Violinist and legendary film composer team up for virtuoso violin versions of movie themes from Star Wars to Harry Potter

Full details have now been announced for the upcoming album from film composer John Williams and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter due for release on 30 August on Deutsche Grammophon.

Familiar themes from Star Wars, Harry Potter and more have been recast as virtuosic violin showpieces for the album Across the Stars, featuring the Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles conducted by John Williams himself.

‘There is only one John Williams,’ said Mutter. ‘What he writes is just extraordinary. These are melodies which touch us so deeply, they just stay with you.

‘That’s the wonderful thing about John’s music – even without the film it has a life of its own. Every time I go to one of his films and there is a violin or cello, I think, I would like to play that! And now I have his wonderful translations of all these iconic themes.’

Williams commented: ‘Working with Anne-Sophie on this recording has been a pure inspiration. She has brought vibrant life to these familiar themes in new and unexpected ways, which has been a great joy for me as a composer.’ 

On reworking his own themes for the new context, Williams said ‘Presented on the violin, they become a different emotional experience’. The first ‘single’ released for the album was ‘Hedwig’s Theme’ from the Harry Potter films, which Williams and Mutter described as ‘Harry Potter meets Paginini’ and ‘a Carmen Fantasy for the 21st century’.

John Williams and Anne-Sophie Mutter were introduced by Mutter’s former husband, the pianist, conductor and composer André Previn, who died earlier this year

Mutter premiered Williams’ Markings for solo violin, strings and harp at the 2017 Tanglewood Festival and, a year later, also premiered a new arrangement of ‘Across the Stars’, the love theme from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, for Deutsche Grammophon’s 120-year anniversary gala concert in Berlin.

Mutter will perform parts of the album later this summer with Boston Pops Orchestra at Tanglewood and for an outdoor concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Munich’s Königsplatz.

Full track listing:

  • Rey’s Theme - from Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Yoda’s Theme - from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Hedwig’s Theme - from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  • Across The Stars (Love Theme) - from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
  • Donnybrook Fair - from Far And Away
  • Sayuri’s Theme - from Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Night Journeys - from Dracula
  • Theme - from Sabrina
  • The Duel - from The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
  • Luke And Leia - from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
  • Nice To Be Around - from Cinderella Liberty
  • Theme - from Schindler’s List