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Film scores that impressed John Williams


Lewya
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We know for instance that he thought that The Shawshank Redemption was one of the most impressive scores of the younger generation back from an old interview he did in the late 1990s.

 

We also know and can assume Vertigo, Spartacus and A Streetcar Named Desire counts too. Him just conducting something isn't enough though.

 

I am curious, has he ever commented on Goldenthal for instance? I must have missed that if so.

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At a Composer talk I attended with James Newton Howard, he mentioned that Williams visited his studios for a friendly visit/mixing a score. JNH said he was impressed with his studio setup, and was "very complimentary of some of his recent work." JNH didn't say what, but it was around the time of Maleficent I believe.

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28 minutes ago, Nick Parker said:

 

"Newty baby, you did a wonderful job on that score you did for the Harrison Ford piece!"

 

"You mean The Fugitive, John? That was over twenty years ago!"

 

"Oh no, not that one, the one where Harrison is on the plane."

 

"Air Force One?"

 

"That's it! Excellent work, weren't you on a tight schedule?"

 

JNH's favourite Composer is Goldsmith, so he'd probably faint if Williams said that.

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1 hour ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Could you please elaborate?

 

I remember Thor once mentioned that JW was somewhat disparaging of that score in a magazine interview, but he didn't recall which magazine the interview was from.

I think JW was noteably less "diplomatic" in his earlier years...remember when he virtually slagged off Meco's "Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk" in a 1978 Capital FM interview, before he changed his tune many years later.

 

Btw, I'd bet that JW was particularly impressed by Don Davis' The Matrix score. Not only did he recommend Davis to score JP3 but his AOTC score had a few notable Matrix-isms in there.

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1 minute ago, Loert said:

 

I remember Thor once mentioned that JW was somewhat disparaging of that score in a magazine interview, but he didn't recall which magazine the interview was from.

I think JW was noteably less "diplomatic" in his earlier years...remember when he virtually slagged off Meco's "Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk" in a 1978 Capital FM interview, before he changed his tune many years later.

 

Btw, I'd bet that JW was particularly impressed by Don Davis' The Matrix score. Not only did he recommend Davis to score JP3 but his AOTC score had a few notable Matrix-isms in there.

 

Too bad, as Psycho is a great score, especially the highlight tracks Prelude and The Rainstorm.

 

Regarding the disco versions of his 70's themes, JW did say just a few years ago that it was something he regretted green-lighting.

 

I do like the score to The Matrix and for some time I considered the music quite unique, but I've gotta admit I was disappointed when I discovered how strong an influence John Adams' music had been. 

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9 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Too bad, as Psycho is a great score, especially the highlight tracks Prelude and The Rainstorm.

 

I am beginning to wonder if JW was perhaps being a bit facetious...especially since Herrmann poked fun at him a few times.

 

9 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Regarding the disco versions of his 70's themes, JW did say just a few years ago that it was something he regretted green-lighting.

 

I didn't know that. Personally I think JW just got a bit jealous that he couldn't write disco as well as Meco... :D

 

9 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

I do like the score to The Matrix and for some time I considered the music quite unique, but I've gotta admit I was disappointed when I discovered how strong an influence John Adams' music had been. 

 

This reminds me of...

 

9 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

I do like the score to Star Wars and for some time I considered the music quite unique, but I've gotta admit I was disappointed when I discovered how strong an influence Holst's music had been. 

 

OK, maybe that's not totally fair. I am at least happy to see that kind of style work in a film, and work so well.

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4 minutes ago, Loert said:

OK, maybe that's not totally fair. I am at least happy to see that kind of style work in a film, and work so well.

 

And I've gotta say that the comparisons between The Planets and Star Wars often are taken too far. :)

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23 minutes ago, Loert said:

Btw, I'd bet that JW was particularly impressed by Don Davis' The Matrix score. Not only did he recommend Davis to score JP3 but his AOTC score had a few notable Matrix-isms in there.

Davis is at least technically the best composer of the 90s after Goldsmith and Williams. He's more capable than Horner, Silvestri, Poledouris, Giacchino, Powell and even Shore, but somehow he doesn't get a job.

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45 minutes ago, Loert said:

Btw, I'd bet that JW was particularly impressed by Don Davis' The Matrix score.[...]his AOTC score had a few notable Matrix-isms in there.

 

Yeah, but one can never quite tell whether its Williams being influenced by others' work, or whether its Lucas temping the film and insisting "Johny, do that!"

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Oh, I do remember reading Williams's somewhat negative comments on Psycho. He said something to the extent that it was very effective but that it wasn't a great score. And he is clearly wrong, I'd rank Psycho as strong as anyting Williams has done. The quality of the string writing is hard to beat and it is just so memorable and iconic.

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19 minutes ago, Lewya said:

Oh, I do remember reading Williams's somewhat negative comments on Psycho. He said something to the extent that it was very effective but that it wasn't a great score. And he is clearly wrong, I'd rank Psycho as strong as anyting Williams has done. The quality of the string writing is hard to beat and it is just so memorable and iconic.

 

If I remember correctly,  he thought it was a great film score, just not great music to listen to. 

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1 hour ago, Brundlefly said:

Davis is at least technically the best composer of the 90s after Goldsmith and Williams. He's more capable than Horner, Silvestri, Poledouris, Giacchino, Powell and even Shore, but somehow he doesn't get a job.

Horner can surprise when he chooses too.  Goldenthal must also be mentioned.

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2 hours ago, Loert said:

Btw, I'd bet that JW was particularly impressed by Don Davis' The Matrix score. 

 

Well, it is a masterpiece. Assuming Williams even heard it.

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2 hours ago, Brundlefly said:

Davis is at least technically the best composer of the 90s after Goldsmith and Williams. He's more capable than Horner, Silvestri, Poledouris, Giacchino, Powell and even Shore, but somehow he doesn't get a job.

 

He's not looking for jobs.  He's mostly retired from Hollywood.  

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There's a passage in Revenge of the Sith when Anakin talks with Palpatine after killing Dooku that is reminiscent if not inspired by the string writing in Psycho, it also seems to seep into War of the Worlds.

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10 hours ago, Nick Parker said:

 

If I remember correctly,  he thought it was a great film score, just not great music to listen to. 

And he compared it to Vertigo.

 

Karol

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6 hours ago, Arpy said:

reminiscent if not inspired by the string writing in Psycho

 

Yeah, but that's also true of passages of the original Star Wars, and yet Williams had denied that it was based on that; although its worth noting it was in 2002, so 25 years removed from that score.

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From an interview with Williams, in 2002:

 

Quote

Was he intentionally referencing Bernard Herrmann's “madness” theme from Psycho in Star Wars when Luke, Han and the gang emerge from under the floor of the Millennium Falcon just after they arrive on the Death Star. The answer: “No.”1

 

You could say, given how much time had passed, that he was misremembering, but still.

___________

https://www.filmscoremonthly.com/backissues/viewissue.cfm?issueID=74

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13 hours ago, Brundlefly said:

Davis is at least technically the best composer of the 90s after Goldsmith and Williams. He's more capable than Horner, Silvestri, Poledouris, Giacchino, Powell and even Shore, but somehow he doesn't get a job.

 

Shore certainly is a much more limited composer than  Horner, technically, so no ned to insert an 'even'. 

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3 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

From an interview with Williams, in 2002:

 

 

You could say, given how much time had passed, that he was misremembering, but still.

___________

https://www.filmscoremonthly.com/backissues/viewissue.cfm?issueID=74

 

It was obviously part of the temp track which he followed.

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1 hour ago, Chen G. said:

From an interview with Williams, in 2002:

 

 

You could say, given how much time had passed, that he was misremembering, but still.

___________

https://www.filmscoremonthly.com/backissues/viewissue.cfm?issueID=74

 

 

Thanks for sharing this. There is an ace quote in regards to A.I. Artificial Intelligence in this interview:

 

Quote

 

It was a particularly inviting challenge for me, in that sense somewhat like Close Encounters, because I felt like I had a finer set of brushes or opportunities and I was offered a considerable amount more freedom of musical expression. So much of what we have to do in film is restricted by the length of the scene or the texture and style of what the music needs to be to really marry with the scene itself. In the case of A.I. it was a broader canvas that offered the opportunity to stretch a little more than usual, and where I had that opportunity I enjoyed it a lot.

 

 

Karol - adding it quickly to his signature :)
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13 hours ago, TGP said:

 

He's not looking for jobs.  He's mostly retired from Hollywood.  

 

I heard differently in the period following his composing Rio De Sangre, that he was looking for jobs but had been out of Hollywood for too long. Maybe he's doing other stuff now...

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4 hours ago, publicist said:

Shore certainly is a much more limited composer than  Horner, technically, so no ned to insert an 'even'. 

Maybe, but I just know Land Before Time which applies to this. Titanic and Braveheart, for example, are very popular, but technically they're less impressive than most Shore scores.

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7 minutes ago, Brundlefly said:

Maybe, but I just know Land Before Time which applies to this. Titanic and Braveheart, for example, are very popular, but technically they're less impressive than most Shore scores.

The Spitfire Grill, The Rocketeer and Legends of the Fall are all more impressive scores technically than Titanic and Braveheart.

Which is not to say that the last two are not impressive.

 

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2 hours ago, Brundlefly said:

Maybe, but I just know Land Before Time which applies to this. Titanic and Braveheart, for example, are very popular, but technically they're less impressive than most Shore scores.

 

I'm sorry but you have to brush up your Horner knowledge. Horner composed technically impressive scores in his 20's (Krull, Brainstorm, later Willow). The scores you cite are of course examples of Horner simplifying his many styles for commercial purposes but generally he could write fluently in a lot of genres. Shore has his areas of expertise, but technically demanding, virtuosic scores certainly is not among them.

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It would be interesting to know if he's heard Goldenthal's Alien 3, and hear his thoughts on such an avant-garde piece.

 

It might seem an obscure score for Williams to have heard but surely he's familiar with Goldsmith's Alien and Horner's Aliens. The latter, especially, seemed to inspire some of the Grievous action material in ROTS.

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Michael Giacchino said once in an interview that John Williams loved the score from UP. He got a phone call from his agent and there was someone who wants to talk with him. He was too busy to answer, but his agent told him that it was John Williams who was on the phone! They had a long talk and John told him he loved the score from UP! They became good friends after this. 

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5 minutes ago, Batman's Diet Coke said:

I don't believe that at all.

He said this in a interview on the radio as far i remember. I will try to find this interview! 

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