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Will John Williams be remembered mainstream in 2100?

Mainstream remembrance?  

55 members have voted

  1. 1.

    • Yes
      43
    • No
      12


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Will JW still be known, listened to (outside of specialist film music courses) and acclaimed? Will his fame/listening audience increase post mortem? Will his music be studied as a textbook case of leitmotif, or neo-romanticism, or something else? Will there be internet/supernet fora about him, with more than 5 crazed fans?

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Yes, he'll be remembered, but there won't be Boards like this discussing his work. The work he's done, and the films he scored are cinema classics - unforgettable!

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Yes, he'll be remembered, but there won't be Boards like this discussing his work.  The work he's done, and the films he scored are cinema classics - unforgettable!

yeh..i agree :(

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Definitely he will be remembered. Previously, the world had the three B's: Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. Now it has the three W's too: Wagner, Walton and Williams :(.

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Yes, he'll be remembered, but there won't be Boards like this discussing his work. The work he's done, and the films he scored are cinema classics - unforgettable!

People are still discussing and debating the music of hundreds of years ago. Head on over to goodmusicguide.

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I think he will be remembered, simply because of his big hits, of course. And as a Boston Pops conductor (that's how most people I talk to remember him, oddly). I know, that if I have kids (I plan to), that they will know of him.

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It's definitely going to be different when he never puts out another soundtrack or concert work. What a depressing day that will be. Much of what keeps people talking is that he's still around and putting out music. Once we're left to ourselves discussing the same pieces over and over, it will be so redundant...

Tim

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Will JW still be known, listened to (outside of specialist film music courses) and acclaimed?

Yes, as long as my head is preserved in a jar, Johnny will still be mainstream in 2100.

Neil

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The post you just wrote looks like it's being said by the image on your signature.

I thought the same thing, lol. Glad to have Sturge and his sig back, lol.

I hope JW is remembered! Though I try not to dwell on the future.

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Once we're left to ourselves discussing the same pieces over and over, it will be so redundant...  

Tim

Hopefully by then you will all be discussing the music of Jesse Hopkins....

:)

I know, fat chance, right?

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look the world will have fought World War III, then we survive a borg invasion, and first contact, we as a planet will have more to worry about than John's legacy.

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And, Joe, WW3 is, in a way, being fought right now. :) And I am sure it will just continue to grow and reek havoc. Because, apparently, that's what us Americans want. :roll: Unfortunately. Anyway.

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And, Joe, WW3 is, in a way, being fought right now. :) And I am sure it will just continue to grow and reek havoc. Because, apparently, that's what us Americans want. :roll: Unfortunately. Anyway.

I think that's an optimistic view on things. What's happening now is a mere skirmish compared to the real thing that's gonna hit us.

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Korngold or Steiner are still remembered nowadays, and they didn't have the same impact as Johnny.

Whaaa??? , my friend. Without Korngold and Steiner, Williams would be little more than a third-rate cocktail pianist.

Will he be remembered in 2100? Depends on if anyone is still around to hear the proverbial tree fall in the woods. All things fade. Films deteriorate (even Star Wars) and many are lost. Someday even Beethoven, Shakespeare, and the Pyramids will be swallowed up by time. Will it happen by 2100? We're doing our damnedest to speed the process.

Cerrabore is right.

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Korngold or Steiner are still remembered nowadays' date=' and they didn't have the same impact as Johnny.[/quote']

Whaaa???

As a cocktail pianist, I think he's be first rate.

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I knew what you meant. I just felt like ranting. 8O

Korngold and Steiner are still remembered, of course, but in a rather limited circle -- mostly film score fanatics and people's grandparents. Ask your average person on the street who Korngold was and you'll be greeted with incomprehension. Everyone knows the theme from Gone With the Wind and probably Summerplace, but how many can identify the composer?

Granted, civilization (and I do use the term loosely) has reached the point where blockbusters such as Star Wars will always be around in one form or another, as long as there are people to enjoy it. Extra care will go into its preservation, if for nothing else, for its historic value. Also, Lucas will take the tiniest fraction of his earnings to develop technology which will enable the definitive 2050 editions to be carbon frozen with his disembodied head.

Think about this from a fresh perspective. Most of the people who post at this board have little knowlege of film pre-Jaws. A mere 33 years earlier, Random Harvest was a smash hit when it was released in 1942, setting the record for longest opening engagement at Radio City Music Hall. How many of you here are familiar with it? How many know who Ronald Colman is? Or Greer Garson? Nevermind Mervyn LeRoy! And this is only 60 years ago.

Today's superstar is tomorrow's footnote. I can think of several insanely popular Victorian novels that went through all kinds of incarnations and stage adaptations (eg., East Lynne) -- cash cows of their day -- and yet now almost completely forgotten. The averge Victorian reader hungered after Newgate novels, lurid tales of convicts and highwaymen, best sellers of their day. Can any of you name one? But their contemporaries recognized it when Dickens and Thackeray parodied the genre.

We all know Shakespeare, right? How about John Webster? Huge in his time.

I think the important issues to consider when addressing the question of will John Williams be remembered mainstream in 2100, are those of historical and personal distance. A lot of movies will be made over the next 95 years. All of your tastes will eventually be marginalized by people born perhaps 15 or 20 years after you, and it will only get worse. Only doddering old men will know most of Spielberg's films. (Everyone loves It's a Wonderful Life, but how many other Frank Capra movies can most of you think of?) The blockbusters of today will come to be seen as quaint and corny -- if seen at all. Haughty whippersnappers will pass judgment on primitive CGI techniques. (Some of us are avant-garde. ;) ) On the TCM of 2100, Robert Osborne IV will showcase an evening of films by an obscure filmmaker named George Lucas. Since American Graffitti and Howard the Duck will get the 8:00 and 10:00 slots, respectively, most of the audience will be in bed well before a note of Williams' music has sounded.

That's the historical perspective. Now the personal. As I've written here too many times before, you need to realize that not everyone on this planet shares our same geeky passions. While Neil's preserved brain may obsess on little else, most people -- then, as now -- are going to be wrapped up in, and occupied by, the pop culture of the present.

So Williams will be remembered, though hardly mainstream. A random sampling of people on the street may produce a few who can whistle Star Wars, just as a number today could Gone With the Wind (released a mere 66 years ago, mind you; still 95 to go until 2100). But ask them who wrote it.

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I think what Figo described puts things in the right perspecitve but I also think the situation described already exists to a substantial extent. Most people know the Star Wars music now but if a poll in the US was taken and people were asked who scored Star Wars, I’d be amazed if more than 5% of the people knew. He’s mainstream in terms of the amount of music he’s written that has penetrated pop culture, but I think he’s, relatively-speaking, invisible as a person, although Boston Pops, Olympics and stuff like that has helped a little bit.

- Adam

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...if a poll in the US was taken and people were asked who scored Star Wars, I’d  be amazed if more than 5% of the people knew.  

- Adam

I agree. I had lunch with half a dozen buddies from work. We started talking about music, and I mentioned John Williams - no one knew who he was. I was shocked!

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Short answer: yes. Read below for how I arrived at that conclusion.

The year 2100 is 95 years away. 95 years ago was 1910. How well are composers from that era remembered?

Due to recording technology and "the shrinking planet", the answer is pretty well. The question then does not become about documentation, but about audience. Most of the iconic composers (those either known by the general public or whose works are known by the general public: Bach, Mozart, Handel, Beethoven, etc.) are from more than 150 years ago. However, more recent icons, like Richard Strauss and George Gerswhin, have reached their fame much sooner, due to recording technology. I feel that this gap from time of composition to member of the greatest composers club will shrink to about 50 years, but not get much smaller. A good example of someone with such a short time is Copland.

Composers from 95 years ago are well remembered in the classical community, but their impact on the general public varies: Debussy, Ravel, Bartok, Stravinsky, Prokofiev. Some pieces like Bolero or Peter and the Wolf may be known by large numbers of the population, but these numbers are not as great as knowing Beethoven's 5th by quite a bit.

Film music is barely 95 years old, so it is difficult to say how icons in film music have evolved. Certainly among deceased composers, Bernard Herrmann is an iconic composer both to film composers as well as the general public. I also think Elmer Bernstein fits this category for both groups. Most other film composers, however, are only iconic to musicians.

Why do people know Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, Wagner, etc.? This is the most important question because it allows us to understand how the general public is made aware of classical music. The answer is film (and other multimedia). Films like Fantasia (both), 2001, and even Apocalypse Now are responsible for firmly implanting these composers into the public's ear. Film music is powerful. Add to the fact that the most well known tunes all pass the hummability test should answer our question.

Will John Williams be rememberd and revered in 2100?

John Williams is already an iconic composer to the general public; certainly the most well known film composer by the general public, and very near the top of the list of classical composers as well. It is my personal opinion that John Williams might be the 2nd best known composer to the general public after Beethoven.

The fact that John Williams has achieved such recognition so quickly is quite literally phenomenal. Very few composers earn such respect from the public so quickly. Mozart and Beethoven also rose up very quickly, and the public still enjoys their music, so I feel it will be the same for John Williams.

The current art-music world is not very accepting of John Williams, but this will change. Why? We are the future art music world, and we love him, so he will become classical music to our generations.

However, John Williams himself may get lost. It has happened before to great composers. Schumann had to revive Bach's music, but due to new technology, I doubt this will be very likely.

We will know in the future that John Williams is among the likes of Mozart and Beethoven when we go to see a film and hear The Imperial March being blasted out of an X-Wing while bombing targets in the system around Barnard's Star (6 light years). I love the smell of cold fusion in the morning.

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I commend your optimism, though I do not share it. I find it highly improbable that a film in the future will re-use themes from earlier films, unless as a parody. Tara's Theme from Gone With the Wind is one of the most famous of all movie themes, and to my knowledge it's never been re-used. Steiner's name will fade into oblivion. Unless Johnny composes some anthemic piece that has no direct links to a film score (like Elgar, Wagner, and Mendelssohn) I doubt his music will outlast the films he wrote it for, except to musicians and film buffs.

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I've heard some people say if Shakespeare were alive today, he would be writing for Hollywood. I think the same can be said of composers like Beethoven and especially Mozart. If they were alive today, they would be composing film scores. I think it is safe to consider John Williams one of the greatest composers of film scores of the last 30 years, if not THE GREATEST (which is what I think). Over time, I can see suites from some of John Williams scores becoming part of the concert repertoire of symphony orchestras around the world like Lt. Kije and Alexander Nevsky by Prokofiev and Henry V by Walton. Orchestral music is currently not mainstream especially in American culture and I do not expect it to be in 95 years. However, I do feel that the music of John Williams will be "mainstream" in symphony concerts in 95 years. His music is just too good to ignore.

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