Personnel: John Williams (conductor); Recording Arts Orchestra Of Los Angeles; Utah Symphony; Boston Pops Orchestra; Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Principally recorded at Sony Pictures Studios, Culver City, California on December 9-10, 1999 and June 19-20, 2000. Includes liner notes by Jackson Braider.
John Williams's experience in painting broad musical strokes is invoked throughout AMERICAN JOURNEY, as stirring a set as you'd expect from this veteran soundtrack composer. It's not only the soundtrack to the 2002 Winter Olympics but also a salute to America, its ideals, and its history.
Starting with the STAR WARS-esque "Call of the Champions," which features the 350-strong Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the collection quickly gets down to business with "American Journey," a six-movement piece with sections devoted to "Immigration and Building," "The Country At War," and "Civil Rights and the Women's Movement," to name but a few. It's an interesting combination of subjects for a musical interpretation, and though it's not really apparent where one topic ends and another begins, Williams' stirring compositional style never disappoints. His "Song for World Peace" is by turns stately, simple, and poignant, while the variation on several Leonard Bernstein themes on "For New York" impeccably conjures the eclectic vitality, sadness, and optimism of that unique city, all in just over three minutes. AMERICAN JOURNEY features a master of heartstring-tugging at his incomparable best.