You know summer's really over when there are empty boxes for a weekend pops concert at Hollywood Bowl. John Williams conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic Friday evening for an audience unusually thin down front, characteristically full and vociferous higher up.
Williams had been here just a month before, with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. He even returned with some of the same pieces, at least among his own compositions. Up for encore were music from "The Accidental Tourist" and "E.T.," and the March from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."
Williams made his mark with those pieces, and a lusty Hoe-Down from Copland's "Rodeo." His "Liberty Fanfare" and "Cowboys Overture" proved less compelling, and the rest of the program--medley arrangements from "Porgy and Bess," "Fiddler on the Roof" and musicals choreographed by Jerome Robbins, and William Schuman's placid "Chester" arrangement--had only intermittent moments of high impact.
The orchestra played reasonably well for Williams, particularly the abundantly exercised brass. Concertmaster Alexander Treger handled the extrovert mini-concerto in the "Fiddler" potpourri with over-amplified elan.
Many of the 13,956 fans stayed to cheer Williams and the Philharmonic on through four encores, and a series of bows that ended only when the conductor shooed the orchestra off the stage.