Last November 26th at 7:30 pm, a special tribute concert to John Williams was held at the Barbican Hall in London, named The Best of John Williams, and in charge of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) who knows his music so well and with whom Master Williams has recorded many times, but this time conducted by Frank Strobel (more information on the following link).
The concert was attended by the composer Hector Marroquin, as spectator, who has collaborated with SoundTrackFest preparing a wonderful summary of the evening, which can be read below.
There’s no need to say much about the level and fame of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). The individual quality of each of their musicians not only brushes perfection, but together as an ensemble they have a sound that many orchestras today around the world would like to have.
But what makes it special to listen to the LSO performing a concert with music from one of the most famous film music composers, John Williams, when one has the possibility to listen to the magnificent recordings conducted by the composer himself, or the possibility to attend one of the so many concerts that today seem to happen all over the world with his music?
Well, the LSO gives such life to John Williams‘ music that each piece looks fresh, and that every new version of the pieces (which we’ve heard over and over again) looks rejuvenated.
The relationship of LSO and John Williams dates from their work together for Star Wars (1977) that was followed, among others, by Superman, Dracula and the next 5 films of the Star Wars saga.
The musicians seem to understand the music to perfection and with that, added to their technical level, one can only get lost in that delight that only live music can achieve.
One of the peculiarities of the concert was that before each of the pieces, a video of John Williams was projected (recorded especially for the concert) offering some words referring to the pieces to be interpreted, or to the birth of the piece, as well other curious anecdotes about the composition or production processes.
The program of the night, which had from classic themes to his most recent “The Force Awakens” was:
As an encore, Yoda´s Theme (“Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back) and March of the Resistance (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) were played.
It is worth mentioning the trumpet players of the orchestra shone in each piece, especially in the themes of Star Wars, Superman and JFK.
The violinist soloist in Schindler’s List, Roman Simovic was not less spectacular and left everyone with goosebumps after his performance.
In Hedwig’s Theme the strings glowed abnormally with the amount of notes they have to play, and with the agility and lightness with which they played them.
German conductor Frank Strobel, a specialist in film music for many years, did an excellent and accurate job and let the music and the musicians shine.
Needless to say, the tickets to the Barbican Hall for that night had been sold-out for weeks, and the audience was not only happy but enthusiastic, and whistling or singing one or another John Williams’ melody.
The London Symphony Orchestra knows exactly how to play John Williams and that is the greatest enjoyment in this type of concert. They know him well and have worked enough with him to know in detail how to shine each of his pieces and how to squeeze every note, every nuance and even every pause in it.
I have been fortunate enough to have heard them for 2 times performing live John Williams’ music, and would not hesitate to see them again if I had the chance 3, 5 or 100 times more. The LSO has the abnormal ability to make listening to well-known pieces, a whole new experience.