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Saito Kinen Orchestra, John Williams, Stéphane Denève

John Williams in Tokyo (CD)

Award-winning composer John Williams returns to Japan after 30 years, invited by his friend, the late great conductor Seiji Ozawa.

Williams conducts selections from his beloved film scores with the Saito Kinen orchestra – Ozawa’s “musical family”.

This new Deutsche Grammophon recording follows his chart-topping concert albums from Berlin and Vienna.

John Williams was invited to Japan by his good friend Ozawa to conduct the Saito Kinen Orchestra – Ozawa’s “musical family” – so the realisation of the two concerts in Matsumoto and Tokyo was a landmark moment – not only for the pair, but for music fans around the world. Ozawa said of the occasion: “This special collaboration between them in Matsumoto and Tokyo was a joy that genuinely defies expression – my longstanding dream has finally come true!” The feeling was reciprocated by John Williams: “It was a joy to return to Japan after 30 years to visit my dear friend and longtime musical colleague Seiji Ozawa and to conduct his brilliant Saito Kinen Orchestra for the very first time.”

The concerts took place in September 2023, following Williams’ recent performances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles. He conducted the Saito Kinen Orchestra at the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival, a music festival directed by Seiji Ozawa, and a gala concert at Suntory Hall in Tokyo celebrating the 125th anniversary of Deutsche Grammophon. Both concerts had sold out in minutes.

JOHN WILLIAMS
1. Superman March - from “Superman”
2. Hedwig’s Theme - from “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”
3. Fawkes the Phoenix - from “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”
4. Harry’s Wondrous World - from “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”
5. Theme from Schindler’s List - from “Schindler’s List”
6. The Rebellion is Reborn - from “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
7. Princess Leia’s Theme - from “Star Wars: A New Hope”
8. Throne Room & Finale - from “Star Wars: A New Hope”
9. Yoda's Theme - from “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”
10. Raiders March - from “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark”
11. The Imperial March - from “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”
12. Tributes! (for Seiji)

Saito Kinen Orchestra
Tracks 1-11 conducted by John Williams, Track 12 conducted by Stéphane Denève.