Although this film was driven more by director Oliver Stone’s obsession with the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy — and focused more on the trials and travails of Jim Garrison, the New Orleans-based district attorney who found that everyone but Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK — Stone’s apparent admiration of the President shines through in the leitmotifs composed for this three-plus-hour epic by John Williams. The score is carefully crafted as to evoke the mythic imagery of Camelot crashing into the upheaval that would be the 1960’s, when three leaders — JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy — would ultimately be felled by assassin’s bullets, shattering any sense that was left of a Pax Americana.
Amazing blog! I don't know if you've featured John Barry's soundtrack from Out of Africa -- I can't find the end credits on youtube, but I know it's on Spotify, if you want to feature it. It's a beautiful piece. :)
Yes, I’ve had at least one piece from Out of Africa. John Barry is a wonderful composer and I’ll post something from him tomorrow. :-) Thanks for listening!
Some of Williams’s more memorable works from the 1980s and 1990s deviated from the usual grand bombast of films like Star Wars, Superman and Jurassic Park. Guided by the subject matter, his scores for films like Schindler’s List and Born On The Fourth Of July — the latter of which told the story of Vietnam veteran turned anti-war political activist Ron Kovic — were thus more achingly subdued, helping tell the tales of subjects mired in tragedy yet imbued with, and driven by the calling of humanity.
This piece begins with a stirring rondo of violins, and midway through the traditionally militaristic trumpet is summoned to deliver an elegiac motif above a blanket of strings. Some of the maestro’s finest work.
“When [Francois] Truffaut spoke to me about doing the score for the film, I said, ‘…You’re a great friend of [avant-garde composers] and this is a film that takes place in the future. Why shouldn’t you ask one of them? ‘Oh no, no,’ he said. ‘They’ll give me music of the twentieth century, but you’ll give me music of the twenty-first.’
I felt that the music of the next century would revert to a great lyrical simplicity and that it wouldn’t have truck with all this mechanistic stuff. Their lives would be scrutinized. In their music they would want something of simple nudity, of great elegance and simplicity. So I said, ‘If I do your picture, that’s the kind of score I want to write- strings, harps, and a few percussion instruments. I’m not interested in all this whoopee stuff that goes on being called the music of the future. I think that’s the music of the past.’”
-Herrmann, quoted in Steven Smith’s
A Heart at Fire’s Center: The Life and Musicof Bernard Herrmann
When The Boston Pops speaks, Movie Score(s) A Day listens! This just came into our Inbox:
The Boston Pops put together a fun “What’s your John Williams’ Theme?” page for the legendary film composer’s 80th birthday today. Check out the page here: www.bostonpops.org/happybirthdayjohn We’d love for you to share the page with your readers or share your own theme on Facebook. Feel free to embed any of the SoundCloud links on your own blog!