May 23, 2014

MusicFri: John Williams

On the way to school every day, my son and I play a game.  Whether we pretend to imagine ourselves in a Minecraft or Star Wars world as we drive or play "I Spy", we find something to chat about.  This morning, he wanted to hear the Star Wars "Light Side" and "Dark Side" themes, so we pulled it up on YouTube and pumped it through the car.  I'm sure he heard and pictured Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in his head, but I envisioned John Williams on a pedestal gesticulating to the rich tones and triumphant tympani.  It has been a very long time since I sat and listened to the theme by itself, without the visual distraction of bright lasers and childhood emotions teeming in me.  It was amazing.


I'm sure I'm not that only person who has ever noticed the symphonic brilliance of John Williams, but conveying this to an eight year old proved to be a bit difficult.  I tried to explain to my son that the bold sounds he was hearing, the very same ones that so clearly disseminating between "light" and "dark", were actually composed by a human being.  That is, these notes, the tempo, the chemistry between the instruments and the the profound emotions the whole creates, were at one time nothing more than a sound in one person's head.  These notes were written down on a piece of paper, everything from the selection of the instrument to the specific timing of every precussion beat and symbol, were at one time ... nothing.  

One person, dreamed it up.  One person wrote it down.  One person created it.

John Williams.  One of the greatest composers of a generation.  Dare I say, of all time. 

Of course, a conversation with an eight year old really couldn't get past imaginary light saber battles while the music coursed through the cabin of the car.  I guess I'll have to wait a few more years until he can appreciate the work of John Williams.  

Until then, here's some very preliminary psych-up music for December 2015.