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BSX Records release Across the Stars: The Music of John Williams for Solo Piano performed by Dan Redfeld. This album strips bare some of Williams's movie compositions, which have been deconstructed and put back together to allow the listener the chance to hear their complexities through a single piano...
I've mentioned it before in previous reviews, but John Williams was the sole reason I became interested in soundtracks. Back in the early '80s, just before I was a teenager, I picked up an LP of his score for Raiders of the Lost Ark at my local WHSmiths. After that I was eager to buy other scores he'd composed and then, as the years rolled by and I went to the cinema more and more, I spread my search to other composers including Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, John Barry and Alan Silvestri.
But, even to this day, I still look forward to the release of a new John Williams project. When this piano collection arrived for review I was uncertain what I'd make of it. Would I suddenly discover that my favourite composer's work sounded terrible when boiled down to a single instrument?
I know the original versions of the majority of the tracks on this LP very well and I was pleasantly surprised at how well Dan Redfeld had managed to capture the essence of the originals. However, on the early tracks like 'Main Theme from Angela's Ashes' and 'Medley from The Book Thief' it doesn't hurt that on the original recording the piano took centre stage.
While the majority of the tracks here are lovingly recrafted, it's not the case with every track. While it may be technically flawless, 'Main Theme from Jurassic Park', sounds pretty amateurish in places. In fact I did, on occasion, wonder if I was listening to a not very polished, or much rehearsed school recital.
The album contains 15 tracks (1 hr, 15 min, 36 sec) with personal highlights including 06 'Love Theme from Story of a Woman'; 'Across the Stars from Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones' (although it gets a little wobbly in the middle); 'E.T. And Me from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial'; and easily this LP's most beautiful track 'Cadillac of the Skies' from Empire of the Sun' - in fact this should have been the album's closer.
Those looking for music from Indiana Jones, Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Harry Potter, Saving Private Ryan, War Horse and even A.I., will he sadly disappointed. Those who have grown up on the music of John Williams will cherish this wonderfully constructed album that pays tribute to his work.
A Tribute to Steven Spielberg