Yesterday's J. Williams Concert in Rochester, NY

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by newt, Apr 30, 2001.

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  1. newt Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2000
    star 1
    First time in this forum, thought I should post this for you.

    Yesterday John Williams conducted the Eastman Philharmonia orchestra in Rochester, NY. It was an astounding once-in-a-lifetime experience for this student orchestra, for our city -and for me. For this event, the students performed in the full-sized Eastman Theater and every single seat was filled including the two balconies. We were four rows from center stage and got to see Mr. Williams up close. Because it was a student performance, seats were on a first come basis. People had been in line for two hours and were really revved up. A mixed bunch: classical music fans, Star Wars fans, family members of the students, you name it.

    When we arrived we noticed that Star Wars was not listed on the program. There was music from Schindler's List, Hook, Angela's Ashes (outstanding, by the way,) ET, 1941, & others, -but no Star Wars. My fiancée and I were worried because we brought along our Star Wars-hyped 3 and 5-year-old nephews and they expected to hear it. So we told them that Star Wars would play at the end of the show, and hoped we would be right.

    When the music started, I was blown away. Williams was working with an orchestra of teenage students from the Eastman School of Music -yet they gave Rochester's Philharmonic Orchestra a run for its money -in fact, (to my untrained ears) they sounded better. If they lacked in precision, they more than made up for in enthusiasm -not to mention Mr. Williams' supreme conducting! His conducting was amazingly energetic for a man of 69 and it is difficult to believe he is that old. Before he conducted Shindler's List, he related an anecdote in his soft-spoken style. He explained that when "Steven first showed the film to me, I was quite unsettled by it. In fact I was really quite devastated for several days. When I finally got back to him about scoring the film, I told him: 'Steven, I've been thinking about it, and I really think that in this instance you need a better composer than I am to do this film.' Steven replied to me: 'Well, I've thought about that too, and I sort of agree with you. The only problem is that they're all dead so I have to use you." When the audience laughed at this, Williams laughed just as hard -in fact he really broke himself up -it was pretty funny! Anyway, the girl who did the Violin solo was outstanding. The girl who did the cello solo for Angela's ashes was just as good, if not better. Williams spoke before several other pieces and also when receiving his doctorate. He has a very slight NY accent and came across as exceedingly modest and thoughtful. When Eastman School officials awarded him with his honorary doctorate, the audience erupted into shouting and applause at the mention of each of his films and Williams laughed at their uncontained enthusiasm. He received his doctorate with graciousness and complimented the school and students profusely. (They sent him a demo tape to get him to come down to conduct them.) Then, after a few more pieces, the show ended with ET's Flying Theme. The audience was IMEDIATELY on their feet. (His 2nd ovation!) Williams left, came back, left again, applause continued. Then the students in the orchestra began drummed their shoes on the floor. Mr. Willaims reappeared and took the podium, paused, then began...STAR WARS -MAIN THEME!

    The audience could not contain itself and (believe this or not-) shouted and clapped over the first 2 bars of the intro! Williams was laughing and shaking his head during this.) I'll say this about it, it was the most moving, powerful musical moment of my life -in short, it was 1977 and the music was new again. The students imbued the theme with unimaginable power -beating out LPO for sheer massiveness and drama. They were so enthusiastic that they lost some precision during the crescendos by packing a little too much punch into it! Of course, by this time people had tears in their eyes, (me too,) and could only laugh as these kids packed EVERYTHING into it.

    After Star Wars the audience leapt to their feet for the 3rd
  2. Lord Mauly Mall TFN/JC Banner Artist Team

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    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 1999
    star 7
    "it was 1977 and the music was new again."

    Sounds like you had a great time. :)
  3. Jeff 42 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 1998
    star 5
    Great review. I wish I could see him live someday.
  4. Luukeskywalker Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 1999
    star 4
    I love the part where Steven told him that he agreed about getting a better composer but they are all dead. LOL!!!!


    Great stuff!!!!


    Williams is the best ever.

    It would have been better had he included more Star Wars stuff and included the main Superman theme.
  5. newt Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2000
    star 1
    Thanks Jeff42.
    Lukeskywalker -I agree. I really wanted to hear Superman, The Asteroid Feild, Here They Come, heck, even Jurassic Park -but Mr Williams has his own favorites, I guess. From his programing of the concert, I believe his inner voice as a composer leans toward subtilety and 'saying a lot with a little.' -Not that he's a minimalist like Glass, or something. I just think he has done the 'loud thing' and now prefers to write music like Angela's Ashes.
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