Star Wars legend John Williams downplays his genius as “beneficent randomness.” I could not disagree more. I love a good film score and for a movie to really hit me emotionally I also need to love the score of that movie as well. For me, there is no one better than John Williams. I love Ennio Morricone also, who sadly passed away recently, but Williams was always number one for me.
My top five movies of all-time list is never likely to change now. Williams scored three of those five movies, those being Jaws, The Empire Strikes Back, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. I therefore cannot praise Williams highly enough. Even just those three movies alone would give him god-like status in my eyes, but it doesn’t stop there. Harry Potter, Superman, E.T., Jurassic Park, just to mention a few of his most famous film scores. However, Williams himself thinks it was all just a bit of good fortune.
Williams recently spoke with The New Yorker, and downplayed his own genius. He also talks about how that famous Star Wars theme tune was one of the last things we wrote and performed for the movie. But first, how he got the Star Wars job in the first place.
“One day, Steven called me and said, ‘Do you know George Lucas?’ I said, ‘No, I have no idea who he is.’ ‘Well, he’s got this thing called “Star Wars,” and he wants to have a classical’—his term, he didn’t say Romantic—‘classical score, and I’ve convinced George he should meet you, because he admired the score for “Jaws.” ’ I came out here one night, to Universal Studios, and met George.”
And on how that famous Star Wars theme came last,
“That fanfare at the beginning, I think it’s the last thing I wrote. It’s probably a little overwritten—I don’t know. The thirty-second notes in the trombones are hard to get, in that register of the trombone. And the high trumpet part! Maurice Murphy, the great trumpet player of the L.S.O.—that first day of recording was actually his first day with the orchestra, and the first thing he played was that high C. There was a kind of team roar when he hit it perfectly. He’s gone now, but I love that man.”
Finally, John Williams downplays his genius as ‘beneficent randomness’.
“‘Star Wars’ scores over forty years, was not a consciously sought-after goal. It simply happened. All of this, I have to say to you, has been the result of a beneficent randomness. Which often produces the best things in life.”
All I have to say to Mr. Williams is, thanks. Your music and how it helped shape my favorite movies also helped shape my entire life. I wouldn’t be sitting here writing about John Williams if that beneficent randomness hadn’t occurred. However, do not downplay your skills. There are many great composers out there working on movies, but none of them are John Williams.
What do you think of Williams’ body of work? Do you think he is a genius like me? Would those movies he worked on be the classic they are if Williams hadn’t been involved? Let us know what you think in the usual spot below.
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SOURCE: The New Yorker