On April 9, 2021, «Spotlight on John Williams», the debut album of the City Light Symphony Orchestra, was released. For this release, we were entrusted with numerous content creation tasks. These included writing the content for the CD booklet, preparing audiovisual content for the social media channels, setting up and maintaining a product subpage on the City Light Concerts website, and being responsible for press relations. Below we present – in the sense of a case study – explanations of the tools and software used as well as the content results for the individual content milestones. Many thanks to City Light Concerts for granting permission to publish the following content.
About «Spotlight on John Williams»
With the corona pandemic, concert halls around the world went quiet. From March 2020 to August 2021, large-scale events were largely impossible – with a few exceptions under heightened security precautions (pilot projects) or during a small window of opportunity in the fall of 2020, which had made large-scale events temporarily possible. The Lucerne concert management City Light Concerts also had to cancel and postpone numerous events in the 1,898-seat concert hall of the KKL Luzern. Concerts with live audiences were not possible – in the case of City Light Concerts except for two concerts in September and October 2020 – streaming concert offerings did not represent an adequate alternative for the concert management.
But this challenging situation also offered an opportunity: The concert hall of the KKL Luzern with its excellent acoustics could be booked for recordings for several days in a row. City Light Concerts took advantage of this opportunity. From September 22 to 30, 2020, the 90 musicians of the City Light Symphony Orchestra recorded its debut album with «Spotlight on John Williams» together with renowned soloists – Diego Caruso, Laurent Derache, Reinhold Friedrich, Valentine Michaud, Paul Meyer and Fabian Ziegler.
«Spotlight on John Williams» presents a selection of masterful film music by Hollywood icon John Williams – with a deliberate focus on his great stylistic diversity. Whether it’s Late-Romanticism in the style of Richard Wagner in «Star Wars», 1960s jazz in «Catch Me If You Can», Hungarian folklore in «The Terminal», 1920s Silly Symphony style whimsy in «Tintin», Americana in «The Cowboys» or Eastern colours in «Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom».
Musical direction was provided by up-and-coming conductor Kevin Griffiths. The result has been released in April 2021 as a lavish 2-CD digibook release by the Prospero Classical label. In July, this debut album was nominated by the jurors of the prestigious Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik for the current quarterly list (longlist 3/2021).
The CD booklet
The collaboration with the Prospero Classical label was of great interest, not least because this label had made a name for itself within a very short time for lavishly produced digibook releases. Accordingly, the debut album of the City Light Symphony Orchestra should not only be musically convincing but also informative and visually attractive with a comprehensive booklet. Basil Böhni wrote the texts for the booklet and provided editorial support.
There have been many positive reviews of «Spotlight on John Williams», with the booklet also receiving explicit mentions:
«It is a beefy, hard-back book style double disc production, complete with exhaustive notes about the music, the orchestra, the soloists, the conductor, the composer and recording details. One simply does not see this kind of outlay and expense from most record labels. All extremely professionally done and VERY impressive.» (David Rowe, davidsclassicalcds.com, July 3, 2021)
«Basil Böhni’s liner notes are far more incisive than this sort of album usually gets.» (James Southall, movie-wave.net, May 16, 2021)
Content for social media channels
We closely followed the release with numerous posts on City Light Concerts’ social media channels – Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. The campaign included sneak peek videos during the recording sessions in the concert hall, making-of posts with photo montages about the production process (implemented with the individual tools of Adobe Creative Cloud – Photoshop, InDesign; Lightbox), posts about the single-track releases on Spotify and also audiovisual content in the case of milestone posts such as “100k+ streams on Spotify” (see video below).
We created the videos for the milestone posts in PowerPoint and exported them in mp4 format. In the next step, we edited the respective video files with Lightworks software and added music to them.
Subpage on the website of City Light Concerts
Of course, the debut album of the City Light Symphony Orchestra and thus also of the Lucerne-based event management City Light Concerts should be present on their website. For this purpose, we created a new subpage in the WordPress environment and loaded it with all relevant information about the CD and download release of «Spotlight on John Williams». We also integrated a press article overview.
The press work was conducted according to the two-stage release procedure – first the national release at the beginning of April in Switzerland, followed by the international release at the beginning of May. We prepared a comprehensive press dossier in German and English and sent it to national and – from May on – international media and forums in cooperation with the label Prospero Classical as well as via the professional network of the producer and managing director of City Light Concerts.
The media response has been gratifying – from various articles in the national press to mentions in print and radio in countries such as Italy, Germany, Austria, UK, USA and Ireland.
What’s next? – «Spotlight on Adventure»
We are already looking forward to working on the next CD release of City Light Concerts, «Spotlight on Adventure». This 2-CD digibook will be released again via Prospero Classical and is scheduled for December 2021.