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John Williams 40 Years Of Film Music

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Album Review

Reynold da Silva's Silva Screen Records (of which Prime Time is an imprint) has devoted itself to new recordings of film music (usually, as here, performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra), and its box set The Music of John Williams: 40 Years of Film Music, filling four CDs and running over three hours and 45 minutes, is one of its most ambitious efforts. That's appropriate for Williams, both because he is the most successful film composer of the 40-year period beginning in the early '60s and because his music is produced on such a large scale. Since the '70s, Williams has been associated with directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, and he has matched their blockbuster films with his large-scale scores, producing some of the most memorable themes of the era, including instantly recognizable music from Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the Star Wars and Indiana Jones series. Spielberg and Lucas have often attempted to evoke the styles of the old serials of the '40s, such as Flash Gordon, but on an epic scale, and Williams has done much the same thing with his music, which owes little or nothing to the more jazz- and rock-influenced film composers of the '50s and '60s, and everything to the film composers of an earlier generation, such as Franz Waxman and Victor Young, with its sweeping orchestral statements, martial rhythms, and grandly ornamented melodies. Yet, like the directors, Williams does it all with a slight wink to the audience. This collection doesn't restrict itself to Williams' best-known work, but it does demonstrate that even in his lesser-known pieces, his style is often much the same. The overture from The Cowboys, for example, while employing some standard Western elements familiar from Hollywood movies of decades before, also has a hint of Star Wars. Even when he is scoring a more downbeat film like Born on the Fourth of July, Williams can't seem to help writing his usual uplifting music. Despite its length, this collection can't do more than offer excerpts of Williams' extensive work, but the sampling is representative, and the best of the composer's familiar themes is included.

Customer Reviews


I LOVE this album. Spanning 40 years of truly amazing music, this album includes music from, for many of us, childhood classics such as E.T, and Superman, right up to modern blockbusters like Harry Potter and Star Wars: Phantom Menace. Ranging from the hauntingly tender to rich and dramatic, John Williams' music is filled with a passion and artistry to suit any mood (my wedding music was entirely from this album) or occasion. Wether a film fan or just a lover of fabulous music this album makes an unforgettable addition to anyones music collection. Grab your popcorn, sit back, and enjoy!

high price

I just bought this on Amazon second had for £4.75!!! Why pay more?

Bit pricey but top tunes!

John Williams is, unquestionably, the greatest film music composer of all-time. Chances are that most of the population could hum five or six of his pieces of work without having to think as the legendary tunes from the likes of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jaws, Superman et al have ingrained themselves in our minds since the cinematic releases. This selection of music features all the top pieces and few nicely chosen other numbers. The CD is a bit expensive but the music is quality all the way.

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