Tag Archives: John Williams

The New York Pops Plays the Music of John Williams – Recap

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When it comes to film music, one name seems to pop up no matter how much of a movie aficionado or novice you are. He is a man with numerous awards and accolades to his name and he is responsible for scoring some of cinema history’s greatest titles. That man, of course, is John Williams and on June 8th, 2017, the Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, NY hosted The New York Pops as they performed Williams’ music in a glorious concert setting. It was a truly lovely evening featuring music played expertly in a more than special venue.

Built in 1923, Forest Hills Stadium was originally a glorious tennis court and in the 1960s, it became a glorious concert venue. The Beatles, Barbara Streisand, and Frank Sinatra were just a  few of the big names that performed in the space. Once the 90s hit, the stadium grew quiet. But in 2013, the venue was revitalized and for purposes of this article, the New York Pops graced the stadium with their presence and played Maestro John Williams’ iconic movie music.

The weather of the evening was perfect and the energy in the air was electric. The program of the concert included pieces from Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Hook, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and the Star Wars films. Each movie’s score was brilliantly performed and with a gifted and charismatic conductor / musical director in Steven Reineke at the helm, the evening was certainly to remember. Leading the orchestra and providing a mini synopsis and history for each film, this only elevated the evening to much higher level. There were even special appearances by Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, Kylo Ren, and Jawas (people in costume, I hope.)

John Williams is by far, Hollywood’s most well-known film composer and his collaborations with filmmakers Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have provided audiences with some of the  most loved film music of all time. Forest Hills Stadium was the perfect venue for this concert and hopefully, more film composers’ works will be featured here. Being from Forest Hills myself, I was especially proud to be in the audience that night. With each piece played live, I got chills and I formed new memories of this incredible concert. The New York Pops and Forest Hills Stadium are responsible for this, those and of course Mr. John Williams.

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.

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.

Soundtrack Review: Jurassic World

22 years ago, Jurassic Park forever changed the way audiences saw movies. It was a monumental film and a crowning achievement due mostly to its groundbreaking visual effects and universal sense of wonder and fun. It was a sci-fi adventure film through and through and was one of visual effects powerhouse Industrial Light and Magic’s (ILM) absolute best films. Jurassic Park broke box office records and spawned three sequels, the most recent of which is Jurassic World and its soundtrack, the focus of this review. Michael Giacchino took John Williams’ original formula and added his own style to the proceedings, making for not only a fitting tribute to Mr. Williams’ sound but introduced a new style which combined both old and new. The results are a fresh score that balances action and childlike wonder, something Williams did and continues to do time and time again, especially with his many collaborations with director Steven Spielberg.

While Jurassic World may not be the most original of films, it is certainly full of plenty of fun. The PG-13 rating allows for many heart-pounding scares and action sequences, while falling under the umbrella of “family-friendly entertainment”. The first Jurassic Park established this very clearly and pretty much all of the sequels appropriately followed this reliable formula. World takes place two decades after the events of the first film and for some reason, has the park opened to the general public. Consumerism and and a new audience occupy the island and the fact that numerous lives were lost in the previous films doesn’t seem to matter to the park’s billionaire owner Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) and park’s operations manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard). Of course, things go horribly wrong when a new genetically engineered dinosaur escapes its paddock and wreaks havoc on the island and its visitors. Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) serves as the film’s hero since he has a unique ability to relate to and train Velociraptors. He quickly becomes the film’s rugged savior and predictability ensues.

The film’s score, which was written by Michael Giacchino, is a strong effort from the man who, over the course of the last decade, has become one of Hollywood’s most talented composers. He made a huge splash in 2004 with Pixar’s The Incredibles and since then, has scored various other Pixar features, Star TrekMission: Impossible – Ghost ProtocolDawn of the Planet of the Apes and so on. This year, he has scored Jupiter AscendingTomorrowland and Inside Out, so he certainly has his work cut out for him. Also worth noting is that Giacchino scored the score for The Lost World: Jurassic Park video game back in 1997.

The score for Jurassic World contains a healthy dose of action cues coupled with tender family themes and the occasional rendition of John Williams’ two classic themes. Track 1 “Bury the Hatchling” sets an ominous sci-fi mood. This then segways into the family theme, which is sweet and cheery. Track 3 “Welcome to Jurassic World” is by far, the best track on the album, for it presents a glorious rendition of William’s original theme and makes fans of the first film excited upon hearing the first few notes. This then leads into “As the Jurassic World Turns”, an epic cue which introduces the new Jurassic sound and counterbalances it with the old sound.

With the Williams sound making a strong appearance in the beginning portions of the score, Giacchino treats us to a substantial amount of action music in the middle and second half. These tense moments litter the score and during the rare quiet moments, we get some pretty routine filler score, moments of discovery and scenes in which Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard can flirt awkwardly. “Indominus Wrecks” is a great track that incorporates many styles and moods into one cue. “Gyrosphere of Influence” harkens back to Williams sound and “Pavane for a Dead Apatosaurus” introduces a cool militaristic march for Vincent D’Onofrio’s “villain” and InGen. “Chasing the Dragons” is a rhythmic action cue with a pounding beat which is quite dark. “Our Rex is Bigger Than Yours” presents a triumphant rendition of the film’s main theme and then sours into a tribal chant action cue. The remainder of the score is more of the same, mixing the action cues with the upbeat family theme.

All in all, Giacchino has done a fine job with Jurassic World. The film itself is much better than its predecessor, 2001’s dismal Jurassic Park III and the music is a fitting tribute to John Williams. Giacchino’s work here demonstrates a precision and skill few film composers this day possess. While World isn’t a perfect film, it is a great example that new filmmakers and composers can respect the classics while making new works of their own. Jurassic World is a solid adventure film and its score strongly reflects that fun and originality first established over two decades ago.