Skip to comments.American Journey: A Tribute to John Williams - listen live online today
Posted on 02/26/2012 10:18:41 AM PST by EveningStar
With 47 Oscar nominations to his credit, more than any other living person, John Williams, at age 80, shows no sign of slowing down. Hes currently working on his 26th film score for director Steven Spielberg in a career that has no equal. Join host Jon Burlingame for American Journey, A Tribute to John Williams, Sunday, February 26 at 1 p.m. on Classical KUSC.
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As a resident of Boston for most of my life, I have heard John Williams conduct the Boston Pops many times during his tenure as Conductor and music director.
Those familiar with the Pops know that the Typical Concert has three “Acts” in the Program. The Opener is comprised of “Light” Classical Music. Part 2 consists usually of one work, such as a piano concerto. And Act 3 would present the Contemporary Program of popular music arranged especially for The Boston Pops Orchestra.
During his time with the Pops, John Williams used this third act almost entirely to showcase his own movie music. Although his music is wonderful, the listening audience began to tire of “Star Wars”, “ET”, “Superman” and “Indiana Jones”. Not trying to be a curmudgeon about it, just speaking from personal experience!
I sure MISS Arthur Fiedler!
The cool thing is that you can hear a touch of Star Wars in them ten years before the fact.
Guess the name Haydn is unknown in LaLaLand...107 symphonies, hundreds of pieces of chamber music, operas, etc. Other names come to mind easily. Of course, none of those ever had to put up with the histrionics of movie producers and directors...call it a draw.
I read that relations between Maestro Williams and the Boston Pops were not always smooth.
When morale drops, the musicians can behave, well, unprofessionally.
I watched a broadcast of Williams and the Pops back in the 80’s which featured Victor Borge. In addition to his usual hilarious schtick, he performed, straight, the final movement of Rachmaninoff’s 2nd concerto.
There is a climax late in the movement which is the pivotal moment in the entire work. The piano finishes a rising rhetorical statement with a powerful chord, followed by a short fermata during which the chord hangs in the air. Then the orchestra responds with a crashing chord of its own.
At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen.
Instead, after the crucial chord, the orchestra came in one beat early, totally blowing the fermata and causing an instant grimace on Borge’s face.
The players had to know what they were doing. I am guessing that they were responding nastily to Mr Williams’ baton movements, and perhaps expressing their irritation with him in general.
I still can’t believe they couldn’t have come in at the right time, regardless of what he was doing with the stick at that moment.
WOW! That is an amazing story! And I LOVE Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. I know it by heart. So I could hear it in my head exactly as you described.
When I was a Recreation Director at a Skilled Nursing facility in Boston, I Used to hire a VERY Talented Violinist to entertain my residents. She could do the Whole Carmen Fantasia, Faust Fantasia, and Gypsy Dances by Sarasate SOLO on the violin and thoroughly entertain her audience.
She later went on to be First Chair at the Boston Pops.
Then she married the conductor (Keith Lockhart).
Not long after, she divorced the conductor. I don’t blame her, as I had a gig on a Harbor Cruise at a fancy charity event, and there he was schmoozing all the young women and acting like a fool.
At the last Pops concert I attended before moving to Florida, Lockhart RUINED the traditional Esplanade Rendition of the 1812 Overture by picking it up JUST before the finale, thus destroying the Twenty minutes of Tension-Building and Narrative Excitement leading up to the famous triumphant ending. I was APPALLED! It was as if he didn’t think we, the audience, were capable of following this towering tone poem from its solemn beginning to its bombastic ending (complete with REAL Church bells, fireworks, and National Guard Howitzers). His arrogance and elitism not only was abusive to the audience, but to Tchaikovsky’s most famous work.
I was with a bunch of Bikers, and they were so mad they wanted to storm the stage! LOL!
Thanks for your memory of the Pops. Symphony Hall and the Pops were a very important part of my childhood. I used to go there every Saturday Morning as a child and saw Leonard B doing The
“Children’s Concerts” many times. I also dated Harry Ellis Dickson’s nephew! LOLOL! Such memories!
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