Following the huge success of John Williams – The Berlin Concert, which topped the German pop charts earlier this year, the world premiere recording of John Williams’ Violin Concerto No. 2 will be released on 3 June 2022. The work was written for and recorded by the legendary composer’s friend Anne-Sophie Mutter, one of the world’s greatest violinists, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Williams. A new single and video of the concerto’s second movement, ‘Rounds’, is out now.
“I can only think of this piece as being about Anne-Sophie”
“I can only think of this piece as being about Anne-Sophie,” explained John Williams who celebrated his 90th birthday on 8 February. “I took my inspiration and energy directly from this great artist herself.” Anne-Sophie Mutter added, “It has been a lifelong dream of mine to have John Williams compose a concerto for me.”
Their new album, Williams: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Selected Film Themes, also includes three virtuoso arrangements of film themes John Williams created especially for Anne-Sophie Mutter – the Theme from The Long Goodbye, ‘Han Solo and the Princess’ from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and ‘Marion’s Theme’ from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The legendary composer and superstar violinist have often worked together since Mutter gave the first performance of Williams’ Markings in Boston almost five years ago, and have enjoyed worldwide success together on their two previous albums Across the Stars (2019) and John Williams in Vienna (2020).
“A wonderful opportunity to write for one of the world’s greatest artists”
John Williams recalled, “When Anne-Sophie invited me to compose a concerto for her, I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to write for one of the world’s greatest artists. It was also a challenge, of course, because there are so many great violin concertos in the repertoire.”
He added, “I knew from the recording we made together for DG of my theme from Cinderella Liberty of her remarkable feeling for jazz so I wrote a quasi-improvisation for solo violin at the start of the concerto’s ‘Prologue’ and she was completely at home with it. I can only think of this piece as being about Anne-Sophie. This is a truly personal album for me, because of the rapport I have with her and because of my long relationship with the wonderful musicians of the Boston Symphony.”
Williams: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Selected Film Themes will be released on CD and digitally on 3 June 2022 and the Concerto will also be simultaneously solely released on vinyl. A special single-disc Blu-ray edition of the album will be released on 19 August and a 10-inch vinyl version of the three film themes, available exclusively online from Deutsche Grammophon’s store, will be released on the same day.
Anne-Sophie Mutter and John Williams gave the world premiere of Violin Concerto No. 2 on 24 July 2021 at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home in Tanglewood and reconvened in the autumn to record the concerto and the three film themes at Boston’s Symphony Hall. The composer and violinist will give the European premiere of the concerto on 12 March in Vienna with the Vienna Philharmonic, and Mutter will join the all-star line-up (including Yo-Yo Ma and Steven Spielberg) at Washington’s Kennedy Center on 23 June for John Williams: The 90th Birthday Gala Concert. Tanglewood will host its own birthday event on 20 August with special guests including Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor and Branford Marsalis. The world premiere recording of John Williams’ Violin Concerto No. 2 will be released as part of the continuing celebrations to mark the legendary composer’s 90th birthday year.
Williams: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Selected Film Themes will be released on 3 June 2022 and can be pre-ordered here.