SOUND THE BELLS!
|Sound the Bells, written
to celebrate a marriage in the Japanese Royal Family, finds Williams pursuing the
inspiration of the great Japanese temple bells. Instead of resorting to a false
orientalism, the composer exploits the timbre and luster of the western symphony
orchestra's own bells to convey American greetings to the Japanese Royal Couple.
In 1993, when the Crown Prince of Japan finally chose a bride, the excitement was almost as great in Boston as it was in Japan, for the young woman had attended Harvard and lived for a number of years in the Boston area with her family (her father having been stationed there as a diplomat). And of course the Boston Symphony had long been of special interest to Japanese audiences owing to the fact that, since 1973, its music director had been compatriot Seiji Ozawa. In light of these elements, it was indeed appropriate for Boston Pops conductor John Williams to have composed this special music to honor the marriage of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako Owada, the premiere performance of which was given in Tokyo as part of the Pops tour of Japan in June of 1993.