A Live Review of John Williams

Glasgow concert hall

 

Stalls are packed tonight as The Royal Scottish National Orchestra prepare to perform the music of John Williams. Williams provided the music screen hits such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, Hook, E.T and Jurassic Park, as well as many other countless film titles.

The whole performance is spectacular – the instruments played by a number of talented musicians serve as paint brushes, depicting imagery witnessed on the screen many times. For whether it is a battle scene between Luke Sky Walker and Darth Vader or the first encounter of a candlelit Hogwarts by Harry, Ron and Hermione, the music evokes feelings of nostalgia, excitement, awe, intensity and melancholy – all in the space of two hours.

It is hard to forget the music played in “Star Wars” as the musicians visit it many times throughout the whole performance and play so beautifully and powerfully. The theme tune in particular comes out of nowhere and takes everyone by surprise. It is a very cinematic experience.

Another notable part of the performance is the composition from “Far and Away”. The film tells the tale of an Irish Family who migrated to the U.S in the 1890s and then make their quest to Oklahoma – the Free Land. Though this film is perhaps one of his lesser known films, Williams does a good job of depicting an image of the family’s journey through a beautiful blend of classical music with playful traditional folk music. In addition to the music, this piece sparks thought about a current issue. By reminding us of the migration rates between Europe and America in the nineteenth century – when many Scots and Irish were forced to flee their homes – we are reminded that many individuals today are being forced out of their homelands and turning to the UK to seek safety.

Also grasping the attention of the audience this evening is conductor Richard Kaufman who gives praise to John Williams, describing him as “memorable creative voice”. His music gave these films a character which really drew audiences, and made classical music much more accessible to the general public.

To add, in his speech Kaufman gives notable praise to music in general: “Life can be tough and it can be difficult to deal with at times. This can sometimes be dealt with by seeking peace, beauty and refinement”. This comes in the form of nicely composed, classical pieces performed by a talented orchestra, who are always in residence at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

 

By Greg Marlborough

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