CD Review “A Tribute to John Williams: An 80th Birthday Celebration”

Conductor: John Williams
Composer: John Williams
Label: Sony Music Masterworks
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Tracks: 15
Running Time: 68 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love the scores from John Williams. He is such a legend with his music. The new collection is a celebration of Williams’ 80th birthday and is a real wonderful tribute to his career to date. Over almost six decades, John Williams has composed score to some of the biggest films in history including the “Star Wars” series, “Jaws”, the “Indiana Jones” series, “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” and the first three “Harry Potter” films. The guy literally shows no signs of slowing down either with 2011 proving to me a very busy year for him with “The Adventures of Tintin” and “War Horse”. Both of them were even were nominated for Oscars in the 84th Academy Awards. So sit back and get ready to celebrate the works of one of our greatest composers.

For the man that has won twenty-one Grammy® awards, four Golden Globe awards and five Academy Awards®, you can’t encompass every known track but this does a really great job. I actually really enjoyed the specific track selections especially from the film “Jaws”. The obvious choice was to use the theme that we all know…”duh nah”. But instead they included the track “Out to Sea/The Shark Cage Fugue” and I really enjoyed that decision. It is not what you would expect and was a great change. The choice to use a track from “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” was an interesting choice, it is different and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I also enjoyed the tracks from “The Adventures of Tintin” and “War Horse”, I haven’t had much exposure of the score prior and I loved them.

This collection of songs include guest appeared from both Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma. Perlman plays violin beautiful on both the themes from “Sabrina” and “Schindler’s List”. Yo-Yo plays cello on two tracks also “Elegy for Cello and Ochestra” and “Going to School” from the film “Memoirs of a Geisha”. This release is all the first time that Williams’s recording on his “Happy Birthday Variations” track has been recorded and released. Overall this release is a celebration and it definitely succeeds in doing that and encompasses the massive career of this amazing legend. I very much recommend this for all fans of film scores and the work of John Williams.

Track Listing:
1. Sound the Bells! from American Journey
2. Out to Sea/Shark Cage Fugue from Jaws
3. Theme from Sabrina (w/Itzhak Perlman, violin)
4. March from 1941
5. Adventures on Earth from E.T.: The Extra-terrestrial
6. Dartmoor, 1912 from War Horse
7. The Adventures of Mutt from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
8. Harry’s Wondrous World from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
9. Elegy for Cello & Orchestra -Yo-Yo Ma, cello
10. Going to School from Memoirs of a Geisha (w/Yo-Yo Ma, cello)
11. The Mission Theme (Theme for NBC News)
12. Theme from Schindler’s List (w/Itzhak Perlman, violin)
13. The Adventure Continues from The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
14. Throne Room & Finale from Star Wars
15. Happy Birthday Variations (Previously Unreleased)

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