With The Rise of Skywalker, composer John Williams has completed his own musical cycle, putting the final coda on a rich musical glossary he started to work on 42 years earlier. When the composer wrote and recorded that film score in 1977, he couldn’t imagine how big the impact of his music would have been, and how long it would have resonated with audiences throughout the subsequent decades. As he told recently to film journalist and film music historian Jon Burlingame:
“Forty years ago, if you said to me, ‘Here’s a project, John, and I want you to write 25 hours of music,’ I would have dropped my pencil case and said, ‘It’s impossible. No one can do that,’”
Yet the composer was able to return to that musical world always with the same amount of enthusiasm, creativity, and devotion for all the subsequent scores he penned for the intergalactic space opera initiated by George Lucas, which now covers a time span of almost half of his life.
The internationally acclaimed violinist talks with The Legacy of John Williams about her collaboration with the composer and their stunning recording project Across The Stars, featuring all-new arrangements of Williams’ iconic film themes rewritten especially for her.
Music Theorist and Film Musicologist from Tufts University talks about how John Williams’s film scores shaped his interest in music and his path to academia, with a spotlight on his catalogue of the themes and motifs from the Star Wars saga
A chronological overview of the Maestro’s early works for the concert hall in the 1960s and 1970s, including his almost-unknown Symphony No. 1
by Maurizio Caschetto
The term “film composer” might be useful when referring to the work and career of John Williams. But, in his case, it would be also extremely reductive. While it’s true that the Maestro dedicated much of his artistic life to work for the Hollywood film industry, he has always showed a great deal of versatility, typical of musicians who don’t limit themselves just to one single area. Pianist, jazzman, arranger and, in the end, composer of works for films and the concert stage, Williams diversified his artistic output since the early days of his professional career, exploring different sides of his musical personality. Looking at him this way, it can be said without being proven wrong that he perfectly embodies the creative breadth of the 20th century composer and musician.