Stereophile Magazine’s Jason Victor Serinus reviewed the Dallas Winds and Jerry Junkin’s new John Williams at the Movies recording for a 4th of July feature:
“For a major, decidedly American change of pace from our usual fare of Prokofiev, Debussy, Xenakis, Berg, and Beethoven (for starters), let’s lighten up with Reference Recordings’ latest hybrid SACD, John Williams at the Movies? Also available as a 176.4/24 download—the format in which it was recorded and which I auditioned for this review—the performances by the Dallas Wind Band under Jerry Junkin are so vivid and color-saturated that RR has chosen them for their first hybrid high-resolution wind-band SACD.
The first thing you’ll hear is that the team of Keith O. Johnson and Sean Royce Martin has pulled no punches with this effort. Set down two years ago in the maximally wet acoustic of Myerson Symphony Center in Dallas, the recording makes no apologies for the brightness of brass, the clatter of 24″ Sabian Artisan cymbals, or the pounding of timpani and even larger percussion. With three or four dozen wind players, nine percussionists, two bassists, two harpists, and others on piano/celesta and organ, this all-out effort needs a space larger than my 16′ x 20′ x 9′ music room to do it full justice.
Once you catch your breath, you’ll also discover that Williams has a few favorite tricks up his sleeve. When he’s not dazzling you with his undeniably rousing array of catchy, action-narrating themes, he’ll sometimes throw in otherworldly interludes that, amidst chords of wonderment, may even offer hints of reflection.…
There are certainly some lovely passages here, especially in The Jedi Steps and Finale from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The simple Theme from JFK has its felicities, and even “Adventures on Earth” from E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial) indulges in soft transitions before it gets bigger and then bigger still. Then again, what else but biggest and super biggest might one expect from the most deservedly feted American cinematic composer of the last 60 years?”