Maestro of the Movies

John Williams will be conducting selections of his scores for the HARRY POTER and STAR WARS this weekend.

There are two shows, on Friday, July 13, and Saturday, July 14. Both start at 8:30pm.

Personally, I've always felt the Williams is somewhat over-rated as a composer of films scores. Sure, he does great work, but sometimes I get the feeling that he doesn't know when to stop. The ridiculous, "uplifting" music in the courtroom scene from AMISTAD is only one egregious example (although to be fair, Williams was perfectly in tune Steven Spielberg's hit-the-audience-over-the-head approach).

Having voiced that reservation, I do want to add that I've seen Williams conduct his scoresĀ in the past at the Hollywood Bowl, and he puts on a truly great show: lots of music, interspersed with succint behind-the-scene anecdotes.

One that stands out in memory was his claim that he wanted a piece from one of the INDIANNA JONES movies to be titled "Scherzo for Orchestra and Motorcycle" because the motorcycle sound effects were so loud in the film mix for the movie. That evening, he assured us, we wold be hearing "Scherzo for Orcchestra and Motorcycle - Without the Motorcycle."

As for this weekend's program, it seems designed to put grumpy complainers like me in our place. Those who find fault with Williams work usually do so not because the think it is ineffective; rather, they think it is to derivative of past masters.

Well, Williams will be acknowledging his influences this weekend, conducting not only his own music but also excerpts from film scores by Miklos Rozsa (BEN-HUR), Erich Wolfgang Korngold (THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD), Bernard Herrmann (VERTIGO), Max Steiner (NOW, VOYAGER), and Maurice Jarre (LAWRENCE OF ARABIA).

As for his own composition, Williams will performe "Chamber of Secrets" from the second HARRY POTTER film, "Aunt Mage's Waltz" from PRISONER OF AZKABAN, and "Harry's Wondrous World" from THE SORCERER'S STONE. Wrapping it all up is "Throne Room and Finale" from the second and best STAR WARS movie, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

The Bolw is a great place to enjoy live symphonic music. Arrive early; bring a picnic; enjoy your food as the sun sets; then watch the stars come out as the Hollywood Hills come alive with music.

You can even bring a bottle of wine to enjoy with the performance, but please - let's try to end the tradition of hearing at least one empty bottle roll all the way down from the back steps in the middle of the show. It's the kind of counterpoint that does not improve the music.

  • Location: Hollywood Bowl - 2301 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood
  • In Person: John Williams, conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Call 323-850-2000 for more information, or check out the Bowl's website.