For many decades, my knowledge of and interest in John Williams was limited to Lost in Space, Checkmate, and one or two others from that period (Diamond Head, Penelope, etc.).
Part of this is because the 1960s is my favorite decade for film and TV music.
And part of it is guilt by association: I hate Star Wars, Stephen Spielberg, mainstream Hollywood action/adventure schlockbusters, and that most dreaded of all decades, the 1980s. Also, the fact that Williams had such a major downward career slide after working with a genius like Irwin Allen does not help his standing with me. Nor does the possibility that he may have ripped off The Great Les Baxter.
So about 8 years ago I see Catch Me If You Can, and despite Spielberg involvement, I really like the film and the opening titles; and when I found the CD for a couple of bucks, I grabbed it.
I'm becoming a sentimental fool in recent years, and I have fond memories of seeing films with my family, most of whom are gone now, and I've started picking up the soundtracks if I run across them at a good price, even if I didn't so much care for the films or the scores. At the same time, I start running into all these mint John Williams albums for a buck a throw, some of which are films that I saw with my family.
So now, in addition to the 60s scores, I have the Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Jaws, and Close Encounters. The latter exceeded my expectations - side 1 has a Daphnis et Chloe vibe and is completely free of that annoying riff; but even side 2 is nice, and when the riff plays at the finale, it has almost a grandiose Firebird quality about it.
So anyway, thus has been my journey with John Williams. I still plan to avoid his 80s scores, as I would virtually any 80s music, but I'm at least more open to him now than I once was. So there you have it.
Have you heard Williams' score for The Eiger Sanction? It's got a lot of nice Bossa-sounding tracks and some memorable themes (also in that style).
Your branding of Spielberg's films as "Neo-Conservative Kitsch" is hands-down the most amusing thing ever written on this board (the second would be former FSM poster JS Walsh referring to Star Wars as "life-avoiding shit"). I don't harbor the level of hostility you do for Spielberg's movies (I thoroughly enjoy Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Williams' post-Irwin Allen music, but I understand completely where you're coming from.
Oh we're all here but just sat back comfortably and laughing smugly at the idea of Williams ripping of 'The Great Les Baxter'. Well ............it could be true though, maybe Williams was just testing the waters with the first 5 notes from the SW main title, got away with it and then went the whole hog with E.T.
Since you obviously don't like big blockbusters and their scores, have you tried listening to Williams' "smaller" scores from the 80s and 90s like STANLEY AND IRIS, ACCIDENTAL TOURIST, THE RIVER, ROSEWOOD etc.?
I especially like his delicate score for STANLEY AND IRIS.
Since you obviously don't like big blockbusters and their scores, have you tried listening to Williams' "smaller" scores from the 80s and 90s like STANLEY AND IRIS, ACCIDENTAL TOURIST, THE RIVER, ROSEWOOD
No, if I find any of them for cheap, I will give them a try.
Well even though many people on the board may not agree with his viewpoints including me I agree with EDWOOZOOMOM, he is really saying what he really feels which can be refreshing and he also is admitting he is not a thorough knowledgeable person on the history of film music. I think some of us which is normal in all interest think on this board at times others have heard and know more then they really do. But a lot of us here, knowledge on this art form is fleeting.But not yours truly[ha-ha]
I'm surprised the legions of Williams fans here haven't rushed to your aid and imbued this thread with their patented enthusiasm; for they embody the optimistic spirit of so many Williams scores.
Agreed, where is Thor? I thought he would be so proud of me...
Well, you know what they say -- to each their own.
I'm very fascinated by Williams' work from the late 50's to the mid 70's (and have spent a great deal of time researching every tiny detail of this period in his career), but it's mostly his later works that appeal to me on a personal level. The 90s is in fact my favourite Williams decade.
Did you ever try IMAGES? Or several of his concert works, like the flute concerto? These stray FAR away from what you label 'neo-conservative kitch'.
In recent years, Williams has often explored these minimal clusters of sound rather than the big and sweeping themes. Scores like MUNICH, WAR OF THE WORLDS and MINORITY REPORT are pretty down-and-dirty and gritty and DENSE in its orchestration. Maybe that's more to your liking, even though they are movies by your dreaded Spielberg. Even THE LOST WORLD has a very primal Stravinsky thing going for it. Parts of A.I. seem inspired by John Adams.
But hey -- recommendations are dime a dozen. The best tip I can give you is to try a streaming service like Spotify where you can listen to some Williams scores from past and present.
I like the fact that you're willing to explore, though, beyond the confines of the 60s.