Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
American Journey - Winter Olympics 2002
Genres: Soundtracks, Classical
Anchored by his Mormon Tabernacle-charged "Call of Champions" (theme of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games) and the sweeping, emotionally rich six-part title suite (originally written for Washington, D.C.'s millennium celebrati... more »
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Anchored by his Mormon Tabernacle-charged "Call of Champions" (theme of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games) and the sweeping, emotionally rich six-part title suite (originally written for Washington, D.C.'s millennium celebrations and appearing here for the first time as a complete concert piece), this rousing, unabashedly patriotic collection from John Williams seems doubly timely, given America's hunger for comforting affirmation. Those who criticize the scale of Williams's music for its lack of irony will find little here to dissuade them, save perhaps "For New York," his deft, surprisingly low-key arrangement of appropriate Leonard Bernstein themes, and the comparatively subdued harmonic/melodic sophistication of "Song for World Peace." But this is largely music of ceremony and celebration--its scale and frequently martial rhythms are a direct function of purpose and intent. The collection's notes foster the notion of Williams as America's contemporary Sousa, but that's a comparison that sells the composer woefully short. Even "Sound the Bells," a piece written for the Japanese royal wedding, eschews any efforts at ethnic "authenticity," paying its tribute in distinctly American terms. "The Mission Theme" (from NBC News) and the Coplandesque bonus track "Summon the Heroes" (from the 1996 Olympics) further underscore the iconic intent of Williams's work. Chiding this collection for lack of subtlety is like complaining that fireworks are too spectacular. --Jerry McCulley
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Williams at his Best
John F. Hennecke | Manassas, VA United States | 02/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most CD's have a few very good pieces with the remainder of the pieces being rather unmemorable. As I began listening to the first track--the new Olympic Theme--I found it to be an equal to Williams' earlier Olympic works, which is no small feat. But as each succeeding track unfolded, I found each one to be an extraordinary work--there was no letdown--just incredible Williams' magic. This is not the soft melodic Williams of Schindler's List, this is the rousing Williams of the Star Wars Trilogy. Threads of his other works like The Patriot, Far and Away, The Phantom Menace, and Home Alone can be discerned entertwining with his new themes. Even the oft-recorded Mission Theme and Summon the Heroes are not out of place, but rather add a touch of the familiar to spectacular new recordings. If you like John Williams, you won't be disappointed with American Journey."
Williams' American Journey
lance-a-lot | Conway, AR USA | 01/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"WOW! This is a great CD! I think this will go down as one of Williams best. Some (and this is just some) of the hightlights are Calling of the Champions, which has a beautiful theme with Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing on it, American Journey: Civil Rights and Women's Movement which is probably the best song on the whole CD, and Summon the Heroes. As I said these are just some of the highlights of the CD. If you're a Williams fan pick up this CD, you won't be disappointed."
Transcends Mere Olympic Grandeur
Daniel Bay Gibbons | Salt Lake City, USA | 02/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"John Williams' lofty and soaring American Journey provided the perfect backdrop to the Winter 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City -- Olympics that many in the world wondered would ever be held in the wake of the September 11 events. The most powerful piece of this CD is the anthem "Call of the Champions". This powerful composition clearly transcends mere Olympic grandeur. The ethereal orchestral score -- with the powerful contrapunctal use of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir -- calls to mind the overwhelming rush of emotions many in the world have felt in recent months. It is a celebration of the indominatability of the human spirit. Some few pieces exceed its triumphal grandeur -- Ode to Joy comes to mind -- but very few indeed."