Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: A Celebration of John Williams at the Royal Albert Hall
Continuing its film-and-live music season, the Royal Albert Hall presented a tribute this weekend to legendary film composer John Williams. Having created music to accompany some of Hollywood’s greatest movies, John Williams is the most nominated person in the history of the Academy Awards with soundtracks for Star Wars, Jaws and ET earning him oscars. The prestigious and versatile Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, celebrating 70 years at the forefront of music-making in the UK this year, were the perfect choice to pay homage to a master of movie composing and it goes without saying that the venue itself created a spectacular atmosphere.
Lining up the songs that John Williams scored one after the other showcased the diversity of films genres that he worked on with such talent. The public were invigorated by music from Indiana Jones, fought to hold back tears during ET’s closing song and giggled at those two iconic notes which introduce the Jaws theme (which presenter Tommy Pearson highlighted as a curious reaction given the theme of the movie). Hearing the songs as standalone music rather than alongside the films allowed the audience to discover the music in a very different way. For example, it was possible to fully appreciate just how brilliantly Williams encapsulates the enchanting magic of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and how he effortlessly evokes images of Christmas through the soundtrack to Home Alone.
The show was presented by the entertaining Pearson who has worked in a variety of different roles in the music world for over 20 years. His interludes guided the performance and allowed us to learn about John Williams as well as the movies that he worked on. A special mention must also be made of the solo performed by Tamás András during a medley of excerpts of music from Fiddler on the Roof. The passionate excellence with which he played kept the audience absolutely mesmerised and wondering how anyone could possibly play to such an other-worldly level.
All in all the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s tribute to John Williams was a simple but incredible evening of music. The room was united for two hours of musical nostalgia and taken on a journey of much-loved Hollywood history. Still going strong after having worked on the latest Star Wars movie, John Williams has proved himself to be the true last master which was reflected in this stunning show.
The Royal Albert Hall’s film-and-live-orchestra programme runs until the end of 2017, for further information or to book visit here. For further information about Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performances visit here.