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Is Williams a renowned classical composer?


scissorhands
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Or do his film music assignments prejudice his concert works?

The low respect showed to Williams in classical music circles is one thing that really irritates me. His concert works have barely some repercussion, and is always accused of un-originality

They have an special aversion to Johnny, whilst other composers like Morricone (with no remarkable concert work behind him) get all the praise.

Rózsa did get this respect. Why not Williams?

I haven't heard a better orchestral work than Soundings in the last years. Shouldn't it be performed more often by different orchestras?

Well, it's just a thought of mine. What do you think?

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I think you pegged it with your comment about his soundtrack works. I don't think it is neccesarily his work that is at issue, but the stigma it carries. Since he does so many film scores, he has become synonimus with doing that and only that. Certain people seem to look down on not just Williams, but all of the brilliant men and women who score films. I'm with you though, I don't think he gets the respect he deserves from the classical comunity. Such a shame really. I think in the future, Williams will be looked back upon as a truly great classical composer, not just a film composer. Only time will be the true telling factor.

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Well, at least they say his concertos are good work outs for the soloists. And, in all honesty, compared to the really great concertos, our beloved John Williams isn't completely "there" yet.

----------------

Alex Cremers - listening to Korngold's Violin Concerto

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They are the people who move in classical circles and have power (little and large syndicates, depending on the country, spread all over the world). They are the ones who decide who will make it or not in the classical music world. Double cross them and your career is over. You may compare them to the "mob", if you will. Luckily, John Williams has the money and the back up of a huge label like SONY to fight the classical community by releasing/conducting his own work (which usually is not really "done" for a composer).

No, I'm not joking.

----------------

Alex Cremers

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Well.... then.... they (classical comunity) collects recordings from classical composers? Is that their power? "WE OWN!!" :music: I don't "see" any new classical music today...

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There was something like this on another thread....No - Williams is not a renowned Classical Composer, since we are no longer (and haven't been for many years) in the Classical Period.

Is he a renowned composer of instrumental music in the Classical Style? Not really - he is far more rooted in the 19th Century with his Romantic period trappings (Large orchestras, sweeping themes, leitmotif etc)...

There is not much in the UK of his non-soundtrack work on record, however it is performed live with regularity...in the orchestral world, though, playing any of his music is a privelege (I don't think that's spelt right......) and he is renowned as a compser in his own right, whether it is movie stuff, a concerto, a Symphony (boy, would I like that one to come out of the locker....) or anything......

Would you ask whether Beethoven was a renowned Opera composer? He wasn't, but it was just part of his output which, together, made him an astonishing composer.

Like Williams.....

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There is still hope though. I met with the head of Scandinavias largest record label a few weeks back. (http://www.bis.se) Our conversation moved into contemporary music and I told him about maestro Williams´s concertos. His eyes went saucer size (he´d only heard of the film scores) and asked me if I was joking. So I gave him a couple of cd:s to evaluate. Maybe it can be recorded by BIS. I haven´t heard anything yet but let us hope.

/CC

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Williams will never be renowned for his concertos.In time his film scores will merge with the classical pieces in regular orchestral concerts when younger musical directors take over.There is no member at JWfan above 45,so I assume most old foggies running the orchestras today don't know Williams.

K.M.

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You seem to be missing a major point in your initial post, Scissorhands. John Williams' classical pieces have actually had a pretty good run in the concert hall. Trust me it is extremely difficult for a composer to get a piece of music performed in concert. Williams as a conductor is often able to program his own pieces. Many other conductors have performed his concert pieces over the years. Williams' concert music has had quite a lot of performances compared to pieces by many "classical" composers living today. His music may not get the respect it deserves sometimes, but it certainly gets played.

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The BSO takes his concertos very seriously in the rehearsals. Some discuss feverishly during breaks and seem giddy over certain passages. I think we can be certain that the BSO will continue to play his music as long as they continue. I also predict they will play a few complete film scores of his for "serious" concerts, in a trend that will hit stride in 30 or 40 years.

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Esa-Pekka Salonen brought the Star wars concert suite to Stockholm a few years back and performed it in concert together with music by Kurt Weill. Believe me when I say that this was a big thing since music is practically an unknown art form north of Copenhagen.

/CC

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I think Williams is being more and more accepted as a notable classical composer. He's also one of the few present day composers who has been educated classically (besides his jazz carreer) and really links popular music to the traditions of Romantic composing. His instrumentation techniques are generally respected nowadays and are even mentioned in standard music theory books (Samuel Adler - The Study of Orchestration). I think Williams will be regarded as an important 20th century composer in the tradition of Bernstein and Korngold.

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Many excellent points have already been made, but I thought I would concentrate on a few that I haven't seen mentioned yet.

Many of his concert works have been commissioned. I'm sure Miguel could list all of them off the top of his head, but what comes to my mind immediately are: For Seiji, Soundings, The Five Sacred Trees and the Horn Concerto. The fact that major orchestras and premiere soloists have requested compositions from him because of their respect for his abilities as a composer beyond the world of film music (and we have no way of knowing how many similar requests he has turned down over the years) displays a certain level of renown.

As one example, and I'm sure SeekUYoda remembers this, in the pre-concert talk before the Chicago concert, Dale Clevenger explained how the concerto came into existence. The symphony orchestra wanted to honor him by having a work commissioned for him and asked if he had a composer in mind. He laughed and paraphrased JW's Schindler's List comment by stating, "Yes, but they're all dead." Of all the living composers he could have chosen though, his first choice was John Williams.

I also remember at the concert that while some of the older members of the orchestra seemed to have a more reserved attitude toward the music, the younger members were grinning ear-to-ear at having the opportunity to perform JW's music, with him, and for him. As the old orchestra guard retires, the next generation will have grown up listening to JW's music and I think it will be even more frequently performed than it is now.

Also, many classical radio stations program his music into their playlists and that spreads it out to a wider audience and increases awareness in his non-film music. Of the works not yet released on disc, I remember, and I'm sure many other members do as well, sitting next to the computer listening to the broadcast of Soundings. Even though we were not able to listen to the Horn Concerto through the Internet, anyone in the Boston area did have the chance to hear it.

As for the quality of the music, as Alex has stated, it may not be as inventive or daring as works by other contemporary composers, although it can be more so than his film music. It is however more accessible to the average listeners' ears than the cacophony of sound that seems to be the hallmark of many modern compositions I have heard. However anyone defines the "it" factor in JW's music, be it sound, technique or style, it is as present in his concert works as it is in the film scores.

My two cents worth anyway. :angry:

Kathy

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Even though we were not able to listen to the Horn Concerto through the Internet, anyone in the Boston area did have the chance to hear it.

Kathy

I can't believe no recording of this is floating on the internet to this day.All it would have took is an old fashinoned recording from an FM tuner to cassette or MD.

Unless there's a conspiracy against me getting the recording.

K.M.

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King Mark, I really hate your picture. JW should be applauded for not scoring GoF. I think the British crew of HP wasn't particularly nice to JW . . .  

:thumbup:

What happened?

Yes,we need to know all the dirt behind his decision.I'm sure he didn't just walk away for no reason.

K.M.

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