Well, John, this isn’t a Joan Crawford movie so there’s no gold cigarette case but as I’m still in love with you and want to give you nice things, I’ll give you my honest appraisals, which is something I’ve been doing all along anyway (I hope you’ll agree) and not throwing myself into Long Island Sound for your sake. So let’s do this organized, going down the numbers in the program one by one because, as you recall, I used to work at ASCAP:
- “The Sea Hawk” downloadable audio here (overture; from the 1940 film) / Erich Korngold arr Hugo Friedhofer My favorite Korngold movie music and you know John, I think yours is actually better (if not better engineered) than the RCA recording conducted by Charles Gerhardt, your old Hollywood advisor and mentor.
The entire 2019 BBC Proms concert “The Warner Bros Story” with the The John Wilson Orchestra is available here
- “We’re In the Money” (from Gold Diggers of 1933) / Harry Warren, Al Dubin Count on you to include the lyrics in pig Latin.
- “The Desert Song” (from the 1953 film) / Sigmund Romberg, Oscar Hammerstein II Meh. I think the only reason you worked this in is because Kim Criswell’s singing a Romberg song in your 5 January concert in Stockholm, “Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise”, which is a hot, HOT number. In fact I can’t believe you’re going to stand on the same stage when she sings that song and not get incinerated. But that’s just you I guess.
- The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (suite; from the 1948 film) / Max Steiner God, I forgot how repetitive Max Steiner can be when he’s not cribbing from Herman Hupfeld.
- The Old Man and the Sea (suite, 1st movement; from the 1958 film) / Dmitri Tiomkin One movement, mercifully short.
- “Seventy-Six Trombones” (YT) (from The Music Man, 1962) / Meredith Willson I lost a bet to Mister Grumble that you would never, never, EVER do this number, ever. (Because, you know, it’s so OBVIOUS.) But…yeah, it was okay. No Andre Rieu though.
- “Blues in the Night” (from Blues In the Night, 1941) / Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer A low-voiced woman should sing this. Preferably a woman who’s been there.
- Auntie Mame (main title; from the 1958 film) / Bronislav Kaper You know, I’d forgotten how much I like this sweet waltz.
- “Gotta Have Me Go with You” (YT) (from A Star is Born, 1954) / Harold Arlen, Ira Gershwin See below.
- “The Man That Got Away” (from A Star is Born, 1954) / Harold Arlen, Ira Gershwin [in an obvious nod to the movie’s latest remake] Of all your singers, Louise Dearman is the only one who could’ve carried these two numbers in this room particularly, and whatever luck or good judgment (and I’m nuts about you dear, but I’m never completely confident about your judgment in these matters) brought her there I’m glad.
- “Get Me to the Church On Time” (from My Fair Lady, 1962) / Frederick Loewe, Alan Jay Lerner A little harkening back to your 2012 Proms triumph, eh?
- 25-MINUTE INTERVAL Proms Plus Talk: a discussion of some of the great film scores being played tonight [Hah! In a pig’s eye] with Matthew Sweet, David Benedict and Pamela Hutchinson
- Gypsy (overture; from the 1962 film) / Jule Styne, arr Ramin and Ginzler I still have the clip of you conducting this at the 2012 Proms (the other one). This one is sooo much hotter.
- Now, Voyager (suite; from the 1942 film) / Max Steiner John, I’m afraid I really didn’t give this number a fair hearing the first time so I’m going to listen to it again and compare it to your Chandos 2022 recording. But you know, I almost missed the old dear telling Katie Durham that YOU wrote this arrangement because the Mountview kids down on the floor were leading a cheer [@1:05:00].
- “The Deadwood Stage” (from Calamity Jane, 1953) / Sammy Fain, Paul Francis Webster [a Doris Day tribute] O-kay! A FULL number from a musical, complete with chorus—this is the very thing that made your name. All is forgiven.
- “It’s Magic” (from Romance On the High Seas [correction, BBC: “On”, not “In”], 1948) / Jule Styne, Sammy Cahn [again, a Doris Day tribute] What in the name of heaven possessed whoever decided to include the worst song Jule Styne ever wrote? Redeemable only—only—if Bugs Bunny (YT) sings it.
- A Streetcar Named Desire (main title; from the 1951 film) / Alex North Oh, you’re going to have fun with this one when you have to give sexy program notes to the audience from the podium, like you did in Brighton.
- “If Ever I Would Leave You” (from Camelot, 1967) / Frederick Loewe, Alan Jay Lerner Sure. Okay. Ladies need swoony time.
- “The Days of Wine and Roses” (YT) (from the 1962 film) Henry Mancini arr Nelson Riddle, Johnny Mercer Nelson Riddle!? You used the freakin’ Nelson Riddle arrangement?? What are you trying to do, send love signals to Seth MacFarlane?
- “Tomorrow” (from The Constant Nymph) / Erich Wolfgang Korngold You had this and your Prince Charming from Cendrillon, Kate Lindsey, up your sleeve! What a nice surprise.
- ENCORE “I Could Have Danced All Night” (from My Fair Lady, 1962) / Frederick Loewe, Alan Jay Lerner Every soprano in the world wants to hear this song done right. She passes.
- ENCORE “Harry’s Wondrous World” (from the Harry Potter series of films, 2002-2012) It’s unavoidable, you’re going to do John Williams somewhere. And I know the BBCCO had the scores in their basement because you conducted this with them back in 2007.
Mikaela Bennett, Louise Dearman, Kate Lindsey, Matt Ford, singers. Maida Vale Singers, chorus. Christopher Dee, choral director. Petroc Trelawny, presenter (afternoon show).
By the way, John, glad you shaved this year. Will catch up with you in Nottingham with Vaughan Williams…
- “The Story So Far, with Conductor John Wilson”
- “The Story So Far; Or, Conductor John Wilson—His Limits”
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- Cantara Christopher Gives Her Beloved Conductor John Wilson Crib Notes on Todd Field’s Screen Masterpiece, Tár: Love, Teshuvah and Filipinos Will Save Western Music, Part 2
- Cantara Christopher Gives Her Beloved Conductor John Wilson Crib Notes on Todd Field’s Screen Masterpiece, Tár: Love, Teshuvah and Filipinos Will Save Western Music, Part 3
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11 thoughts on “John Wilson and The John Wilson Orchestra at the BBC Proms, the Royal Albert Hall, 9 August 2019: The Complete Concert of The Warner Bros Story Including “The Sea Hawk””