A Tribute to John WILLIAMS (b. 1932)
Sound the Bells (?) [2:50] - rec. Sony Studios June 2000
Jaws – ‘Out to Sea’ and ‘Shark Cage Fugue’ (1975) (4:23) - rec. Boston May 1990
Sabrina - Theme (1995) [4:58]with Itzhak Perlman (violin) and Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra. - rec. Pittsburgh 1996
1941 – March (1979) - rec. Boston May 1990
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial – ‘Adventures on Earth’ (1982) [9:47] - rec. Boston May 1990
War Horse – ‘Dartmoor, 1912’ (2011) [3:35] - rec. Sony Studios, March 2011
Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – ‘The Adventures of Mutt’ (2008) [3:12] - rec. Sony Studios Feb and March 2008
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – ‘Harry’s Wondrous World (2001) [5:21] - rec. Abbey Road Studios, London September 2001
Elegy for Cello and Orchestra [6:22] Yo-Yo Ma (cello) and the Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles - rec. Sony Studios April 2001
Memoirs of a Geisha – ‘Going to School’ (2005) [2:42] with Yo-Yo Ma - rec. Royce Hall Los Angeles, August 2005
NBC Nightly News Theme ‘The Mission Theme’ (?) [3:30] - rec. Sony Studios June 2000
Schindler’s List Theme (1993) [3:33] Itzhak Perlman (violin) and Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra - rec. Pittsburg 1996.
The Adventures of TinTin – ‘The Adventure Continues’ (2011) [2:58] - rec. Sony Studios, July 2011.
Star Wars – ‘Throne Room and Finale’ (1977) [7:57] - rec. Skywalker Symphony Orchestra Marin County CA, March 1990
Happy Birthday Variations (?) [5:10] Previously unreleased Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles - rec. December 1999
All selections conducted by John Williams
SONY 88691942532 [70:56]

First-time buyers of John Williams’s film music will find this attractively-priced album an essential bargain. Habitual Williams collectors should note the contents, as above, carefully for they will likely have a large proportion of these selections. The film music selections range from the Jaws and Star Wars music from the 1970s through to the 2012 scores for The Adventures of Tin Tin and War Horse. Enterprisingly, the Jaws selection eschews that celebrated snapping, sinister theme in favour of the bracing and jaunty ‘Out to Sea’ music before darker colours of ‘The Shark Cage’ emerge. No change from the imposing and majestic Star Wars music but then it did raise the hairs on the backs of our necks all those years ago and it did really confirm the name of John Williams amongst the pantheon of first class composers of the genre. I have to admit I was not impressed enough by the Tin Tin music to rush out to buy the soundtrack recording even though its ‘chase music’ was vastly superior to so many similar efforts. Williams’s War Horse music impressed rather more even though the ‘Dartmoor 1912’ selection sounds to be a pastiche of turn-of-the-Century English classical music seasoned with some Gaelic utterances.
The two soloists feature strongly. Violinist Itzhak Perlman shone in one of Williams’s most touching and memorable scores, that for Spielberg’s Schindler’s List – that’s included. Perlman also featured as soloist in a 1997 album of film music conducted by John Williams – ‘Cinema Serenade’ which included Williams’s beautiful romantic music from the 1995 remake of Sabrina; it is here too but I have to say I much preferred the original soundtrack version which featured a piano solo. The cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, was the soloist in the Williams Seven Years in Tibet score. It marked the beginning of a collaboration between the composer and cellist; and included on this album is the exotic colourful yet also the cello-made-poignant Memoirs of a Geisha. Turning from film music, Yo-Yo Ma features as soloist in John Williams’s heartfelt Elegy for Cello and Orchestra.
Still with Williams’s concert pieces, the programme opens with his joyous, celebratory Sound the Bells. Equally imposing is the busy, thunderous ‘The Mission Theme’ created for NBC Nightly News which sounds as though it might have escaped from an Indiana Jones movie. The album closes with John Williams tongue-in-cheek Happy Birthday Variations (was he lampooning Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra?)
Happy Birthday John and thanks for so much wonderful music.
A nice nostalgic trip. But read the contents list carefully before purchasing.
Ian Lace

A nice nostalgic trip.