CD Spotlight: A Gathering of Friends
John Williams has created so many thrilling scores, so many memorable themes after so many decades, that I couldn’t begrudge him the decision to retire after writing the music for “The Fabelmans” and the latest Indiana Jones movie. But then, back in January, he changed his mind! We may yet get more Williams scores, and perhaps some concert pieces too.
Until then, you have a sure bet with this treat of a recording with Williams collaborating with Yo-Yo Ma and the New York Philharmonic, along with guitarist Pablo Sainz-Villegas and harpist Jessica Zhou in this album, “A Gathering of Friends.”
Williams’s gift for lyricism is great display throughout the cello concerto, and Ma embraces it whole-heartedly.
The surprise here for me was some fascinatingly spooky music: “Highwood’s Ghost.” This thrilling tone poem was inspired by Leonard Bernstein’s experience encountering a ghost years ago at Highwood, part of Tanglewood, and it includes some eerie effects.
You'll also find in here some lyrical film score selections, music that Williams wrote for the movies "Munich," "Lincoln," and "Schindler’s List." The guitar and cello duo, "A Prayer for Peace" from "Munich" is especially lovely.