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John Williams in Vienna: 2020’s best-selling orchestral album is released as new double-album fan edition

John Williams Live in Vienna
© Terry Linke

John Williams in Vienna, the legendary composer’s chart-topping new album with the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, has become the best-selling orchestral album of 2020. Now, a brand-new Live Edition, the 2CD Live Edition and the Blu-Ray Edition is released today, 5 February 2021 on DG.

The album has earned over 150 million streams and 100,000 sales since its release in August. In addition to the album’s success, John Williams has enjoyed several career highlights this year. He was awarded Spain’s Premio Princesa de Asturias de las Artes 2020 and the Record Academy Project Award from Japan’s Record Geijutsu magazine, as well as the coveted Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal, whose past recipients include Brahms, Elgar, Rachmaninov, Sibelius and Stravinsky. He received the honour from his good friend, film director Steven Spielberg (watch here). Williams also earned his 72nd GRAMMY nomination last month for his latest Star Wars soundtrack, having already won 25 of the prestigious awards.

Speaking about the album’s success, John Williams said: “I feel enormously gratified by the reception that this special concert recording has received. Performing my music with the brilliant Vienna Philharmonic truly was the dream of a lifetime, and the opportunity to share this experience with so many people through Deutsche Grammophon’s outstanding recording has been a particular joy for me.”

“At different points in its history the Vienna Philharmonic has been conducted by the most important composers of the day,” notes Michael Bladerer, CEO of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. “As one of the leading composers of our time, John Williams has continued this tradition and I’m very happy that his extraordinary concert will live on thanks to the recording made last January.”

Dr Clemens Trautmann, President of Deutsche Grammophon, adds, “Millions have grown up with the soundtracks of John Williams. We’ve been thrilled and enchanted by his music and moved by his extraordinary gift for writing melodies that stay with us forever. I’m delighted by the response to John Williams in Vienna and by the deep rapport that he, Anne-Sophie Mutter and the musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic developed. The new Live Edition captures even more of the special energy of their relationship and the magic they created together at the Musikverein.”

As well as containing the complete concert performance given by Williams and the orchestra in January 2020, the Live Edition also includes six bonus tracks, featuring a selection of his new arrangements of some of his most iconic movie themes for violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, together with his on-stage commentary about each of the soundtrack scores in his Vienna programme.

The chart-topping album, John Williams in Vienna, captures a moment of musical history: his conducting debut with the internationally-renowned orchestra, just weeks before his 88th birthday. Taking to the podium in the stunning Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein, Williams conducted a variety of pieces from his remarkable 60-year career, including ‘Imperial March’ from Star Wars, ‘The Flight To Neverland’ from Hook, the suite from Jaws and excerpts from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. The recording propelled John Williams into the Top 10 of the pop charts in Germany, Austria and Japan, and topped the classical charts in the US, the UK, Japan and Australia. It also gave the composer his highest ever chart entry in Germany and became his best-selling album of recent years.

Critics have been united in their acclaim for John Williams in Vienna. “The music swoons, marches and goes to war with Williams’s usual combination of sparkling swagger and lyrical finesse,” observed The Times (London) in its review. “Just close your eyes and dream.”

Join us in celebrating the legendary composer’s 89th birthday on Monday, 8 February 2021 by watching him and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra perform Live in Vienna on DG Stage.

John Williams Live in Vienna / LIVE EDITION with Sticker Cover
Feb 5, 2021

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