Magazine article Gramophone

J Williams: 'Celebrating John Williams'

Magazine article Gramophone

J Williams: 'Celebrating John Williams'

Article excerpt

J Williams 'Celebrating John Williams' Olympic Fanfare and Theme and selections from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, ET the Extra Terrestrial, Harry Potter, Hook, Indiana Jones, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Memoirs of a Geisha, Schindler's List, Star Warsanc/Superman Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra / Gustavo Dudamel DG (F) (two discs for the price of one) 483 6647GH2 (95' * DDD) Recorded live at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, January 24-27, 2019

This pair of CDs was recorded live earlier this year to celebrate the music of John Williams and the centenary of the Los Angeles PO. Beginning with Star Wars (1977), it offers a substantial feast of music-making of the highest calibre, as one would expect from this orchestra under their conductor Gustavo Dudamel. Although the LAPO are seldom credited on a soundtrack (Ernest Gold's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is an exception), these players have this music coursing through their blood, as it did for their former music director, Esa-Pekka Salonen, on a Bernard Herrmann CD (Sony, 1/97).

This is a big orchestra for a big occasion and the DG engineers capture and blend it in a natural manner, never missing a detail, as borne out by glittering selections from Harty Potter, which are a joy to hear in these elegant, beautifully shaped performances. Dudamel's love of the music and his grip on the form is never in doubt, tricky transitions flowing seamlessly, his players responding to an accelerando with an adrenalin rush, and suspension in an unfolding drama given full measure by the observation of a pause, as in the coda to ET. …

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