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John Williams and Vienna Philharmonic at Musikverein Vienna, 18th and 19th January 2020

Discussion in 'The RedBanned Bar & Grill' started by Jure Jerebic, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. I just got back from Vienna, and I am still in shock.

    As John is currently already 87 years old, I have never thought I would get the opportunity to see him in person. When the original opportunity to see him conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in 2018 came along, I immediately became a member of the Musikverein in Vienna, and got a third row ticket to see him. Unfortunately, he fell ill upon his arrival in London, where he was also scheduled to perform with his lifelong collaborators, the London Symphony Orchestra; so the Vienna concerts were cancelled. I took the trip to Vienna nevertheless and the words of him being brought back later were already spreading across the Musikverein.

    It was now, in the beginning of 2020, that we received the once in a lifetime opportunity to see him conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which would be his first continental European performance ever. I have never heard his music performed by an orchestra in person before, so I had flown over to Vienna with open mind and curiosity regarding the sound at the Musikverein - I simply didn’t know what to expect. After all, my seat was about 6 meters away from John, sixth row in the front.

    What happened was that my understanding of music, its sound, orchestras, conducting and emotional impact that music can have have completely changed. I have been a musician for almost 20 years at the time of the concert but I have never heard a sound and an emotional impact of music like this in my life. The orchestra played without amplification (as it’s common at Musikverein’s Golden Hall), and as a result the music, played by the musicians, went straight to the listener. The range of dynamics, emotional impact and the raw force of percussion and brass that can push you into your seat was unprecedented and something I’ve never experienced before. John’s music is incredibly dynamic and having him conduct one of the best orchestras in the world, delivered a truly one of a kind concert.

    The only way to describe it all would be life changing - as a composer, as well as fan of his music. The whole weekend still feels like a dream, and at this point I still cannot listen to any music, and it will take a few days to snap back out of it and start writing again.

    And Mike is absolutely right about all things John's music, live players, orchestra, real orchestral sound, and emotional impact that music can have. Thank you Mike, for teaching us the ways of John's musical force, it has made this concert even better and one of the most important experiences in my life.


    P.S. And please make the live orchestra masterclass happen (at some point), the world needs it.
  2. @Jure Jerebic No one reacts to your post so I will! :-D
    I was there too.
    I already saw the Maestro live in London in 1996 and I thought that it could never get better, but the concert in Vienna simply exceeded everything!
    Awesome concert and a very agile and funny Maestro, brillant performance by the Vienna Philharmonics and soloist Anne Sophie Mutter. The encores were so many it was half a concert itself!
    I will take the enormous energy with me in the coming months, it was so inspiring and magical.
    An unforgettable event, I am still floating with happiness. ❤️
    And there was funny little but true story:
    During the big applause on Saturday, I wildly raised my hands in the air and waved to the two heroes on stage. And ASM had seen it and pointed at me and then waved back (really, my fiance is a witness)!
    later I saw a photo online where exactly this moment is pictured. HAHA, great! JW's facial expression is great too. First: "Huh? Who is this guy she is waving to?" then: "Nerd!"
    I have some fotos/video impressions on my fb site if someone is interested.
    Jure Jerebic likes this.
  3. Haha, that's fantastic. So you've seen him the only two times he's performed in Europe, amazing. This concert changed my life for sure, my view of music's completely changed since. Feel free to add me on Facebook; it's fantastic to see all the photos and videos from the concert, especially the Imperial March one.
    Marcel Schweder likes this.
  4. Thanks for sharing @Jure Jerebic That sounds very inspiring; being in the same room as JW and watching him perform. It makes me think of the concerts in my past that were especially elevating. Was it this concert?

    Your post reminded me to check the Chicago Symphony website. They perform several concerts each year performing the score of a film with the picture projected behind them. I missed out on North By Northwest last year (sold out) but I see they are doing it for Casablanca, Jurassic Park and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi this year. No live appears by JW but plenty of his music. So, thank you for the reminder!
    Jure Jerebic likes this.
  5. Yeah, these Vienna concerts were historical for sure. First time of a JW concert being recorded for a release with only him conducting ever, his first (and likely last) continental European performance, and the first time Vienna Philharmonic have played with a film composer. Very significant! Can't wait for the CD/DVD/BluRay release, but here's a short clip Vienna Philharmonic shared on Facebook (and then took down a bit later).

  6. Some month ago I met a friend of mine who is a musician and obviously we talked much about music. In the course of the conversation I said: “There are two concerts in my life which I bitterly regretted my decision not to buy tickets because they were very, very expensive: Barbra Streisand (2007) and Vienna Philharmonic conducted by John Williams (2018)”.

    So I took the chance last month and attended the concert as you did. Because the price was very high I bought tickets in one of the last rows. But..I have been to the “Wiener Musikverein” several times and I can tell you: It does not matter if you would sit in the front or in the back or on the balcony (even the balcony behind the orchestra where the tickets are cheaper), everywhere the sound is the same. This is, what the “Wiener Musikverein” is famous for.
    Seeing John Williams conducting was a nice gimmick. Listening to Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Vienna Philharmonic at the “Wiener Musikverein” was the ultimate impression knowing that John Williams had a significant influence on the whole performance.

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