EXACTLY! it only took 4 pages of replies but someone finally got my point! I also think people were being deliberately facetious in regards to the guy who said Williams was mediocre, when he was clearly referring to his musical interpretations not his technical ability.Gruupi wrote:I wouldn't call John Williams mediocre, but I understand the sentiment that Dogonjon is trying to express. At the highest levels, musicians and great artists are expected to do more than play all the right notes and interpret the composers intentions. I think the title of this thread is appropriate for the dilemma. John Williams has certainly pushed the boundaries of playing the right notes to the highest level, sometimes the composers intentions and playing the right notes is all that is needed to get the music across. At times though, this way of playing leaves me feeling empty and cold, like it is perfect but just lacks passion.
To be fair, sometimes John Williams' approach works, in my opinion his Aranjuez is the best out there. The music is impassioned enough to stand on it's own, and it takes a very steady reasoned approach to play it correctly with an orchestra. This is the case in a few other pieces as well, in some surprisingly different styles. So for this reason, I wouldn't label John Williams as mediocre. He does miss the mark in some pieces (opinion), but since he is so prolific in his output, I can forgive him of that too.
So, maybe we expect to much from the demigods of performing. To expect perfection, passion, and a wide repertoire over the whole course of someone's career is a monumental achievement, and no one in the history of music could really live up to this. So rethinking what I said earlier about not modeling my playing on John Williams, it would be more appropriate to say I wouldn't model it solely on John Williams approach, but there are some aspects of the way he plays that would be relevant to any student.
There is (or in my opinion 'was') a great conviction to Williams' playing. You believe he plays exactly how it wants the piece to sound, which is much harder to do than you think. One thing many artists struggle with is conveying what they hear in their head to the audience, but perhaps what Williams plays is exactly how he thinks it should sound - you certainly get that impression.
To loop all the way back to were we started, my issue with Williams is that his interpretations of many works to me lack real depth and exploration. He seems to approach every piece in the same way, which is why his Bach and Scarlatti are brilliant, but his Tarrega and Sor are for me rigid. There is a real joy to hearing someone just play the music - no fuss, no muss. But I rarely feel emotionally charged by him - he just makes me happy . I think that truly great musicians have the ability to stir emotions as well as make you happy, but i just dont think its in his character. He has the ability to do that for sure, but its just not who he is.