Berlin, 11 February 2022. A week after its release, John Williams · Berliner Philharmoniker – The Berlin Concert has gone straight to No.1 in Germany’s Top 100 Album Chart – the perfect gift for the legendary Hollywood film composer, who celebrated his 90th birthday on 8 February. This is a historic first No.1 spot in Germany for both John Williams and the Berliner Philharmoniker. Notably, it is also the first Deutsche Grammophon album ever to achieve this feat, building on the success of John Williams in Vienna, which was the best-selling orchestral album of 2020 and whose Live Edition reached No.6 this time last year.  

Stanley DoddsViolinist / Media and Board of Directors, Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, notes: “The symphonic film music of John Williams has touched the hearts and imagination of generations of movie-lovers all around the world. We congratulate John Williams on the occasion of his 90th birthday, and thank him for the week spent with us in Berlin. It was pure joy!” 

“The fact that John Williams’ 90th birthday has been crowned with this success comes as no surprise to us, but does give us enormous pleasure,” says Dr Clemens TrautmannPresident Deutsche Grammophon. “The top ranking in the German charts clearly reflects the exceptional place his peerless music has long held in our collective memory and, more importantly, in our hearts. All of us at Deutsche Grammophon are honoured that John Williams has entrusted us with his recordings with such leading orchestras as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker and Boston Symphony Orchestra – and, of course, with Anne-Sophie Mutter. Our team have more than repaid this trust.” 

Sam Bittner, Senior Vice President of Deutsche Grammophon’s media partner Seven.One Starwatch, adds: “We are extremely proud to have been part of such an outstanding project. It was a pleasure to have been immersed in the world of some of John Williams’ greatest compositions. The synergies of cross-platform marketing and content creation between DG and Starwatch show the range of opportunities available in the music market of today and tomorrow. Congratulations to everyone involved in this excellent album launch.” 

Frank BriegmannChairman & CEO Universal Music Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon, also welcomed the news: “With this first No.1 album in the Official German Charts, John Williams – together with the Berliner Philharmoniker – has given himself a wonderful birthday present and the rest of us a sensational listening experience. My warmest congratulations to John, the Berliner Philharmoniker and the whole team, including our media partner Seven.One Starwatch.” 

The new album captures the electric atmosphere of the composer’s historic debut performances at the helm of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Available in a breathtaking Dolby Atmos sound mix, the recording features a wide-ranging selection of Williams’ music, including familiar themes from the Harry PotterStar Wars and Indiana Jones movies alongside less well-known pieces such as the Elegy for cello and orchestra.  

BBC Radio 3’s Record Review says of the album, “A rich, romantic sound that’s total luxury and a potent reminder of just how well-crafted these scores are. From the ‘Imperial March’ from Star Wars, the magic of Harry Potter, to the beautiful Elegy for Cello and Orchestra and the otherworld modernism of Close Encounters … It’s a lot of fun, the highest-quality entertainment.” Meanwhile, Die Zeit sums up Williams’ art as follows: “Great melodies, powerful sonorities and surprising twists”.  

At 90, John Williams continues to write for both the silver screen and the concert hall. In March, he returns to Vienna to conduct the Wiener Philharmoniker at the Musikverein. As well as favourite film themes, the programme will include his Violin Concerto No.2, with soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter, whose world premiere recording of the work is set to be released by Deutsche Grammophon later this year.

John Williams @ 90, http://www.colinscolumn.com/many-happy-returns-to-john-williams-90-today-conducts-vienna-philharmonic-in-the-theme-from-jurassic-park/, February 8.