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JW's Liner Notes


Holko
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24 minutes ago, TownerFan said:

There is also a brief quote in the Memoirs of a Geisha booklet.

Not in the digital booklet or the scan I found - is it in the 2012 "remastered" physical booklet only?

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18 minutes ago, Holko said:

Not in the digital booklet or the scan I found - is it in the 2012 "remastered" physical booklet only?

In the physical edition from 2005, that I own, there are no liner notes at all. Funnily I realised, that I have two equal booklets in my CD. But no liner notes or quotes of any kind.

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Great idea for a thread! 

 

He also wrote liners for the 1977 Star Wars and 1980 Empire Strikes Back double LPs

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17 minutes ago, Jay said:

He also wrote liners for the 1977 Star Wars and 1980 Empire Strikes Back double LPs

OK from now on I'll start asking for help with sources for these, because the discogs images are generally godawful :lol:

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12 minutes ago, GerateWohl said:

The 1977 double album had liner notes? Mine had just images from the movie inside.

It seems he did a whole track by track commentary!

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If we're including those HP Children's Suite notes, it might be good to start pasting all of his Hal Leonard Signature Edition intros, they're all fantastic. 

 

Am I crazy or did he write something for the Revenge of the Sith OST too? Seem to remember that, don't have it on me right now. Might be confused. 

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10 minutes ago, mrbellamy said:

If we're including those HP Children's Suite notes, it might be good to start pasting all of his Hal Leonard Signature Edition intros, they're all fantastic. 

 

5 hours ago, Holko said:

OK from now on I'll start asking for help with sources for these :lol:

 

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1983 - The Star Wars Trilogy (Varujan Koijan/Utah Symphony Orchestra Recording)

Spoiler

image1 (2).jpeg

 

Spoiler

When producer George Korngold told me of his plans to present music from all three Star Wars films on one record, I was particularly pleased.

 

I was gratified because this record will mark the first time that the music will appear in one collection, and secondly because it will be presented by the very fine Utah Symphony Orchestra which I have admired for such a long time. 

 

The scores of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi were composed over a period of seven years- and I have tried while working over this long period to write music, the parts of which would eventually form one unified whole.

 

I thank Maestro Koijan for bringing together his forces to present an idea that I have hoped would be realized since the earliest days of my work on The Star Wars Trilogy.

 

I went through my collection and this is the only one I have to contribute. I could have sworn there was a brief blurb in my copy of Sabrina, but upon further inspection I realize it's actually just a small-font dedication from JW which reads "For @Bespin". Wonder what he meant by that... ;)

 

Keep up the great thread!

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Great thread!

 

The liner notes were always little gems back in the day, pre internet, where there really wasn’t much information for a young man to find about the music, and have been a constant connection to the maestro since then.

 

Lovely to see it all collected here.

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3 hours ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

I know it's a "by the way", but were there liner notes for HOOK, anywhere? My import copy, bought back in 1991, doesn't have any.

 

You mean Spielberg's? Yes, it was printed on the last page of the booklet.

 

 

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Some more Hal Leonard Signature Editions score notes for the thread:

 

Adventures on Earth:

Spoiler

Adventures On Earth is part of the score that I composed for Steven Spielberg's

classic film, E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial).

 

The music was designed to accompany the bicycle chase near the end of the

film and as the young cyclists reach escape velocity, E.T's theme is heard as

they fly "over the moon."

 

The more sentimental music that follows, accompanies the dialogue as E.T.

bids farewell to his earthling friends. This is followed by timpani and brass

fanfares as the orchestra brings the film to a close.

 

[The physicist in me still winces at JW's use of the phrase 'escape velocity']

 

Five Sacred Trees:

Spoiler

As we become increasingly aware of the damage done by the destruction of our forests, it is illuminating to discover that our ancestors, many thousands of years ago, prayed to the spirits before felling a tree. One prayer was appropriate for a maple, another for the elm, the ash and so on.

 

The English poet, Robert Graves, writes of these prayers, which I have been unable to find but which, nonetheless, have moved me to compose this music about trees featuring the bassoon, itself a tree.

 

This is all the result of a request for a concerto by the great bassoonist Judith Le Clair, whose unparalleled artistry is a mystery and a wonder in itself.

 

I

Eo Mugna, the great oak, whose roots extend to Connla's Well in the "otherworld," stands guard over what is the source of the River Shannon and the font of all wisdom The well is probably the source of all music, too. The inspiration for this movement is the Irish Uilleann pipe, a distant ancestor of the bassoon, whose music evokes the spirit of Mugna and the sacred well.

 

Il

Tortan is a tree that has been associated with witches and as a result, the fiddle appears, sawing away, as it is conjoined with the music of the bassoon. The Irish Bodhrán drum assists.

 

III

The Tree of Ross (or Eo Rossa) is a yew, and although the yew is often referred to as a symbol of death and destruction, the Tree of Ross is the subject of much rhapsodizing in the literature. It is referred to as "a mother's good," "Diadem of angels," and "faggot of the sages." Hence, the lyrical character of this movement, wherein the bassoon incants and is accompanied by the harp!

 

IV

Craeb Uisnig is an ash and has been described by Robert Graves as a source of strife. Thus, a ghostly battle, where all that is heard as the phantoms struggle, is the snapping of twigs on the forest floor.

 

V

Dathi, which purportedly exercised authority over the Poets, and was the last tree to fall, is the subject for the close of the piece. The bassoon soliloquizes as it ponders the secrets of the Trees.

 

The following HLSE publications have no JW notes in my copies:

  • Dry Your Tears, Afrika (SATB/Children's Chorus edition) (HL08741511)
  • Three Holiday Songs from Home Alone (SATB) (HL087400830)
  • Theme from Sabrina (Violin/Piano) (HL00841382)
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And another: Music from the Star Wars Saga (HL04491067):

 

Spoiler

When composing the music for the first Star Wars epic, I had no idea that there would be many more films to come. At that time, I couldn't anticipate the extent of George Lucas' creativity, but as each film was added to the collection, I was given a unique opportunity to develop new themes as the stories required.

This collection of pieces from Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, evoke much nostalgia for me, as well as an ongoing delight that young people…. now across a generation… continue to be captivated by the "Force" of George Lucas' imagination.



 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is a super thread, finding it very helpful to see what Williams's has written on his own music.

 

I've been digging into The Cowboys recently - has Williams written anything on it?

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21 hours ago, Steve said:

Yes, in the booklet of the President's own Marine Band release from last year. He says Andre Previn encouraged him to arrange the concert version.

Ah I've found that now. Excellent! Thank you so much!

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Wow, what a great wealth of information in this thread.

 

I haven't seen or listened to the new WSS yet, but those liner notes from JW are fascinating. Very interesting to see him acknowledge the critiques of WSS' creators not knowing anything about Puerto Rican music and to label Bernstein's allusions to jazz "academic and stiff." I would love to read some extended thoughts from JW on his relationship with jazz and Black music.

 

Also, what a fun shoutout to Alex Ross of the New Yorker — it seems there's a healthy mutual admiration there, after Ross' glowing reviews of TFA and TLJ and his sit-down interview/profile.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

Added JW's liner notes for his second Violin concerto found in the recent release's booklet.

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On 21/12/2021 at 10:29 AM, Holko said:

"...while music has many purposes and functions, I've always believed that, in the end, it ought to be freely interpreted through the prism of every listener's own personal history, prior exposures and cultural background. One man's sunken cathedral might be another woman's mist at the dawning."

 

I'll be buying it soon, I'm sure, but it's great to have this (very true, IMHO) opinion of JW on the record. Thanks, @Holko

 

Mark

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  • 1 month later...

Can’t believe I forgot the notes he wrote for the LSO/Slatkin premiere recordings of the violin and flute concerti (VSD 5345):
 

THE VIOLIN CONCERTO

The 20th century has been an extremely rich period in the production of violin concertos. It is a period in which we have been given masterpieces of the genre by Barton, Berg, Elgar, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Walton and others. These works have set a very high standard for any composer wishing to contribute a piece of this kind.


However daunting these great examples of the recent past may be, the medium of the violin concerto continues to fascinate. The violin itself remains an instrument of enormous expressive power, and the urge to contribute to its repertoire is great.


With these thoughts in mind, I set to work laying out my concerto in three movements, each with expansive themes and featuring virtuosic passage work used both for effective contrast and display. The pattern of movements is fast, slow, fast with a cadenza at the end of the first movement. Although contemporary in style and technique, I think of the piece as within the romantic tradition.


The first movement starts with an unaccompanied presentation, by the solo violin, of the principal theme, which is composed of broad melodic intervals and rhythmic contour, in contrast with the more jaunty second subject. Orchestra and soloist share the exploitation of this material, and after the solo cadenza the movement is brought to a quiet conclusion.


The second movement features an elegiac melodic subject. While this melody is the central feature of the movement, there is, by way of contrast, a brisk middle section based on rushing ‘tetrachordal’  figures that are tossed back and forth between soloist and orchestra. The mood of the opening is always present, however, as the rushing and playing about continue to be accompanied by hints of a return to the movement's more introspective opening.


The finale begins with chiming chords of great dissonance from the orchestra, all of which pivot around a G being constantly sounded by the trumpet. The solo part commences immediately on a journey of passagework in triple time that forms a kind of moto perpetuo which propels the movement. In rondo-like fashion, several melodies emerge until insistent intervals, borrowed from the first movement, form to make up the final lyrical passage ‘sung' by the solo violin. An excited coda, based on the triple-time figures, concludes the work.

 

I began composing the concerto in 1974, finishing it October 19, 1976. It is dedicated to the memory of my late wife.

 

-John Williams

 

51F7091C-8018-45F8-9468-90A89F5865D5.jpeg


 

THE FLUTE CONCERTO

I wrote my flute concerto in 1969. The concerto was "inspired" by some demonstrations of the Japanese Shakuhachi flute that I had heard at that time.

I was so impressed by the music of this instrument that I wanted to try to create something for the conventional modern flute that would reflect the atmosphere evoked by Shakuhachi flutists. I wanted the solo part to sound “improvised” and decided to make the flute the only wind instrument in the piece. The accompaniment is provided by strings, percussion, piano, celeste and harps, as they make mysterious sounds like the snapping of branches, while we explore some imaginary mythical forest.

-John Williams

 

09F6C815-28E3-4E3B-ABD2-D908B97BE132.jpeg

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On 25/12/2021 at 10:25 PM, QuartalHarmony said:

Adventures on Earth:

  Reveal hidden contents

 


JW’s notes for Adventures On Earth - generally considered to be one of his most exciting pieces of music he has ever written throughout his entire career (and that’s saying something!) - are about as dry as they can get. 😂

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I should have added that the Varese notes for the violin and flute concerti should be dated 1983, which was the original year of the recording’s release (although my CD is a 1992 reissue, according to discogs).

 

Mark

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4 hours ago, rough cut said:


JW’s notes for Adventures On Earth - generally considered to be one of his most exciting pieces of music he has ever written throughout his entire career (and that’s saying something!) - are about as dry as they can get. 😂

 

And it's wrong, because they fly over the sunset at the end of the movie; The moon is earlier in the movie

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