Anne-Sophie Mutter says it took chutzpah to ask John Williams to write music specially for her to play, but a request for ‘a few bars’ has turned into dozen themes arranged for violin and orchestra that she’s included on her new album, Across the Stars, KDFC’s Album of the Week. The selections range from the very well known (from the Star Wars saga, and Harry Potter) to some of his scores that are more off-the-beaten path (Cinderella Liberty, Dracula, and Sabrina)
You can find out more about KDFC’s Album of the Week here.
“I saw Star Wars in 1978 in the Black Forest,” Mutter says, “And that was the beginning of a lifelong love and admiration for John’s music. I grew exceedingly more fond also of his classical scores, the violin concerto from the 70s, and then also the many many cello pieces he has written for Yo-Yo Ma… I had the great fortune about 7 or 8 years ago to meet him in Tanglewood. And of course, I was totally starstruck, but took all my chutzpah and asked him if he one day would just write a few bars for me. Of course, secretly I was dreaming and am still dreaming of a violin concerto.” That concerto hasn’t been written, although he did write a work called Markings for her, with chamber orchestra and harp. While they were working on that, this project was born. “I dared then also to mention to John Williams that I was obviously a great admirer also of his film scores. And that’s how the process actually slowly started. It took a considerable amount of time to identify some of the many many iconic themes he has written over decades, which would work for an adaptation for violin.” She says he writes with the descriptive power of Richard Strauss. “In a way, what John writes for film is like a Tondichtung (tone poem). You know, it’s like Zararthustra, or Alpensymphonie, or Don Quixote, or Berlioz’s Harold in Italy. It’s program music. And it stands very well by its own, without the film. But the film does very poorly without the music of John Williams. I just recently saw one of the earlier Star Wars films again with my children, and it’s just amazing to witness the score and what it brings to the film.”