Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Review of a Review - Film Composition and it's Bumpy Ride Until John Williams

Hello everyone,
Today I am reviewing an article called, 'John Williams and "The Empire" Strike Back'. In this article, Kathryn Kalinak references 'Settling the Score: Music and the Classical Hollywood Film'. Although the message being conveyed is semi-clear, the information is not directed specifically to the initial message. I will be analyzing the overall encompassing goal of the article.
In this article, Kathryn points out; the declined of Classical Music uses within the Film Industry, what had influenced the decline, the newly adopted 'norms', and the surprising comeback of Classical Music's popularity in motion pictures. Kathryn attributes the surprising comeback mainly to John Williams, and for good reason.
It is stated, in this article, that the government of the United States had successfully limited monopolistic practices being exercised by the major Hollywood studios. Distribution and exhibition, by these studios, spelled the inevitable death of theater chains. With a less viable market, the Film Industry was seeing less contributions and funding from financial institutions. This limitation on funding led to the decline of an ability to rent symphony orchestras.
Jazz was becoming a more lucrative choice during the 50's because of the decline of available funds. As time rolled on, genres such as pop and rock began to grab the reigns of compositional choice in film industry. The desire to revive the Film Industry, led to the decision of using popular songs to help propel viewership. The major change, in regards to film composition, came with the introduction of the synthesizer. The synthesizer could be used to mock acoustical instruments, such as the symphony orchestral.
Although these advances in cheaper music production possibilities within film took a strong hold for a few decades, it was John Williams who had help regather appreciation for using symphony orchestras within films. The versatility and epic power expressed by the orchestral medium, far surpassed the potential of any other genre, including the limitless synthesizer.
The main attributed musical piece written by John Williams, is the score for the film, 'Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back'. The article, however, seems to mainly credit the classical late-romantic roots originally used by Steiner and Korngold. Knowing how the average person's brain works, it is highly doubtful that a method for composition influenced the successful recuperation of using orchestras within films. It is more probable, that the purely epic sound and clever orchestration, grabbed the peoples' attention more.
Alexander C. Torri
(1) Kalinak, K. (1997, May 16). John Williams and "The Empire" Strike Back. Retrieved from

No comments:

Post a Comment