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Written by Darth Fiore
Published on August 9, 2002

John Williams 70th Birthday Bash
- August 3rd & 4th, 2002
Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts

Just got back from a weekend of John Williams and the Boston Pops at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA. Although Williams' 70th birthday was February 8, Williams' celebrated a belated-birthday by rejoining with the Boston Pops as Conductor this past weekend, August 3rd and 4th.

Saturday night was a celebration of the Master's film scores. A great deal of the concert focused on "Star Wars" themes, from the Imperial March to Leia's theme, and the finale of "A New Hope" to "Across the Stars." Some of this music accompanied two movie montages projected on a large screen. I have attended Williams' movie theme concerts in the past at the Hollywood Bowl, but this by far was the most jam-packed, lengthy concert he has given in my experience.

He even opened the concert with the tribute to movie music that he performed at the 2002 Academy Awards, featuring the works of Korngold, Steiner, Hermann, Horner, Goldsmith, Bernstein, and more. Other Williams music featured included Superman, Indiana Jones, ET, Hook, Close Encounters, and a live performance of "Always" by singer Lara Fabian. Truly a wonderful night for fans of Williams and movie music in general.

Day two of the weekend celebration, Sunday, August 4, highlighted Williams classical works. He was accompanied by Yo Yo Ma. A slightly less accessible Williams than we are used to, in these pieces. A bit more "abstract" in nature, but at times you could hear hints of the currents and energy that underscore many of his movie themes. Yo Yo Ma was wonderful and a highlight to this great weekend of events.

John Williams...70 and going strong.

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