Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s afternoon here in Lithia, Florida, on Saturday, February 12, 2022. It is a (more typically) warm day in the Tampa Bay area. The current temperature is 82˚F (28˚C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 53% and the wind blowing from the west-northwest at 3 MPH (5 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 82˚F (28˚C). Today’s forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 83˚F (28˚C). Tonight, we can expect scattered rain showers and a low of 60˚F (16˚C).
As I write this, I’m listening to my digital copy of John Williams in Vienna, an album that features 13 tracks from the January 2020 concert in which Maestro John Williams conducted the Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra) and his friend, German virtuoso violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, in an unprecedented performance of some of Williams’ film music.
I’ve reviewed this album before, so I won’t rehash what I’ve said about it here. But I mention that I’m listening to it because, as I write these lines, I am watching for the arrival of a package from Amazon that contains a variant of John Williams in Vienna that Deutsche Grammophon (a German-based division of Universal Music Group) released on February 5, 2021.
This version is almost identical to the original 2020 album, except it is a 2-CD release that includes more music (25 tracks compared to 13 in the one-disc edition). It also includes sounds and commentary by Maestro Williams that were recorded during the live concert but edited out from the 2020 release. Consequently, Deutsche Grammophon released this version as John Williams in Vienna: Live Edition.
John Williams in Vienna, the legendary composer’s chart-topping new album with the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, has become the best-selling orchestral album of 2020. Now, a new Live Edition, containing the complete concert performance given by Williams and the orchestra last January, also including six bonus tracks, featuring a selection of his new arrangements of some of his most iconic movie themes for violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, together with his on-stage commentary about each of the soundtrack scores in his Vienna programme, is released on DG.
|1-02||The Flight to Neverland (from Hook)||5:28|
|1-03||Excerpts (from Close Encounters of the Third Kind)||7:53|
|1-04||Introduction By John Williams||1:45|
|1-05||Hedwig’s Theme (from Harry Potter)||6:29|
|1-06||Theme (from Sabrina)||6:00|
|1-07||Donnybrook Fair (from Far and Away)||4:07|
|1-08||Devil’s Dance (from The Witches of Eastwick)||6:03|
|1-10||Adventures on Earth (from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial)||10:25|
|2-01||Theme From Jurassic Park||6:29|
|2-02||Darimoor, 1912 (from War Horse)||6:58|
|2-03||Out To Sea & The Shark Cage Fugue (from Jaws)||5:23|
|2-04||Marion’s Theme (from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark)||4:10|
|2-05||Introduction – Three Selections from Star Wars||1:33|
|2-06||The Rebellion is Reborn (from The Last Jedi)||4:44|
|2-07||Luke & Leia (from Return of the Jedi)||4:26|
|2-08||Main Title (from Star Wars)||6:48|
|2-10||Nice to Be Around (from Cinderella Liberty)||4:29|
|2-12||The Duel (from The Adventures of Tintin)||4:49|
|2-13||Remembrances (from Schindler’s List)||7:05|
|2-14||Raiders March (from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark)||6:28|
|2-15||The Imperial March (from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)|
I didn’t know this version existed until yesterday, but I stumbled upon the listing for John Williams in Vienna – Live Edition whilst I checked on the status of another preorder of a DG release – the Deluxe Edition of John Williams/Berlin Philharmoniker: The Berlin Concert.
That particular product is a four-disc set (1 video Blu-ray, one audio-only Blu-ray, and two CDs) and was recorded, natch, in a live concert by John Williams and the Berlin Philharmoniker. It “dropped” in Europe a week ago, but Amazon says it’s not shipping any copies until March 4. I’m going to guess here, but that’s when we in the States can expect shipments to arrive from across the Atlantic, because on Blu-ray.com and the DG site the release date clearly says February 4, 2022.
Amazon always shows customers “related products” when you look up a specific item you have either ordered or want to browse through, and John Williams in Vienna – Live Edition was one of the products Amazon “suggested.” And since I no longer have anyone to give a Valentine’s Day gift to, I do have a bit of discretionary money on hand, so…..
As I write this, my package is marked as Out for Delivery and has a delivery window of 5:30-8:30 PM, so I’m chilling to the abridged digital version of John Williams in Vienna.
My Spielberg Collection Update
I may or may not have mentioned this, but I recently acquired the last few Blu-ray editions of Steven Spielberg films that were not – for various reasons – in my Blu-ray collection. They are:
- The Color Purple (1985)
- Hook (1991)
- Minority Report (2002)
- Catch Me If You Can (2002)
- The Terminal (2004)
Although the latter three titles are upgrades from the oldest video format I have (DVD), I’ve never owned The Color Purple or Hook in any format. Not even – gasp – VHS videocassette. The Color Purple tends to fall in the “I’ll probably get this title someday” category of home media purchases. I know it was Spielberg’s first attempt to make a “serious” movie for grown-ups after making a name for himself as a director of summer blockbusters. I know it is arguably a well-made movie and that all of us who call ourselves “Steven Spielberg fans” should at least watch once, if not own outright.
And infamously, The Color Purple – an adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel – has gone down in cinema history as “the Spielberg film that got the cold shoulder from the Academy” in the spring of 1986. Of the 11 Academy Award nominations it received, The Color Purple won…0.
That snub was compounded by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ failure to nominate Steven Spielberg for Best Director. He would eventually get one in 1994 for Schindler’s List, and another one in 1999 for Saving Private Ryan. But considering that Spielberg received “director approval” from Alice Walker herself, that snub stuck to my craw, and even though I watched The Color Purple on HBO or Cinemax a few years later, I always chose other Spielberg films on home media, partly because of the resentment I felt over the infamous Spielberg Snub of 1986.
As for Hook, I only attempted – half-heartedly, at that – to buy the Blu-ray shortly after Robin Williams’ sad and shocking suicide back in 2014. In the week that followed that tragedy, it was nigh impossible to buy any movie that starred or co-starred Williams, including the only Spielberg movie I have never enjoyed. I wanted to get it solely because it is ”a Steven Spielberg film” and I tend to be a completist when it comes to collecting.
Alas, in 2014 Hook was out of stock when I jumped on the “buy movies with Robin Williams” bandwagon, so I bought Good Morning Vietnam – a far better movie – instead. It wasn’t till I realized that if I bought it along with The Color Purple, I would own everything Spielberg has released commercially on Blu-ray – except, of course, West Side Story.
So I ordered Hook earlier this week. Now I own it.
As far as West Side Story goes, the “drop” date is still set for March 15. However, The Walt Disney Company (which owns 20th Century Studios) is not giving retailers a pre-order option. The House of Mouse, seeing that West Side Story earned seven Oscar nominations, probably wants people to see it in theaters or sign up for Disney+ before its streaming premiere on March 2. I don’t know; I don’t have insiders leaking any information about why the company is so slow to green-light pre-orders. All I know is that if you want to pre-order any of the physical media releases, you must wait. And wait. And wait.
Well, Dear Reader, I’ve rambled long enough, so I am going to wrap this post up. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and have a great weekend.
 Best Picture; Best Actress – Whoopi Goldberg; Best Supporting Actress – Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Avery; Best Screenplay – Based on Material in Another Medium (Menno Meyjes); Best Art Direction; Best Cinematography; Best Costume Design; Best Makeup; Best Original Score – Quincy Jones, et.al; Best Original Song – “Miss Celie’s Blues”