As a life-long fan of Williams' film music, I have only recently discovered his more "serious" pieces. Like many versatile composers before him (think Korngold, Waxman, etc.), Williams is able to function in both worlds, writing rousing, effective scores and introspective, yet extremely dynamic works for concerto and orchestra. Treesong, in particular, is a masterful evocation of the wonders of nature, though many might not find any obvious signs of "nature" in the music. Williams chooses to evoke an altogether different environment, relying less on derivative new-agey techniques than the musings of a solo instrument as it encounters a strange and fantastic realm of "trunks, branches, and leaves." The sound world Williams conjures up is completely original in my mind and bears his distinctive stamp (as does his other piece for trees, Five Sacred Trees). The earlier Violin Concerto is from the same stylistic world, yet seems to probe deeper into personal emotions, with a profoundly melodic core. While Bartok's Violin Concerto can be seen behind it, it, too, is an extremely unique piece and only grows with repeated listenings. The addition of three pieces from Schindler's List was charming and highly appropriate, especially as a means of showing of Gil Shaham's talent.
In short, a wonderful disc that does justice to the seemingly inexaustible talents of John Williams, one of our most brilliant and remarkable composers. 5 stars.