I actually started compiling a list of quotes from other composers about John Williams as I ran into them, I never got around to taking it much further than this:
Others on John Williams:
OMM (by The Observer Music Monthly ): What do you make of modern scores?
JB: Spielberg and John Williams do some fantastic stuff together, but the golden era of songwriting is over. The most important thing is, will this get radio play, not whether it'll fit the movie. It's not the movie scoring as I understand it.
B(by FSM): So why so many action movie assignments?
Z: You know why I did all those action movies? Because when I was a kid in Europe, all I got to score was art movies. In those days, all I wanted to do was go to Hollywood, compose for action movies and sound like John Williams. But in truth I didn't know how. So Black Rain, my first action movie, was original but only by virtue of my own stupidity. My lack of knowledge made it original.
B: Earlier, we were talking about innovation and inspiration. Just where is it? Consider: Magnificent Seven, Psycho, Midnight Cowboy, the James Bond series, Omen--these are lasting themes that we all know. Is soundtrack music more prolific, but less inspired? Among all the thousands of scores being released--how much of it has become memorable?
Z: You want a name? John Williams' Shindler's List.
B: Which thrives on one genre theme.
Z: But you know I think it's as good as John has ever written. I looked at that score very closely when I was starting to do Prince of Egypt, because the one thing I didn't want to do is go anywhere near that music, for obvious reasons. So first, I just listened to it for the fun of it. Second, I just got drawn in, not only into the craftsmanship, but just the genius of it.
Hans Zimmer: The Language of Film (audiohead.net)
“There aren’t that many film composers around. But there are a lot of people who think they could be film composers. I think that what is lacking in film scoring these days is that craftsmanship that Elmer Bernstein and Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams have,” says Zimmer.
“While they really learned to do music, we really learned how to stop our computers from crashing, and didn’t spend enough time doing music. All we can really hope for is that someone really brilliant turns up with brilliant ideas, and great craftsmanship and originality,” he adds.
RED CARPET (by Roger Friedman): Who are your contemporaries?
ELMER BERNSTEIN: I don't have any! They're all younger. John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith. But they're my gang. John Barry is also younger than I am.
B&N.com: Your fellow Oscar nominees for Best Score were an especially worthy bunch, although I know people who carped about Philip Glass's score for The Hours.
EB: I'm one of the people that likes his score. I know others don't. What's curious, in a way, is that Philip had an easier job than I did, because what he decided to do -- and I think he was absolutely right -- was not to write a thematic score. His is an atmospheric score, really, and he didn't necessarily have to commit to a particular theme. And it works very well.
B&N.com: As do the nominated scores for Frida, (which won), Catch Me if You Can, and Road to Perdition.
EB: This is the best year in a long time. I'm really very proud to be one of the five people this year. If I had to pick the top five composers working right now, it would be every one of these nominees.
B&N.com: What's your personal favorite?
EB: For me, the score of the year is Thomas Newman's for Road to Perdition. I thought that was absolutely brilliant. Also, John Williams -- who never writes a bad one -- wrote one of his most inventive for Catch Me if You Can. He's just off in another world in this score.
Roger Hall: Yes, I recall you saying that you first used that instrument in your HEAVY METAL score in 1981. One past composer who also used unconventional instruments was Bernard Herrmann. What do you think of his film music and are there any other past film composers you especially admire?
Elmer Bernstein: There is no question that in my pantheon of film composers, Bernard Herrmann would occupy the first place. With him would be Franz Waxman, Miklos Rozsa, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and David Raksin.
Roger Hall: How about today’s composers?
Elmer Bernstein: Among my contemporaries are the two most obvious ones - Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams - both of whom I admire greatly. Of the younger generation, I certainly admire the work of Thomas Newman and James Newton Howard.
CinemaScore: Do you have any animosity toward those scores that have had to be so derivative?
James Horner: I used to have that problem, but I now turn down the assignment. If I’m told that’s what they want, I say fine, then get him!
CinemaScore: Of course, now you’re in a much better position to do that, as well.
James Horner: Oh, absolutely. I don’t need the credits as much as I did, or I don’t need those kinds of credits. The projects I’m going after now are much more ambitious and people that are making those kinds of films wouldn’t say to me, we want such-and-such, or, we want so-and-so. They simply say, here y’are kid, go to it!
But I don’t blame them for their doubts. Obviously, if you were a producer, or even as the editor of this magazine and you’re having someone do an article, you would want to supervise how the article was to be written and you would want to assume control over it for the first few efforts. It’s the same kind of thing, when you have a fifteen million dollar film and you have a two hundred and fifty thousand dollar music budget, and this person comes in and he’s twenty-eight years old, as I am, and he says, I want to do your score, the producers look at me and they say, Come on, kid, the only person who can write this kind of music is John Williams; so you have to convince them that, yes, there are other people who can write large symphonic music, or sensitive music, or whatever. But they’re still very nervous and I don’t blame them. These are very weird times for Hollywood, things like ANNIE which are sixty million dollars that will take a while to recoup.
I have a couple of other text files with more clippings, but I can't access them from here.