John Williams: Tree Song; Violin Concerto; 3 Pieces from Schindler's List
Boston Symphony Orchestra, Gil Shaham & John Williams
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Great concerto. The first two works are a bit of a departure from his film score work and show another side of his sound world. The famous selections from Schindler's List are played with as much feeling as Perlman's playing. Williams choosing to use the BSO over the pops was a good choice and this will probably be the reference recording of his concerto.
Generally known for his optimistic and heroic scores for film, the general consensus around Williams the composer for the concert hall is that of disappointment. This is not a reflection of the quality of his concert works rather the expectation of the listener, that Williams heroic film style is left behind in the name of a more introspective rumination. These pieces are not written in a hard core 20th century style. Indeed, Williams is a bit of a conservative when it comes to his concert works. However, the works on this recital are beautiful and show a very meaningful side to Williams-they are a private journey for this most public composer.
Treesong, the most recent of these three violin concertos, is three impressions for violin and orchestra. This is not impressionist music per se, rather it is three reflections on nature written for the great Gil Shaham.
The violin concerto is essentially a requiem written for Williams's late wife. Written consistent with his concert hall style, the piece dates from the late 1970s. It is perhaps Williams most striking composition for the concert hall.
The final three pieces from Schindler's List go beyond a simple "suite" from a film score. They are perhaps, in the end, some of the most poignant moments of the marriage of film and music from the entire history of film. This is saying a lot as they are not showpieces meant to delight audiences, yet their musical value is so inviting, they are performed with great frequency.
A final note: the previous reviewer mentioned that Williams "chose" the Boston Symphony over the Pops. It's a well known fact that the orchestra is one and the same, only the Pops excludes a couple of principals (who often choose to perform with Willis even when not required to). Inasmuch, this orchestra-no matter which name it carries, is the orchestra with which Williams has a relationship dating back to 1980.
Formed: October 22, 1881 in Boston, MA
Years Active: '/0s, '00s, '10s, '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s