Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Recommended Posts

John Williams has a lot of influences, almost too many to take in at once. This thread then is really about appreciating some of the composers who came before him. The question I have for you is not "who were Williams' influences?" but "who of any of Williams's influences seems to lend to what you most love about him?" Who's that composer who, in a way, inspired you through Williams' music? If you're not sure how to answer, name as many as you'd like, but try to narrow it down to what styles from which composers might it be you love so much :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always liked the influence of two particular British composers that I think really stick out in Williams' scores for Jane Eyre, Empire of the Sun, Jurassic Park, War Horse, and Lincoln, amongst others, and it turned me on to them as composers as well:

-Edward Elgar

-Gustav Holst

-Benjamin Britten

The hymnal nature of the above composers clearly influenced the maestro's more pastoral, gentle, affecting passages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm. Except for a few scores, like THE FURY or WITCHES OF EASTWICK, I can't hear much of Herrmann in Williams, to be honest. In fact, I find them to be quite opposite in approach and sound.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm. Except for a few scores, like THE FURY or WITCHES OF EASTWICK, I can't hear much of Herrmann in Williams, to be honest. In fact, I find them to be quite opposite in approach and sound.

STAR WARS owes a huge amount to Herrmann's Harryhausen scores (even more than Holst, Korngold or Prokofiev).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was listening to Herrmann's Williamsburg score yesterday and a couple of the cues reminded me very much of one of the cues in The Paper Chase, believe it or not. The similarity caught me quite off guard, given the completely different subject matter and period of the two.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who's that composer who, in a way, inspired you through Williams' music?

Korngold. Without Williams, it would have taken me a lot longer to get into Korngold's film scores, but Williams provides a bridge to the past, as it were.

Korngold tends to have many more rapid-fire notes in his themes and use more plain triads whereas Williams uses more longer notes, and relies on triads in addition to seventh chords and sus chords in his themes as a result of his early jazz years, no doubt.

Both, however, are brilliant in their film scores.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Al this talk of Herrmann, Walton, Holst, etc made me think: who influenced JW in regard to "The Mecha World" - Adams, Glass, Reich?

"The Mecha World" sounds indeed John Adams-like, mixed with Steve Reich-inspired mallet percussion writing. A.I. has some minimalist-influenced writing all over the place. It's probably the first score in which Williams fully explored this kind of musical style, something that he then touched also in later works like Minority Report, Attack of the Clones and Memoirs of a Geisha.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was thinking that too. It's really interesting to hear him explore an idiom that he typically stays away from, especially since it's one of the defining styles of current/relatively current music. His approach to modernism usually ends around the mid-20th century.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO1VVONqL4U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDEVOO0mRYM



I was thinking that too. It's really interesting to hear him explore an idiom that he typically stays away from, especially since it's one of the defining styles of current/relatively current music. His approach to modernism usually ends around the mid-20th century.

Not true. Williams took a lot from the 60s Polish school, Berio, Ligeti, Takemitsu, Scelsi etc.

My biggest question is this - when did Williams hear and study this music?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well yeah, that's essentially what I meant. I guess I should have said "mostly prior to the 70's" rather than "around the mid-20th century" haha.

And I would wager that for him, like many composers, hearing and studying are the same thing. Just a matter of absorbing a new idiom into one's language.

By the way, I love that Penderecki quote.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/19/2013 at 8:28 PM, Ludwig said:

Korngold. Without Williams, it would have taken me a lot longer to get into Korngold's film scores, but Williams provides a bridge

 

This is a really good point. One's favorite John Williams influences are likely the composers they most easily get into after Williams. Long ago, I remember appreciating Prokofiev, Howard Hanson, and Jazz music much more after I was familiarized with Williams. Other mentions are Herrmann and Walton.

 

We can also do this thread by piece, not by composer, as in "which are your favorite pieces that influenced John Williams?" That's much more interesting to me... I don't like pinning down a whole composer without recognizing his individual parts. 😏😄

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...