Monday, April 19, 2010

Music Monday ~ John Williams

Master guitarist/composer/arranger John Williams has a birthday coming up on Saturday. He was born in Australia but has spent quite a slice of his life in England, and tours the world playing guitar. It's not easy to find information about Williams, other than in relation to his technique, his playing, and lists of concerts and recordings. A couple of tidbits emerged from a biography HERE which shed a little light:
In the meantime, in a move that surprised nobody who knows him, in July John Williams suddenly cancelled his planned US tour for October and November 2003, in protest against the American-British invasion of Iraq, which he had opposed from the start.

(I) returned home to Birmingham just in time to discover that John Williams was playing Symphony Hall on 6th November - it was only on my way home that I realised that it was 50 years to the day since his public debut at the Wigmore Hall! It struck me that is fairly typical of what John Williams is like as a person: most performers would make a rather significant song and dance about reaching the 50th anniversary of selling out concert venues - in his case, not a mention was made of it in the programme notes, from the stage, or indeed during our short chat afterwards!

Among non-classical fans, Williams is best known for his rendition of Cavatina used in the movie The Deer Hunter. He was also part of a fusion group Sky,
with (among others) bass player Herbie Flowers (a former member of Blue Mink and T.Rex), and Francis Monkman, a founder member of progressive rock band Curved Air. As well as purely classical music, jazz and rock themes are to be found in their work.

John Williams was born in Melbourne, Australia on 24 April 1941. I can't find a time of birth for him, chart below is set for 12 noon. Ascendant is not as shown and Moon's degree isn't accurate, though it would have been in Aries, whatever the time of birth.

Aha! Here's another character with a glut of planets in one area of the chart - this time it's in Taurus. For a musician this is very fitting. Taurus's ruler, Venus is planet of the arts. Moon and Mercury in adjacent sign Aries lift the somewhat heavy, fixed Taurean input and add some much needed oomph to the proceedings. Mars in Aquarius was more than likely in helpful sextile aspect to natal Moon - reflecting his humanitarian side. He is a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and has supported Amnesty International.

Along with his generational group, he has Neptune in Virgo in harmonious trine with Uranus in Taurus. In Earth signs the rebelliousness of Uranus is grounded and soothed a wee bit, and the creativity and dreaminess of Neptune brought down to Earth. As these two outer planets are linked in to Williams' personal planet cluster in Taurus via Uranus conjunct Jupiter, more grounded characteristics become noticeable in personality traits rather than somply relting to a generation. John Williams was never going to be a punk rocker or an anarchist with those placements !

A surprising fact is that there are no planets in Water signs in John Williams' natal chart. Musicians and artists of all ilks tend to have a goodly amount emotional astrological Water to draw from. Perhaps his rising sign is in Pisces or Cancer (I doubt Scorpio though - too intense).


With SKY : Cannonball


Rossa said...

Well that brought home a few memories from my teenage years in the 70s. My parents were into classical music and had the set of 3 albums of duets that John Williams did with Julian Bream an English classical guitarist.

Julian was the "artistic" one and John the technical virtuoso. A brilliant blend of two different styles and approaches to their music.

My uncle plays violin with the Liverpool Philarmonic and studied with Yehudi Menuhin whom I met as a teenager as well. Not that that impressed me much as I don't have an interest in classical music myself though I can appreciate good music when I hear it.

Certainly don't do opera or modern classical, but then punk and heavy metal weren't exactly my scene!

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ Thanks for that insight - so John was the "technical" one ? That might account for the lack of Water in his chart (unless it's in the rising sign). Concentration on the practicalities and skills rather than the emotional input.

I'm not into any real classical stuff, but do enjoy a few of the well-known pieces:
classical-lite. ;-)
And whereas I couldn't sit through a full opera I enjoy famous arias - as sung by Mario Lanza and Mario Frangoulis especially. Beyond that, left to myself I'm a middle of the road old standards sort of gal (eg. Sinatra).

Wisewebwoman said...

I agree, he is a technical perfectionist and a joy to the ear, I would love to see him perform sometime!

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Yes, me too. :-)