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In praise of: John Williams


#1

I’ve been going through a phase of listening to some John Williams soundtracks lately, and it struck me that the man really has built up a remarkable, distinguished, high-quality body of work over his long career.

I felt like it was worth celebrating his work, because I don’t think the obituary thread should be the only place for eulogising about creative people who have done such great things in their lifetime.

So what’s your favourite John Williams piece? It’s very hard to choose (this is the guy who did the music for Jaws, ET, Star Wars, Superman, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and many more) but I think this might be mine. It’s such a rousing and beautiful piece of music in its own right, even outside the context of the movie.

I also love this, even more than the main Superman theme I think:


#2

Duel of the Fates.


#3

I think Superman has the greatest movie score of all time, so that’s my favorite.


#4

I always have Richard Donner inserting “Superman!” into the theme.


#5

‘Building The Cage’ in Jaws is probably my personal favourite.


#6

I’ve rarely heard a John Williams I didn’t like. His jazzy Catch Me If You Can, his moody Munich. But the guy is a master at composing themes.


#7

The bit starting here.


The rhythm of the dumpity-dumdumdum brass bassline is genius, with the crescendo of the ‘Superman!’ is much stronger than the main march, for me. It’s tense, and then relieved by the crescendo. Inspires me every time…


#8

Possibly the highlight of that trilogy. I wonder if we’ll ever see it brought back into play in the new movies.


#9

Williams seems to have gone in a different direction. Rey’s theme is very subdued.


#10

I actually really loved that one. The highlighted piano was a new twist for the series.

Also a huge fan, probably because I’ve heard it a million times, of his Olympic Fanfare …


#11

Rey’s theme is lovely. I particularly like the way it blends in with other themes in this section towards the end of the movie.


#12

And of course… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80TAVW3paBA Lost In Space


#13

Doesn’t matter what piece it is. His entire back catalogue has that “hairs on your arm standing on end” quality.

Also, this is pretty cool.


#14

Without question - Superman!


#15

A two-hour special Proms concert of Williams’ music has just started on BBC Four - great. That’s my evening’s viewing sorted.