January this year, Goldener Saal der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna, eighty-seven-year-old John Williams conducts the Philharmonic in some of his movie music, Deutsche Grammophon captures the occasion in sumptuous, vivid and dynamic sound. This may not be standard repertoire for this august ensemble, but the films are international currency and their scores are universally familiar and admired.
The programme opens with ‘Flight to Neverland’ from Hook, an exhilarating magic-carpet ride, and the end credits fall to the ‘Raiders March’ from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Other choices include reels from Close Encounters, Superman, The Witches of Eastwick – this latter featuring a cameo appearance from gypsy-fiddler Anne-Sophie Mutter, a mix of Tzigane, Zigeunerweisen and something increasingly devilish – Jaws (if omitting the two-tone warning motif), Jurassic Park, E.T., War Horse, and Star Wars; seventy-five minutes’ worth, and it’s all music, applause left on the cutting-room floor.
This is image-supporting and -creating music of variety that is strong enough to live outside of the cinema: heart-touching, oriental/perky, seductive, irrepressible. The WP plays superbly for its first-time guest, lovely woodwind solos (flute especially), the violins reach for the stars and the brass has a ball when swagger and militaristic might is required, percussion not outdone. I smile at the William Walton-like passages.
DG 483 6373 is released on August 14, and also available is a CD/Blu-ray combo and a two-LP set. Add your own popcorn and a beverage.