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Williams Interview - Today Show 1984


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I don't think it's so much that Williams is boring, I think we're accustomed to a modern editing style on this kind of media piece. If this were done today, it would be intercut with much more narration by the interviewer over photos (ie. from Williams' youth) and more breaks in the tone. I actually enjoyed hearing what Williams had to say. It just seems to go on longer because, well, they let it.

Interesting that he wanted to be remembered most for CE3K, and this wasn't long after E.T. had skyrocketed.

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Fascinating interview, the best Williams interview ever seen. But I do agree that he would make a first-rate hypnotist. Or at the very less should consider penning an autobiography, if only to later record it as an audio book (in hundreds of languages), and have it used for meditation classes, along with treating insomniacs and the neurotic. All over the world.

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I love listening to Williams, could easily do so for hours :john:

Infinitely more interesting than the majority of the pretentious crap we're subjected to.

I think it's only as boring as the ears and brain (and perhaps lack of genuine depth) of any given individual listening, allows it to be.

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"I used to orchestrate as a kid, for no real reason..."

Sheesh, this guy.

Williams may not be the most captivating orator, but I still love watching interviews from this time period, when he was writing the reeeeaaaaaaaaaaaally good stuff. It amazes me that a human brain can come up with this stuff inside. I mean, I do a little composing sometimes, so I know what it's like to hear new music in your head and then write it down, but to internally develop the music he's written? It's unfathomable.

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Like Hans Zimmer? :P

Ha ...but to be honest man, he's one example I was thinking of.

Now, I have no problem with HZ in the least, I'm not particularly into his music so I don't particularly feel any need to dislike it.

Listening to his interviews though and how some people here and at other boards go on about how 'cool' he sounds, well it just makes me feel like picking a cow's arse and finger brushing my teeth :eh:

I dunno, to me, it just sounds like pretentious crap most of the time masquerading as cool insight.

Certainly not always but enough of the time .....so yeah, I'll take the more 'boring' eulogies from Williams thanks.

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Like Hans Zimmer? :P

Ha ...but to be honest man, he's one example I was thinking of.

Now, I have no problem with HZ in the least, I'm not particularly into his music so I don't particularly feel any need to dislike it.

Listening to his interviews though and how some people here and at other boards go on about how 'cool' he sounds, well it just makes me feel like picking a cow's arse and finger brushing my teeth :eh:

I dunno, to me, it just sounds like pretentious crap most of the time masquerading as cool insight.

Certainly not always but enough of the time .....so yeah, I'll take the more 'boring' eulogies from Williams thanks.

One of the key differences between the two composers beyond talent and self-discipline, is a sense humour in their music. Zimmer doesn't have one.

Hans Zimmer sounds layman.

John Williams sounds pretentious.

No. Compared to many in the field (mostly of the older generation), John Williams doesn't sound pretentious. He's sophisticated, but doesn't feel the need to use words like 'aegis' or 'grundgestalt.'

To be honest, ever time I listen to Zimmer talk in interviews I keep hearing Sacha Baron Cohen's Bruno. Not only in the camp inflections, but in his probable IQ.

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By the way, I've mentioned this before, but I really wish there were more footage of Williams playing piano, particularly his own compositions. He has a nice touch, and there's something so uniquely personal about hearing a piece of music being played by the person who wrote it. I've only seen a handful of clips - that MOAG performance with Yo-Yo Ma, that ESB documentary with him writing part of "This Is Not a Cave", bits of E.T. for Spielberg...stuff like that. It'd be nice to see more.

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Nice little interview. Williams never sounds pretentious to my ears, otherwise he keeps his thoughts simple and clear. I prefer simplicity to highbrow faux intellectualism.

Oh, and I agree it's always nice to see/hear him playing on the piano. I still wish someone would convince him to record an album of him playing some of his tunes.

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He is musically gifted, but rhetorically...

He makes even the most interesting story sound drab, overlong, and complicated.

Couldn't disagree with you more. I think he gets his meaning across splendidly. And you realize that it's not exactly easy talking about fine points in music, right? I mean, other than "this sounds good" or "this sounds bad" or "I like this" or "I hate it"?

I think it's more ....John Williams sounds pretentious to the layman.

Maybe he is a bit (subconsciously) showing off, but you know what? If he can back it up, I have absolutely nothing against it. It's called healthy pride, and I welcome it.

Or at least to those whose heads his words fly right over, I'd never blame Williams for the inadequacies of others.

I bet for many "ordinary" people, when they hear some highly ingenious people talk, it's just (unconscious) jealousy. They can't help but resent the fact that these people are much much more intelligent, creative, etc. than themselves.

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Good lord, I forgot how annoying Gene Shalit was.

Dig that mustache! Who is this Gene Shalit guy, anyway?

Yeah I've seen this before, interesting interview. And I have absolutely no idea what Blum is talking about - I find Williams to be both charming and fascinating.

Agreed. Williams is thoughtful and articulate, both verbally and musically. He obviously puts a lot of effort into what he intends to say, and wants what he says to sound "right". Other composers can sound a little stand-offish (Barry), or snide (Goldsmith), or just plain arrogant (Horner), but our Johnny-Boy is far too much of a gentleman to even want to hint at that. He is the consumate professional.

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Why should you? If you want insights into the man, listen to his music.

Elitist twaddle! John Williams is a hired gun. His music is whatever the people who pay him want it to be!

Thanks for calling me "elitist"; I always knew (smug mode) :)

Of course he's a hired gun, but in amongst those notes is his own identity. It's inevitable that J.W. would communicate with the world primarily through his music, as Monet did through his art, or Twain did through his writing. Those who wish to understand Mr. W., should listen with better ears.

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a friend of mine thinks all of john williams (non jazzy orchestral) music sounds like star wars

Then show him Images, The Fury, The Poseidon Adventure, Close Encounters, The Sugarland Express, and Family Plot.

Futile, or just pointless effort.

It's easier to just accept that some people simply don't care enough to discern the difference. Sod 'em.

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Yeah, usually, if someone makes such a claim near I'll just ask them if they've heard scores like those. Memoirs of a Geisha, Black Sunday, Jaws, Catch Me If You Can, etc. When they inevitably either say they haven't heard these scores or say that all of those do sound like Star Wars, I don't continue the conversation. If it's the former, they're severely misinformed, and if it's the latter, they're hopeless.

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well i have to say i do hear some star wars in Jaws

There are certainly some similarities in the way he puts together the action music. It's not the best example, I'll grant you that. And Williams has definitely reused bits of his own work at times. But it stands out as an unexpected repetition. It's not the norm. Generally speaking, he has a recognizable musical voice, but he rarely reuses stuff directly.

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Finally had a chance to sit and watch this. Wow . . . too many years too late. What a great interview (in spite of the indeed very annoying Gene Shalit, for whom the only thing louder than his voice were his bowties).

I don't think it's so much that Williams is boring, I think we're accustomed to a modern editing style on this kind of media piece. If this were done today, it would be intercut with much more narration by the interviewer over photos (ie. from Williams' youth) and more breaks in the tone.

It couldn't possibly have been stated more clearly or acurately than this. These days, the media binges on jump cuts. This clip was a reminder of the days when an interview was just that--an interview. The reporter asked, the subject answered, and we got to listen. That's what it ought to be like. Any more, we only get the highlights preselected by the reporter/producer and interspersed with images and videos over abstract CGI backgrounds. Often times we hear more of the reporter narrating the piece than we do of the subject himself.

I hate to say it, Blumenkohl, but you're a child of the digital age. I can't see how any John Williams fan with an attention span of longer than a microsecond wouldn't want to watch a few minutes of such an accomplished artist speaking in broad terms about his past and inspirations. My biggest problem with the interview is that it was so damnably short. I could spend a day listening to him quietly ellucidating his passion.

Hans Zimmer sounds layman.

I agree . . . Zimmer sounds pretty lame, man. :nod:

John Williams sounds pretentious.

I can't even begin to fathom where you're seeing (or hearing) this. . . .

- Uni

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well i have to say i do hear some star wars in Jaws

There are certainly some similarities in the way he puts together the action music. It's not the best example, I'll grant you that. And Williams has definitely reused bits of his own work at times. But it stands out as an unexpected repetition. It's not the norm. Generally speaking, he has a recognizable musical voice, but he rarely reuses stuff directly.

i was referring to a quiet piece in jaws that sounds like a piece of music from/for the tatooine section of Star Wars

EDIT: i remember, its Ben Gardners Boat! it reminds me of certain sections of the tatooine/luke skywalker centric cues

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My biggest problem with the interview is that it was so damnably short. I could spend a day listening to him quietly ellucidating his passion.

This!

How can this be called dull? He's not pretentious, he's... he's.... "an elegant weapon for a more civilized age."

I'd love to hear a CD of him playing his own compositions on the piano. Letter-writing campaign to Gorfaine-Schwartz, anybody?

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