of Memoirs Of A Geisha.

 

Unlikely. The Geisha suite was recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and here we have an album recorded with The New York Philharmonic. Fortunately, the suite has already been released on CD.

 

By the way, it's a pity that two Williams' concertos, recorded few years ago under his baton with the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops, have not been released on CD.  I mean Harp Concerto (On Willows and Birches) and Oboe Concerto. 

 

Both are wonderful. Fortunately, we can listen to it on Spotify.

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19 minutes ago, Tom said:

It is hard to know if Ma is speaking of a revision relative to the original or last revision.  It comes off as a new major revision and the final movement sounds fantastic.  

 

The last time Ma performed the Cello Concerto was in 2016 in Philadelphia with Stéphane Denève conducting. Reports were saying it was a further revision than the one performed by Yo-Yo and JW in Houston in 2012.

 

In the Legacy podcast interview I did with studio cellist Steve Erdody, he mentions that JW kept reworking the piece with Lynn Harrell throughout the years.

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2 hours ago, Pawel P. said:

 

Unlikely. The Geisha suite was recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and here we have an album recorded with The New York Philharmonic. Fortunately, the suite has already been released on CD.

 

The iTunes EP he's referring to is a different Memoirs suite (from 2006) than the one Sony eventually gave us (from 2009) on CD in 2010.

 

See here.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, TownerFan said:

 

The last time Ma performed the Cello Concerto was in 2016 in Philadelphia with Stéphane Denève conducting. Reports were saying it was a further revision than the one performed by Yo-Yo and JW in Houston in 2012.

 

In the Legacy podcast interview I did with studio cellist Steve Erdody, he mentions that JW kept reworking the piece with Lynn Harrell throughout the years.

 

But which version was recorded by Slatkin?  May be blasphemy but I might prefer that recording to the original Ma one...

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7 minutes ago, Jay said:

 

The iTunes EP he's referring to is a different Memoirs suite (from 2005) than the one Sony eventually gave us (from 2009) on CD in 2010.

 

See here.

 

 

 

Thanks, I didn't know that. It doesn't change the fact that the iTunes EP of "Memoirs Of A Geisha" is unlikely to be a bonus CD on this album, because as far as I know, the session for the "A Gathering of Friends" was Williams' first recording with the New York Philharmonic.

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56 minutes ago, Steve said:

Here is the official promotional text:

 

Where did you find this?

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53 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

 

But which version was recorded by Slatkin?  May be blasphemy but I might prefer that recording to the original Ma one...

I agree. In fact on balance I prefer most of the Slatkin recordings of JW’s concertos to the originals. A shame he didn’t quite get to all of them in the series. 

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6 minutes ago, Tom Guernsey said:

I agree. In fact on balance I prefer most of the Slatkin recordings of JW’s concertos to the originals. A shame he didn’t quite get to all of them in the series. 

 

I have the video of the trumpet concerto that wasn't released on album and they made the right call, Hunter Eberly (the principal trumpet for the DSO) is a great player but he didn't have a handle on that concerto.  At least we got the superb Hooten recording not too long after.

 

But yeah it would've been great if they had recorded the Viola Concerto, which has to see an official release at some point surely?

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It's on Amazon.de too, stating that it is a @Jurassic Shark CD Jewel box!

 

"The 40-year friendship between two musical titans, John Williams & Yo-Yo Ma, reaches a new peak with “A Gathering of Friends.” The incredible warmth & brilliance of composer/conductor John Williams is felt throughout this album of both his concert music (a newly revised Cello Concerto) and his legendary film music, including a powerful new arrangement of the Theme from “Schindler’s List,” brought to life by Yo-Yo Ma and the world-renowned New York Philharmonic. Another highlight from the John Williams film music catalog is Yo-Yo Ma’s performance of “With Malice Toward None,” an inviting and uplifting melody from the movie “Lincoln,” inspired by Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address. Other featured artists & friends include the virtuoso Spanish guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas on a delicate cello/guitar arrangement of “A Prayer for Peace” from the movie “Munich,” and Boston Symphony Orchestra harpist Jessica Zhou on “Highwood’s Ghost.”"

 
And JPC are announcing the vinyl release...
 

 

 

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Really looking forward to this, but my single complaint is I wish JW would've taken the opportunity to assemble and record some sort of Seven Year in Tibet suite, since he had Yo-Yo Ma on hand

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2 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

Is Yo-Yo getting tired of the anecdote? :lol:

 

Man, I gotta say that takes some big cajones.  I don't think I could've cut him off with his own punchline, especially given they were being recorded.  I'd just smile and nod.

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44 minutes ago, BB-8 said:

a delicate cello/guitar arrangement of “A Prayer for Peace”

 

This has great potential to be a highlight.  I think the original Mutter project has given Williams motivation to breathe new life into past pieces that are not regularly performed (if at all).  

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If I was an insane person I'd track down every possible recorded instance of JW telling the Schindler anecdote and make an enormous supercut where the story is told by rapidly cutting between all the instances over the years over and over in different combinations and increasing in the rapidity of the cutting.

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1 minute ago, Disco Stu said:

If I was an insane person I'd track down every possible recorded instance of JW telling the Schindler anecdote and make an enormous supercut where the story is told by rapidly cutting between all the instances over the years over and over in different combinations

were dead pete davidson GIF by Saturday Night Live

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33 minutes ago, Andy said:

Man, I gotta say that takes some big cajones.  I don't think I could've cut him off with his own punchline, especially given they were being recorded.  I'd just smile and nod.

 

Right?

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JW is one, if not the only artist now who is not bound by any contract. I think he was on the Pops days, but I think that was more with the orchestra not him specifically. He can basically do whatever he wants, and I'm pretty sure it has been that way for a loooong time. And he doesn't need one. Who would ever turn down an album of his? Although I have noticed that more often than not, besides his earlier violin/flute concerto album, most of the non-pops albums are released with a soloist who has a label they are obligated and that's who usually gets it.

There is one little anecdote though. For years I prodded my composition teacher to release albums of just her music, and she would always say its very difficult because some of the publishers who own the copyright to this or that piece don't get along or something along those lines and were making it tedious to release something. For those who have the deluxe Across The Stars album (or a PDF) you'll see theres about 2 pages that show a complete list of all the tracks, who owns the copyright, and this track is "here courtesy of" the copyright holder. I think he has something in his contracts that stipulates he can basically do whatever he wants with his music, quite rare for film composers. At least today. I would guess people like Jerry Goldsmith had the same or similar after a certain point though. Bruce Broughton might since he's kind of from the old school too, but not sure.

2 hours ago, Pawel P. said:

 

Unlikely. The Geisha suite was recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and here we have an album recorded with The New York Philharmonic. Fortunately, the suite has already been released on CD.

 

By the way, it's a pity that two Williams' concertos, recorded few years ago under his baton with the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops, have not been released on CD.  I mean Harp Concerto (On Willows and Birches) and Oboe Concerto. 

 

Both are wonderful. Fortunately, we can listen to it on Spotify.

 

He didn't actually conduct the harp concerto recording unfortunately. I think James Levine did the actual first night premiere and then the assistant conductor did the rest, and I think her performances are the record that got released.

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1 hour ago, Disco Stu said:

 

I have the video of the trumpet concerto that wasn't released on album and they made the right call, Hunter Eberly (the principal trumpet for the DSO) is a great player but he didn't have a handle on that concerto.  At least we got the superb Hooten recording not too long after.

 

But yeah it would've been great if they had recorded the Viola Concerto, which has to see an official release at some point surely?

Interesting, the Hooten recording is certainly very good indeed and I like, the other recording paired with works by Kevin Kaska. Definitely a shame he didn't get to this mysterious Viola Concerto! Has anyone ever heard it?!

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8 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

Is Yo-Yo getting tired of the anecdote? :lol:

Even I am. I love the Maestro, but this anecdote is as old as he. But cutting John Williams off is very odd, to put it mildly. I mean he is JOHN WILLIAMS, for heaven's sake. You don't just cut him off mid sentence. Ever. But I think Ma has heard this anecdote so many times that he automatically finished the sentence without thinking he was cutting Williams off. Still, it would've been more polite to just let him finish the anecdote. 

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24 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

Yes, it's one of my 5 favorite Williams concertos.  It's wonderful.

Wonder why he's never felt the urge to record it... or that Leonard Slatkin didn't record it either. Same for the clarinet concerto. Maybe one day!

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39 minutes ago, Tom Guernsey said:

Interesting, the Hooten recording is certainly very good indeed and I like, the other recording paired with works by Kevin Kaska. Definitely a shame he didn't get to this mysterious Viola Concerto! Has anyone ever heard it?!

 

The Viola Concerto is criminally underrated!

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3 minutes ago, Bespin said:

 

And it's under-recorded, I still don't own that CD...

 

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This CD is a rare find. I got at at Tanglewood but I remember it being expensive, although not as the copy of the album with his Sinfonietta on it that I got from Amazon Japan. Have you heard Duo Concertante? It also had the Madrigals from Martinu on the same album, which inspired the piece.

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The Duo Concertante from 2007 is not the same thing as the Viola Concerto from 2009

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25 minutes ago, WilliamsStarShip2282 said:

 

This CD is a rare find. I got at at Tanglewood but I remember it being expensive, although not as the copy of the album with his Sinfonietta on it that I got from Amazon Japan. Have you heard Duo Concertante? It also had the Madrigals from Martinu on the same album, which inspired the piece.

 

I only downloaded the WIlliams piece from that album, way back when. I have to admit the "Duo Concertante" is one of the pieces that I've had the most trouble getting into. It all seems so stark and detached. It was also a shock to the system at the time, because it was the first new Williams piece since INDY 4 (which was already kinda disappointing), and it cemented a different direction in his music that I've yet to come to terms with. But I aim to give it another chance. And another. And another.

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Let's say the things frankly, these crap works need a revision! :P

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6 minutes ago, Thor said:

 

I only downloaded the WIlliams piece from that album, way back when. I have to admit the "Duo Concertante" is one of the pieces that I've had the most trouble getting into. It all seems so stark and detached. It was also a shock to the system at the time, because it was the first new Williams piece since INDY 4 (which was already kinda disappointing), and it cemented a different direction in his music that I've yet to come to terms with. But I aim to give it another chance. And another. And another.

 

Yeah this piece reminded me a bit more of the concert works he wrote when he was younger, its a bit harsher. But I did actually hear another duo play it live once and they gave a totally different life to the piece. The album recording is a bit "straight laced" for me.

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10 minutes ago, WilliamsStarShip2282 said:

 

Yeah this piece reminded me a bit more of the concert works he wrote when he was younger, its a bit harsher. But I did actually hear another duo play it live once and they gave a totally different life to the piece. The album recording is a bit "straight laced" for me.

 

Well, yes and no. I can get into his Sinfonietta or his flute concerto or his Nostalgic Jazz Odyssey or whatever from those early years, but somehow this irked me. Perhaps it has something to do with the viola itself. I'm also not a big fan of his viola concerto. Perhaps it's the instrument itself I have to blame.

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