John Williams, whose scored some of the most popular films of the last half-century.Tuesday marks the 90th birthday of the American composer
In many cases, Williams' music has proved as popular as the movie - or more so. For example, it's hard to imagine Star Wars having its full impact without Williams elevating the drama with "Princess Leia's Theme," the "Imperial March," and the many other themes he wrote for the series. And while I'd probably decline an offer to watch the movie "E.T." again - what beautiful musical themes!
I would go so far as to say that Williams' music has inspired young people to learn an instrument, just so they could play his music. When I was young, I definitely tried to plunk out "Star Wars" themes on the piano and violin. For years, Star Wars arrangements have been orchestra and band staples for high schools. And a number of my students over the last several decades have wanted to play "Hedwig's Theme," and happily there are plenty of good arrangements for violin. (Incidentally, the original "Hedwig's Theme" has such wicked-complicated violin passages that the violin part is used in orchestral excerpt classes and auditions!)
Many of us have experience playing these scores, and many have even met the maestro, who in addition to being a legendary film composer is also a wonderful conductor. Some may have even sat in those recording sessions! If you have played these scores, what have you played? What were your impressions?
I thought it would be fun to share our thoughts and experiences with the music of John Williams, in celebration of his longevity. First, what is your favorite, among his scores? I've listed some of the most popular, award-winning scores in the vote -- Star Wars (of course!), Harry Potter, Jaws, Schindler's List, etc. But Williams has written so many iconic scores that I couldn't fit all of them into the vote! So you are welcome to pick "something else" and tell us in the comments below, if your favorite happens to be something not listed -- such as Superman, Saving Private Ryan, Memoirs of a Geisha, Towering Inferno, the 1984 Olympic Theme, Angela's Ashes... What makes the music especially appealing to you? And if you pick something like "Star Wars," what are your favorite themes within that music?
Please participate in the vote, and then share your thoughts on John Williams, his music, and what it has meant to you over the years. Happy 90th to someone who has given us great music to listen to, and to play!
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