After veering towards the world of classical with last week’s Viennese interlude, I remain in the same ballpark for some of the greatest film music ever written, and music I absolutely love to listen to. For me, the acid test for any soundtrack music is whether it can be enjoyed outside the context of the film it was written for. In the case of Williams, the answer is a resounding yes in almost every instance. With a career spanning such a long time, Williams has a large catalogue to choose from, but here are my choices:
1. Jurassic Park Main Theme – Simply a great tune, probably one of my very favourite pieces of orchestral music.
2. March from Raiders of the Lost Ark – Better known as the “Indiana Jones Theme”, surely one of the most memorable pieces of film music ever. It perfectly captures the excitement and heroism of the character and the films themselves.
3. Star Wars Theme – Grew up with Star Wars, some of earliest cinema-going memories. The theme music was something we all knew and would sing as we pretended to be the characters or played with our action figures.
4. Journey To The Island (from Jurassic Park) – Features a reprise of the main theme to the film, but I think the main theme of this piece is so beautiful. It perfectly captures the grandeur of the scenery on screen and, of course, the dinosaurs.
5. Hymn To The Fallen (from Saving Private Ryan) – A stirring and moving piece of music, that has found use outside its original film setting in military and remembrance ceremonies. Whether played by orchestra or military brass band, I find it both uplifting and contemplative.
Might have to dig out some of those great films again too now!
The Superman theme always did it for me as a kid, it still does! Those first few notes after the fanfare but before the the main theme kicks in… dundunun dundundun …. you know the bit I mean! Lke a distant rumbling of thunder before the storm! John Williams left an indelible mark on my childhood, all the more remarkable for the fact that at the time I had never even heard of him.
Superman theme was the one that just missed the final five. Decided to go with the second Jurassic Park piece instead. His marches – Indiana Jones, Star Wars (main theme and Imperial march) and Superman – are as good as any in the classical genre. A statement that applies to most of his compositions actually. The fact that they’re written for films will probably stop many classical music fans from giving him proper credit, their loss!