Given that John Williams has his pick of much of the $80-million, thrill-packed boilerplate that comes clanging out of Hollywood every summer and fall, it's especially noteworthy (and often gratifying) when he doesn't exercise his option. In scoring Alan Parker's adaptation of Frank McCourt's Pulitzer-winning memoirs of his dire Irish upbringing in the 1930s and '40s, Williams has produced a graceful, autumnal work of compelling, though decidedly delicate, emotional power. Using spare piano and solo woodwind melodies filled with longing eloquence, Williams effectively punctuates a sweeping, largely string and wind ensemble. As he did to great effect in The Phantom Menace, the veteran leans heavily on his classical moonlighting duties for inspiration. Interspersed throughout (and also effectively underscored by his music) are concise, telling excerpts of the film's narration read by Alan Bennett.
The film, an adaptation of Frank McCourt's best-selling memoir, tells the tragic yet hopeful story of a boy growing up poor in Limerick, Ireland.
The music on this recital was specifically written or arranged for duo violinists Angela and Jennifer Chun. It highlights the personal and professional connections between Philip Glass and Nico Muhly, a longtime colleague and admirer of Glass's work. Glass's miniaturist works, Mad Rush and In the Summer House, create a maximum effect when paired with Muhly's minimalist Four Studies and Honest Music.
Spreading from the Ashes is a compilation album by the Los Angeles psychedelic rock band, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy (PBC). In total, there are 26 tracks composed of early work when the band was known as The Ashes, and their beginnings as The Peanut Butter Conspiracy.