For the 2014/15 Opening Night Concert and Gala, the Los Angeles Philharmonic paid loving tribute to composer John Williams, one of the most popular and successful American composers of the modern age and long a champion and close friend of the orchestra. Gustavo Dudamel, an awestruck fan of the musical icon, led the orchestra in a cross-section of Maestro Williams' matchless canon. The concert features Itzhak Perlman with a very special musical performance of pieces from Schindler's List as well as the cadenza and variations from Fiddler On The Roof. Jazz elements fill the air during Escapades from Catch Me If You Can, and may the force be with you during the iconic tunes from Star Wars. The Blu-ray bonus features include interviews with the main protagonists, including Gustavo Dudamel, John Williams, and Itzhak Perlman.
John Williams, classical guitar virtuoso, is known for his wide-ranging approach to repertory, which includes appearances playing electric rock guitar and international music. (…) Williams has toured throughout the world. He has performed and recorded nearly the entire standard guitar repertory, plus a large quantity of transcriptions. Several of these transcriptions are by his own hand. He was a professor of guitar at the Royal College of Music in London from 1960 to 1973. However, he also has a strong tendency to explore music outside the classical tradition. He does session work on film soundtracks, has arranged Beatles songs, and plays electric guitar in Sky, a classical-rock fusion band. He has also formed his own ensembles, John Williams and Friends and Attacca, to explore other music.
Director Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams have forged a remarkable partnership over the past 20 years, one that's evolved in recent years into a very practical balance of art and commerce. The Spielberg/Williams team followed the blockbuster Jurassic Park with the risk-taking Schindler's List, the bloated Jurassic sequel The Lost World with the moralistic Amistad. Williams admirably rises to the challenge again, underplaying the volatile emotions involved and utilizing African rhythmic and modal influences with surprising subtlety. The choral touches of the title and wordless aria of "Cinque's Theme" bring to mind similar stylistic flourishes by Morricone–and that's high praise.