John Williams In Vienna, featuring the legendary composer’s historic debut concert with the Vienna Philharmonic, will be released on 14 August 2020. John Williams told the audience that the invitation to work with the world-famous orchestra was “one of the greatest honours of my life”. Watch the video for the first single, ‘Imperial March’ from Star Wars, released today.
In January 2020 John Williams added to an already incredibly long list of achievements by making his conducting debut with the Vienna Philharmonic. The Hollywood legend and the world-famous orchestra, joined by violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, performed iconic themes from cinematic landmarks including Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park. “The music swoons, marches and goes to war with Williams’s usual combination of sparkling swagger and lyrical finesse. Just close your eyes and dream,” noted The Times.
Their two concerts at Vienna’s Musikverein, which were also the first performances John Williams had ever conducted in continental Europe, will be released on all relevant physical and digital formats, including Blu ray, CD, vinyl and eVideo, in both stereo and Dolby Atmos surround mixes, on 14 August 2020. The film will be broadcast in Germany, Austria and Switzerland by ServusTV on Whit Monday 1 June 2020 at 10am and 10.15pm.
“One of the greatest honours of my life”
Before a single note had been played in the Musikverein, Maestro Williams received a standing ovation and told the audience that the invitation to work with the Vienna Philharmonic was “one of the greatest honours of my life”.
The legendary American composer’s movie soundtracks are among the best-loved of all time and have received countless prestigious awards, including five Oscars, five Emmys, four Golden Globes and twenty-five Grammys.
John Williams and the orchestra were joined by Anne-Sophie Mutter. As he introduced her Williams said, “She is one of the world’s greatest violinists.” The conductor and the violinist formed their artistic partnership last year for their album Across The Stars, featuring many new arrangements of John Williams’ iconic movie themes for violin and orchestra.
Mutter captivated the Musikverein audience with a series of the virtuosic arrangements written specially for her by Williams, including ‘Hedwig’s Theme’ from the Harry Potter films, ‘Devil’s Dance’ from The Witches Of Eastwick and the Theme from Sabrina.
Daniel Froschauer, Chairman of the Vienna Philharmonic, said the unique opportunity of performing these wonderful compositions under the baton of their creator was a “deeply fulfilling artistic exchange.”
John Williams, who celebrated his 88th birthday just a few weeks after the Musikverein concerts, admitted he’d been unsure how the Vienna Philharmonic would adapt to playing his music. “I couldn’t have been more happily surprised,” he said after their concerts. “I have to compliment the orchestra on their great virtuosity and fantastic ability to perform all styles of music.”
“One of the best presentations of that March I’ve ever heard”
During rehearsals the Vienna Philharmonic’s brass players asked John Williams if they could add the ‘Imperial March’ from Star Wars to the programme. “It was honestly one of the best presentations of that March I’ve ever heard”, Williams reflected afterwards. “They played it as though they owned it and I felt very grateful to them for giving me a chance to play it at the end of our programme.”
John Williams noted, “In these challenging days, when musicians and audiences around the world cannot come together to share the pleasures of music-making in person, I look back on these very special concerts with great fondness, and I hope that these recordings might give listeners and viewers some measure of the joy I experienced in visiting beautiful Vienna.”
John Williams In Vienna will be released on 14 August 2020 and can be pre-ordered here.