Following a FSM thread on this topic here are the "note from Steven Spielberg" on soundtrack albums:
In doing the score for Jaws... John Williams has really outdone himself. The soundtrack is a stunning symphonic achievement and a great leap ahead in the revitalization of film music as a foreground component for the total motion picture experience.
He has accomplished on Jaws what Korngold did for The Sea Hawk and Bernard Herrmann for Psycho. Simply, he has made our movie more adventurous, gripping and phobic than I ever thought possible,
Right up there with Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss and 7,000 pounds of hungry shark, John Williams' musical vision plays a leading role.
Unlike so many traditional composer/conductors, John is an artist of numerous styles. He is chameleon-like and vulnerable to the impulses of the film he is about to score. His music on Jaws is unlike any of his previous works, including, The Reivers, The Cowboys, Jane Eyre, The Towering Inferno, Paper Chase, The Sugarland Express, Cinderella Liberty, Images and many others, including two full symphonies, a symphony for winds, a flute concerto and more. These concert works have been performed by many major orchestras in the U.S. and abroad.
Being an insatiable collector of film music, I haven't been this happy with a soundtrack since Dimitri Tiomkin's The Guns of Navarone. What more can I say? The music fulfilled a vision we all shared.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE 3rd KIND (1977)
One day JOHN WILLIAMS told me something I never would have imagined... that creating a musical score for a nearly completed motion picture is far and away more frustrating than creating an original symphonic composition that never has to conform to the beats, measures, and boundary layers of a screen story, but instead flows freely from the composer's imagination as he tells his own story from start to finish. This is perhaps why much of John's music for CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND is so airborne and awe inspiring. He actually started work on musical ideas two years before CLOSE ENCOUNTERS was finalized, basing his impressions on the unfinished script and dinner conversations we would have twice a week.
In many instances, John wrote his music first, while I put the scenes to it much later. Because of the complicated special effects that adorn the final 35 minutes of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND John found himself composing to blank leader months before the effects were finished and cut in. This was a challenge to both of us, but it liberated John to score freely-sans coitus interruptus-and inspired me in reconstructing certain visuals to the final music.
John became more than just a composer for hire. He was a creative collaborator in all phases of post-production, spending every day for fifteen weeks in the mixing studio and editing rooms. He taught me about underrated Russian composers and good German wines, and I taught him how to pace the hallways and how to eat junk foods.
John's freedom of choice is evident in every selection on this album. Once again John Williams has taken a motion picture and interwoven his own musical story-telling skills to create higher levels of beauty and suspense... His music for CLOSE ENCOUNTERS goes beyond simply allowing the listener to recall his favorite scenes but stands on its own as a serious symphonic achievement - timeless and without restraints.
On his film score for JAWS, John Williams became half Pirate, half Shark. On CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, he was part Star Child, part Super Nova. Finally, with "1941", John went half crazy and all gung-ho attempting to fit a score to a movie that tries to make World War Il a Comedy Spectacular.
Film humor is sticky business. In order for it to succeed.it must always have one foot firmly on the ground, no matter what color sock the other foot is wearing.
“1941" is about a mix of characters whose reaction to the "Invasion of Hollywood" is at times so extreme that we wonder what on earth is keeping them from blasting into orbit. John's score is a major reason. It is so brazenly dramatic, so brimming with guts and glory, that if you hear the album before seeing the movie you'll probably
wonder just how much comedy “1941" really has. We hope it's "Full of It”. And if you agree. it is due in large part to ninety minutes of incredible music that underscores the most liberal reinterpretation of American History since "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)
A NOTE FROM STEVEN SPIELBERG
Not too long ago, in a country not so far away, adventurer archeologist Indiana Jones embarked on an historically significant search for the Lost Ark of the Covenant, Joining him on this supernatural treasure hunt was The London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of composer John Willams, Were it not for many crucial bursts of dramatic symphonic accompaniment, Indiana Jones would surely have perished in a forbidding temple in South Amorica or in the oppressive silence of the great Sahara desert.
Nevertheless, Jones did not perish, but listened carefully to the Raiders score. Its sharp rhythms told him when to run. Its slicing strings told him when to duck. Its several integrated themes told adventurer Jones when to kiss the heroine or smash the enemy. All things considered, Jones listened, and lived. John Williams saves yet another life and gives our picture, Raiders of the Lost Ark, a new, refreshing life of its own. Thanks, John.
I have been an admirer of Jerry Goldsmith from the moment I heard his score for THE BLUE MAX and A PATCH OF BLUE. Along with John Williams, these two men have dominated the arena of great movie music for nearly 20 years. Jerry's scores range from the unforgettable PATTON to his Oscar-winning music for THE OMEN. In between, there came such rousing challenges as STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY, CHINATOWN, PAPILLON, ALIEN, over 100 scores.
Now with POLTERGEIST, Jerry has met his greatest challenge - to scare us nearly to tears, and he has been remarkable in his efforts. Cleverly, the moments of greatest tension arise not from his brilliant off-rhythm ostinatos but more from a soothing tonal beauty.
Don't trust his melodies. Something perfectly unworldly is due to occur the moment you let your guard drop and Goldsmith proceeds to feign and attack with no "apparent" rhyme or pattern. It's to his great credit that he has plotted every blow and designed a score of such shattering intensity that nighttime is perhaps not the right time to hear this album if you have seen the film. If you haven't seen POLTERGEIST, Jerry's music conjures many classical impressions of ferocious drive and at the same time, cathedral beauty. So... let the imagination wander. Pleasant dreams
E.T. The Extraterrestrial (1982)
“In our ten year and six picture association, John Williams has been an immeasurable creative force in all of my movies. This should be obvious to anyone who realized that John was the voice of Jaws, the soul of the mothership from Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the furious heartbeat from which Raiders of the Lost Ark flowed.
John's score to the movie E.T. is unlike any of his others. It is soothing and benign. It is scary and suspenseful and, toward the climax, downright operatic.
For me, this is John Williams best work for the movies. John Williams is E.T.”
INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984)
A NOTE FROM STEVEN SPIELBERG
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is as much a replica of, as it is a departure from, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Musically, all of the familiar marches are back, tracing the heroics of ace archeologist Dr. Indiana Jones from the turbulent streets and dark alleys of 1935 Shanghai, to the sweltering jungles of uncharted India, at which point John Williams, the maestro of movie magic, and we the audience take an unexpected detour to the far side of fear and fantasy.
In this section of the adventure, all comforting themes vanish, and we become lost in the inner sanctums of The Temple of Doom with a secret voodoo cult thought extinct for one hundred years. This sinister setting offers John leagues of musical opportunity, and he makes a feast of it in one of his best film scores ever.
In attempting a "further adventure" neither John Williams, George Lucas, nor I wanted to retrace our steps. This is a shiny new story with heroines, sidekicks and villains you've never before seen. And John Williams has composed new themes for each of them.
I am especially proud of John's "Short Round's Theme" and the nightmare choral chant in The Temple of Doom. These particular sections of the score could be the only music in the world effective enough to knock the hat off of Indiana Jones' head.
THE COLOR PURPLE (1985)
The score for THE COLOR PURPLE reflects the beauty of Quincy Jones' personal commitment to both the film and his own artistry.
To successfully accomplish his assignment Quincy spent numerous days on the set of the film, in dailies, and several weekends with me in the editing room attempting to discover what secrets lay at the heart of THE COLOR PURPLE and searching for the inspiration that would provide us both with the musical voices of Celie, Mr., Nettie, Shug, Sofia, Harpo, Old Mr., Squeak, Grady, Miss Millie and that old dilapidated mailbox which became the eleventh character in THE COLOR PURPLE. Even that begged for a theme.
Quincy did us all proud. He and a gifted armada of musicians, arranger/conductors, vocalists and technicians went to work in a fever pitch and one day returned with over 100 minutes of source music, songs and score. The results for me were tear inspiring.
It is music so lucid that one not only hears it, but sees it too.
Quincy Jones has added another milestone to a career already unparalleled in today's recording industry. He has again, given us all something to sing about.
EMPIRE OF THE SUN (1987)
Do not include a Steven Spielberg note.
INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989)
A NOTE FROM STEVEN SPIELBERG
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade marks the tenth project John Williams and I have worked on together and the third in this series of adventure yarns, this one involving none other than Sean Connery playing Henry Jones, Sr. to Harrison Ford's Indy Jones... "Jr." And so the tone is set for an ebullient father-son excursion across the surface of the world, more in the vein of the funny, thrilling Raiders than the subterranean journey into darkness that made Temple of Doom so bone chilling.
I think John heard his new themes the first time he saw my assembly of the movie. He knew exactly what he wanted and eight weeks later before an 85-piece Hollywood orchestra, I experienced one of John's liveliest film scores ever. From the Grail Knight Theme written in the English, pastoral idiom in major modes with very positive intervals, to the scherzo, underlining the father and son exploits which is in a driving, brilliant orchestral idiom with 6/8 rhythm, the kind of music you might imagine for a wild fox hunt. This scene is equestrian in character, but it's transposed on something nearly contemporary. Instead of riding horses, which is what this music reminds us of, we instead hear this when they're fighting Nazis in airplanes or being pursued in motorcycles or being chased in boats. It brings, in musical terms, a classical element to these scenes.
Henry's (Sean Connery's) Theme has strong intervals that establish an emotional relationship between these two men in a lyrical way without sentimentality.
John's music has always related in a kinetic fashion to the way I rhythmically pace my sequences.
It gives the impression of one constant, adventurous trip. What is unique is that John's music rhythmically traces my action for almost 110 minutes and becomes a character in the story with as much importance as the heroes and the villains.
What I think is different in many ways about this score is that only fragments of the familiar Indiana Jones theme are used. We felt the movies had grown up to the point that we didn't have to lean on your thrill button every time something heroic occurs as we had done in the previous two motion pictures.
Having said this, John has outdone himself. which has become a habit with him. He gives new meaning to the phrase "audience involvement.”
Do not include a Steven Spielberg note.
THE SPIELBERG WILLIAMS COLLABORATION (1991)
I WANT TO SALUTE JOHN WILLIAMS - the quintessential film composer. John has transformed and uplifted every movie that we've made together. As his works are performed on this recording with the artistry of the Boston Pops Orchestra, I think you'll hear what I mean. For instance, who would have imagined the mood that two simple notes, in a heartbeat rhythm, could create. To this day, just hearing those two notes from Jaws (1975) immediately conjures shark, adrenaline and second thoughts about swimming. John's music became the character. But the magic of John's music supporting the picture is one thing: the other is the loveliness and power of the music itself.
In 1974 Universal Pictures gave me a go-ahead to direct my first feature film. I signed Goldie Hawn to star in this movie, which was based on a true story that took place in southwest Texas.
I wanted a certain sound: music I had heard in the movies The Reivers and The Cowboys, both scored by John Williams.
We met, and, to my good fortune, he agreed to do the film. He wrote a most haunting and wonderful theme so evocative of that part of Texas. He chose harmonica as solo voice for his composition and brought the world's most celebrated harmonica player. Toots Thielemans, to our recording session. And here Toots recreates that theme from our first collaboration, Sugarland Express (1974).
In the next year, for Jaws, John composed music for the boat ride that took Richard Dreyfuss and his crew in search of the shark - a truly great orchestral piece on its own. The scene ends as Dreyfuss meets his nemesis from his fragile sea-locked cage. John calls this "Out to Sea" and "The Shark Cage Fugue." John received his second Academy Award for Jaws (his first was for the orchestration of Fiddler on the Roof in 1971).
Immediately after Jaws, our next venture was Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). The challenge posed to John this time was quite literally from another world. How should mankind communicate with this mesmerizing space ship? John wanted something that was a kind of signal or musical beacon - he felt that anything longer than five notes was too close to a melody. As simple and natural as the theme now seems, it was anything but simple to compose. We consulted a mathematician who warned us that there are at least 250,000 ways to combine five notes! Undaunted, John created his inspired combination. Out of these five notes, John went on to compose a finale filled with awe, affection and reverence, a musical blessing for the transcendent encounter between humans and extraterrestrials.
For the motion picture 1941 (1979), I posed yet a whole different challenge to John: A World War Il comedy spectacle about the imagined panic in Los Angeles after the invasion of Pearl Harbor. This was a larger-than-life, special-effects movie of a war being fought on the beaches of Malibu. John composed a spirited march which when played in the studio sounded so good that I went home, grabbed my clarinet and joined the clarinet section to make sure the end result was just ragged enough. Despite my efforts, the March survived and contributed great fun to this bizarre invasion.
For Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), John rousingly heightened the spirit of adventure, wit and suspense. But, again, the power of his music, outside the context of the films, valiantly speaks for itself.
In the case of E.T. (1982), John asked that we simply let him perform this theme without trying to measure it closely with the edited film. We shut off the projector and John performed the theme for E.T., just letting the spirit come from his heart. It worked so well that we took the last scene back to the editing room and conformed our pictures to John's interpretive conducting. This score won him his fourth Academy Award (the third was for Star Wars), and my continued admiration and gratitude.
The range and variety of John's music is extraordinary. While often powerful in adventure scenes or even jubilant as in the chorus "Exsultate Justi" from Empire of the Sun (1987), his most poignant moments capture the tenderness and aspirations of the human spirit, sometimes gently, sometimes soaring to lush heights, no more so than in the "Cadillac of the Skies" from Empire of the Sun and in his theme from Always (1989).
John is the poet in me. He makes me look so good each time out. We've been friends and colleagues for seventeen years. He's been my partner in film, my partner in music and my friend in life.
- Steven Spielberg
John and I wanted to do a live-action motion picture fantasy We explored a number of options: musical theatre, light opera, and most recently, a musical sans libretto.
Because of enormous pressure brought about by an early December 91 release for our latest collaboration, HOOK, John began to write the score even before he saw the completed film. His only clue into the nature of what I was doing was the screenplay and the first 5 reels (47 minutes) of edited film. These were not the ideal working conditions we had experienced over the course of an eleven-picture relationship. Yet remarkably, John has invented music with so much magic, delicacy, and simple beauty that the results have far outshone the process.
John Williams and I have enjoyed an exclusive collaboration since 1973. I have, over the span of eleven movies, found myself pen to paper trying to express myself about John Williams' music.
Ladore this score. And here is a rare instance where further words really fail me. The music needs to be experienced, not discussed. It will provide recurring memories of our movie HOOK, or like any great ballet, suite or symphony it will stand wholly on its own, sweeping you away to your own personal Neverland
- Steven Spielberg
JURASSIC PARK (1993)
SIXTY-FIVE MILLION YEARS AGO, DINOSAURS ROAMED THE EARTH.
Now, through the miracle of DNA cloning and John Williams talent, we're back in the Jurassic Era, listening to a score which I can only call classic, vintage Williams.
John and I haven't made a movie like this together since "Jaws" and it was a lot of fun for us to revisit a genre that we got such a kick out of 18 years ago.
When listening to this score, you should pay particular attention to the music of the raptors as well as the haunting and ennobling sounds of the brachiosaurus - in my opinion some of the most original writing John has ever done for the movies.
"Jurassic Park" marks the end of our first dozen films together.
It's the longest personal working relationship I've ever had with anyone in the motion picture industry, and I consider it a privilege to call John my friend.
- STEVEN SPIELBERG, 1993
SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993)
With dignity and compassion. John Williams has composed original and stunningly classical music for SCHINDLER'S LIST in a collection of themes and orchestral remembrances that will haunt you. The antihuman events beginning with Kristallnacht (1938) to the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau (1944) posed a deliberate challenge to both John and me: how to make the unimaginable factual, and how to create not so much a motion picture but a document of those intolerable times.
The choice John Williams made was gentle simplicity. Most of our films together have required an almost operatic accompaniment. which is fitting for INDIANA JONES. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS or JAWS. Each of us had to depart from our characteristic styles and begin again. This is certainly an album to be attended with closed eyes and unsequestered hearts.
Joining John in honoring the memory of the Shoah is the world renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman. His and John's contribution to the musical literature of this project is significant. 1 want to thank them both for making SCHINDLER'S LIST the most deeply moving filmmaking experience of my life.
WILLIAMS ON WILLIAMS – THE CLASSIC SPIELBERG SCORES (1995)
Do not include a Steven Spielberg note.
THE LOST WORLD (1997)
Do not include a Steven Spielberg note.
Music is not only an integral but an essential part of my life.
Sometimes listening to a good film score inspires my imagination even more often than seeing someone else's movie. That's because music allows free association. Sometimes film music is so specific to the identity of a cultural phenomenon, like STAR WARS, JAWS or THE GODFATHER, that there is no way to listen to those scores and not see robots, fish and cannolis. Other scores are less remembered for their perfect fit, and like classical music, allow the listener his or her own personal interpretations. Fortunately, John Williams has written both kinds of music and inspired all of us along the way.
Early favorite composers of mine, like Bernard Hermann, Alex North and Dmitri Tiomkin were so defined by their musical habits that you could clearly imagine the films they wrote for. Bernard Hermann's NORTH BY NORTHWEST was vintage Hitchcock. Alex North's SPARTACUS could not be mistaken for anything less than tortured genius. Dmitri Tiomkin's scores for THE RISE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY and THE ALAMO sounded like Tiomkin pictures.
The outstanding virtue of John Wiliams' gifts has always been John's selfless ability to create unprecedented sounds. Like the great character actors John Barrymore, Paul Muni and Dustin Hoffman, who would never impose a single personality on multiple roles, John Williams has the gift to become any character necessary to retell with music the the story of the film he is working on. AMISTAD marks our 24th year in partnership and our 15 film together. And, after all that time, John has never failed to surprise me, uplift me or make me look good.
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998)
With Saving Private Ryan, John Williams has written a memorial for all the soldiers who sacrificed themselves on the altar of freedom in the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944.
Pay particular attention to the cue entitled "Hymn to the Fallen," which never appears in the main text of the film, only at the end credit roll. It's a piece of music and a testament to John Williams sensitivity and brilliance that, in my opinion, will stand the test of time and honor forever the fallen of this war and possibly all wars.
In all of our 16 collaborations, Saving Private Ryan possibly contains the least amount of score. Restraint was John Williams' primary objective. He did not want to sentimentalize or create emotion from what already existed in raw form. Saving Private Ryan is furious and relentless, as are all wars, but where there is music, it is exactly where John Williams intends for us the chance to breathe and remember.
As with Schindler's List, John Williams chose the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the deeply resonant qualities of Symphony Hall to record the score for Saving Private Ryan. I would like to give special mention to Tim Morrison, Thomas Rolfs (trumpets) and Gus Sebring (French horn) for their heartfelt solos, and to Kenny Wannberg, who has been a close collaborator of John Williams and mine from almost the very beginning of my career.
- STEVEN SPIELBERG
A.I. – ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (2001)
A.I. means Artificial Intelligence.
But there is nothing artificial about John Williams' organically emotion and our 17th collaboration in film. A.I. studies the unique fellowship human and machine and John has woven a musical interface. John’s score pierces the mystery of a robot (mecha) child's short existence. His name is David and he never had a birthday, but was engineered to give and receive the love of the family he is placed in. The music underlines and then transports David on his journey of discovery from his inception to his transcendence and John does this with wit, majesty, and soul. John's music is of our world and of theirs and finally of a world shared by both orga and mecha. And like so many of John's scores front my movies, you really don't need the images to have the story told to you.
He is the greatest musical storyteller of all time.
MINORITY REPORT (2002)
John Williams has done a masterful job in his musical presentation of Minority Report. The plot and story find their roots in the combination of American film noir and the classic "whodunit" mysteries that were so popular in the era of Humphrey Bogart and filmmaker John Huston. John Williams and I have often marveled at the way Bernard Herrmann was able to contribute so much musical suspense to an Alfred Hitchcock picture.
So in that tradition of mystery, suspense and film noir, John has fashioned a fast-paced, yet dark portrait of America in the year 2054 when the murder of one human being by another can be foretold through the miraculous gifts of three precognitives. Unlike our other collaborations, John's score for Minority Report is not lush with melody; it is nonetheless brilliant in its complexity and forceful in its rhythms. It is the kind of music that will start in your spine and eventually find its way to your heart in the section titled "Sean's Theme."
If most of John's scores for my films have been in color, I think of this score as his first one in black and white. But as in most of John's music quite often you don't need the pictures to understand the musical story that John is telling you. After all, John Williams is the greatest musical storyteller the world of the movies has ever known. - STEVEN SPIELBERG
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (2002)
John's 20h score for our 20" film is like a 20" anniversary surprise. For the first time in our long association, John has composed a score in the idiom of progressive jazz prevalent in the 50s and 60s. Charlie Parker would have been proud. Inspired by the true-life adventures of Frank William Abagnale Jr., CATCH ME IF YOU CAN is about a great imposter whose scams, forgeries and frauds made him one of the youngest people to ever be placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list. Many movies taking place in the 60s rely on a parade of popular tunes from the period. AMERICAN GRAFFITI started the trend although it was most recently realized in Bob Zemeckis' FORREST GUMP and while CATCH ME IF YOU CAN employs several popular tunes from the era, John Williams chose the timelessness of jazz along with the talented saxophonist, Dan Higgins, to underline the cat-and-mouse chase between FBI agent, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) and master paper-hanger Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio).
And while you may swear that the E flat sax solo was improvised,
John wrote every single note of it.
Another haunting section of this score draws from Frank Jr.'s relationship with his father played by Christopher Walken. It inspired John to write a five minute concert piece entitled, Recollections (The Father's Theme). It is a bravura composition and further illustrates that as John's music matures he continues to get younger and more daring each day.
- Steven Spielberg
THE TERMINAL (2004)
The Terminal is a romantic adventure of the human spirit. While Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) may be a man without a country, he is not a man without a score, written with love and a sense of Krakozhian humor by maestro John Williams. Viktor's theme is performed by clarinetist, Emily Bernstein, who gives Viktor a clear and profoundly moving voice throughout his journey within the confines of an international terminal while he waits for the visa that could finally get him into New York City and the American dream.
But Viktor is not the only character John has written for. The love theme for Amelia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) may only be eight bars, but it will become instantly memorable after hearing it only once.
There is so much beauty in John's score for The Terminal. Beauty without bathos. And that's what dignifies Viktor and Amelia's story, always keeping it far from sentimentality but never too far from our hearts. For me this is the "feel good" score of John's entire repertoire, and I am again honored that he has given so freely of his musical gifts to another one of my films.
- Steven Spielberg
WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005)
I am a fan of scary scores. From the old B-movie sci-fi films of the 1950s and '60s, to the haunting melodies created in 1935's Bride of Frankenstein by Franz Waxman.
Selfishly, I feel the scariest music written for film was Jaws by John Williams. That was music that when you heard it, you knew it was time to be scared. For War of the Worlds, John reached for something not of this earth and composed a score that you feel on your skin, even before you become aware that you are actually hearing it. He has laid down a musical foundation of atmospherics and textural events, achieving a rhythmic propulsion that is so utterly primal it crawls up inside of you and makes you wonder how one composer could make such a radical departure in style from such masterworks of melodic phrasing as the flying theme from E.T., to the enduring themes of the Star Wars series and come up with a new sound that gives War of the Worlds much of its ultra-realism. But that is the genuine genius of John Williams and the many characters he has played throughout a musical career that will never be equaled.
In the world of film scores, 2005 will be remembered as a John Williams red-letter year. Incredibly, John composed and conducted four scores: STAR WARS: EPISODE THREE REVENGE OF THE SITH, WAR OF THE WORLDS, MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA and MUNICH. Each of these scores only had the composer in common. The compositions couldn't be more diverse, and clearly illustrates what I have been saying for years in my liner notes, that John Williams is a master of disguise. From deep space to deep history, from the further reaches of the Japanese culture to the darkest notes John has ever written to depict the collapse of civilization, fans of film music were treated to a John Williams concert in four acts. His last act of 2005 was to compose the music for a film inspired by the tragic event 1972 and the Games of the Twentieth Olympiad in Munich, Germany where Black September kidnapped and murdered eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team. For me, the quintessential movement of John's score for MUNICH entitled "A Prayer for Peace” embraces the history of this tragedy while deeply honoring the memory of the members e Israeli team who were murdered on September 6, 1972.
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL (2008)
Nineteen years have passed since the last Indiana Jones adventure.
And where all of us are nearly two decades older, the music hasn't aged a bit. During the filming of our fourth Indiana Jones adventure, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, hardly a day would pass before someone on the cast or crew could be heard humming the "Raiders March." That piece of music has grown instantly familiar, probably along with the Jaws theme, in creating a thrill or chill out of the thin air on which music travels. And that is the John Williams legacy of which I am his most grateful beneficiary.
When you listen to the music for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it too will be all at once familiar and original. It travels through the mysteries and folklore surrounding a secret army base in the Nevada desert, to the world of academia and Indy's day job as a tenured professor, to the Chauchilla Graveyard and sudden attack of the living dead, then on to the deepest jungle of a lost Mayan civilization with a secret that promises the power of the Universe to all who dare seek it.
John's music outlines the action and, as always, leads the narrative.
His music is just as legendary as the McGuffins that Indiana Jones is chasing after. When you think of Indiana Jones, all you need is the silhouette: the jacket, the hat, the whip, and the music that made him a legend. Thank you, John.
THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (2011)
Considering the number of the action movies he's scored, from Star Wars to Indiana Jones to The Adventures of Tintin, it surely can be said that, "if adventure has a name, it must be John Williams. When I first heard the Tintin score, I felt as though John hadn't aged a bit since his work on Jaws and Star Wars. This new music has the same energy and exuberance, and it's so intricately interwoven into the story, characters, and images that it makes me feel like a youngster again - and you will too, if you're not one already!
In this instance, a traditional score was the perfect match for another tradition - the beloved comic books by the Belgian writer and artist working under the nom de plume Hergé, who created the Tintin series in 1929.
Tintin was the first animated film I directed and the first one John had scored. But when he saw my initial rough cut, he understood immediately what needed to be done, and we soon found ourselves on familiar ground. John's stirring theme for our title character Tintin is perfectly suited to a young reporter who somehow always becomes the story. The second most important character in the Hergé series is the oftentimes drunken sea captain Archibald Haddock, and for him, John created a theme that sounds like it's from the bottom of a bottle - until Haddock's redemption, that is - when his theme sobers into one that is lovely and noble.
The two detectives working for INTERPOL, Thomson and Thompson, are look-alikes who can only be told apart by the spelling of their names. They never seem to get anything right, and John captured them perfectly in his cue, "Introducing the Thompsons." Then there's Snowy, Tintin's dog and constant companion, whose theme is fast, funny, and deliriously breathtaking. At the heart of our adventure is a search for honor and identity, as Captain Haddock must discover, through his soggy memories, a family secret dating back to the 17th century. And for this, John returned to his movie roots and composed a pirate theme rivaling anything from the sketchbooks of Max Steiner or Erich Wolfgang Korngold.
Personally, I cannot hear this score too many times... whether in my car, or from the music library on my phone, or whenever I see the brilliant images from the film, animated by the geniuses at Peter Jackson's company WETA in Wellington, New Zealand. Tintin brought together so many gifted artists who created a breakthrough in photorealistic animation. And accompanied by John's brilliant score, we all can return to our roots through the genre of action/adventure movies, filled with memorable characters, laughter, and total escapist entertainment.
- Steven Spielberg
WAR HORSE (2011)
The dramatic countryside of Dartmoor has inspired John Williams to compose a score of such beauty and quiet majesty that one might think the earth was speaking through him, much as the heavens have done for nearly five decades. When I first heard John's sketches of the four central themes for War Horse, I didn't need my memories of the film to underscore the feelings I was having.
The music was a stand-alone experience and it affected me deeply, as have so many of John's scores during our nearly 40-year collaboration.
I feel that John has made a special gift to me of this music, which was inspired not only by my film but also by many of the picturesque settings of the poet William Wordsworth, whose vivid descriptions of the British landscape inspired much of what you are going to hear. I'm not sure what I can give John in return, other than a promise of more films to come... for as many more years as we both can imagine!
- Steven Spielberg
LINCOLN is a milestone for John and me. This is our 40th anniversary making movies and music and we are celebrating by way of a subject that has fascinated both of us separately for most of our lives. Trying to acquit a story of our greatest President at the bloody crossroads of abolishing slavery and reunification of a nation torn in two by four years of Civil War caused both of us to proceed with the utmost restraint.
My lens and John's orchestrations linger in quiet support of a man who articulated more powerfully than any other American President and as beautifully as any of our greatest writers what America is, what it means, why it had to go through the crucible of the war. He guided our country through its worst crisis and, more than any other single person, helped the United States survive. In doing so, he helped the idea of democracy as a viable political system survive. He combined vision and practicality more successfully than any other political leader we know of and kept these in a kind of near-perfect balance. He had faith in the people and in the democratic process and he helped prove that faith well founded.
John and I were here to guide and support this story, but not to make our voices heard above his. I am so honored not only to have been able to tell a story of Abraham Lincoln but to have had this story coincide with a landmark anniversary of the best creative collaboration of my whole career.
- Steven Spielberg
THE BFG (2016)
Set in a land ruled by giants and inspired by dreams, The BFG is about an unlikely friendship between two orphaned souls who find each other, humor, adventure, strength, and courage.
If you know the Roald Dahl story, you can close your eyes and just by listening to John Williams' compositions, you will emotionally experience what we experience with our eyes open.
A light symphony of musical poetry that complements Melissa Mathison's adaptation, John's score brings out all the heart, mystery, and magic in the performances of Mark Rylance as the BFG, and newcomer Ruby Barnhill as our headstrong and soulful Sophie.
The greatest film composer of our generation has written music so timeless and youthful, it makes me believe he is actually aging backwards.
BFG says, "All my dreams is beginning here," and I feel the same way about John's score. In fact, it is my dream come true.
THE SPIELBERG/WILLIAMS COLLABORATION PART III (2017)
Do not include a Steven Spielberg note.
THE POST (2017)
When John saw my final cut of The Post, his first thought was to assess the size and the scope of the musical accompaniment needed for the film. He envisioned his contribution to be like that of an anonymous source... giving the film weight without bearing any, and stirring the audience's sense of justice without leading the story. What John wrote is subtle, deft, very expressive and achingly beautiful.
When we spotted the film to determine where the music would and would not play, John wisely avoided many obvious choices, opting instead to let Meryl Streep (as The Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham) and Tom Hanks (as editor Ben Bradlee) be the "solo artists," and to allow Liz Hannah's and Josh Singer's brilliant, illuminating and relevant screenplay to carry those moments unaccompanied. The result is a magnificent balance through which we feel the painful losses our nation bore in the Vietnam War, as well as our collective pride in the journalists who risked their careers, reputations and even imprisonment, to stand up to the Nixon Administration and to find and print the truth for the American public.
We are both so proud to have collaborated on a story that is neither partisan nor political, and which hopefully will stand the test of time as the pendulum of history continues to swing.
- Steven Spielberg
SHINDLER’S LIST (2018 25th anniversary edition)
“With dignity and compassion, John Williams composed one of his greatest scores for Schindler's List in a collection of themes and orchestral remembrances that will haunt you. The inhumane events beginning with Kristallnacht (1938) to the liberation of Auschwitz- Birkenau (1944) posed a deliberate challenge for John and me.
Most of our films together have required an almost operatic accompaniment, which is fitting for Indiana Jones, Close Encounters, or Jaws, but each of us had to depart from our characteristic styles
to honor this story of the Shoah.
This is certainly an album to be absorbed with closed eyes and unsequestered hearts.
When I directed Schindler's List 25 years ago, my greatest hope for the film was that it would speak to audiences, to continue our conversation and advance our determination to prove that love is stronger than hate I continue to hope for this today.
Joining John in honoring the memory of the Shoah is the world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman. His and John's contribution to the musical literature of this project is significant. I want to thank them both for making Schindler's List the most deeply moving filmmaking experience of my life.”
- STEVEN SPIELBERG
READY PLAYER ONE (2018)
When Amblin Entertainment hired Alas Silvestri to write his first fully orchestrated score for Kevin Reynolds’ movie FANDANGO in 1984, I just knew, after hearing the tracks, that this young composer was destined for greatness. Sure enough, his very next score made movie music history - BACK TO THE FUTURE! A score that kids learned by heart and 33 years later can still hum (and often do). And after you see READY PLAYER ONE, you may notice a fragment of Alan's BACK TO THE FUTURE score, which is our homage in a film filled with 80's cultural nostalgia. This nostalgia for the 1980s is the central conceit of the reimagined society in the year 2045 in Ernest Cline's brave new world novel upon which our adventure movie is based. While all sorts of culturally iconic references populate READY PLAYER ONE like a garden of partially hidden Easter eggs, the score that Alan Silvestri composed is completely and intoxicatingly original. It's bound together by multiple themes that identify plot and character and is infused by such percussive adrenaline and soaring strings that Alan has made READY PLAYER ONE appear to fly. That's the magical marriage of music and film. And it's what Alan believes in.
Alan is thrilled to help someone tell a story. He doesn't write music outside of film, he doesn't have a need to write an "opus." This is because Alan has a very personal and distinct point of view, and that point of view has nothing to do with music-it has to do with story. And as proof of his devotion to the musical narrative, just listen to his music from FORREST GUMP, CASTAWAY, THE AVENGERS, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?, THE ABYSS, THE POLAR EXPRESS, and more films than I can possibly list. I've worked with Alan before as an executive producer; this however, was my first collaboration with him as a director and it was a huge rush for me. Alan's work will contribute to the rush we all hope audiences will experience when they get to see and hear READY PLAYER ONE.
THE FABELMANS (2022)
A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR
The Fabelmans marks John Williams' 90th year of life and 50th year in my life reshaping my stories through his music, and giving audiences all around the world countless musical memories that have often become cultural touchstones… from Jaws to E.T.; Jurassic Park, to Indiana Jones; and now, our thirty-first collaboration, The Fabelmans, by far the most personal film of my career, John knew my parents well. Down through the years they'd offen attend our scoring sessions and Johnny loved introducing them to the orchestra which made my Dad so proud, and left my Mom beaming (and me kvelling). So when Johnny watched this movie for the first time and saw Michelle Williams and Paul Dano on screen as Mom and Dad, the musical notes just seemed to pour from the heavens. He wrote his score as a gift to them and, when he first previewed it for me on his Steinway, I knew he had made this his most personal gift to me as well. What a beautiful culmination for our 50th anniversary, one that leaves me wanting more... more movies with Johnny, as I am joined by a billion people the world over who will never stop shouting to John Williams... encore, encore!
Thank you, maestro.
- STEVEN SPIELBERG, 2022
I'm not going to lie—I was excitedly curious how quickly this news would hit JWFan!
For those who don't know me, I've been writing about film music and interviewing composers (and directors and actors) professionally for the past decade. Besides the many liner notes, I also write articles and create radio stories for mainstream news outlets like the L.A. Times and NPR. I teach a film music history course at USC. And I've been a card-carrying member of this site since 2003.
I won't divulge too much just yet, because it's still a little early, but I was excited to finally make it public that this book is happening. I've been working on it for three years now, and I've interviewed approximately 150 people. The big kahuna, of course, is John Williams. I plan to share the story of how that happened one day, but not yet.
Thanks for your excitement! I can promise you that there are many things (stories, facts, quotes) in this book you have never heard...
Thumbs up if you think @Falstaft has the germ of an amazing podcast in this article. Imagine a primer on musical techniques of film scoring, with examples from Williams and others, illustrating elements of composition for the musically uninitiated. Rather than doing episodes on individual film scores like so many podcasts have, you could explore tools of the trade like stretto, fugue, ostinato, etc. The Underscore podcast feinted in this direction a bit before it fizzled, but your knowledge base could really make it soar. Think it over!
I think I detected some small errors there. So you think @Falstaft did only mention the battle music in his article, because there is no other great music in the film?? Perhaps the article was already finished and ready to go and he just managed to add one sentence just before print? Did you ask him about your interpretation?
Also, the theme at the end of Prologue is not an artifact theme, but the Archimedes theme. And Tintin was 2011, not 2012, and for me it is obvious that Mangold DID know about that score, and that the Duel music from Tintin was on the temp track and was consciously used as a template, if we like it or not. Perhaps it was a subtle reminder to Peter Jackson to get off his butt and make the promised second Tintin movie as long as Williams is still able to compose the music :-) But that is only speculation on my part, of course.
Very good, i considered this, but the full theme already played so I didn't wanna reprise it again.....ok you know what? I'm gonna take another stab at it. I pride myself at sound editing and near seamless transitions. I'm gonna make a THIRD end credits suite(technically a fourth, I secretly created one that combined the ASM version of Helena's theme and the concert version, and it's a fantastic listening experience). BTW if any of you actually listened to my arrangements, I used parts of the Raider's March from all previous films. It's the end credits of end credits.
My second and final attempt at an end credits suite for this movie. I think I'm satisfied with this, even though I went way over on time.
-Added excerpt from "Auction At Hotel L’Atlantique".
-Added excerpt from "To Athens".
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny - Andy's Head Canon Revised Ending:
Interior: Indy's Apartment
Helena: You're meant to be here, Indy. Here.
Indy: For Who?
The door to Indy's apartment opens. To Indy's surprise, MARION enters along with TEDDY, and SALLAH.
Indy: Marion, what are you doing?
Marion: Putting groceries away. There wasn't a scrap of food in this place.
Indy: No, really.
Marion: Someone told me you were back.
Before Indy can ask who, the door opens again. The crew is joined by MUTT WILLIAMS wearing an officer's uniform, walking through the door with a wiggling ALASKAN MALAMUTE PUPPY in his arms. Indy is in shock. He rises in tears, and embraces his son by the shoulders, the puppy licking both of their faces.
Indy: Junior! I...
Mutt: Here, old man. You're gonna need some help getting your strength back.
Mutt hands the puppy to Indy, who looks to Helena, puzzled.
Helena: I brought you back to avoid changing the course of history. Seems somehow, we were there long enough to do just that.
Indy: But -
Helena: That's the thing about Destiny. It can't be predicted or explained.
Marion looks at Mutt and then to Helena.
Marion: Someone told me you were back. Are you back, Indy?
The puppy begins to squirm in Indy's arms.
Helena: Looks like he doesn't know what he's got there.
Marion: Well I know what I've got here.
Indy and Marion embrace with a gentle kiss. Mutt wraps his arms around them both. The others are beaming, almost breaking into applause. The puppy barks, breaking the awkward silence.
Mutt: He's gonna need a name, pops.
Indy lifts the dog, staring into its eyes. His own welling with tears.
Indy: George. He seems like a George to me.
The others laugh.
Helena: Why don't we go get some ice cream, kid?
Teddy: Marion just bought some.
Helena: I know a better place.
Sallah: You can never have too much ice cream. Are you well enough to walk, Indy?
Exterior: The streets of New York. A flute and snare version of the Raiders March is heard. POV is ground level, following the puppy walking. We draw back to see a makeshift collar to which Indy's bullwhip is attached as a leash. Indy is dressed in his hat and jacket, but still bandaged and in some pain as he walks George. Marion, Mutt, Sallah, Helena, and Teddy are all walking together chattering and enjoying the day. Indy regards the dog, who is yanking on the whip impatiently wanting to walk faster.
Helena: Don't yank the collar so hard! You'll strangle him, Indy!
Voice (Offscreen): You call him Doctor Jones, Doll!
The crew stops to see they are in front of a 1969 kung fu dojo. In the doorway we see SHORT ROUND.
Short Round: Indy! You're back!
Short Round's arms are wide as he runs to join the group. They all laugh and embrace. The camera POV is above and rising slowly higher. We see the whole crew exchanging stories and laughing. Teddy attempts to pick Short Round's pocket, who stops him with lightning speed. George is barking as the RAIDERS MARCH rises to its full glory. Credits begin to roll over the happy gathering in the streets of New York.
If I had to compare the score to any of the previous parts in the series, I'd pick "The Last Crusade". There was also really one leading new theme (Grail) and the compelling action music that dominated the score. There is even more of it here. Helena's Theme we hear more often in the film itself in adventure arrangements (that are really great) than the one we know from last concerts. It's only in its full "Golden Age" glory during the end credits.
But there is a lot going on here, it is dynamic and dense, because there is no shortage of action in the movie. There are also some musical surprises. In one of the scenes I heard something that would fit to "Dirty Harry" or "Bullitt" or other Shiffrin's scores form 70's. Very unusual for Williams. There's another theme, more exotic, similar to "Tintin". And a lot of "Raider's March" and twice
The music is very intense, just like "The Last Crusade" mixed with "Tintin". And sometimes it rushes like "The Lost World". The music accompanying action scenes, with motifs accompanying the antagonists, is very intense and the whole score is very "busy" , if I may use such a word. Williams had a lot to do here. And must have had fun!
And there is theme related to the McGuffin - very simple one.
I can't wait to hear the score from the album and I have no doubt that it will be a great listening experience.
Williams and Ross are listed as conductors.
And the movie itself? Without giving away any spoilers, I really liked it. A lot of humor, lots of action, with a solid emotion in the background. There were moments that really surprised me. The biggest acting star here is indeed the fantastic Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Anybody heard of him? He is a young German composer known especially for his music for Europa-Park, the largest Theme Park in Germany (and many say, the best in the world…). He obviously is very influenced by Hollywood soundtrack from the last 20 or so years, from Williams over Desplat to Powell (I think).
Here the complete soundtrack for an animated short movie made by Europa-Park for its 4D cinema: Happy Family 4D short film
And here music for one of the larger coasters, themed to nordic saga and vikings: Wodan
Playlist on Spotify:
And here are some samples of the music he wrote for the park itself (did not find it on Apple Music): https://shop.europapark.de/en/Europa-Park+Classic+2016+-+Download.htm
What do you think of it? I like a lot of his music, although it is often very similar to Hollywood sound.