On Friday 26 October 2018 one of American’s greatest ever composers, John Williams, was celebrated at the Royal Albert Hall by Williams’ close-friend Mastero Dirk Brossé and the London Symphony Orchestra.
The movie Maestro himself, whose much-loved scores for films including the Star Wars and Harry Potter series, Jaws, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones to name but a few, had originally traveled specially to London to conduct an evening of his greatest works, but a last-minute illness unfortunately left Mr Williams unable to take to the podium.
It was Mr Williams’ wish that the concert proceed, it was after all celebration of his acclaimed scores, and those lucky enough to be in the audience couldn’t have been in better company. The London Symphony Orchestra – who Mr Williams has worked with throughout his career on many of his iconic scores, not least the Star Wars series – were conducted by Belgian conductor and close friend of Mr Williams, Dirk Brossé.
Despite being unable to be at the Hall, Mr Williams highlighted his strong and long-standing relationship with the LSO by sending them, and Maestro Dirk Brossé, a lovely message ahead of their performance that evening. In another touching moment that night, LSO Chairman Gareth Davies also told the 5,000 strong audience that Mr Williams would be listening on Classic FM (the radio station was broadcasting the concert live) whilst he recovers.
A treasured note from the Guv'nor to us and to last night's audience at
RoyalAlbertHall</a> and listening on <a href="https://twitter.com/ClassicFM?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">classicfm. Get well soon #johnwilliams. pic.twitter.com/BnNYM7VJcx— London Symphony Orch (@londonsymphony) October 27, 2018
When you dress appropriately for the rehearsal.. who's coming tonight to hear some amazing film scores?
londonsymphony</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/johnwilliams?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#johnwilliams</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/dirkbrosse?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#dirkbrosse</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/RoyalAlbertHall?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">RoyalAlbertHall
ClassicFM</a> <a href="https://t.co/7aT2dQIKbX">pic.twitter.com/7aT2dQIKbX</a></p>— Maxine Kwok-Adams (Maxinekwokadams) October 26, 2018
One of the best nights of my life. Thank you
londonsymphony</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/RoyalAlbertHall?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">RoyalAlbertHall #JohnWilliams #StarWars pic.twitter.com/W8j4f0g14O— Maryam (@_Mmibrahim) October 26, 2018
londonsymphony</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/RoyalAlbertHall?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">RoyalAlbertHall Thank you for the most incredible night. Wishing John Williams a speedy recovery. His music was always going to be the star of the show. Your collective love of his music shone through and filled the hall tonight. Loved every minute! pic.twitter.com/HmDlViwmd8— Keziah Maizey (@KeziahMaizey) October 26, 2018Best. Opening. Song. Ever. Shivers doon me spine.
londonsymphony</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/RoyalAlbertHall?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">RoyalAlbertHall #JohnWilliams #starwars pic.twitter.com/xSVML03RyJ— Peggy Winford (@rememberwhen91) October 26, 2018
“The 5,000 strong audience was treated to a night of pure movie music bliss. There was no way anyone who loves John’s worked could have walked out of the Hall last night without the biggest smile on their face.”
The Hollywood Reporter
“The night only lacked Williams himself to soak up the rightly thunderous ovations in person, but this hardly diminished what the music meant.”
“In an evening frequently punctuated by rapturous applause and a slew of standing ovations, John Williams’ iconic music was the star of the show, making it a true celebration of a glittering, award-winning career. A simply unforgettable night for everyone who was lucky enough to be there.”
You can listen back to this very special evening via Classic FM’s web-player:
All photos: Christie Goodwin
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