Capturing Feeling in Music: The Work of John Williams.

He is one of the most famous film composers of the past 60 years or so, with his classic music pieces becoming infamous with film and music lovers alike, John Williams is without a doubt the most amazing film score composer to grace our ears for the past six decades. His amazing music is my personal favourite, which I guess you have guessed from the rave opening comments about him in this post so far. There are so many other film score composers that are out there that are also brilliant, but for me, Williams and his unmistakable sound stand out way above all the rest for me.

Weirdly enough, I have had a love for his music since quite a young age, something that I guess isn’t that surprising when I grew up watching films like ET the Extra Terrestrial (1982) and Jurassic Park (1993) as well as many others. There was something just completely magical about the music he composed to accompany so many of my favourite films, something that completely drew me in and hypnotised me with every note and with every key change. My love for Williams’ music grew even more when at the beginning of 2012, I discovered a compilation album of all of his best work from some of the best films around on an online shop. Needless to say, I ordered it straight away, and a year and a half later I can’t get enough of it. It’s amazing how powerful and strong you can feel walking along the road at uni, coming back from doing a weekly food shop by simply listening to Darth Vader’s theme. Try it for yourselves, you get a new stride in your step.

When you listen to John Williams many works of pure genius, you not only listen to the music, you get completely absorbed into it. It is almost like you are transported into the world he has written the piece for; you leave the world you are sitting in and find yourself in whatever fantasy world he has written the music for. Surrounded by dinosaurs, in New York City with Superman flying above your head keeping the world safe from all crime, in the jungle on some sort of adventure with Indiana Jones, even swimming in shark infested waters with a menacing great white shark deciding that you are it’s latest prey (as happy as that sounds, which it isn’t for me, being completely terrified of sharks), the possibilities really are endless when you listen to his work.

I think what makes the music of these films (most of which are Steven Spielberg directed, who happens to be my favourite director) is that Williams has captured the feeling of these films down to a T. The theme song for Schindler’s List (1993) captures the utter emotional turmoil and distraught nature of everything to do with the Holocaust, for the victims, the survivors, and for those of us today who can only imagine what I was like to experience one of the most disturbing and horrific catastrophes in history. With the Superman (1978) theme, the power, strength and good nature of the legendary superhero is emphasised to the audience, making him seem untouchable, and, no matter what, you will always be safe when he is around. Jurassic Park (1993), which is one of my all time favourite films and my personal favourite theme for a film, makes the listener feel like they are walking amongst the prehistoric giants watering by the lake, seeing the wonder of the extinct species that captivates people across the world standing before your eyes, before going on to feeling the utter fear and dread of a Tyrannosaurus rex descending to attack.

The feeling that is within these works of art is astounding, and something that although is done well by so many other film score composers, is done by Williams as a cut above the rest. For me. no one can and ever will come close to this obvious talent of getting across the feelings of an entire film, into pieces of music.


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