The Music of John Williams
40 Years of Film Music

Composer: John Williams
Silva Screen
RRP £17.49
Available now

Winner of five Academy Awards and nominated, to date, for 41 Oscars, John Williams is one of the most respected contemporary cinema composers and certainly one of the most famous. Silva Screen's latest release pays tribute to the man whose music has thrilled cinema audiences across the globe for the last 40 years.

I first came across the work of John Williams as a teenager when I bought the original soundtrack recording to Raiders of the Lost Ark. I was instantly hooked on his music which not only added romance, danger and numerous other elements to the movies it accompanied, but when listened to alone could arouse emotions to rival some of the greatest classical composers. Those where my feelings as a young adolescent and I have to say that, for a lot of Williams' work, this opinion still rings true.

I still get out some of Williams' older albums from time to time - in fact Silva Screen launched an extended recording of Raiders of the Lost Ark a few years ago and there are also new 2-disc sets for the first three Star Wars movies.

It's also good to see some of Williams' lesser known work including Always (an album I have being trying to get hold of for a number of years) and The Witches of Eastwick, as well as some of his later scores including his work on the Harry Potter movies, Minority Report and Saving Private Ryan.

While these new recordings are almost indistinguishable from the original recordings, they are not all labelled as the original tracks were. For example, one track taken from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is listed as Mine Car Chase, but it also incorporates the track Nocturnal Activities from the album.

The main problem with compilation albums is that the tracks chosen for each movie don't always represent the best tracks. Thankfully, on the whole, that is not the case with this collection - although it would have been refreshing to have seen the inclusion of tracks other than the main themes for movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark (although there is another Raiders track on this compilation) and Superman. These have been done to death on movie compilations and it is always nice to be able to appreciate something of the score other than the familiar theme.

This collection is about as close to the original recordings as you are going to get and while not all of the music will be to your liking, there is bound to be enough material on here that you will want to keep in your collection. And at well under £20 that's less than £5 a CD. And that alone makes this a must buy.

Darren Rea


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