Sharks and Bandits: A Q&A with Mike Matessino


by Jason LeBlanc

2015 has been a great year to be a John Williams fan. For the 40th anniversary of Jaws, Geffen Records reissued the original LP program on vinyl and digital. For the 25th anniversary of Home Alone, Sony reissued the original soundtrack on CD and digital. Geffen also reissued the LP programs of Jaws 2 and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial digitally, and Audio Fidelity reissued the Close Encounters of the Third Kind LP program on SACD on November 27th. Sony also announced a new box set of all six original Star Wars scores, and Disney Records will release the original soundtrack to The Force Awakens on December 18th.

Fans were spoiled by the specialty labels as well, with La-La Land Records reissuing the out-of-print 1941 Expanded Original Motion Picture Score 2CD set in February, the brand new A.I.: Artificial Intelligence: Expanded Archival Collection 3CD set in June, and the Lost In Space: 50th Anniversary Soundtrack Collection 12CD set in October. Quartet Records also chimed in with a reissue of the The Long Goodbye in June.

But the specialty labels werent done, and the final months of the year have brought forth a trio of new 2CD sets all containing a wealth of previously unreleased music, and all sounding better than ever before. Intrada Records released Jaws 2 on November 3rd and Jaws on November 17th, while La-La Land is releasing Home Alone on December 1st.

All three releases were restored, mixed, edited, and mastered by Mike Matessino, with him taking producing duties on the new Home Alone as well. Mike was kind enough to answer a round of questions on all three releases exclusively for The John Williams Fan Network.

La-La Land Releases HOME ALONE 2CD Set – Complete Score Remastered, Including Previously Unreleased Tracks


(Available Tuesday, December 1, 12:00pm PST at

Music by John Williams
Limited Edition of 5000 Units

La-La Land Records, 20th Century Fox, Fox Music and Sony Music present HOME ALONE 25th ANNIVERSARY: LIMITED EDITION, a very special restored, remastered and expanded 2-CD re-issue of renowned composer John Williams (JAWS, STAR WARS, EMPIRE OF THE SUN, A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE) original motion picture score to the timeless 1990 holiday classic feature film HOME ALONE, starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, and directed by Chris Columbus. For this deluxe release, produced by Mike Matessino and Nick Redman, and executive produced for Sony Music by Jeff James and Didier C. Deutsch, producer Matessino worked with newly discovered elements (2 scoring masters containing 3-track mixes), which he transferred, mixed and mastered at high resolution (96k/24bit). The result is a strikingly sonically improved presentation of the score above and beyond any other HOME ALONE soundtrack release. Disc One contains the film score, with additional music, and Disc Two presents the re-mastered original 1990 album presentation with bonus tracks, including the addition of two tracks recorded for the film by Southside Johnny Lyon and the songs Run Rudolph Run and Rockin Around the Christmas Tree. With revised in-depth liner notes by Matessino and joyous all-new art direction by Jim Titus, this is the definitive release of a holiday classic from one of filmdoms greatest and most beloved composers.



Sources: Amazon France and Amazon Italy. (UPDATE: Track list no longer available at the Amazon sites).

01. Main Title and the Attack on the Jakku Village
02. The Scavenger
03. I Can Fly Anything
04. Rey Meets BB-8
05. Follow Me
06. Rey’s Theme
07. The Falcon
08. That Girl with the Staff
09. The Rathtars!
10. Finn’s Confession
11. Maz’s Counsel
12. The Starkiller
13. Kylo Ren Arrives at The Battle
14. The Abduction
15. Han and Leia
16. March of the Resistance
17. Snoke
18. On the Inside
19. Torn Apart
20. The Ways of the Force
21. Scherzo for X-wings
22. Farewell and the Trip
23. The Jedi Steps and Finale

Celebrating Star Wars Themes, Part 3: The Emperor’s Theme

In his score for Return of the Jedi, John Williams introduced a handful of new memorable themes into the Star Wars saga including that for the Ewoks, Jabba the Hutt, and Luke and Leia. But the only one to have significant reverberations across the ensuing prequel trilogy is the Emperor’s theme.

Celebrating Star Wars Themes, Part 3 of 6: Uses of Darth Vader’s Theme, by Mark Richards

See also:
Part 1: The Force ThemePart 2: Darth Vader’s Theme

‘Star Wars’ Recording Engineer Eric Tomlinson Dies

Recording engineer Eric Tomlinson, who collaborated with John Williams during the ’70s and early ’80s, passed away earlier this week at age 84. Tomlinson worked with Williams in the recording of the scores for Fiddler of the Roof, Star Wars, Superman, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi. Read the obituary at the FSM board.

See also: Eric Tomlinson profile (pdf).

New Clip from ‘The Force Awakens’ Contains John Williams’ Score for the Film

The first glimpse of John Williams’ action scoring for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was heard for the first time Sunday night during the American Music Awards telecast. The music can be heard in a new, 15-second clip featuring a scene from the film in which Rey and Finn, along with droid BB-8, race to a ship while running from attacking TIE fighters.

Below you can watch the original clip, and also hear the “music only” version:

“Music only” version (center channel removed):

John Williams’ 2016 Tanglewood Concerts Announced / ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ Live with Orchestra

John Williams will return to Tanglewood in 2016 for his annual ‘Tanglewood On Parade’ and ‘Film Night’ performances, which this year will take place on August 2 and August 13, respectively. Additionally, on Agust 26, Keith Lockhart will conduct the Boston Pops in a special screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark, with the entire film’s score performed live to picture.

Tickets for the 2016 Tanglewood season will go on sale on January 24, 2016, at 10 AM (EST)

Tanglewood On Parade (8/2)
Stéphane Denève, Giancarlo Guerrero, and John Williams, conductors
Program to include Ravel’s La Valse and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture
Fireworks to follow the concert.

John Williams’ Film Night (8/13)
John Williams’ Film Night has long been established as one of the Tanglewood calendar’s most consistently appreciated evenings. Join Mr. Williams as he presents this year’s celebration of the music of Hollywood, and beyond, featuring the Boston Pops and special guests.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” with Orchestra (8/26)
The film that gave the world one of its greatest movie heroes, Indiana Jones, is back and better than ever before! Relive the magic on the silver screen of the original great adventure, Raiders of the Lost Ark, with John Williams’ epic score performed live by the Boston Pops.

Disney Music Group President Talks ‘The Force Awakens’ Soundtrack

In an interview published on Billboard Magazine Nov. 20, Disney Music Group President Ken Bunt talks briefly about the music for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the planned “collectible vinyl releases” of the soundtrack album:

Have you heard any of the Star Wars music yet?

“Yeah, we just finished scoring. It’s obvious what I’m going to say, right? It’s incredible; it’s John Williams. It matches the tone of the film and what the fans expect. We’ll release the soundtrack with the movie, day-and-date. That’s where the new Friday global street date is nice, because you don’t want any of the track titles to be spoilers for the movie.”

Any special plans for collectibles?

“We haven’t announced it yet, but there’ll be a whole series of collectible vinyl releases through 2016. It’s hard to announce a date, because the limited capacity of the manufacturing plants, but we can say spring. The vinyl manufacturing takes so long. They score the movie so late, it’s tight to make the CD release as it is.”

Intrada Releases Complete JAWS Score + Original Album Remastered (2CD)

Composed and Conducted by JOHN WILLIAMS
Retail Price: $29.99
For track listing and sound samples, please visit:

One of cinema’s most famous soundtracks finally gets the deluxe 2-CD treatment it deserves! John Williams won a well-deserved Academy Award for his 1975 scoring masterpiece Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg, featuring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw… and the most terrifying shark in movie history. Peter Benchley’s No. 1 best-selling book became a sensational hit under Spielberg, who himself claimed the John Williams music was responsible for at least half of the picture’s success.