John Williams and Anne-Sophie Mutter reunited for a world premiere recording

Following the huge success of John Williams – The Berlin concert, which topped the German pop charts earlier this year, Deutsche Grammophon is now proud to present the world premiere of the recording of John Williams‘ “Violin Concerto No. 2.”, released today.

The work was written and recorded by the revered composer’s friend and frequent collaborator, Anne-Sophie Mutter. His passionate performance was given with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Williams, which celebrated its 90th birthday on February 8. Listen to the album here.

The new album also includes three movie themes newly arranged for the violinist by their composer – the theme from The Long Goodbye, “Han Solo and the Princess” from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and “Marion’s Theme” from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Listeners can watch the music video premiere on YouTube for “Marion’s Theme” on Saturday, June 4, 2022 at 12 p.m. EDT here. Williams: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Selected Film Themes is available now on CD, vinyl and digital. Both Blu-ray and eVideo formats will be released on August 19, 2022, along with an exclusive 10-inch vinyl available from the DG Store.

Williams and Mutter have worked together often since she gave the first performance of her markings in Boston nearly five years ago, and co-starred on two previous and hugely successful Deutsche Grammophon albums: Across the Stars. (2019) and John Williams in Vienna (2020). Williams’ Second Violin Concerto reflects his deep admiration for the lyrical warmth and dynamism of Mutter’s playing and for his sense of musical adventure.

John Williams recalls: “When Anne-Sophie invited me to compose a concerto for her, I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to write for one of the greatest artists in the world. It was also a challenge, of course, because there are so many great violin concertos in the repertoire. »

Slated for release later this year, a special Blu-ray edition of the album will include all tracks in Pure Audio – also available in Surround and Dolby Atmos – as well as films from last summer’s world premiere of the second violin concerto at Tanglewood, as well as the artists’ encore performance of “Across the Stars” (from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones); the three themes of the film in concert from Boston; and a 25 minute interview with John Williams and Anne-Sophie Mutter at Tanglewood. A 10-inch vinyl version of all three themes from the film will be released on the same day, available exclusively online from the DG Store.

Full of stylistic contrasts, Williams’ Violin Concerto No. 2 begins with the rhapsodic “Prologue.” Next come the atmospheric, Debussyesque “Rounds,” then the tense, jazzy “Dactyls,” which include a brief cadenza for violin, harp, and timpani. Violin and harp duet again in the “epilogue”, which concludes the work with what the composer describes as “a gentle resolution in A major that might suggest both healing and renewal”.

“I knew from the recording we did together for DG of my Cinderella Liberty theme his remarkable sense of jazz,” adds Williams. “So I wrote a quasi-improvisation for solo violin at the beginning of the ‘Prologue’ of the concerto and she was completely comfortable with it. I can only think of this piece as being about Anne-Sophie. It’s a really personal album for me, because of the connection I have with her and because of my long relationship with the wonderful musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.”

“The idea for the piece was formed when we worked together on Markings,” says Mutter. “I had no idea then that it would become such a gigantic composition, so rich in material and with such enormous emotional and expressive range. I have always loved jazz, so it was a particular joy to discover that the first The entry of the violin has the freedom of jazz. It is the “stem cell” of the whole piece, a wonderful starting point for such a complex work. I was at first overwhelmed by the piece and its technical difficulties. But he became a very dear friend as I worked on It was invaluable to have the time to explore this incredible music in depth and to feel part of the creative process, to talk to John while he was composing and revising the score and discovering how much he loved the violin.

Mutter and Williams performed the concerto’s world premiere on July 24, 2021 at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer residence in Tanglewood. “Mutter carried the solo like an old friend, shaping each phrase with intention and panache,” observed the Boston Globe. The musicians all came together in the fall to record the concerto and the three film themes at Symphony Hall in Boston.

Last March, the violinist and composer gave the European premiere of the concerto in Vienna with the Wiener Philharmoniker, where, in a private ceremony, the two artists received a gold disc in recognition of the success of John Williams in Vienna. This month, Mutter joins the all-star line-up (along with Yo-Yo Ma and Steven Spielbergamong others) at the Kennedy Center in Washington on June 23 for John Williams: The 90th anniversary gala concert. Tanglewood will host its own anniversary event on August 20, featuring special guests such as Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylorand Branford Marsalis. The Los Angeles Philharmonic will also celebrate John Williams‘ 90th birthday at its annual gala concert on September 27, with Williams and Mutter performing the Violin Concerto No. 2. These and many other celebrations marking Williams’ 90th birthday testify to the enormous affection and admiration felt in the worldwide for a composer and conductor who has delighted audiences for more than six decades with magical film soundtracks and dazzling concert works such as his Violin Concerto No.

Williams: Violin Concerto No. 2 and Selected Film Theme Tracklist
Williams: Violin Concerto No. 2
1. I. Prologue [11:12]
2.II. Sleeves [09:28]
3. III. dactyls [6:00]
4.IV. Epilogue [8:17]
5. Williams: Theme from The Long Goodbye [5:54]
6. Williams: “Han Solo and the Princess” from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back [5:26]
7. Williams: Marion’s theme from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark [4:23]

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