La-La Land Records and 20th Century Fox proudly present the remastered and slightly expanded 2-CD release of acclaimed composer John Williams' (JAWS, STAR WARS, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, SCHINDLER'S LIST) orchestral score to the 1992 blockbuster holiday sequel HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK, starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, and directed by Chris Columbus. Williams builds upon his marvelous HOME ALONE score, giving the Yuletide saga of Kevin McCallister a festive and joyous, Big Apple spin that will have you smiling through the holiday season! Produced by Nick Redman and Mike Matessino, and mastered by Dan Hersch and Mike Matessino, this special release, limited to 3000 units, features exclusive, in-depth liner notes by John Williams historian Mike Matessino. Yesssss!
Remastered and expanded release of renowned composer John Williams’ (JAWS, STAR WARS, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, 1941) orchestral score to the 1990 holiday classic 20th Century Fox feature film HOME ALONE, starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern and Catherine O’Hara, written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. Produced by Nick Redman, Mike Matessino and Didier C. Deutsch, through arrangement with Sony Music and 20th Century Fox, and remastered by Mark G. Wilder and Maria Triana at Battery Studios, this expanded release arrives just in time for the film’s 20th Anniversary and features more than 20 minutes of previously unreleased music, including bonus tracks. Exclusive, in-depth liner notes by Mike Matessino take you behind-the-scenes of one of filmdom’s most indelible holiday scores.
Because he's long been stereotyped by the rousing neo-romantic adventure scores for the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Jurassic Park franchises, it's easy to forget that composer John Williams is hardly idiomatically challenged. When Steven Spielberg gratifyingly used the clout of his enormous commercial success to produce and direct this brave Holocaust drama, his longtime musical collaborator used the opportunity to display both the depth and maturity of his musical gifts and training, producing a score with sad, evocative melodies frequently carried by the violin of the great Itzhak Perlman. Rich with ethnic nuance and showcasing the composer's masterful orchestral/choral subtlety, Williams's emotionally compelling score for Schindler's List also won the Academy Award for Best Dramatic Score.
The boastful title is no exaggeration; this is a welcome return for the classic Chicago blues sideman, who, primarily because of the misfortune of his music being exploited by other musicians, took a self-imposed retirement for nearly 30 years. It's especially rewarding since Williams – whose work you hear on early Howlin' Wolf, Otis Spann, Bo Diddley, Billy Boy Arnold (who guests here) sides – hadn't played a lick during that time, keeping his guitar stashed under his bed. He sounds like he never put the instrument away on this album, the first cohesive disc under his own name ever. Aided by comparative youngsters Tinsley Ellis, Ronnie Baker Brooks, and Rusty Zinn, along with a 21-year-old Sean Costello, Williams holds the spotlight like the pro his is. Though well into his sixties when this was recorded in 2001, he sounds remarkably vibrant, completely confident, and totally in his element.
Proving that 2002's appropriately titled Return of a Legend was no one-off fluke, semi-legendary Chicago guitarist Jody Williams cements his comeback with this invigorating follow-up. Producer Dick Shurman, who worked on the previous disc, frames Williams' expressive voice and clean, jazzy guitar in a subtle, frills-free environment that brings out his best. The album's 13 originals (and one Sam Cooke cover) showcase Williams' talents as a fluid, understated, yet soulful guitarist; witty songwriter; and, more importantly, a singer of surprising passion. Esteemed horn arranger Willie Henderson also returns from the last album to add his arrangements to four tracks, highlighted by the simmering, staccato touches on a remake of Williams' "Hideout," originally recorded in 1962. Part Freddie King's "Hideaway," part Earl King's "Come On," it's an accurate, updated example of Williams' six-string prowess. Although the majority of the tracks are straightforward Chicago shuffles and slow blues, the guitarist infuses his upbeat personality to the proceedings, which makes the album so consistently refreshing.
La-La Land Records, WEA and Warner Bros. proudly present the remastered and expanded, limited edition 2-CD set of John Williams’ Academy Award Nominated original score to the 1987 feature film EMPIRE OF THE SUN, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Christian Bale, John Malkovich and Miranda Richardson. Heralded as one of the acclaimed composer’s finest works, Mr. Williams’ masterful orchestral score seeks no less than the openness of the human heart, mind and soul – the perfect compliment to this powerful and indelible film about a young English boy’s emotional and physical struggle to survive the Japanese occupation of China during WWII. This deluxe re-issue was produced, assembled and mastered by Mike Matessino in cooperation with John Williams, Steven Spielberg and the film’s co-producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall.
Elgar’s Violin Concerto has a certain mystique about it independent of the knee-jerk obeisance it has received in the British press. It probably is the longest and most difficult of all Romantic violin concertos, requiring not just great technical facility but great concentration from the soloist and a real partnership of equals with the orchestra. And like all of Elgar’s large orchestral works, it is extremely episodic in construction and liable to fall apart if not handled with a compelling sense of the long line. In reviewing the score while listening to this excellent performance, I was struck by just how fussy Elgar’s indications often are: the constant accelerandos and ritards, and the minute (and impractical) dynamic indications that ask more questions than they sometimes answer. No version, least of all the composer’s own, even attempts to realize them all: it would be impossible without italicizing and sectionalizing the work to death.