In honor of the Maestro’s 83rd birthday (Feb. 8, 2015), BuySoundtrax Records proudly presents this collection of new recordings, in which some of John Williams’ most thoughtful orchestral film compositions are distilled into the intimacy of the instrumental duet. These tracks comprise Williams’ own arrangements as well as those of pianist Dan Redfeld, who is joined by Elizabeth Hedman (violin), David Washburn (trumpet), Donald Foster (clarinet), and Karen Hogle Brown (voice) in articulately presenting these themes with deference to their composer and with the heartfelt artistry of each performer.
Singular among virtually all Hollywood motion picture composers, John Williams has established a distinguished reputation in contemporary American music over a career that has thus far continued for six decades. It’s a sign of the ongoing flexibility of Williams’ music and his ongoing association with the concert hall and with modern classical music that many of his film works are being translated into new arrangements for performance by a variety of small ensembles. It was actually the composer himself who first began to reshape the symphonic splendor of his movie music into the austere environment of the chamber hall. For SCHINDLER’S LIST: THE FILM MUSIC OF JOHN WILLIAMS, the composer’s own arrangements were used for the new recordings and where Williams hadn’t published his own arrangements, Dan made his own arrangements, relying on his understanding of Williams’ compositional style from having studied and played them over many years. “John is my favorite composer,” Redfeld said. “In college, I had the good fortune to hang around him and watch him work in Boston, and I know his material.” The spotlight on these selections is intended to be on the soloists: violin, clarinet, trumpet, voice.
As a bonus track, SCHINDLER’S LIST: THE FILM MUSIC OF JOHN WILLIAMS includes Redfeld’s arrangement of “Where Dreams Are Born,” a vocalise for soprano and orchestra from the soundtrack to Spielberg’s wistful science fiction drama, A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (2001). Without a published arrangement of the piece, Redfeld transcribed the music by hand from the film soundtrack. “I used John’s vocal notes as they were written,” he said, “and I came up with the arrangement for the piano part.”
John Williams was born in New York and moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1948. There he attended UCLA and studied composition privately with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. After service in the Air Force, Mr. Williams returned to New York to attend the Juilliard School, where he studied piano with Madame Rosina Lhevinne. While in New York, he also worked as a jazz pianist, both in clubs and on recordings. He then returned to Los Angeles, where he began his career in the film industry, working with such composers as Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman, and Franz Waxman.
Best known for his film scores and ceremonial music, Williams is also a noted composer of concert works and a renowned conductor. Williams’ scores for films such as JAWS, E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, SCHINDLER'S LIST, as well as the INDIANA JONES, STAR WARS and the HARRY POTTER series have won him multiple awards and produced best-selling recordings.
Williams has composed the music and served as music director for many films, including SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, AMISTAD, SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET, THE LOST WORLD, ROSEWOOD, SLEEPERS, NIXON, SABRINA, SCHINDLER'S LIST, JURASSIC PARK, HOME ALONE, FAR AND AWAY, JFK, HOOK, PRESUMED INNOCENT, ALWAYS, BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY, the INDIANA JONES series, THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST, EMPIRE OF THE SUN, THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK, the STAR WARS series, SUPERMAN, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, JAWS, GOODBYE MR. CHIPS and many more.
Dan Redfeld is a classically trained concert pianist and composer/conductor who studied at Boston’s New England Conservatory. While many of his fellow students were embracing modernistic, atonal music, Redfeld was more interested in tonal, neo-romantic music, an inclination grounded by his studies with acclaimed composer and pianist William Thomas McKinley. At the same time, Redfeld had discovered a love for film music through the work of John Williams in JAWS and STAR WARS. Through McKinley, Redfeld met and watched Williams at work with the Boston Pops, and the famous film composer’s influence settled into his artistic design. Redfeld began scoring short films for the American Film Institute, and in a day when many film composers were coming out of popular music into Hollywood film scoring careers, he found his academic background particularly advantageous to the music he was writing.
SCHINDLER’S LIST: THE FILM MUSIC OF JOHN WILLIAMS includes liner notes written by author Randall Larson providing insight into the creation of the recordings featured on this album.