On Music: Meet My Latest Musical Find – ‘Spotlight on John Williams’

(C) 2021 Prospero Classical

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s early afternoon here in Lithia, Florida on Tuesday, December 28, 2021. It is a warm winter day in the Sunshine State. Currently, the temperature is 77˚F (25˚C) under partly sunny skies. With humidity at 66% and the wind blowing from the south-southwest at 7 MPH (12 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 76˚F (24˚C). Today’s forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 82˚F (28˚C). Tonight, skies will be mostly clear. The low will be 63˚F (17˚C).

If you’re a regular reader of A Certain Point of View, Too or know me well in real life (IRL), you know that I have been a fan of the legendary composer/conductor/arranger/pianist John Towner Williams since I heard his Oscar-winning score for Star Wars in 1977. As it turns out, Maestro Williams was already part of the soundtrack of my life in the 1970s; he had written themes for TV shows (Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel) that I’d seen in syndicated reruns as a kid, and he had scored 1976’s Midway. Star Wars, though, was his first score that wowed me as a 14-year-old, and that’s when I started paying attention to his works.

Consequently, I tend to get excited whenever I find out that there’s a new John Williams-related album in existence, and even though I don’t buy every single one, I do check out articles (such as this one in the John Williams Fan Network) and consumer reviews. More often than not, I check to see if I can afford to purchase an album with my credit card, or if the album is sold through Amazon, with my Shop with Points rewards.

This morning, while I was meandering through Facebook, I saw on the John Williams appreciation group  I belong to that Prospero Classical, a Swiss record label, released Spotlight on John Williams, a tribute album performed by the City Light Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Kevin Griffiths.

Here’s how Prospero Classical describes the limited edition release (which, if you are into digital albums, is also available in that format on Amazon):

(C) 2021 Prospero Classical

The American composer, conductor and producer John Williams can be called the ‘king of film music’ without exaggeration.

The multiple Oscar and Grammy winner celebrates his 89th birthday this year and this is a LIMITED EDITION to celebrate.

Since the 1970s, he has been one of Hollywood’s best-known, most successful and most influential film composers worldwide. In the course of his unprecedented career, he has worked with many renowned and legendary directors such as Steven Spielberg (on Jaws, Indiana Jones, E.T., Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, Catch Me If You Can, among others), George Lucas (Star Wars) and Alfred Hitchcock (Family Tomb)[1]. He also composed the music for the first three films in the popular Harry Potter series.

In addition, he has repeatedly created traditional classical works that have found their way onto concert stages around the world.

PROSPERO honours the master with a lavishly designed double album: CD 1 features the well-known and extremely popular themes from Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Star Wars and more, performed by the City Light Orchestra, which specializes in film music, and superbly captured in sound by the team at Bauer Studio in Ludwigsburg.

CD 2, on the other hand, presents soloist-influenced works by the composer, interpreted by renowned classical artists such as clarinetist Paul Meyer and trumpeter Reinhold Friedrich.

The program is conducted by Kevin Griffiths, one of the most promising conductors of the young generation. In addition to well-known compositions, there are also relatively unknowns to be heard here, such as the overture to the 1974 film The Cowboys.

‘Spotlight on John Williams’ is published as a limited edition. Every single copy of the hardcover book has been numbered by hand. With 64-page booklet with many images, photos and specially made illustrations.

I have several “Greatest Hits” compilations of Maestro Williams’ movie and TV themes from Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical, and the Boston Symphony’s own label. Some are conducted by Williams himself; others are conducted by younger conductors who are fans and colleagues, including Keith Lockhart (his successor as conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra) and Gustavo Dudamel (who conducted Leonard Bernstein’s score for Steven Spielberg in 2021’s West Side Story).

Did I need to buy Spotlight on John Williams? No. Not really, at least not from a practical point of view. I don’t, in spite of my mom’s best efforts, own an entire house. I have one room, and a small one at that, in somebody else’s house. So my storage space here is limited, and I have to choose my new purchases with that in mind.

See? This is worth using up all my Shop wth Points rewards for! (C) 2021 Prospero Classical

I also had to make sure that I had enough Shop with Points rewards so my credit card bill (which will be hefty enough as it is) won’t be outrageously high.

You can tell where this is going, right, Dear Reader?

My copy arrives on Thursday.

Today I will be receiving my copy of White Christmas, the holiday-themed album recorded in the 1970s by Williams’ predecessor at the Boston Pops, Arthur Fiedler. I thought about getting this CD too late for it to arrive before Saturday, but at least I’ll have two Christmas albums I chose for me for future Christmases. (Christmas Favorites arrives tomorrow.)

Other than that, I don’t have much to report. I managed to sleep till almost 7:30 AM even though – as usual – I had to go to the “loo” at the ungodly hour of 4:30 AM. I almost didn’t fall asleep again, but I was so tired from two nights of not enough sleep that I eventually dozed off and got some badly needed rest.

I’m still tired, but at least I have a bit more pep than I have had over the past few days.

Now, if only I had a bit more of an active social life, I would be a happy man.

That’s all the news from lovely Lithia that I have, so I’ll say “Ciao” for now. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things,  

[1]AKA Family Plot (1976).

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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