On the eve of what would have been the opening of its spring concert season, the Boston Pops has just released a virtual tribute to COVID-19 first responders. With a total of 78 musicians participating from their own kitchens, basements, home offices, and back yards, all under the direction of conductor Keith Lockhart, the Pops has recorded “Summon the Heroes,” a rousing work composed by John Williams for the 1996 Olympic Games. Williams himself makes a cameo appearance from his Los Angeles home studio to introduce the piece from the piano.
The video has the feel of an all-hands-on-deck occasion — as many BSO principal players who are typically exempted from Pops performances appear here, and in order to cover all the parts, some players such as second trumpet Benjamin Wright show up twice. BSO Recording Engineer Nick Squire and Video Engineer Brandon Cardley wove together audio and video from 86 separate files. All of the BSO musicians have accepted pay cuts of approximately 25 percent through the end of August, and 70 employees have been furloughed. Watch the video at https://youtu.be/THJYEdScby8.