Remember Music from the movies when it was in paper form as a magazine, remember silents to satellites, remember the man behind these and other publications that all concentrated on film and television music, well that was John Williams. here in this section are his thoughts, his articles and reviews, welcome back John…


Richard Kaufman-Conductor
Joannes Moser-Cello
Royal Scottish National Orchestra


Thursday 25th April Dundee
Friday 26th April Edinburgh
Saturday 27th April Glasgow


Review by John Williams – (No, not the great man!)

I must admit, whilst travelling in by bus to Glasgow last Saturday afternoon, the thought crossed my mind, more than once whether I really wanted to do it. I mean, yet another Concert of Music by John Williams!!. Surely I have heard it all before, bearing in mind I have been around the block a few times, well, OK, more than a few times, and the first time I heard his Music live as it were, was at a Filmharmonic Concert at the RAH way back in the Seventies, let alone numerous TV Broadcasts, notably the BBC Proms Concert conducted by Keith Lockhart, which would have been, what a couple years back now. Let’s not forget the much-vaunted Concert by the LSO last year, which Mr Williams was due to conduct, but was sadly not well enough to attend. I heard this on the Radio courtesy of Classic FM, and whilst admittedly at first, I missed the actual meaning of the Concert. i.e. Scores of Mr Williams that he had recorded with the LSO. I felt it was a very, OK, let’s say it boring and forgettable Concert. I freely admit that STAR WARS and HARRY POTTER goes right over my head, both films and scores, so obviously a Concert that is so preoccupied with those titles, well it is going to be a uphill battle!


So after dodging the heavy showers, arriving at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, I really wondered if we did the right thing. Before I go any further, I have no quarrel with the excellent RSNO. Their playing and interpretations of Film music in the past has been exemplary, especially the Varese Sarabande Concert last Fall. So no problem there.

So, picking up the programme, I gingerly opened to see what music they were actually playing. Well, if anyone had seen me, they would have wondered if anything was wrong with me-OK. more than normal!! WOW!! There in the first half was a suite from JANE EYRE. Yes JANE EYRE. This is one of Mr Williams own personal favourites, and this JW’s as well.

Back in a Galaxy far way, in the last Century, this quite young Film Music nut bought this LP on Capitol Records of JANE EYRE, and fell in love with it straight away, a love that has never dimmed. I suspect it must have been a good 20 years before I actually saw the film, though I suspect it must have been a somewhat edited version, and funnily enough, it wasn’t a let-down. It sometimes can be, listening to a score for years, without the benefit of the visuals, and then it can be a real disappointment I recall vividly that Andre Previn conduced the “To Thornfield” cue on his ANDRE PREVIN’S MUSIC NIGHT in the early Seventies.


Anyway. back the matter in hand. The first music up was THE COWBOYS, and if you think only an American Orchestra can play this sort of music, you should have heard it on Saturday Night. A rip-roaring, rumbustious Suite, not just the Main Titles from the John Wayne Western. You couldn’t have a better start.

After “Elegy for Cello and Orchestra” with Soloist Johannes Moser, a superlative performance, came, for me the highlight of the first half. “JANE EYRE SYMPHONIC SUITE. I haven’t heard John Williams’ version of his Suite for a number of years, as it appeared on “Pops Britannia” but I suspect it was basically the same three movement selectio . In any John Williams score, and especially in this, Flutes, Horns and Woodwinds are to the fore, and the RSNO has a superb section, an individual soloist in their own right. I freely admit, that time we got to “Reunion”, I was emotionally gone. It has taken me nigh on 50 years to hear a Concert version of this score live, and to think I nearly missed it!!


Not being a Harry Potter fan, I wondered why some of the audience in front of us, was straining to see the piano – or as I later found out the Celeste – before it even started!! Obviously I now know why – superb playing suffice to say.. Joannes Moser came back for his interpretation of SCHINDLER’S LIST, and Part one wrapped up on a high with HOOK and “Flight to Neverland” which had all members OF THE orchestra in full flight!!. Nice play on words there.


Part Two kicked off with JURASSIC PARK. One of my favourites to say the least. Although I have heard it so many times, to see the Orchestra actually play it live is a revelation. First the solo Horn, then woodwinds, flutes, Violas and Cellos, before the Violins take up the main theme. Great stuff, and the guy on the Timpani was absolutely brilliant.

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA is another favourite. Boy, I have used that word a lot!, , here in a three part suite. Joannes Moser was back again, and it is testament to Mr Williams’ talents that whilst the story was set in China, a Western Orchestra can play it and give it the flavour of the East, admittedly with some fine playing by the percussion department.
The string section of the RSNO is word class beyond doubt, as anyone listening to GEISHA, would have heard.


After a RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, up came THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK, the “Devils Dance” to be precise. Richard Kaufman told a interesting story of his working with Jack Nicholson, who he had to teach to look as if he could play the piano.

Last up, officially was SUPERMAN. I must admit that after hearing it so many times, its appeal was beginning to pall. Now after the RSNO put it through its paces, I am converted once more, really breath-taking.


The audience by now didn’t want the orchestra to go, and of course we had a Encore. It was E.T. and as in SUPERMAN all members of the Orchestra gave it their all. The trumpets of course here were fantastic.

Just before this though, as Mr Kaufman thanked each section of the orchestra to loud cheers from the Audience, he gave this interesting allegory, that in this troubled world, we have enough things to think about, and we come to Concerts like this to and I quote to “feed your soul”.

If anything, this has rekindled my admiration of some of Mr Williams’ efforts, and I am actually liking some of his scores i never really cared for.

This was a really well thought out Concert, all time popular hits, some ones you didn’t expect. The spectacular and the subtle. Yes, first rate, and indeed the RSNO is really a first-rate Orchestra and everyone up here, should be truly proud that such a World Class Orchestra is virtually on their doorstep, and once more, heck, I nearly missed it!!


As Maestro Richard Kaufman said, “feed the soul” and a lot of Music lovers had a great meal that night!


Paraty Records 917154 cd.  review by John Williams.


Was it Miklos Rozsa who said, if a piece of music is good enough, then there is no reason why there can’t be many interpretations? Possible not, though, it has a even reason and clarity to certainly apply to this winning combination of music from the Cinema played by noted Violinist Isabelle Durin and Pianist Michael Ertzscheid. Certainly, if any theme could dovetail neatly into this interpretation it is John Williams’ theme to SCHINDLER’S LIST, here exquisitely played with heart wrenching emotion that for a moment, even Mr Williams’ version is neatly eclipsed.

I always think that Solo piano and Violin can portray Jewish moods and emotions that a large ensemble just cannot portray. The Jewish connection is also well to the fore in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and Michel Legrand’s YENTL from themes from this score, “A Piece of Sky” gently flows and is a wonderful reminder of how superb a tune smith Michel Legrand was. This track had a much lighter feel and shows a great deal of thought has been put into assembling a well-balanced album, that contains many emotions.
I feel Maestro Georges Delerue would have been suitably proud if he could have heard “Le Concerto de L’Adieu” and “La Passante du Sans – Souci” Two scores I admit not being aware of, but certainly whets one’s appetite to hear more Two themes I must admit I thought I would never hear in this form was Alfred Newman’s “Diary of Anne Frank” and Ernest Gold’s “Exodus”. I approached them with some trepidation, but I should have had no fear. Two wonderful film themes, with Jewish overtones beautifully played. I admit to being very moved with “Exodus” especially.


Two themes by the great Philippe Sarde and James Newton Howard complete this unusual but very rewarding album. You can talk and write about music till the cows come home, but music is a purely emotional experience. Sometimes it is not there. We look forward to a certain score or album, and then saddened when it is not up the expectations. No worries on that score here. I loved the album. and after a near lifetime – not quite thankfully! ! – of listening to music, it takes a lot for me to warm something new. I am truly glad to have discovered Ms. Durin and look forward with anticipation to any future albums.



I sincerely urge you to listen to this wonderful Cinema oriented album, by the marvellous Ms Durin and the superb Mr Ertzscheid. If this review makes just one Music lover go out and buy and listen to his, then I am genuinely happy Me? well, I am going back to listen to it all over again!!!

“Now that’s what I call FILM MUSIC!

A brief appreciation of the continuing Genius that is Howard Blake

by John Williams

Film Music has changed drastically over the years, Chameleon like, sometimes good, sometimes inspired, and sadly, more than not, a failure on all counts. If also you have been listening to Music as long as I have, it takes a lot to rekindle that spark you first had many years ago, and got you into this drug that we simply call Film Music which as much as we try, we can’t kick!. Most people I have mentioned my hobby to over the years, think of the current Blockbuster or hit that contains a song or two that gets into the charts. When you say, well actually no, I don’t mean that, I mean the music that is played in the background, they look at you as if you have flipped and said a four letter word.. So, you learn to grin and bear it, and after a while to tend not to even mention it at all, so it is like one of those guilty pleasures that you don’t talk about.


We have had full blown Orchestral scores, Pop music masquerading as Film Music. The Eighties we had so much Synthesized film music it was wearing,, and now, well, I know there must be Film Music out there, but it is, as was said in “Star Trek” – not as we know it!!! If by some miracle Georges Delerue was to return to us, I doubt if he would get a assignment. ” Well, Sorry Georges. I know you write lovely gorgeous themes and scores, but, well, we don’t want that, we want a sort of non- music, that no one notices”



Which brings me to Howard Blake. A Composer of immense talent who can do practically anything, and has often has. I tend to find parallels with the sorely missed Andre Previn. Great Pianist, Arranger, Composer and now writer of Music for the Concert Hall. See what I mean ? Howard toiled in the Media for many years working on the Diana Rigg season of THE AVENGERS, playing piano on the sessions, before the big break came on the final season, now well known as the Tara King episodes of THE AVENGERS , when Laurie Johnson was called away to that comedy gem HOT MILLIONS , with Maggie Smith and Peter Ustinov. Good workmanlike scores – funny phrase that – workmanlike, lets just say they are extremely good and evocative, and sound different enough to Laurie Johnson’s fine efforts. He also played on numerous Film Scores, THE ITALIAN JOB , arrangements for Francis Lai in that quintessentially Sixties Movie, I’LL NEVER FORGET WHAT’S NAME . as well as conducting without credit for Quincy Jones on that mammoth and somewhat under-rated western MCKENNA’S GOLD. LP only I hasten to add.


Scores for EMI Movies, ALL THE WAY UP, and SOME WILL SOME WON’T followed, neither rate very highly in my book, but they were of the era. S.O.S TITANIC is notably different. A powerful almost heart wrenching score, punctuated by the three notes that spell out S.O.S. Sadly most versions available ,either on DVD ,Video, or Television showing are of the edited version, and the full longer film seems to be not available anywhere. Howard also scored movies for the BBC, when the Corporation had it’s own Film Making arm, and periodically showed films under the SCREEN ON TWO banner . STRONGER THAN THE SUN and MRS REINHARDT with Helen Mirren.

He is of course best know now for the perennial Christmas favourite THE SNOWMAN. Shown every Christmas since 1982, it has blossomed to a stage show, and is seen all over the World. In the late 70’s The Rank Organisation had a somewhat misguided idea to re-start production of feature films at Pinewood. There was THE LADY VANISHES, a very worthy attempt to up-date the old Hitchcock Movie with colour, slightly spicier dialogue and two principals from the USA. Actually it worked really well, even if Cybill Shepherd went well over the top. Good score by the then newcomer Richard Hartley utilising a main theme by Les Reed.


THE RIDDLE OF THE SANDS was adapted from Erskine Childer’s novel , warning Great Britain of the threat from Germany by a water born invasion from the north German Coast and set in 1901. Exceptional cast. Two leads played by Michael York and Simon MacCorkindale with feminine interest supplied by Jenny Agutter, who had also teamed up with Michael York in LOGAN’S RUN Superbly lensed by Christopher Challis, If it had any down side, it was the ending which was somewhat rushed, and indeed anti climatic. A film like this needed a composer who would not just underline the visual aspects, but delve deeper in the story and add aspects that weren’t visible. In fact a score that enhances the film and enriches the Cinematic experience. Luckily, they called on the talents of Howard Blake. Working with the famed National Philharmonic Orchestra, Howard wrote a score that was just inspired. The lengthy Main Titles portrays the Sand Dunes of the Northern Germany, and the music has a suitable nautical, yet mysterious ambience that is just superb;



Simon MacCorkindale portrays Arthur Davis, who at the start of the tale, had arrived in the Frisian Islands on the Baltic Coast of Germany, initially as he later infers, to do some Duck Shooting. There he meets the enigmatic Dollmann played by Alan Badel, who we later find out, has a incredible likeness to a British Sailor in one of Davis’ books. Double agents perhaps? Davis feels there has been an attempt on his life, so he asks Carruthers (Michael York – who was also involved on the production side -) , who works at the Foreign Office in London to come over, for help and to bring some welcome supplies. Davis is drawn to Dollmann’s daughter, Clara, which complicates matters. Early in the film both Davis and Clara walk along the beach, aided by a superb treatment of the Principal theme, in a much more romantic setting.


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At around 23/4 minutes in, Carruthers arrives at the Railway Station, late at night to be met by Davis, somewhat nonplussed by the amount of luggage Carruthers has brought with him, Though as Carruthers somewhat dryly points out. “Most of it is for you”. They both walk along the dock, the music here almost walks with them, slow and non- committal, till Davis shows Carruther’s his prized boat, ” The Dulcibella”, . “There she is ” he says with pride. Now here they could talk all the way to the boat, Davis showing how proud and happy he is with the craft. . But no, here the script is silent. Howard Blake provides, the pride, and fulfilment that Davis has, with a short warm, proud cue, no more than 20 seconds long. That is what GREAT film music can do, It can say unsaid feelings and emotions. It should not and never be just musical wallpaper, and that is what a master craftsman like Howard Blake can do.


So, in the rather unlikely event of someone asking me, “Why do you LIKE film music?” I would refer them to this film and this precise 20 seconds, and say. “That is why I LOVE Film Music!”

Thanks Howard

(This is a sort of precursor of a much lengthy feature on the media scores of Howard Blake).


A CONCERT REPORT BY    John Williams.

Andre Rieu is a phenomenon. A Musical Phenomenon no question. For years he has travelled the world giving music lovers what they want. Something the TV Channels and the majority of Concert Halls I suspect Worldwide have totally neglected: The music tastes of the 40 – 50 plus year olds. Time was, and we are going back years here, that the BBC gave us many years of musical magic from Sir Andre Previn, in the aptly called ANDRE PREVIN’S MUSIC NIGHT. Here well known and some less so, Musical favourites from the Classical repertoire, couple with Sir Andre ‘s superb knowledgeable commentary were played with skill by the LSO. Going probably further back, BBC 2 used to show MANTOVANI IN CONCERT , easy listening, I think just orchestral, and no singing. Going back even further, there were plenty of song and dance shows on all TV Channels



That music is still sought after today, but the Controllers of the main channels, think that all we want is BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT, and if there is a Concert, it usually by some obscure group or singer I have never heard of.


Mr Rieu’s Concerts aren’t earth shattering. You don’t got to one of his concerts for something new. You go because you know what you are going to hear, and that is the pleasure of it all. It’s a stylish combination of so much. New Year’s Day concerts from Vienna, Henry Mancini, The Three Tenors. Christmas Carol Concerts . A bit of humour, Ladies in beautiful ball gowns, and it is combination that could go on for years – and has already done so . The concert in Birmingham was near capacity, and the Arena is big venue. I liked his sense of humour, The concert started at 8-00 on the dot. and believe it or not, at around 8-25 people were still arriving. One Gentleman trundled down to the front row, I think at that time. Very courageous. Mr Rieu cordially said ” Good Evening” then looked at his watch. The gentleman took it in good part, and I am sure there must have been a good reason why he was so late, yet he wasn’t the only one. The same occurred after the interval, when some of the audience were still coming in with drinks well over 20 minutes after the second half started.


It must be me, but I really couldn’t’ do that. If Mr Rieu has come thousands of miles for the Concert, then well you know the rest!!

I noticed as we arrived, some coaches from Felixstowe and Cornwall, so they covered some miles that day.

Watching a small part of his Christmas Concert in London from 2017 on Youtube afterwards , I noticed a lot of the patter between each song is virtually identical, almost word for word,, but again I reckon that is part of the appeal. You know what you are getting, no surprises here.


Towards the end, he played “The Blue Danube” and as if on cue, couples from the Audience got up to dance. They enjoyed it, and I think everyone in the audience did as well. After the well controlled number of encores, Mr Rieu and his happy band exited, leaving a arena full of happy souls, ready to face the cold late night air, and take the long journey home.

Whatever it cost, I think everyone would be happy to do it one more time.



He defies criticisms. He is criticism proof. You just enjoy and thank him for making your life a bit more richer for his well loved brand of humour, musical taste, gloss and sheer enjoyment.

It make look even better on the DVDS but it is hard to beat the atmosphere of actually being there.





A new album by Debbie Wiseman is always a welcome arrival A sign of true quality, of good taste, and sheer superb musicianship. In this instance, not a Soundtrack CD per se, but one that any lover of her unmistakably recognisable music will admire right from the very first track.

The first track though that said is not music. We have a tribute if that is the right word to the Garden. it could be here or indeed anywhere. A very canny move for all over the world, there are Garden fanatics and Music lovers. Why not put them together and you have a double triumph.

Alan Titchmarsh as we all know is a Multi talented broadcaster, author, pundit and Gardening Expert. He has written more books that I was aware of so it is obvious that poetry is a natural adjunct on from there. It maybe that I have missed it, but this could be a first specifically designed for Garden admirers. It may have been that Sir John Betjeman and Jim Parker did something similar back in the 70s etc, but I may wrong.

Be that as it may, we have twelve poems, written and read by Alan Titchmarsh, each poem followed by a musical portrait by Debbie Wiseman. Only on the last track, “The Glorious Garden” do music and poem combine together.

I suspect with even more listening my favourites will vary somewhat, but I love the strong and sturdy “Cedar of Lebanon”, the rousing and powerful “Topiary”, the soft and elegant “Snowdrop” but at the moment, my personal favourite is “Water Lily”, soft evocative opening that reminds one in a very positive way of Vaughan Williams. Debbie has written many compositions away from the Film and Television World, I wonder if she has ever contemplated writing a Symphony?. If so, it would be superb, for I think there is nothing she can’t do, for having listening to her music for a number of years now- I was privileged to write the CD notes for WILDE – I am so impressed that the standard she has kept up in a very fast moving world where deadlines are all important and the music has to be finished by a certain date. Still maybe it’s like Sir Andre Previn once said, you have to have that deadline to focus the mind and indeed finish the matter in hand.



I should also add wonderful playing by the National Symphony Orchestra led by Perry Montague – Mason with great solos by Violinist Jack Liebeck on “Myrtle” and “Snowdrop”, Gavin McNaughton (Bassoon ) on “Peony”, Andy Crowley (Trumpet) on “Marigold” and Debbie herself playing the piano on “Witch Hazel”

One can tell that Debbie was truly inspired by Alan’s poetry to compose such fine music. As I write, it is Number One in the Classic FM Charts and long may it reign

You can listen to either the poems, both , or just the music, and think of it perhaps as a score for Garden Documentary , but what ever way you listen to it, you will be rewarded with many hours of enjoyment, and how many albums can you say that about these days!

Of late Debbie has also been working on a movie entitled EDIE with Sheila Hancock , directed by Simon Hunter which will be released to the Cinemas on May 25th and the CD of the score will also released on that date by Silva Screen Records. Plus – good news all round – series 7 of FATHER BROWN which is just a delight, and I would love to see a commercial recording of the music ,for Debbie must have written hours of music for this entertaining series

To sum up, a most enjoyable album, to be enjoyed on many levels , A very worthy successor to last years MUSICAL ZODIAC. I love that album, and it helps when you like the music for your month of birth!.

We are indeed lucky to have talents as Alan Titchmarsh and Debbie Wiseman to provide us with so much enjoyment, via the written page and music. Let’s look forward to their next collaboration