Episode 8 - John Williams
In this episode, James and Jesse talk about the film composer without peer, the man responsible for the music of timeless classics such as -
Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jaws and so many more. We talk about John Williams!
First we talk about John's recent concert at the Hollywood Bowl.
Where Jesse heard many of John's classics such as the soundtrack from the movie Hook.
We then talk about our favorite Star Wars movies, music-wise that is.
We talk about John's reputation as a borrower, and then finish while talking about the capability of a composer to make or break a director's dreams.
9/7/2016 12:44:50 pm
Music was my first love. I progressed from beginner's piano to beginner's percussion to intermediate guitar (I've since rescinded back to the world of beginner). I've always loved music in movies. The music really sets the tone. You talked about how Jurassic Park music sounds like dino music. I think really the first genre to master music in film was the horror genre which really came to maturity in the 80's, especially in regards to music in film. You could say, "No! Hepburn's cover of 'moon river'?", "What about vaudeville music that was playful and funny in and of itself?", "What about the silent film era when music was the only dialogue in a film?" or any other example, but in regards to original scores for a non-silent film no film composition strikes us like Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street and the like in the horror genre. Music is as integral to horror as it was in silent film. With the exception of John William's work, dramas, romance and more did not utilize music effectively as an expectation and standard in film (note that this leaves room for exceptions). It's because of this grand exception that is John Williams that music in mainstream cinema was changed forever. He brought back the celebrity of the composer that had since been dead in the 20th century. He paved the way for epic trilogy scores, like that of Howard Shore in The Fellowship of the Ring. I should note in saying this that Howard Shore has quite a long and impressive film scoring resume even prior to Lord of the Rings, especially in the horror genre.
9/7/2016 01:20:01 pm
Love your comment and want to mention it in next week's pod! Two thoughts come from your post. First, you are right; John Williams definitely paved the way for the "blockbuster" composers. People like Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer and Howard Shore are really held up in higher esteem than composers like Elmer Berstein or even Robert Copeland, and this is large part in thanks to the heart rousing scores that Williams created for all those blockbusters we mentioned in the podcast. However, I think that dramas were using scores to amazing effect long before the 80's, perhaps before Horror films, though director's like Hitchcock really pushed the score of the Horror genre to new highs. Listen to Bernstein's score for "To Kill a Mockingbird" or ALFRED (I had to look up the name) Newman's work on "The Grapes of Wrath" or Morricone's score on "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly." This stuff is fantastic! This is leaving out the great musicals as having an unfair advantage (I LOVE "Moon River" by the way).
9/7/2016 01:09:14 pm
In regards to any artist "stealing" or "borrowing", everyone does it and everyone gets accused of it. As you said, "Good artists borrow, great artists steal". First, the greatest compliments are found in imitation. Second, if you know you can do something better than a predecessor and get away with it then do it! It is a dishonor to the material not to. Third, borrowing is inherent in creating a work when your inspiration is inspired by another. If I paint a subject in the style of Van Gogh or Monet I am borrowing from them, but I do so because that style is the best vehicle to tell my story. The Juxtaposition art exhibit is 100% borrowed from Neo-classical and realist artists who strived to achieve a level of photorealism. In that sense, any and all photorealistic artist are "stealing" from previous artists.
9/7/2016 02:00:40 pm
Agreed! As it's written, "There is nothing new under the sun."
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