John Williams discusses his past and present work

John Williams is a name in music many have heard before. Harry Potter fans will know Williams for the scores of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone through Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Another iconic series Williams composed for is the Star Wars franchise.

Williams recently talked to Vanity Fair about his past work and his current project, the newest Star Wars movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Vanity Fair interviewer Bruce Handy asked Williams if he sits down and re-listens to the previous scores for inspiration. Williams responded,

I haven’t done that, though I might have been helped by doing that. But I know the material–I think I do. I have my take on it, so to speak; I have my feelings about it. So I haven’t had to consult the old scores. It’s really been a comfortable transition in each case. I’ve used this analogy too, a thousand times: it’s a bit like riding a bike that you haven’t been on since you were ten years old. You do remember. And I’ve had the experience before with the Raiders series and Superman, the Harry Potter series, although the music is somewhat dissimilar. I hope it’s dissimilar. I hope they’re at least, in part, unique to the projects. But going from one to another is not a difficult adjustment, at least not for me.

In each movie Williams has been a part of, he has undoubtedly been able to create something unique for each score. Williams has also been able to create many lasting impressions we associate with certain aspects of movies. In the Star Wars movies we are able to pick out many iconic themes associated with certain characters like Leia, Han, and Luke. When Williams was asked if he would bring some of those themes to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he replied,

There are some scenes where we do make reference to earlier thematic pieces. We haven’t done it yet, but we’re planning to do it. It’s something that I think will seem very natural and right in the moments for which we’ve chosen to do these kinds of quotes. There aren’t many of them, but there are a few that I think are important and will seem very much a part of the fabric of the piece in a positive and constructive way.

Music helps to create a lasting impression from movies. We will always remember the Harry Potter theme and “Hedwig’s Theme,” songs that have brought us through the halls of Hogwarts and around the Potter universe. Fans will always remember the Star Wars main theme that opens each movie and is now synonymous with the franchise.

To hear Williams’s next musical masterpiece, you can go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens in theaters December 18, 2015.

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