Tag Archives: David Newman

New York Philharmonic: John Williams’ ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ in Concert – Recap

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There have been many collaborations throughout cinema history that have made a memorable and profound impact on moviegoers. Creativity can only mushroom if likeminded individuals join forces and put forth great art together. Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg is one such individual and he has been working with maestro and genius composer John Williams for over 40 years now. Their work has gone beyond just art and continues to endure in the collective consciousness of society. The New York Philharmonic recently brought the Spielberg / Williams masterpiece E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial to vivid life as they performed the orchestral score live while the 1982 film screened simultaneously.

Now, in case you have been living under a rock for the past 35 years, E.T. tells the beautiful story of young Elliot (Henry Thomas), a lonely boy who encounters an alien creature and soon becomes friends with it. When the shady government learns of E.T.’s existence, they quickly try to capture him. What then transpires is an adventure like none other with a powerful friendship at the forefront between boy and alien lifeform.

During the weekend of May 12th, 2017, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City played host with conductor David Newman conducting the New York Philharmonic for this truly wonderful concert. John Williams’ music was brought to glorious life by all the players and the audience went on a journey both musically and visually. Actor Robert MacNaughton (who played older brother Michael) was actually in the audience as a special guest and this only added to the already magical evening.

The New York Philharmonic puts on concerts like this fairly regularly and the next performances to feature John Williams’ music will be in September with the Star Wars films. Click here for more information. An absolute treat for the senses, the New York Philharmonic certainly knows what they’re doing and if you are a fan of John Williams or film in general, then these concerts are definitely for you.

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Blu-ray Review: Hollywood in Vienna: The World of James Horner

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On June 22, 2015, the film community lost a truly beautiful mind. James Roy Horner was and will always be remembered as one of Hollywood’s most influential film composers. The impact he has had on movies is nothing short of phenomenal and with blockbusters such as Avatar, Titanic, Braveheart, and Apollo 13, the man certainly left his mark and his legacy is truly, truly strong. Tragically, however, at the age of 61, Horner left this world when he died in a sudden and unfortunate plane crash. A true artist, Horner’s memory lives on with his diverse film scores and with a very special tribute Blu-ray set. Released one year after Horner lost his life, Hollywood in Vienna: The World of James Horner is the perfect way to honor this man and with his tremendous body of work being performed in front of him in Vienna in 2013, audiences, fans, family, and friends will always look back on Horner’s life as one full of triumph, tenderness, and utter beauty, much like the way his music invoked in all of us.

Hollywood in Vienna was an utterly fantastic event which took place on October 3rd and 4th, 2013 in the city of classical music: Vienna, Austria. Composer David Newman conducted the ORF Vienna Radio-Symphony Orchestra as this talented group of musicians paid tribute to Horner by performing selections from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Avatar, Titanic, The Amazing Spider-Man, Willow, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Aliens, The Mask of Zorro, The Rocketeer. Singer Deborah Cox and pianist/singer Jeremy Schonfeld even dazzled the audience with renditions of “Somewhere Out There” from An American Tail and “If We Hold On Together” from The Land Before Time. In addition, Geza Frank provided some Irish flavor with a bagpipes performance in honor of Braveheart and soprano Ildikó Raimondi nearly resurrected Titanic with her stunning vocals.

During the concert, Horner was seen wiping away tears, an absolutely beautiful image and profound evidence that his music is very personal and simply powerful. For over three decades, Horner has given us the gift of his art and at the Vienna concert, this brilliant composer’s gift was returned to him. At one point during the evening, Horner was awarded the Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award by the City of Vienna, a very special accolade and one, the esteemed composer accepted most graciously.

The second half of the Blu-ray set is a one-on-one symposium with Horner and Varèse Sarabande music composer Robert Townson. During this segment (which took place at the Max Reinhardt Seminar of the Vienna University of Music), Horner reflects on his impressive career and opens up a bit about his creative process. He also answers questions from aspiring composers in the audience. Also worth noting is that this is where Horner’s father, Harry Horner, studied stage design and would later win two Academy Awards (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree).

Finishing up the Blu-ray is a bittersweet “In Memoriam Featurette”, where we get a final dose of Horner magic with more concert footage and various titles of Horner-scored films flashing on the screen. It is a strong conclusion to a strong Blu-ray edition. Die hard Horner fans will eat this Blu-ray set up and casual admirers will probably gain a new appreciation for the film composer’s work. All in all, this is one tribute that will stand the test of time.

New York Philharmonic – A John Williams Celebration Recap

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. John Williams exploded into the film music world. He is the most famous living composer today and he is responsible for some of the most memorable themes and most successful movie franchises of all time. His work on Star Wars alone has made him a powerful figure in the film business and at 84 years of age, it doesn’t look like he’s planning on retiring anytime soon. The New York Philharmonic recently performed some of the Maestro’s works at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York and the results were simply out of this world.

Conducted by recognized film composer, in his own right, David Newman (Galaxy Quest, Ice Age), the New York Philharmonic paid tribute to Williams in a way that was not only spot on but utterly spectacular. The evening’s program included pieces from Steven Spielberg classics Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Schindler’s List, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Lesser known scores from Jane Eyre, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Born on the Fourth of July were performed to showcase some of Williams’ non-blockbuster work. The performance ended on a triumphant note, however, with pieces from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, A New Hope and a special bonus excerpt from E.T.: The Extra-terrestrial. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and an extra work entitled For New York were also played.

John Williams is so influential in the film world and his scores, so powerful, that anyone in attendance during this concert was certainly treated to something quite magical. It was refreshing to hear some of Williams’ lesser known works performed even if one usually expects to hear the bombast of say, Superman, Hook, or Jurassic Park. Those scores have been represented well in the past and with more scores being churned out every year by this master film composer, I think we are all in store for many more performances to come.