Liner Note Author: Joseph S. Szurly.
Author: John Williams & the Tick Tocks .
During part of John Williams' tenure as conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, which lasted from 1980 to 1993, the orchestra had a contract with Philips Records, which, naturally enough, was interested in having them record versions of some of Williams' popular film scores of the period, and this they did on such albums as By Request, Pops in Space, and Star Wars Saga. A batch of those tracks is collected on this edition of the discount-priced compilation series 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection. Not surprisingly, Williams doesn't much alter his approach to his music for Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman, Jaws, 1941, Midway, E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which sounds much as it did in movie theaters. The focus on the main themes from these films, all bunched up together, does him no great favors as a composer, however. If Williams' film directing partners, particularly Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, made hay by elaborating upon the styles of old B-pictures and movie serials, Williams did much the same thing, necessarily, with the music, placing an emphasis not so much on creativity as on evoking the sound of old movie scores. Listening to "Princess Leia's Theme" from Star Wars, one can easily hear its roots in Maurice Jarre's score for Lawrence of Arabia, for example, and Williams' affection for Malcolm Arnold's The Bridge on the River Kwai music comes across continually in the marches, particularly the one from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Of course, originality is not a highly sought quality in Hollywood, and Williams has succeeded, as do all film composers, by giving the filmmakers what they want. This album may not represent the best of the Boston Pops Orchestra, but it certainly presents a representative sampling of Williams' best-known movie themes. ~ William Ruhlmann