‘The Fabelmans’ First Listen

The Legacy of John Williams presents a special commentary on three tracks from the original soundtrack of Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, featuring a new original score by John Williams

Hosted by Maurizio Caschetto and Tim Burden

The Legacy of John Williams, in collaboration with Sony Music, is proud to announce the latest John Williams release – The Fabelmans (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack); a soundtrack album by the five-time Academy Award® winner for director Steven Spielberg’s deeply personal cinematic memory of the forces, and family, that shaped his life and career. The release marks the latest collaboration between Spielberg and Williams, whose longstanding creative partnership spans nearly 50 years and 30 films. From E.T., Jaws and Jurassic Park to Schindler’s List, Lincoln and Saving Private Ryan, Williams and Spielberg’s collaborations have produced some of the most iconic and well-recognized music in film history.

“Over the ninety-year history of sound film, there have been a handful of instances where a director and a composer have formed a longtime partnership that resulted in a series of classic scores, creating music that stands the test of time,” said film music journalist and historian Jon Burlingame in 2017. “Film historians often cite Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann, for example, or Federico Fellini and Nino Rota; others might name Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone, or Blake Edwards and Henry Mancini. None, however, have been as long or as fruitful as the forty-three-year collaboration of Steven Spielberg and John Williams. None have encompassed such a wide range of subject matter or, more significantly, have had such an enormous impact on worldwide popular culture.”

John Williams and Steven Spielberg (Photo © 2018 Sony Music)

The Fabelmans marks John Williams’ 90th year of life and 50th year in my life reshaping my stories through his music… and now, our 31st collaboration, The Fabelmans, by far the most personal film of my career,” Steven Spielberg says. “John knew my parents well. Down through the years they’d often attend our scoring sessions and Johnny loved introducing them to the orchestra, which made my Dad so proud, and left my Mom beaming (and me kvelling). So, when Johnny watched this movie for the first time and saw Michelle Williams and Paul Dano on screen as Mom and Dad, the musical notes just seemed to pour from the heavens. He wrote his score as a gift to them and, when he first previewed it for me on his Steinway, I knew he had made this his most personal gift to me as well. What a beautiful culmination for our 50th anniversary, one that leaves me wanting more… more movies with Johnny, as I am joined by a billion people the world over who will never stop shouting to John Williams… encore, encore! Thank you, maestro.”

THE FABELMANS, directed by Steven Spielberg © 2022 Amblin Entertainment / Universal Pictures

The score was deeply meaningful for John Williams. “Composing the score for The Fabelmans was a particular joy for me, given the personal nature of the film and its depiction of characters who seem to be so closely associated with Steven Spielberg’s own childhood and family,” John Williams says. “Over many years, I knew and greatly admired Steven’s parents, and I was always very impressed by his mother Leah’s musical talent. This is a truly special film, so lovingly directed by Steven and featuring a touching and very personal screenplay by Steven and the always-brilliant Tony Kushner. I’m honored to have played a small part in the making of this film.”

Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) in The Fabelmans, co-written and directed by Steven Spielberg © 2022 Amblin Entertainment / Universal Pictures

The Fabelmans is a deeply personal portrait of a 20th century American childhood. Written by Spielberg and Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner, it’s a universal coming-of-age story about an isolated young man’s pursuit of his dreams, the film is an exploration of love, artistic ambition, sacrifice and the moments of discovery that allow us to see the truth about ourselves, and our parents, with clarity and compassion. The musical score by John Williams accompanies the film during its key moments with a poignant, lyrical tone that enhances the characters’ most intimate and profound feelings–the main theme (heard in the opening track, “The Fabelmans”) is one of the most heart-rending and touching themes ever composed by Williams. The music features chamber-like solos for piano, harp, guitar and celeste, painting a delicate portrait of the story and its main characters.

THE FABELMANS, directed by Steven Spielberg © 2022 Amblin Entertainment / Universal Pictures

The album also presents a selection of piano solo compositions from the classical repertoire heard in the film played by the character of Mitzi based on Spielberg’s mother Leah Adler; the piano pieces were personally selected by Spielberg and recorded for the film by Joanne Pearce Martin, principal pianist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The pieces were among Leah’s favorites that she played on her piano. These include Friedrich Kuhlau’s Allegro burlesco from Sonatina in A Minor, Muzio Clementi’s Spiritoso from Sonatina in C Major, Joseph Haydn’s Allegro con brio from Sonata No. 48 in C Major, and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Adagio from Concerto in D Minor.

Mitzi Fabelman (Michelle Williams) in The Fabelmans, co-written and directed by Steven Spielberg © 2022 Amblin Entertainment

The Legacy of John Williams is proud to present this special podcast episode featuring a commentary on John Williams’ new soundtrack by Editor Maurizio Caschetto and Head Contributor Tim Burden. The talk focuses around three tracks from the soundtrack album selected by Caschetto and Burden, “Mitzi’s Dance”, “Mother and Son”, and “The Journey Begins,” which offer a beautiful representation of Williams’ poignant scoring for this film. The discussion ties up perfectly with the previous episode from August 2022, which featured an overall reflection on the Spielberg-Williams collaboration from producer Mike Matessino.

You can listen to John Williams’ wonderful new music in full here: https://soundtracks.lnk.to/thefabelmans

The Fabelmans is out in selected US theaters on November 11 and will go wide on November 23. The film will open across international territories in December and January.

Special Thanks to Maria Kopp and Dani Chwatt (Sony Music)