Music of America: John Williams

The Music of America: John Williams

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Each release in Sony's budget Music of America series offers three discs, devoted to the music of a single composer, accompanied by a brief booklet essay and some vintage photos. Most of the releases seem designed to provide one more go-round for the classics of the Columbia catalog from the 1950s and 1960s, by the New York

Overview

Each release in Sony's budget Music of America series offers three discs, devoted to the music of a single composer, accompanied by a brief booklet essay and some vintage photos. Most of the releases seem designed to provide one more go-round for the classics of the Columbia catalog from the 1950s and 1960s, by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the like. This selection of music by John Williams is a little different, and it's interesting purely in terms of how sharply Williams' reputation has risen since 1990, the year of the earliest recordings on the set. These come from the Boston Pops and, in the case of the music from Star Wars, the so-called Skywalker Symphony Orchestra from George Lucas' Skywalker Studios in California. The most recent recording is of "Air and Simple Gifts," composed for the inauguration of President Barack Obama in January 2009 and recorded at that time by Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Gabriela Montero, and Anthony McGill. That work is reasonably well-known simply because of the prominent perch from which it made its debut, and the film scores certainly qualify as American classics, but it's a different story with the concert pieces on most of the first disc and part of the second. Most of these come from commissions from major symphony orchestras, who have given them their first performances and recordings, but few have entered the repertory. It's convenient, as Williams gains more general recognition, to have a collection of these in one place. One might argue that it is program and incidental music, in the most general senses of these terms, that fire the composer's imagination, but also that pieces like the bassoon concerto "The Five Sacred Trees" are worthy of more general recognition. At any rate, the balance between familiar material and novelties has been one of the strengths of Sony's series, and it's especially valuable here.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/08/2010
Label:
Masterworks
UPC:
0886977063626
catalogNumber:
770636
Rank:
2824

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Air and Simple Gifts, for cello, clarinet, piano & violin  (04:33)
  2. American Journey, suite for orchestra: 1. Immigration and Building

    1. 1. Immigration and Building  (05:37)
  3. American Journey, suite for orchestra: 2. The Country at War

    1. 2. The Country at War  (03:22)
  4. American Journey, suite for orchestra: 3. Popular Entertainment

    1. 3. Popular Entertainment  (02:29)
  5. American Journey, suite for orchestra: 4. Arts and Sports

    1. 4. Arts and Sports  (02:37)
  6. American Journey, suite for orchestra: 5. Civil Rights and the Women's Movement

    1. 5. Civil Rights and the Women's Movement  (03:26)
  7. American Journey, suite for orchestra: 6. Flight and Technology

    1. 6. Flight and Technology  (07:10)
  8. Memoirs of a Geisha, film score: Sayuri's Theme

    1. Sayuri's Theme  (04:39)
  9. Memoirs of a Geisha, film score: Going to School

    1. Going to School  (04:16)
  10. Memoirs of a Geisha, film score: The Chairman's Waltz

    1. The Chairman's Waltz  (04:57)
  11. Memoirs of a Geisha, film score: Brush on Silk

    1. Brush on Silk  (04:22)
  12. Memoirs of a Geisha, film score: Chiyo's Prayer

    1. Chiyo's Prayer  (05:28)
  13. Memoirs of a Geisha, film score: Becoming a Geisha

    1. Becoming a Geisha  (05:05)
  14. Song for World Peace, for orchestra  (04:41)

Disc 2

  1. Summon the Heroes, for orchestra  (06:18)
  2. A Hymn to New England, for orchestra  (03:12)
  3. The Five Sacred Trees, concerto for bassoon & orchestra

    1. 1. Eó Mugna  (06:48)
    2. 2. Tortan  (03:51)
    3. 3. Eó Rossa  (04:01)
    4. 4. Craeb Uisnig  (02:53)
    5. 5. Dathi  (08:03)
  4. Sound the Bells!, fanfare for brass & percussion (or orchestra)  (02:49)
  5. Elegy for cello & orchestra  (06:20)
  6. Mission Theme for orchestra (Theme for NBC News)  (03:31)
  7. 1941, film score: March

    1. March  (04:14)
  8. Olympic Spirit, for orchestra  (04:06)

Disc 3

  1. Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, film score: Main Title

    1. Main Title  (05:45)
  2. Jaws, film score: Theme

    1. Theme  (02:53)
  3. Sugarland Express, film score: Theme

    1. Theme  (03:38)
  4. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, film score: Flying Theme

    1. Flying Theme  (03:42)
  5. Born on the Fourth of July, film score: Theme from Born on the Fourth of July

    1. Theme from Born on the Fourth of July  (06:20)
  6. Born on the Fourth of July, film score: Cua Viet River, Vietnam 1968

    1. Cua Viet River, Vietnam 1968  (03:33)
  7. Born on the Fourth of July, film score: Massapequa ... The Early Days

    1. Massapequa ... The Early Days  (04:08)
  8. Schindler's List, film score: Theme

    1. Theme  (03:34)
  9. Jurassic Park, film score: Theme

    1. Theme  (05:32)
  10. Empire of the Sun, film score: Cadillac of the Skies

    1. Cadillac of the Skies  (05:01)
  11. Raiders of the Lost Ark, film score: Raiders March

    1. Raiders March  (05:13)
  12. Close Encounters of the Third Kind, film score: Excerpts

    1. Excerpts  (09:47)
  13. Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, film score: Throne Room / Finale

    1. Throne Room / Finale  (07:57)

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The Music of America: John Williams 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While this compliation contains previously released pieces, it is a definitive overview of Williams's career. Moreover, it contains some pieces that are not available economically elsewhere, particularly the Memoirs of a Geisha Suite for Cello and Orchestra featuring Yo Yo Ma. This suite alone is worth the purchase price. It combines the best of Williams's approaches to composing concert works and film scores. The result is a veritable cello concerto that ranks, in my opinion, among the top twenty extended pieces ever composed for the cello. The inclusion of Five Sacred Trees lends additional gravitas to the collection and the selection of film and ceremonial works is very well done.