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John Williams at Bowl: Here Are the Scores

Someone should have produced a large projection screen for John Williams’ “Hooray for Hollywood” concert at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday night. With the first half of the program dominated by excerpts from Williams’ film scores (and not the better-known ones, at that), one kept trying to visualize the images to which the music was so obviously referring.

Williams has been more successful than some film composers in escaping the creative constraints of putting music to picture. There were moments in his “Jane Eyre” and “The Witches of Eastwick” that beautifully exploited his winning way with a melody. More often, one was left to marvel at Williams’ encyclopedic orchestration skills.

The program’s second half required less visual reference as it moved into a set of pleasantly atmospheric readings of songs from “Gigi,” “Laura” and selected Fred Astaire films. The Los Angeles Philharmonic, performing somnambulantly, produced a surprising number of missteps--especially noticeable in a program that made so few demands upon its technical skills.


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