This album by guitarist John Williams offers a repertoire of eighteen items, versioned guitar with orchestral accompaniment, taken from well-known soundtrack movies. Williams himself claims that he is always listening to film music to play with his guitar and although soundtracks are designed differently so his versions, both bring something extra that neither words nor pictures can offer.
This is an interesting session that finds John Williams sitting in with an all-star youth orchestra. The arrangements sound very much like a high school orchestra, however, Williams is careful not to overplay and dominate the session. The "Plymouth Hoe-Down" is particularly fun and closes out the concerto with exhilaration. There are also three additional pieces from composer Paul Hart, written for guitar and keyboards. These pieces alone are worth the price of admission, as Hart masterfully taps into Williams' strengths of adaptability, technical virtuosity and impeccable tone. Highly recommended for both jazz and classical enthusiasts. ~ Robert Taylor, All Music Guide
The new box contains no fewer than three different Williams recordings of that most popular of all guitar works, Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez – from 1964 with the Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, from 1974 with Barenboim and the English Chamber Orchestra, and from 1983 with Frémaux and the Philharmonia Orchestra – plus a performance of its much-loved Adagio in Williams’s celebrated 1993 “Seville Concert”.
During his career John Williams has not only explored the basic classical literature for guitar, he has also expanded it by inspiring, commissioning and arranging music from different cultures and in different styles, thereby transform the instrument's repertoire. To celebrate this outstanding and ongoing recording career Sony Classical has released a 2 CD retrospective entitled John Williams: The Ultimate Guitar Collection.