Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I'm in Ravenclaw House Myself...
Congrats to my best friend for a gajillion years Claudia White, flute-player extraordinaire, who landed an awesome gig tonight playing for a whole host of celebrities and guests as part of an orchestra at the grand opening of the new Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios in Orlando. I understand author J.K. Rowling will be there along with the stars of the Harry Potter films, and the orchestra Claudia is playing in will be conducted by none other than John Williams! Woo!
The degree of separation between me and John Williams has now been reduced to one. This is exciting! I was a John Williams fan before anyone knew who he was. Seriously, do you know anyone who actually owned (I may still have it somewhere) the original soundtrack recording of The Towering Inferno? On LP?!? I credit Williams’ lush scores with introducing me to the world of great orchestral music, laying the groundwork for my later interest in classical music. A favorite JW score? Too many to mention, and he has had his ups and downs. But who of my generation can forget that day when we first sat down to watch some brand new space adventure flick called Star Wars, and Williams’ iconic theme tore out of the speakers and into our ears for the first time? You knew in two seconds this was going to be the best adventure of you life ‘til then. Currently, I’d have to rank JW’s score to Catch Me If You Can as one of his finest, mostly because the jazzy riffs were totally unexpected. One of my most enduring favorites by him has to be his score to Empire of the Sun, a very underrated classic from Steven Spielberg that introduced us to some kid named Christian Bale – wonder whatever became of him?
And J.K. Rowling herself? Don’t get me started. This is the woman who took fantastic tales that most people regard as children’s stories and made them respectable for everyone to read. Outside of the pleasures of the Harry Potter series itself, would we have Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book or China Miéville’s Un Lun Dun without HP’s success? The best writers have long known that if you want to write inventive stories with memorable characters, you write for young people – or the young-at-heart.
Anyway, congratulations once again to Claudia White, who has put up with more of my insanity than any reasonable person should. I toast thee with Maker's Mark!
Incidentally, there's a live web feed available here tonight and Friday morning.