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I can't believe it's not John Williams! (the best imitators)

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Who's the best John Williams imitator out there? We've heard several composers try to imitate his style but it's certainly not easy to pull off. Some may be able to imitate his orchestrations, but obviously fall short in other respects.

 

So who in your opinion would you say has managed to make you go "hey, that's not a half bad imitation" or:  "I can't believe it's not John Williams!" ? 

 

I think the first time someone genuinely had me thinking it was Williams, was Gordy Haab's music for the first EA Battlefront (2015)

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There are plenty who have excelled at the 'general' JW template, like Joel McNeely or John Debney. But Mike Verta is the best one I've heard; he's able to 'mimic' Williams' style to a tee, so much so that you can't believe it's not him.

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1 hour ago, Thor said:

There are plenty who have excelled at the 'general' JW template, like Joel McNeely or John Debney. But Mike Verta is the best one I've heard; he's able to 'mimic' Williams' style to a tee, so much so that you can't believe it's not him.

Will have to check it out, thanks Thor!

7 minutes ago, aviazn said:

My favorite JW imitation comes from Kyle Newmaster's contributions to the Kinect: Star Wars soundtrack. He's not only able to mimic the sound and the mannerisms, but also how JW would develop ideas throughout cues in the OT and PT eras in a far more convincing manner than some of the other imitators.

https://soundcloud.com/gordyhaab/15-cleggs-swan-song?in=gordyhaab/sets/kinect-star-wars-soundtrack

 

 

Yep, very impressive!

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1 minute ago, Thor said:

 

Not that many films. FORBIDDEN WARRIOR is one that I love; there are some Williamsesque moments in that too. But he's done a low of "show pieces" for various events, and that's where he gets to show off his skill. One that I particularly like is his music for a BATMAN amusement park ride, which sounds like Danny Elfman's score as if it had been 'reimagined' by Williams: 

 

 

Haha it's so weird hearing the unholy hybrid of Williams and Elfman. It really does sound like it's 50/50

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6 hours ago, Edmilson said:

When I think about Williams imitators, the first thing that comes to my mind is this:

 

 

For the opening, those drums, the racing strings and the high brass scream Doyle's Goblet of Fire at me!

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Nothing here sounds like Williams, if you try too much to it, more far it goes  from the original. That Talgorn dude is good, sounds like the Reivers meets the Fury in Hogwards with a very flat horn in 1:48. 

And of course Loert but that IS Williams. 

Man those timpani hits, the others go too much in the direction of zimmer drum noise. 

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50 minutes ago, First TROS March Accolyte said:

One of the greatest threads of the year, right here. What a harvest!

 

What I find most interesting, is that the most frequently imitated style presented here is that of the prequels.

 

Thanks dude!  Yeah the prequel style is very influential, I agree. It's funny how popular it has become. But well deserved obviously. Williams adapted to the times, and he tapped into the zeitgeist once again. It's incredible how many times he's done it.

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Some great finds in this thread. Well done. For me, I enjoy listening to this guy's orchestrations. The very busy JW-esque orchestrations. I just enjoy any composer that respects all sections of the orchestra and gives them their due time to shine.

 

 

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Highly recommended -- Wael Binali's concert pieces "Niramaya," "Earth, Plunder, Wound, Renewal, Hope," and Shaffalah Suite.  He's brilliant!  Also, Benny Oschmann's "The Dwarves" video game score and Hendrik Schwarzer's orchestral music for Europa-Park...

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On 12/19/2019 at 6:28 PM, Thor said:

 

Not that many films. FORBIDDEN WARRIOR is one that I love; there are some Williamsesque moments in that too. But he's done a low of "show pieces" for various events, and that's where he gets to show off his skill. One that I particularly like is his music for a BATMAN amusement park ride, which sounds like Danny Elfman's score as if it had been 'reimagined' by Williams: 

 

 

This really impressed me! Is a very weird combination but definitely with some Williams-esque style there

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On 12/30/2019 at 1:04 AM, Borodin said:

A lot of the forms in this OST remind me of like Star Wars and Superman. Especially 1:20 - 1:33

But the biggest difference is, this is probably better than most Williams scores.

 

 

Love the Homeward Bound main theme. It's all very 90s Disney, but very well constructed. The chords in that descending figure (like 2:36) kinda feels like something JW would do, (e.g. Somewhere in My Memory).

 

I've always been curious to hear what Bruce Broughton would have done for Home Alone.

 

 

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I wasn't sold on Haab (even after two competent Battlefronts, where he generally had to write anonymous Williams-esque action music that could be looped and cross-faded ad infinitum), until I heard his work on the Fallen Order video game.  Very filmic, great musical storytelling, a few well-placed theme references, and just generally very satisfying.  I always thought the folks who said they should give him a movie were vastly overrating his talent, but now I'm on board.

 

There are some weird YouTube playlists out there that interpolate prequel music into so-called soundtrack playlists (which may be accurate; I've barely started the game), but this one looks like it's all original:

 

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On 12/19/2019 at 8:01 PM, Loert said:

My favourite imitation was done by Clint Bajakian for the video game Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb. Not only did he convincingly imitate JW's various stylisms but he also managed to capture the playfulness of Indiana Jones music in particular.

 

Some examples:

 

 

This imitates JW's "Nazi" style to a tee (brass in octaves, snare drum etc.)

 

 

(SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT) I have tried to imitate JW in the past, mostly unsuccessfully, but I think my most successful attempt was with this Prequel-style action track:

 

I don't know long that must have taken you to programme it all in but this is fantastic music for a Chase Scene. Great pastiche of Williams. Well done mate. Impressed. 

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On 1/4/2020 at 4:16 AM, Dr. Know said:

... Hendrik Schwarzer's orchestral music for Europa-Park...

 

Just found this looking for mentions of Schwarzer in this forum. I discovered Europa-Park a few years ago and have now also collected some of the music composed for the park by Hendrik Schwarzer, a young German composer from the Black Forest, obviously a big John Williams fan as one can hear in his music. I bought this album (https://shop.europapark.de/en/Europa-Park+Classic+2016+-+Download.htm) and like the music quite a bit since it reminds me of a lot of JW from Star Wars til Jurassic Park. Here is a nice suite somebody put together out of bits and pieces from this album, also showing off the fantastic theme park it was written for, as a short introduction to Hendrik Schwarzer (he also composed 2 short musicals for the park and soundtracks for animated movies the park produced): 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, Pando said:

I think Thomas Bergersen comes pretty close. His music is always an inspiration.

 

This track might have come straight from the latest star wars and no one would have noticed that it's not JW.

 

This is a MIDI mockup he did more than 10 years ago to showcase his private library.

 

 

So... this composer actually invented Williams' Star Wars sequel sound before Williams himself did it?

 

Edit: the co-founder of Two Steps From Hell? Very nice!

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