John Williams interviewed by Andre Previn, 1988

scoredfilms

In need of a mentor
Interesting just how old-fashioned the Jaws music sounds today. Brilliant, but from another era.
Nonsense

We make the era we live in, not the other way around. Make a film and score it however you want. Jazz, Baroque, Romantic, Atonal, Synths... Williams, like Zimmer and most other film composers, has worn many hats... per what the film was doing. There's no reason a film must only belong to one era of music. What Jaws is, is great orchestral writing.

Most film scores today aren't nearly bold enough to be unique enough for my taste. Hard work means making a statement and making it interesting. People are lazy (we all are). I love that Zimmer said Beethoven didn't write a lazy note. It's exactly what's at play. We can either put in the work to make it more interesting, or settle with something that's boring. If I determined to, I could score something as good as Jaws and make a great movie out of it. As a matter of fact, I will.

;)
 
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JohnG

Senior Member
Sorry, but I can't agree at all. There is a lot in Jaws -- certainly in the orchestration -- that could have been written long, long before Jaws was ever considered -- decades -- and certainly would not be written today except in a children's movie.

Not that Jaws isn't a children's movie.

If you don't like today's scoring I guess that's up to you, but 'today's scoring' covers a pretty wide gamut. Tom Newman and James Newton Howard, when unleashed, can write in any style you please. Lord of the Rings included some bold writing. I think one could dredge up quite a few examples without straining too hard.

It wouldn't exactly be John Williams, naturally.

I wish you luck in your quest to write something 'as good as Jaws.' Pretty tough to write it; even more difficult to coax a producer into paying for the recording.

Kind regards,

John
 

ryans

Senior Member
I thought it was a great interview, as usual by Andre Previn... (miss him)

Nice to see Williams slightly embarrassed and vulnerable...

Ryan
 

scoredfilms

In need of a mentor
Williams proves that 6+ decades of changing film styles can all benefit from great writing. Well written orchestral music of varying periods can contribute to any story. Vivaldi can be used in a film today (and occasionally He is used). The real issue is when people feel like they can't write something because it won't be popular enough compared to other entertainment.

If the world receives good music, great. If not, then those who try to contribute good music despite that will have added something brighter to a world that could use it.
 

JohnG

Senior Member
Williams proves that 6+ decades of changing film styles can all benefit from great writing.

No doubt, great writing is wonderful, and yes, movies still use Vivaldi. But when they do, it's not just because it's 'nice music' or a Work of Genius. Directors use Vivaldi or Nine Inch Nails or whatever because of the non-musical associations typically attached to those pieces.

Have a country house in England with a bunch of upper crusts folks? Bring out the quasi-baroque / quasi-classical strings and winds -- string quartets, Vivaldi, etc. Besides, it's public domain and can be licensed very inexpensively.

I'm not taking away anything from Vivaldi or JW, who both are about as wonderful as can be, but I can promise you if you try to write in JW's style today, especially something from the Jaws era, it better be a nostalgia piece, a parody (or other comedy), or a children's movie.

I admire JW as much, I think, as anyone does. But I also admire James Newton Howard's ability to wield the orchestra in "Peter Pan" while still pleasing the audience through multiple Hunger Games films. And then on top of that, the amazing "Michael Clayton," which is so perfect I can't imagine a single note being changed.

I'm sure we all have our heroes, and for many JW is number one. But that doesn't make Jaws -- fun though it is -- any less dated.
 
OP
S

South Thames

Active Member
but I can promise you if you try to write in JW's style today, especially something from the Jaws era, it better be a nostalgia piece, a parody (or other comedy), or a children's movie.
True, but I'm not really sure where the observation gets us. I can't really think of any 70s score that wouldn't seem dated in a film made today, if it was even conceivable that anyone would be allowed to write like that. Films, technology and tastes have changed so much. But it's also one of the reasons to behold films and scores of previous eras.
 

scoredfilms

In need of a mentor
I can promise you if you try to write in JW's style today, especially something from the Jaws era, it better be a nostalgia piece, a parody (or other comedy), or a children's movie.
1) A few years ago I was asked to write Jaws-like scenes for a sci-fi.
2) John Williams is still writing in John Williams style today, and all ages love the music.
3) Business might dictate art for studios, but not for all films, especially indy.
4) Make your own film, score it the way you want. Many composers have.
5) The Intersection Scene is very similar to Jaws. It's a masterpiece of terror.

If Marvel wants 'less classical sound', all that makes me want to do is score a hero film better than anything Marvel has put out. Solid writing contributes infinitely more than style. Sometimes unexpected style, if the writing is solid, can elevate a film even more. Both Williams and Zimmer were told early on that they made orchestral music popular in film at a time it was becoming less popular. Different eras. Vastly different composers. Different films, styles, and approaches.... but effective writing and scoring nonetheless.

I mean this in the friendliest way possible, but I intend on spending the rest of my life proving those who disagree on this wrong. ;) Good music is universal.
 
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Mike Fox

Senior Member
Nonsense

We make the era we live in, not the other way around. Make a film and score it however you want. Jazz, Baroque, Romantic, Atonal, Synths... Williams, like Zimmer and most other film composers, has worn many hats... per what the film was doing. There's no reason a film must only belong to one era of music. What Jaws is, is great orchestral writing.

Most film scores today aren't nearly bold enough to be unique enough for my taste. Hard work means making a statement and making it interesting. People are lazy (we all are). I love that Zimmer said Beethoven didn't write a lazy note. It's exactly what's at play. We can either put in the work to make it more interesting, or settle with something that's boring. If I determined to, I could score something as good as Jaws and make a great movie out of it. As a matter of fact, I will.

;)
Being a composer for haunted attractions, i know for a fact that something like the Jaws theme would not hold up. In fact, i don't think i would ever get hired if i did something similar.

People want extreme, intense, and borderline invasive music for modern horror avenues. That's not to say there isn't a place for stuff like the Jaws theme, but modern horror isn't it.

Don't get me wrong, the Jaws theme is a piece of genius music, and it fits the movie perfectly, but by today's standards, it really isn't that scary, and it sounds dated. As John said, it's from another era. People have become desensitized over the years by this stuff, and it's not as effective as it used to be.

Could you picture the Jaws theme in a movie like the Conjuring, or Saw? It would probably get laughed at.

Times have changed.
 
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mikeh-375

old school
………………..….

I admire JW as much, I think, as anyone does. But I also admire James Newton Howard's ability to wield the orchestra in "Peter Pan" while still pleasing the audience through multiple Hunger Games films. And then on top of that, the amazing "Michael Clayton," which is so perfect I can't imagine a single note being changed...………...………..
I'm with you on JNH John. Me and the wife watched the Hunger Games complete the other week and I was constantly struck by how moving the scores were. Some beautiful themes simply done and imaginatively scored in places, quite perfect for the film.

As much as I hate to say so, I think there's validity to thinking that JW's style is outdated. His approach comes from a different aesthetic that doesn't seem to be much in evidence these days. Even when a full orchestra is used, the musical rhetoric is often different, less classical.
 
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scoredfilms

In need of a mentor
Jaws (1975) is a thriller, not a horror film. Halloween (1978) and The Omen (1976) are horror films. Whether one argues that Pirates copied JW's eastwick or that Jaws is a mere ostinato like everything else in Hollywood...

I could care less about the way films and trends get analyzed. All I care about is trying to write good music. I believe good writing in any style will always have a place. I'm fine being alone with that belief cause it entitles me to keep trying to write music I like. ;)