Text of CD1 - Silva Screen Records · 12. The Adventures Of Jar Jar 13. Duel Of The Fates Star Wars: Attack...
CD1Star Wars: A New Hope: 01. Star Wars: A New Hope 02. Cantina Band 03. Princess Leia 04. The Throne Room / Finale Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: 05. The Imperial March 06. Han Solo and The Princess 07. The Asteroid Field 08. Yoda's Theme Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi: 09. Forest Battle Star Wars: The Phantom Menace: 10. Anakin's Theme 11. The Flag Parade 12. The Adventures Of Jar Jar 13. Duel Of The Fates Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones: 14. Across The Stars Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith: 15. Battle Of The Heroes
CD2Raiders Of The Lost Ark: 01. The Raiders March 02. The Map Room / Dawn 03. The Basket Game 04. Marion's Theme 05. Airplane Fight 06. The Ark Trek 07. Raiders Of The Lost Ark Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom: 08. Nocturnal Activities 09. The Mine Car Chase 10. Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom End Credits Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade: 11. Indy's First Adventure 12. X Marks The Spot / Escape From Venice 13. No Ticket / Keeping Up With The Joneses 14. Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade End Credits
CD3Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone: 01. Hedwig's Theme 02. Nimbus 2000 03. Harry's Wondrous World 04. Christmas at Hogwarts 05. Leaving Hogwarts Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets: 06. Fawkes The Phoenix 07. The Chamber of Secrets 08. Gilderoy Lockhart09. Dobby the House Elf 10. Reunion of Friends Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban: 11. Aunt Marge's Waltz 12. The Knight Bus 13. Double Trouble 14. A Window to the Past 15.Witches, Wands and Wizards 16.Mischief Managed / A Window to the Past / Buckbeak's Flight
CD401. The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn - The Adventures Of Tintin 02. War Horse - The Reunion 03. War Of The Worlds - Suite04. Munich - A Prayer for Peace 05. The Terminal - The Tale of Viktor Navorski 06. Minority Report 07. Catch Me If You Can08. Artificial Intelligence: AI - Where Dreams Are Born 09. Saving Private Ryan - Hymn To The Fallen 10. Amistad - Dry Your Tears, Afrika 11. Schindler’s List - Theme 12. Jurassic Park - Suite 13. Hook - Main Themes 14. Always - Follow Me / Dorinda's Solo Flight 15. Empire Of The Sun - Exsultate Justi
CD501. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial - Adventures On Earth 02. 1941 - March 03. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind - The Conversation Begins / Main Title / Resolution and Finale 04. Jaws 05. The Sugarland Express
06.Memoirs of a Geisha - Sayuri's Theme & End Credits 07. Far And Away - End Credits 08.JFK - Arlington / End Titles 09. Presumed Innocent10. Born On The Fourth Of July - End Credits 11. The Witches Of Eastwick - Dance Of The Witches 12.The River - Main Theme / Love Theme13. Olympic Fanfare and Theme
CD601. Dracula - Main Titles & Storm 02. The Fury 03. Superman 04. Black Sunday - Suite 05. The Missouri Breaks - Love Theme 06. Family Plot- End Titles 07. Battle of Midway 08. The Towering Inferno 09. Earthquake 10. The Long Goodbye 11. Cinderella Liberty - Nice To Be Around12. The Poseidon Adventure 13. The Cowboys - Suite 14. Jane Eyre - Theme 15. The Rare Breed - The Cross-Breed / End Credits
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: REYNOLD D'SILVA / PRODUCED BY: JAMES FITZPATRICK & RICK CLARK / MASTERED BY: RICK CLARK RELEASE CO-ORDINATION: DAVID STONER
& PETE COMPTON / ARTWORK & DESIGN: STUART FORD
He is the most popular, successful andinfluential American composer of the lastcentury. His work in film brought symphonicmusic to the masses; a once beleagueredgenre, the sound of a symphony orchestra isno longer alien to generations of youngpeople, thanks largely to the otherwise extra-terrestrial experience that was Star Wars in1977. But you don’t need to be told all of thisagain, for the John Williams story is one thathas been shared time and again,throughout what has gone on to become a fifty year career in film music.
February 8th 2012 sees the composercelebrate his 80th Birthday, a milestone that cannot pass by un-noted. Thiscomprehensive compendium of classicsgoes in some way to celebrate a life in filmmusic and a voice that continues toresonate, uplift and bring joy to millions. Overthe following paragraphs – an updatedversion of a previously unpublished article -I attempt to find out why Williams hasremained so consistently at the top hisgame and wish the world’s favourite musicalstoryteller a very Happy Birthday with a littlehelp from some of his peers.
“Perhaps if God were to choose onecomposer of this age to best representcelestial perfection, he would chooseJohn Williams. For such is John's mastery,such is John's utter excellence.”
Williams at 80
That 1977 score did catapult John Williamsto the very top of every director’s composerwish list, despite being on the scene foralmost twenty years at that point. It’sinteresting that we so often look to Star Warsas the moment Williams became a real ‘hit’.We seem to forget that Jaws precededLucas’ space opera by two years; thatlandmark score was fully orchestral, sparkeda number-one selling album and wonWilliams his first Oscar for an original score.Come to think of it, by the time thecomposer actually got round to scoring StarWars he had already scored two films for theyoung Steven Spielberg (with a third inprogress), a clutch of big-budget disasterepics (including the hugely popular TheTowering Inferno) and provided music forAlfred Hitchcock’s swansong Family Plot, notto mention A-List star vehicles like The EigerSanction, Midway and The Missouri Breaks.Although that last entry is as far removedfrom a ‘classical’ score as you can get, themajority of what Williams had brought to thescreen was largely orchestral and he wasthe go-to composer for major directors. Sowas Star Wars such a surprise, stylistic orotherwise, after all?
Surprise or not, the score marked a turningpoint not just for Williams, who receivedawards galore, commanded more money,more fans and went onto score some of thebiggest motion picture successes of all time,but also for Hollywood film-scoring, asproducers sought out a ‘John Williamssound’ for their pictures. The orchestral filmscore was in vogue again.
Thirty Five Years Ago in a galaxy far, far away...
With his career in screen composing beyondits fifty-year mark, John Williams has a lot tobe proud of. He has churned out some ofthe most memorable music ever to gracethe silver screen. But what is it about theWilliam’s sound that is so remarkable, andhas that sound changed over the years?From Images to E.T, Born On The Fourth OfJuly to The Adventures Of Tintin: The SecretOf The Unicorn, John Williams remainseffortlessly original and it is that freshness ofmind that is the key to his longevity as a filmcomposer.
The Reivers was written ten years intoWilliams’ scoring career and is stillconsidered his first ‘major’ score. Up to thispoint the young composer had forgedhimself a niche in screwball comedies andmelodrama as ‘Johnny’ Williams, harnessinghis penchant for rhythm, and lively jazz-likerefrains. The Mark Rydell film saw Williams’first major credit as ‘John’, a symbolicmoment not just for the man, but also for themusic. The Reivers gave Williams the chanceto court a more mature sound for a big film,tipping his hat to Aaron Copland-esque‘Americana’, while still retaining histrademark energy and wit; the score was ahuge success and awarded the composerhis first Academy Award nomination forcomposition.
This score wasn’t an absolute musicalepiphany though, as Williams had scored ahandful of ‘dramatic’ films in the 1960s,including I Passed For White and The SecretWays. Diamond Head also reveals an earlydramatic turn from the composer, as doNone But The Brave (the first of a trilogy-of-sorts of war efforts, continued by Midway in1976 and completed by Saving Private Ryanin 1998) and The Rare Breed; the latter alsoexhibits a broader thematic tendency. Let’snot forget that the composer had penned aselection of concert works in this decade aswell, a process the composer has often citedas a means of learning. So with that in mindit’s perhaps no surprise that in 1969 Williams,and those hiring him, felt he was more thanable to get his teeth into something a bitmeatier, and indeed higher profile, thanGidget Goes To Rome.
His stylistic approach to The Reivers ofcourse paved the way for The Cowboys in1972; elements of which foreshadow thegorgeous Americana writing in Supermanand, later, The River. Other Westerns followedduring the 1970s, namely The Man WhoLoved Cat Dancing and The Missouri Breaks,both of which share a lot stylistically withWilliams’ modern instrumental approach,notable in that 1969 score. Williams was onhis way up, taking with him a distinct knack
for capturing the essence of a film andgiving it exactly what it needed, orchestralor otherwise.
Williams’ tendency to re-invent himself isanother aid to his longevity in music. Theaforementioned comedy and melodramascoring, paved the way for the explosivedramatics of the 1970s, while the success ofStar Wars laid the foundation for behemothslike Superman, The Empire Strikes Back,Raiders Of The Lost Ark and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.
The years that followed E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial offer an interesting move inWilliams’ career path, and although he didscore Return Of The Jedi and two moreIndiana Jones adventures in the 1980s, notto mention SpaceCamp, the composerbegan scoring more mature films. Movieslike The River, Empire Of The Sun, The WitchesOf Eastwick and The Accidental Touristallowed Williams the opportunity to ply hisinexorable talent on character-led drama,rather than hitting the beats of a chase orbattle. These projects were a real turningpoint for the composer as he began toshake off the blockbuster image he’dearned himself, aided a little earlier byscores for adult genre pictures such as TheFury, Dracula and Monsignor. Without all of
The Changing Williams
these films to his credit, one wonders if hecould have approached the likes ofSchindler’s List, Seven Years In Tibet andMunich in quite the same way, or with thesame touch. Another score of the late 1980swould also have a helping hand withWilliams’ mature side, Born On The Fourth OfJuly. This score echoes Williams’ earlierdramatic efforts somewhat (just listen to his‘Epilogue’ from The Fury for example) and itsparked a collaboration with Oliver Stonethat took in the astonishing JFK and, later,the oft-overlooked Nixon, both of whichshare much with the earlier score.
Film-scoring aside, Williams’ persona in theUnited States at this time was akin to that ofa ‘folk-hero’. Coming off the back of hisenormous success in the late 1970s, Williamstook over full time conducting duties withthe Boston Pops Orchestra in 1980 (followingthe death of Arthur Fiedler) and becamesomething of a musical figurehead, bringingsymphonic music to the masses once more.This appointment did have an effect onWilliams’ scoring, if only in the sense that itmeant he had less time to do so; the 1980sremain one of the composer’s most spartanin terms of film scoring.
The decade also saw a handful of highprofile composing assignments for Williams,upping his credibility as a serious composerand beginning his role as something of anunofficial ‘composer laureate’ for thecountry. The 1980s saw him compose a TubaConcerto, pieces for Boston’s 350th
anniversary, the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics,the centennial of the Statue of Liberty andthe 1989 Colorado Winter Games, amongstother things. So with these things in mind,Williams’ maturing as a film composer in thisperiod is perhaps less surprising, and thelikes of Born On The Fourth Of July and JFKonly increased his growing persona asAmerica’s musical storyteller.
Of course Williams didn’t shy away from theblockbusting movies he’d grownaccustomed to - he courted his fair share inthe 1990s - but approached them I thinkwith a renewed sense of style, self-awareness and sophistication. Williams’sophisticated side was no more evidentthan in the period that followed what is nowconsidered to be his magnum opus.
“His talent in music is rare and we musttreasure it in our time.”Tan Dun
With a fifth Oscar on the mantle, worldwidekudos for a beautiful new work, not tomention the success of a certain dinosaurblockbuster, Williams was at a precipice ofsorts in 1994. Akin to his post-E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial period, the composer saw fit totake a break from the scoring stage, partlyto focus on writing his Cello concerto, butalso perhaps to take stock and soak up thesuccesses of the early-1990s. Aside fromSchindler’s List, Williams had delivered twoHome Alone scores, two further Spielbergspectacles, Ron Howard’s Far And Away andof course more ‘serious’ scores in the shapeof Presumed Innocent, Stanley & Iris and JFK.
The overtly classical style of Schindler’s Listand the success/respect that it broughtmeant Williams, more than ever, was indemand to score the biggest, mostdramatic and intellectually-sound filmsbeing produced; so it’s interesting that thecomposer next chose to score SidneyPollack’s remake of Sabrina. An intriguing‘comeback’ indeed, but we can forgive himfor wanting to take on a film that was at acompletely different pole to the holocaust.Williams dipped his toe back into scoringwith that 1995 romantic score and followedit with Nixon, rather less romantic andexhibiting a darker style that would have animpact on a number of scores that followed.
The brooding nature of Nixon permeatesscores like Sleepers, which came thefollowing year, and later Saving Private Ryan,Minority Report, Revenge Of The Sith, War OfThe Worlds and Munich.
1997 could be considered the real‘comeback’ year for the composer however;the three years preceding it only witnessedthree scores, equal in terms of their low keyapproach, and more concert music. 1997,however, represents the beginning of thecurrent chapter in his career, full of carefullychosen, high calibre films, broad orchestralstrokes and richly sophisticated thematicmaterial. The year saw two films withSpielberg, a darker Jurassic Park sequel andAmistad, plus Rosewood and Seven Years InTibet. The former saw Williams give a nod tohis Reivers days with the application ofharmonica, guitar and jaw harp, butgrounding them amongst weighty stringsand haunting vocals; the latter saw acollaboration with classical soloist Yo-Yo-Ma,for whom Williams had written his 1994 Celloconcerto. The use of a star soloist of coursecomes off the back of his collaboration withItzhak Perlman for Schindler’s List (although1972’s Images saw percussion performed byStomu Yamashta) and would precedeprojects with the likes of ChristopherParkening (guitar, Stepmom), Mark
O’Connor (violin, The Patriot), BarbaraBonney (vocals, A.I. Artificial Intelligence)and of course both Perlman and Ma onMemoirs Of A Geisha. So again the ante wasupped in this period in terms of Williams’status and persona, and I think the musicreflects this. However, one series of scoresspanning the new millennium would revealmore than ever just how much Williams hadevolved as a composer.
After Schindler’s List...
The world held its collective breath in 1999when Star Wars, Episode I: The PhantomMenace was ready for release. Years in themaking, this ‘prequel’ would ignite StarWars fan fever in the young and extinguishit for many, who were disappointed in theresulting film. Beside from a few namesand locales, the music was about the onlything that bore any resemblance to Lucas’original trilogy… or did it? Williams’ scoreactually exhibited something a differentsound for the saga; the tightly craftedmusic fits the opulent and sophisticatedpre-Episode IV world on display, not tomention the new characters. There is alsoperhaps more ethnicity in the music; it’snotable that Williams himself once put theimpact of his original 1977 score down toits overtly earthly familiarity, against theotherworldliness of the film itself. The 1999score is much broader orchestrally, lesssimplistic maybe, and while it’s still theLondon Symphony Orchestra playing thenotes, the denser orchestrations andchoral sections make for a very differentexperience. Saying that it’s still very JohnWilliams and the double album releasedin 2000 reveals a little more of the ‘old’Williams in some of the cues that didn’tmake it to the first pressing. The brass isalways an area where you can say ‘that’smore like it’ and I think that’s an important
point; Williams may have dialled downthose trademark brass flurries in recent yearsand that’s a film-specific/orchestrationalchoice of course, but when it is used itraises hairs – as in Indiana Jones And TheKingdom Of The Crystal Skull and TheAdventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of TheUnicorn. The Williams brass sound islegendary and was a staple in thoseheady days of the 1970s and 1980s. As anaside The Towering Inferno is a notablestarting off point with regards to thatsound and it’s also worth noting thatHerbert Spencer was Williams’ mainorchestrator from that score onwards(though they worked together on A GuideFor The Married Man), overseeing everyscore up to and including Home Alone in1990, prior to his death in 1992.
As the Star Wars saga darkened inEpisode II: Attack Of The Clones, so didWilliams’ approach to the music. Clones isperhaps the most familiar sounding of allthree prequel scores; again the brasswriting and action cues (‘Chase ThroughCoruscant’, for example) have somethingto do with this, as well as the somewhatweightier use of pre-existing themes.‘Across the Stars’, the only noteworthyaddition to the thematic canon, is as lusha Williams love theme as you can hope for,
though again more ‘mature’ than say ‘HanSolo and the Princess’ from 1980 – for allthe reasons covered previously.
With Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith, thedarkness turned pitch black (informing hisfollowing score for War Of The Worlds somemight say) and this time Williamsdelivered a very emotionally chargedpiece, to match Lucas’ tragic thirdchapter. Sith is without doubt the mostadult of the Star Wars scores; its emotionalimpact achieved with weighty choralwriting and heavy strings and borrowing,as I said, something of Nixon’stemperament. While it is an astonishingpiece of work, it is perhaps the least StarWars of the lot musically. When Williamseventually brings in ‘Princess Leia’s Theme’and ‘The Throne Room’ from his first 1977score you almost feel you’ve beenwatching a different movie, those themesbeing so connected to the moreexuberant and upbeat original film we allknow and love.
The return to a galaxy far, far away...
“John Williams, besides being the mostseminal film composer working today,is an almost solitary beacon ofmusical integrity in film music.”Don Davis
Williams isn’t one to fence himself in then, oradhere to a preconceived style. Hislongevity owes as much to his originality asit does to his ability to approach eachproject with an open mind; the filmabsolutely informs the choices he makes forthe music. He’s famously sketchy when itcomes to discussing old scores, he tends notto look over his shoulder, and that is evidentin the breadth of new material he is able towrite. I can think of very few instances wherehe has re-used a melodic line or motif(except in a sequel or homage); and whilesome colours remain the same over timeand stylistic dots are joined across scores,Williams remains just about the mostoriginal and talented film composer workingtoday. His command of the symphonicidiom, continued study of music in all itsforms - not to mention a fastidious workregime - have undoubtedly contributed tohis growth as a composer and his resultingmusic. That is why the John Williams of 2012is a very different musical animal to theWilliams of 1977 and before.
This is an artist who has inspired, excitedand moved millions for over five decadesand even after forty-five Academy Awardnominations, five Oscar wins, twentyGrammys, four Golden Globes, two Emmysand seven BAFTAs, the eighty year-old isn’tresting on his laurels. Williams continues tochallenge himself, exploring all aspects ofhis musical personality and adding to hisalready immense knowledge to create themost perfect film score. Even in the twilightyears of a prestigious career Williamsembraces the sorts of movies that made hisname in the 1970s and 1980s. The HarryPotter franchise was of course a massivesuccess and once again the composercreated thrilling, fantastical music acrossthree spellbinding films. In 2011 Spielberg’sThe Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of TheUnicorn and War Horse saw him deliver twoscores that, despite their differences, worktogether to galvanise the composer’s statusin Hollywood film music and again showwhy the director recently hailed him as ‘themost important collaborator I’ve ever had inmy career’. The Adventures Of Tintin: TheSecret Of The Unicorn has glimpses of theenergetic wit and non-stop action you’dhave expected from a younger Williams,while War Horse continues the tradition ofthe keenly applied, emotionally dramaticwriting we’ve come to expect. This year
Williams takes on Spielberg’s long-awaitedLincoln and with concert appearances andcommissions for US orchestras and soloistscontinuing to take up his time, and while hehas the luxury of picking and choosing whatfilm projects to take on, it’s safe to say thereare more gems to come. His developmentas a composer continues even today, sowhat will he come up with for those films yetto be heard? One thing’s for sure, there’s nosecond-guessing John Williams.
I contacted a veritable who’s who of filmcomposers and industry figures about thecomposer in the lead up to his 75th birthday.They gladly offered their birthday wishes,selected favourite scores and a fewthoughts on his contribution to the art of filmand film music. I’m thrilled to be able tofinally share these now...
“I’ve often had the thought that you almostneed to be a composer to understand howtruly brilliant John Williams is. A Swisswatchmaker’s craft, with the soul of a poet;unprecedented virtuosity and technique,with the unfailing ability to touch the humanheart. It’s an impossible task to choose afavourite score from such a wealth ofdecades of brilliance. But if I must, I guess itwould be The Terminal featuring the lateclarinettist Emily Bernstein.
Thank you for setting the bar sounreachably high and happy birthday Mr.Williams!”Joel McNeely
“John Williams is a giant in the film musicworld. My favourite scores of his are E.T: TheExtra-Terrestrial. for its sophistication andglorious melody, Schindler's List for itsbeauty and compassion, and Harry Potter
for the main theme's aptness andorchestration. He is endlessly inventive andhis musical intelligence is matched by noone, in my opinion.”Rachel Portman
“I recall seeing John conduct the New YorkPhilharmonic at Avery Fisher in New York afew months ago. It was a programmebeginning with Bernard Herrmann excerptsnarrated by Martin Scorsese and then acomplete Williams second half narrated bySteven Spielberg. I marvelled at the work ofJohn in this concert. The playing of theHerrmann was loving and precise. The piecefrom Taxi Driver a standout. His commandand control of the intimate colours of theorchestra is wonderful. His work in thesecond half from Raiders, E.T. and Jaws toStar Wars and Schindler’s List pure joy. Tohear the work of these two masters togetherin one evening was extraordinary. Thank youJohn for all that you have given us so far.Please keep up your brilliant work andmany happy birthday wishes.”Howard Shore
“Some of my earliest memories of going tothe cinema are of hearing the music ofJohn Williams. I can remember cominghome from Star Wars and picking out someof the themes on the piano and then
bugging my parents to buy the record.When, after much pressure, they finally did,I'm ashamed to say it was with somedisappointment that I told my parents thatthe Geoff Love version they had bought me‘wasn't quite right!’ As a child I naively setabout trying to work out why this discoarrangement didn't sound like the original,and what made the original so exciting forme. As it happens, I'm still working this outtoday. As they say, the devil's in the detail,and there's a hell of a lot of that in JohnWilliams' music. Apart from his incredible giftfor melody and characterisation, and hisunfailing harmonic invention and wit, whatstands out for me is the level of detail in allhis scores. The orchestral patina is alwaysimplied within his melody and harmony in away that only a true master of symphonicscoring may achieve.
For me, his greatest single score wouldprobably have to be E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial. which has one particularlyoutstanding achievement for a filmabout an alien - its humanity. The relationshipbetween E.T. and Elliot is so touchinglyportrayed in the intimate scenes betweenthese two , which are sometimes overlooked.His achievements are really too many tomention. Happy Birthday, John Williams.”Alex Heffes
Happy Birthday Mr Williams...
“I only worked for John two or three times.He was always very professional andconsiderate and never left town withoutcalling to say ‘Thank you’. He is in fact athorough gentleman. John's score forSchindler’s List was very poignant and Ithink my favourite.”Vic Fraser, Music Copyist/Arranger
“John Williams is probably the greatest filmcomposer alive on the planet today, andhis work certainly classifies him as one ofour indelible masters. Like everyone else, Ihave been a fan of his work for decades.The best thing I like about John's writingis that he is a great tunesmith withwonderful melodies that are alwayssurrounded by sophisticated colours andshapes, only to enhance their beauty.”Aaron Zigman
“I have long believed that the nicest guys inthis business are also the best at what theydo: guys like Silvestri, Debney, Frizzell, Elfmanand Bartek have always been over-kind tome? But John Williams redefined humilityfor me - and it was a quick lesson inlearning if you want to harness that kind ofmagic from orchestras the world over, allyou have to be is that sweet and humble,and the genius musician part doesn't hurteither. Happy Birthday John!”Damon Intrabartolo, Conductor
“John Williams’ musical contributions to filmscoring are vast and beautiful. His timelessmelodies bridge the ages as well as
physical age. My and my daughter’sfavourite score is Saving Private Ryan. Mydaughter is 3 ½ and listens to that scoreevery day. It’s wonderful that John Williamsaffords this wonderful opportunity to bondin such an intelligent and musical manner.”Starr Parodi, Composer/Pianist
“John Williams' talent in writing memorablethemes is his greatest gift. The fact that somany of his scores are memorable in theirown right is a great tribute to the man. Fromgiant cascading tunes, to the simplest ofthemes, there's always an elegance andmelodic interest which haunts you - oftenlong after you've seen the movie.
Favourite score: Schindler's List -immediately haunting and memorable,with an understated beauty and simplicity.Debbie Wiseman
“John Williams, besides being the mostseminal film composer working today, is analmost solitary beacon of musical integrityin film music. As each new score bringsnew surprises, I was particularly delightedwith his work on the Steven Spielberg filmMunich - beautiful melody with anastonishment of dissonance - absolutelybrilliant.Don Davis
“I have never been more nervous aboutworking for a composer than I was on thefirst score I booked for John. It was aperpendicular learning curve for me and
pretty scary altogether. However, when Iworked for him the next time on HarryPotter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban I wascompletely in tune with how he workedand what he needed. The Double DeckerBus cue (‘The Knight Bus’) was the mostbizarre instrumentation I have ever bookedand the result was absolutely mindblowing. It all seems so effortless with him -a mixture of genius and preparation. Yes, Ican safely say that was my favourite scorefor many reasons. Working with him liftseverybody's game and his music leaves itsmark on everyone in the room.”Isobel Griffiths, Orchestra Contractor
“My favourite John Williams score wouldhave to be Catch Me If You Can because itis so sophisticated and original and playsas brilliantly outside of the film as in it. Hisimpressionistic use of the modern jazzvocabulary is astounding and truly inspiring.The word ‘master’ is thrown around a lot, butin the case of John, it truly does apply. He isin a class by himself. His sense of melody isbrilliant. John works within the traditionalaspects of the film music genre, yet alwaysmakes it sound completely new and fresh,and it never fails to be the ideal choice forthe picture he's scoring.”Mark Isham
“My favourite movie soundtracks of John’sare Schindler’s List and Star Wars. John’smusic is very passionate when capturing astory acoustically and it (vividly?) emulates(imitates?) the invisible activity of the
psyche and spirit. It also is exceptionallyunique, being so perfectly structured andorchestrated. His music is truthful andoriginal. It is well crafted and effectivelyacts as a counterpoint to the picture anddialogue. His talent in music is rare and wemust treasure it in our time. It must stand-alone as a new kind of art that connectsthe picture, colour, action, psyche andspirit. He is a role model in this art form.Most of all, to me, John is a warm, lovingand wonderful man. I admire and love himas a person as well as an artist.” Tan Dun
“John Williams has had more influence thanany other living person not just on filmscoring but the entire art of cinema. Hiswork is the gold standard against whichour craft will be measured for the nexthundred years.
I have many favourite Williams scores, butif pressed I would say E.T.: The Extra-Terrestial Partly for geeky technical musicalreasons that you don't want to hear aboutinvolving bitonalism and motivicdevelopment (I told you), but mostlybecause it is such a perfect complementto the story. Happy Birthday John.”Michael A. Levine
“To try and sum up in words all that JohnWilliams means to me is simply impossible.John is the number one reason why Idecided to pursue a career as a composerfor film. Hearing the opening strains of Star
Wars in 1977, I was immediately catapultedto worlds only dreamed of. John's musicsimply stated is sublime perfection.
Hearing John's work moves me, challengesme, inspires me and humbles me. So luckyare we to have John Williams in ourlifetime, for his talent is truly once in ageneration and we are so very blessed towitness his genius.
Perhaps if God were to choose onecomposer of this age to best representcelestial perfection, he would choose JohnWilliams. For such is John's mastery, such isJohn's utter excellence.”John Debney
“Genius! For every composer of film music,John Williams is an icon. His approachhas inspired and informed us all. Histhemes, orchestrations and sensitivities inevery cue speak to his creativity andmusicality. His lasting contributions haveto include the tremendous bar he has setfor us all. A ‘favourite’ is hard for me toidentify, but Empire Of The Sun was ascore that truly opened my ears to theimmense vocabulary available to filmcomposers.” Jay Weigel
“John Williams is the master - he standshead and shoulders above the rest.
When the history of 20th (and 21st)century music is finally written, his best
work will be celebrated alongside that ofthe masters of the first half of the century– Richard Strauss, Bartok and Stravinsky.
In an age when so many scores aredreary dirges that rarely rise above thelevel of sound effects, his scores keepalive the magical instrumental coloursthat can be painted with the symphonyorchestra.”Anne Dudley
“John Williams’ Schindler's List is a greatrepresentation of what a film composercan do for a film. This score takes all of usto a place we may not want to visit, butwe can't help going there because themusic along with visual make for aperfect marriage of sight and sound. JohnWilliams is a master at choosing a tonalpalette that can mirror the visuallimitations that comprise the context inwhich a story is told. I love this scorebecause he also had the courage to writeit for one of our premier violinists ItzakPerlman, whose performance brought tobear the pain and heartache of thosewho suffered. Everyone talks about hisorchestrations, that of course has alwaysbeen the standard to attain, but for me itis the willingness to try new things thatmakes him stand above the rest. Neverbecoming comfortable, but alwayslearning and pushing ahead. He is thestandard that I shoot for in my life as a filmcomposer and performer.Terence Blanchard
“Although I would have heard Williams'music prior to 1977, it was only then that Isuddenly became acutely aware of itcourtesy of Close Encounters Of The ThirdKind. I was eleven years old and will neverforget the shock of hearing 'Alien music'! Itwas clever, funny, big and it blew me away.For weeks, I had the five-note theme stuckin my head - those five notes simply refusedto go away!
I think we have all been blessed that Johnhappened: the world would be a lot, lotpoorer without his beautiful, emotional,sensitive, energetic, clear and witty musicalthinking. For me, John Williams representsthe best example of what having 'musicalideas' really means. His ideas are simply somemorable, clear and direct and once youhave heard them they stay with you forever.I hope he will never stop writing, ever!”Dario Marianelli
Michael BeekWriter, Film Music Journalist, Producer
*This article was originally written in 2007 for Music fromthe Movies magazine to mark John Williams 75thBirthday, but was unpublished.