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King Kong’s 2005 Soundtrack

by Faruk Ceviz


Citation: Kathryn Kalinak, New York-London W W Norton & Company, 2002, Settling The Score: an academic study of scoring film.


Chapter eight of Kalinak's book devoted to John Williams contains the analysis of his score for the film "The Empire Strikes Back" in conjunction with his use of the structure of classical score and late-romantic style.

Kalinak's introduction allocates considerable pages for the history of film score between 60's and 80's. She focuses on the slow disappearance of classical scores of Steiner, Herrmann and Raksin in the 60's & 70's while the jazz-oriented ones were increasingly becoming popular.

The author emphasizes the Wagnerian influence on John Williams' film music. She overviews the career history of Williams briefly. She analyzes his contemporary composition technique and the comparison of his style to Steiner and Korngold. She then studies the bespoke score in detail pointing out the extractions from Star Wars.

The author symbolizes 70's Williams music, like "Jaws", as the return of the epic sound of classical film scores for modern Hollywood. The author analyses in detail the main title Vader's leitmotif- structure and the ice battle on the planet Hoth.

This chapter in the book is extremely useful for my Research Assignment topic in terms of being both informative and analytical.

Citation: Morag Reavley, John Williams, The Music of John Williams: 40 Years of Film Music From http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/release/55rg/ accessed on 24/10/2008

In this brief review by Morag Reavley is based on soundtrack CD, The Music of John Williams: 40 years of film music.

This review clearly states that the release of the album is for the fortieth anniversary of John Williams, contains a large collection of his music. The author also displays that the album is a reproduction of original recordings and performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic. This might be a very useful piece information for the real fan of John Williams to avoid some disappointment.

It would be really good idea to talk about the quality of some recordings and compare them with the original ones. Then the listener would a have a clear opinion about it. Well instead, Reavley talks about the reputation of composer and his music which most of us already are acknowledged.

Although this review has got some information, it lacks clear statement for the soundtrack lovers. For example, serious listener might like to know more about the performance quality and the name of the conductor.

Citation: Francine Stock Interview with John Williams 4 April 2006 From http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/filmprogramme/filmprogramme_20060414.shtml accessed on 24/10/2008

This is interview is a useful primary source that we learn about the music of the composer and his technique and experiences. Al the examples given accompanied by their original recordings. Thirty minutes long interview at Spielberg's office with John Williams in Hollywood Universal City. Her brief introduction contains instant recognizable Williams tunes, either emotional or adrenalin kicking, for the movies like Schindler's List, ET, Superman, Star Wars, Lost Ark and Jaws.

Williams beautifully explains how a simple motif can be effective to create the mood and gives an example of "Jaws", then a comparison follows with similar Bernard Herrmann's motif in the "Psycho".



After composer goes into the details of composing and producing the score, deadlines, guide track and how he and Speilberg work together in the production process.

Citation: David Thomas, Total Film Magazine, 1997 - Issue 8 (9/97), pp. 74-79, John Williams Interview


Then interview continues with talking about Schindler's List (1993) and Munich (2005). Williams mentions about future of the film music and the inevitable interconnection between the art of music and the art of visual. The composer talks about his use of leitmotif of Wagnerian influence in Star Wars and other films. He describes leitmotif as a melodic identification of the characters, place and how it functions in the films. Using the main theme in the background in "ET", Williams explains how building up the emotions slowly and the delivery of the expectancy at the pick moments manipulate the mood of the audience.

This article was published in the Total Film Magazine in 1997 and consists of an interview with John Williams, one of the well-known film composers of today. In the prologue, the author overviews some of the well-known scores of the composer like "Jaws", "Star Wars", "E.T.", "Empire Of The Sun" "Jurassic Park", "Close Encounters" and "Schindler's List.

Even though the article was published eleven years ago, it still throws a light to the present time. it is informative and covers most of Williams's scores. The first three paragraphs of the article emphasize composer's powerful theme writing skill that is instantly recognizable and the importance of his music in Spielberg's films. The article states that he already won five Oscar and thirty-three nomination (today one hundred and eight).

The author beautifully summarizes Williams's background and gives some examples of his early works. As an accompanist, John Williams worked on numbers of films including the one with Marilyn Monroe in "Some Like It Hot. Then he worked in Television as a composer (Gilligand's, Island, The Virginia) and switched back to the big screen making his name especially in the 70's.

Between the 70s and 80s, Spielberg and Williams's partnership became a household name. Their genius approach to the movie production without genre boundaries have always been compatible.

The author examples 'Jurassic Park' and comments on 'how the emotional tempo of the action is carried by his music'. This is a very common compliment to Williams by many critiques that initiates his unique ability to manipulate/determine the mood of the audience e.g. 'how to feel, what to expect, when to be uplifted and when to be very, very scared'.

The interview/dialogue between the author and Williams sounds very modest. One somehow can get the impression of him having a very cool /quiet / genuine and professional character.

His favourite score is 'Close Encounters' and his favourite composers are Bernard Herman and Jerry Goldsmith.






Bibliography

Powrie, P and Stilwell, R (2006) Changing Tunes: The use of Pre-existing Music in Film (England: Ashgate Publishing Limited) Page 124

Kassabian, A (2001) Hearing Film (New York: Routledge) Pages 3, 47, 51, 92, 104

Kompanek, S (2004) From Score To Screen (Schirmer Trade Books: New York) Pages 58, 107, 146
Donnelley K, J (2001) Film Music (Edinburg: Edinburg University Press) Page 13, 25, 50

Goldmark, H, Kramer, L, Leppert, R (2007) Beyond The Sound Track (California: University Of California) Pages 12, 151

Davis, R (1999) Complete Guide to Film Scoring (Boston: Berklee Press) Pages 15, 43, 55, 58/60, 81, 111, 145, 170, 173, 225, 267, 274, 297, 330

Kalinak, K (1992) Settling The Score (USA: The University Of Wisconsin Press) Pages 13, 31, 73, 75, 100, ch 8, 205


Web Sources
http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/release/55rg/ accessed on 24/10/2008
http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/release/55rg/ accessed on 24/10/2008

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A563942
http://www.classicfm.co.uk/article.asp?id=209722
http://www.classicfm.co.uk/article.asp?id=251281
http://www.mfiles.co.uk/composers/John-Williams.htm
http://www.jwfan.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=917&Itemid=1
http://www.scorereviews.com/reviews/review.aspx?id=194

Video & Audio Sources

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/filmprogramme/filmprogramme_20060414.shtml accessed on 24/10/2008
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRWOudms6sk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saQxoUe8dCI

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