Lights, Camera... Music! Six Decades of John Williams
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John Williams is the most successful composer in Hollywood history--he has received fifty Academy Award nominations, and the hundred-odd movies on which he has worked have grossed in excess of twenty billion dollars--not because he peddles the simplest possible material but because he presents easily grasped ideas with sophistication, skill, and unflagging invention. Orchestras like the Boston Pops, which Williams led from 1980 to 1993, find this music a pleasure to play, although it is not unchallenging. Musicians feel affection for Williams for another, more personal reason: his series of scores for Steven Spielberg and George Lucas in the 1970s and 1980s--including the ''Star Wars'' and ''Indiana Jones'' movies, ''Superman,'' ''Close Encounters,'' and ''E.T.''--are widely credited with helping to rescue the business of orchestral film music, which, circa 1975, was losing ground to pop-song soundtracks. This collection foregoes some of Williams's most celebrated music in favor of a broader survey of his work, including several tracks--''Goodbye, Mr. Chips'' (adapted from a score by Leslie Bricusse), ''The Towering Inferno,'' and ''Sleepers''--that have been unavailable on recording since the time of their original release. The collection gives a sense of the versatility of Williams's style: you hear not only the heroic strains of ''Star Wars'' but also the fairy-tale romanticism of ''Heidi,'' the lush dissonance of ''Dracula,'' the klezmer-tinged dances of ''The Terminal,'' and the classic balladry of ''Sabrina.'' ''The Boston Pops Orchestra performs the best music of the past and present, appealing to the widest possible audience with a broad spectrum of styles, from jazz to pop, indie rock to big band, film music to the great American songbook, and Broadway to classical, making it the perfect orchestra for people who don't know they like orchestras!'' -Keith Lockhart
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