The Music of John Williams: The Definitive Collection
Performed By: The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Distributed by: Silva Screen Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
John Williams, composer, conductor and pianist, has enjoyed a career that has spanned six decades. Born in Long Island, New York in 1932 to a musical family (dad was a jazz percussionist), it seemed that Williams was destined for a career in music. He studied under Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco in Los Angeles before being drafted into the Air Force, where he conducted and arranged music for the Air Force Band among his numerous assignments. In 1955, John Williams entered Juilliard, studying piano, while working as a jazz pianist. He began composing music for television in film in the late 1950s and his career began to take off. Now, Williams' compositions are heralded world-wide and he is one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th and 21st Century. In honor of his 80th birthday, Silva Screen Records has released The Music of John Williams: The Definitive Collection.
A six-CD set, The Music of John Williams: The Definitive Collection spans over decades of John Williams' work performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Each CD has a theme. The first CD contains fifteen selected tracks of the music of Star Wars from A New Hope to Revenge of the Sith. The second disc features fourteen tracks of the music of Indiana Jones from Raiders of the Lost Ark to The Last Crusade. The third disc features selected tracks of music John Williams composed for the Harry Potter movies The Philosopher's Stone, The Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban. Discs four and five contain a total of twenty-eight tracks of music celebrating the forty years of collaboration between Steven Spielberg and John Williams. The final disc in the set features fifteen tracks of film and concert work of the great composer.
I was given the opportunity to review a sampling of ten tracks from this album and I must say that I was pleased with the quality of the music. As a faithful John Williams fan, I found that The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra did a great job recreating some of John Williams' most famous film scores. Their rendition of Cantina Band was almost perfect - there is a minor discrepancy in the track that only a true Star Wars fan would notice. The Olympic Fanfare and Theme as well as the theme from Superman were incredibly fun to listen to. I found myself conducting along with the music, a sure sign that I was enjoying what I was hearing.
My only low point was realizing that I had only been given a sample of the collection. After listening to the ten tracks that were sent to me, I wanted more. I suppose that means I will have to run out and buy The Music of John Williams: The Definitive Collection. Featuring six CDs and over eighty tracks of music, this album is a steal at just under $60.00US. I can't wait to listen to the rest of the album!