Britt Orchestra: Pops - Magic of the Movies

Sunday, August 6, 7:30 p.m. • 2017

PROGRAM: Magic of the Movies - Pops Goes John Williams!

A program of movie music featuring John Williams’ best film scores


GATES OPEN: @ 5:45 Early Entry | 6:00 General Public
PRE-CONCERT TALK: 7:00 p.m. in the Performance Garden

Pops! Magic of the Movies
Program: Pops! Magic of the Movies

A program of movie music featuring John Williams’ best film scores.

John Williams Biography

John Williams stands unchallenged as the greatest living composer of music for film. His hundred-plus feature-film scores contain some of the most memorable themes ever written for the screen, earning him Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and numerous honorary degrees, as well as a National Medal of Arts, a Kennedy Center Honor and the first-ever AFI Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed upon a composer.

“Williams certainly knows every trick of orchestration in the book, and he invented a few himself,” Richard Dyer wrote in The Boston Globe upon the composer’s retirement as conductor of the Boston Pops, “but the most important observation to make about his music is that he believes in it and it is honest. You can’t write heroic music if you don’t believe in heroism; it would ring hollow.” Nowhere is this more apparent than the march from Superman: The Movie (1978), which helped audiences “believe a man can fly.”

“Our fascination with flying and the freedom we associate with it,” notes the composer, “may also be one of the principal reasons why the story of James Barrie’s play Peter Pan has been retold in every imaginable medium.” In Steven Spielberg’s Hook (1991), Flight to Neverland accompanies Tinkerbell and an adult Peter soaring above London rooftops.

Theme from Jurassic Park (from Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster based on Michael Crichton’s novel) combines what Williams described as “music that tries to capture the awesome beauty and sublimity of the dinosaurs in nature” with an “adventure theme, high-spirited and brassy, that accompanies the flight to the island where the experiment takes place.” Later the same year, the composer and director collaborated on a vastly different project, the Holocaust drama Schindler’s List: “The main theme, I felt, should be something like a Hebraic lullaby heard at your mother’s knee — not an actual lullaby, but something original, created for the film.”

Adventures on Earth comes from the final reel of Spielberg’s classic E.T. the Extra- Terrestrial (1982): the director allowed Williams to record this sequence without a “click track,” then re-edited the closing moments of the film to match the score.

Audiences first heard Hedwig’s Theme in the preview trailer for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001). Williams initially identified the opening melody (voiced by a magical celesta over swirling violin figures) with Hedwig, Harry’s owl, but “everyone seemed to like the piece so it became the main theme of most of the films” (the first three — of eight — scored by Williams). A second melody in the central section represents Nimbus 2000, Harry’s broom. John Williams and Steven Spielberg began their four-decades-and-counting partnership — the most fruitful composer- director collaboration in the history of cinema — with The Sugarland Express (1974), Spielberg’s feature-film debut. The following year, Williams’ Jaws score, with its menacing shark theme, frightened movie audiences and brought the composer the second of his five Academy Awards (his first for original music).

Dartmoor, 1912 comes from the opening scene of Spielberg’s World War I drama War Horse (2011). “That was a particularly rich period of English musical composition,” Williams told Variety, “so it was a wonderful opportunity to create something of the atmosphere of the time. The story begins and ends in the west country of England, in Devon, among the most beautiful places on Earth. I have loved Devon and Dorset from my earliest visits to England.”

In 1984 the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee commissioned Olympic Fanfare and Theme, which, according to Williams, represents musically “the spirit of cooperation, of heroic achievement, all the striving and preparation that go before the events and all the applause that comes after them.”

When director George Lucas “was looking for a composer who could write in the classic Hollywood style of the ’30s and ’40s” for Star Wars (1977), his friend Steven Spielberg recommended Williams, who has since scored all eight films in the saga. The composer “wrote a very romantic theme for Princess Leia. I thought of it in terms of when Luke sees her for the first time and he says how beautiful she is.”That same year, Williams tackled Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which he often counts among his favorite film compositions; the suite of excerpts culminates with a grand statement of the five-note melody employed by alien visitors to communicate with humans.

Spielberg and Lucas teamed up to chronicle the exploits of archaeologist Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Williams’ Raiders March has underscored Harrison Ford’s adventures as Indy in (to date) three sequels; the central section presents the expansive theme for Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen).

This evening’s scheduled program concludes with the Main Title from Star Wars, the opening strains of which will undoubtedly launch John Williams’ score for The Last Jedi — the eighth installment in the saga — this December. — Jeff Eldridge

There is no Pre-concert music or talk tonight