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John Williams utilizing Classical


StrongBad992648
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Hello everybody. No, this is NOT a "John Williams plagarizes" thread. I am, however, doing a class tomorrow where I talk about how Williams, and other film composer use classics to better paint images in our minds. So, would you be able to help me out and name a few instances where Williams refers to classical pieces to better represent the emotion or meaning of a scene?

Some I already have are:

Mars: Star Wars

Also Sprach...:Opening of Superman Theme

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Superman = Pines of Rome (Raspighi)

A lot of people make the Star Wars/The Planets comparison, but there are only a few instances of extreme similarity (i.e. the trombone melody in Mars = the Imperial motif, the motif from Uranus is quoted in "The Battle of Endor III," the use of a repeated dissonant chord, etc.). Even Williams' overall style throughout the Star Wars saga doesn't sound very Holst-like to me.

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Sorry I probably should have clarified...I'm not talking about the scores on a whole. Just specific moments to better paint a picture. When I said "Mars" and Star Wars I was referring to the very beginning with the repeated chords. Sorry, should have said that! :oops:

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John williams is copying any orchestra piece ever written cuz he too uses the orchestra.

pi imitating some of the more provincial JW fan responses

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Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Vaughn Williams, Elgar.

A perfect example that you can rely to your class would be in Home Alone (presuming they've all seen it!) - the 'Making the Plane' cue is a delightful nod of the hat to Tchaikovsky's 'Trepak' from The Nutcracker - other than that of the usual Holst / Korngold influences for Star Wars.

'Parade of the Ewoks' is also a Prokofievian theme in its structure and ultimate motif. Not as blatant as Horner's The Land Before Time usage of course!

Does that help or have I misunderstood your original request?

- Tim.

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Hey dudes, he's asking for places where Williams references a classical work intentionally, to achieve associations the audience (ideally) makes to the original work, is that so hard to understand?

The examples where clear:

-the Mars chords in the beginngin of ANH, as Mars is "The Bringer of War"

-the Zarathustra-Opening-like Krypton piece, as the Zarathustra piece deals with Nietzsches idea of a "superman" (Übermensch)

From the top of my head, I would add:

-a brief reference to Wagner's wedding march (From Tannhäuser, I think) in "Terminal"

Others don't come to my mind rightnow, but I'm tired ;)

-Chris

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Apart from the Wagner quotation in The Terminal cited above (which I did not know since I am not an avid Wagnerian) the only other direct quotation of a classical piece in a Williams score that I can think of is from a Chopin mazurka which is incorporated into a track in "Empire of the Sun" (ie I am not talking about source music here). And I'm not going to make the Krakozian (sp?) anthem joke and also "When You Wish Upon A Star" is not classical....

Williams sometimes sounds so much like another composer that you think he must be paying deliberate homage. I am thinking particularly of passages in "Hook" which sound strikingly like Debussy's "La Mer". Williams even adopts the oscillating string figure to represent waves, a device which I believe was Debussy's innovation in La Mer.

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By request of Stanley Kubrick, Williams directly quotes a piece called "Der Rosenkavalier" (if I'm not mistaken) in A.I.. Not sure if that counts. I think it's a Strauss piece.

- Marc, who's sure someone else knows this better.

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John williams is copying any orchestra piece ever written cuz he too uses the orchestra.

Hans Zimmer cannot do even that :music:

Don't worry, someone else from the factory will do that for him.

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By request of Stanley Kubrick, Williams directly quotes a piece called "Der Rosenkavalier" (if I'm not mistaken) in A.I..

It is R. Strauss. It's the waltz from "Der Rosenkavalier Suite, Opus 59". The material is from the Opera.

I've never seen the movie The Witches of Eastwick, but there's a quote from Dvorak's Cello Concerto.

-the Zarathustra-Opening-like Krypton piece, as the Zarathustra piece deals with Nietzsches idea of a "superman" (Übermensch)

I think you're over-analyzing that piece :)

:music:

Tim

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Williams sometimes sounds so much like another composer that you think he must be paying deliberate homage. I am thinking particularly of passages in "Hook" which sound strikingly like Debussy's "La Mer". Williams even adopts the oscillating string figure to represent waves, a device which I believe was Debussy's innovation in La Mer.

Another part of "Hook" (the rising/falling bass figures in "Hooknapped") sounds very similar to a part of Korngold's "The Sea Hawk", no doubt a reference to the "pirate"/"sea" thematic.

I've never seen the movie The Witches of Eastwick, but there's a quote from Dvorak's Cello Concerto.

Whoa, how could I have forgotten this!! I LOVE the way Williams takes over the Dvorak piece as the cello bursts into flames and channels it into a triumphal statement of his own theme! :music:

-the Zarathustra-Opening-like Krypton piece, as the Zarathustra piece deals with Nietzsches idea of a "superman" (Übermensch)

I think you're over-analyzing that piece :)

Well the piece by itself is different, but both begin with a deep bass, over which a solo trumpet unfolds, which builds into an orhestral crescendo, and the ending of the crescendo is similar in character. It's no further apart from the Strauss piece as North's 2001 main title, which was reportedly deliberately modeled after Zarathustra (and unfortunately, eventually replaced by it).

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Well, BotH sounds like cinque's theme, and "Anakin's Dream" includes the theme from Accidental tourist, so don't make rash connections that have no topical reason to be there ;)

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the Zarathustra-Opening-like Krypton piece, as the Zarathustra piece deals with Nietzsches idea of a "superman" (Übermensch)

I think you're over-analyzing that piece ;)

Well the piece by itself is different, but both begin with a deep bass, over which a solo trumpet unfolds, which builds into an orhestral crescendo, and the ending of the crescendo is similar in character.

But do you really think it was intentional? I can't deny the similarity in structure, they both obviously build and build to a huge climax, stop suddenly, then go into an silent and eerie bass passage, but I can't help to think that the film is what inspired this, and not Zarathustra. The camera gently glides into the atmosphere of Krypton and then slowly goes in on the Judicial court/dome. I think Williams just wanted a huge building fanfare to signal the beauty of the shot, and the majesty of the new world.

Tim

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Yes, the Wedding March in the Terminal is the only actual use of a classical piece I can think of that Williams did. Nice thread, by the way. I was going to make somethinglike this, but I felt that people would think I'm stupid or something.

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At the beginning of Superman, the Theme is NOT the music that is accompanying the movie as we go from the "stage" to crypton. And yes I do think it was intentionally done.

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Yes, the Wedding March in the Terminal is the only actual use of a classical piece I can think of that Williams did. Nice thread, by the way. I was going to make something like this, but I felt that people would think I'm stupid or something.

As already said, other instances of him definitely quoting other pieces for recognitional effect are Strauss's "Rosenkavalier" waltz in A.I. and Dvorak's cello concerto in Witches of Eastwick.

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Please don't infer that I'm considering this "classical music", but for the sake of talking about extra-musical quotation, Williams also sneaks Stephen Foster's, "Camptown Races" into the finale of his Reivers score.

Tim

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Some additions I just heard:

A section of Rachmaninoff's "Variation on a theme by Pagnanini" sounds similar to Hedwig's theme.

There is also a remarkable similarity between The first movement of Mendelssohn's Symphony #3 and "Anakin's Betrayal."

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All of Tinkerbell's music from Hook is obviously influenced by Stravinsky's "The Firebird."

BotH has a strikingly similar melodic shape to Dvorak's 9th symphony.

When Harry and Ron are late for their first class in HPatSS, you can hear quarter note string dissonance just like in Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring."

Saint-Sains "Carnival of the Animals" is pretty much a study in orchestration for HP.

There's a lot more - I just haven't had my coffee yet. :)

Jason

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Another one I just noticed....

Rossini's "The Thieving Magpie" overture and "Aunt Marge's Waltz."

Thanks for the info. I noticed that they used this piece in a Azkaban document prior to the film's release in the place of Aunt MArge's Waltz and I have been wondering what it was. I knew it was Rossini (his music is very identifiable :) ) but not what piece. Cuaron obviously temp tracked the scene with the piece and Williams took his direction from there.

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Cuaron obviously temp tracked the scene with the piece and Williams took his direction from there.

John Williams taking directions from a temp score? I think you overestimate his talent.

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Cuaron obviously temp tracked the scene with the piece and Williams took his direction from there.

John Williams taking directions from a temp score? I think you overestimate his talent.

LOL Oh Hitch! You are such a kidder.

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Rossini's "The Thieving Magpie" overture and "Aunt Marge's Waltz."

There seem to be a few more Rossini influences throughout the score. Some of the woodwind stuff reminds me of something by him.

Marian - who still thinks the waltz fits the scene perfectly.

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