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CD Review

John Williams

Greatest Hits (1969-1999)

  • Main Title from Star Wars 1
  • Flying Theme from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 1
  • Main Title from Superman 1
  • Theme from Jaws 1
  • Parade of the Slave Children from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 2
  • Theme from Sugarland Express 2
  • Bugler's Dream and Olympic Fanfare Medley 2
  • Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 2
  • March from Raiders of the Lost Ark 2
  • Theme from Jurassic Park 2
  • Flight to Neverland from Hook 2
  • March from 1941 2
  • Summon the Heroes (for Tim Morrison) 2
  • Luke and Leia from Return of the Jedi 3
  • The Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back 3
  • Cadillac of the Skies from Empire of the Sun 2,4
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind/When You Wish Upon a Star Medley 2,4
  • Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan 2,4
  • Theme from Schindler's List 5,a
  • Theme from Far and Away 5,a
  • Main Title from The Reivers 6
  • Seven Years in Tibet from Seven Years in Tibet 6,b
  • Prologue from JFK 6,c
  • Theme from Born on the Fourth of July 6,c
  • The Days Between from Stepmom 6,d
  • Main Title from Home Alone "Somewhere in My Memory" 6,7
  • Look Down, Lord (Reprise and Finale) from Rosewood 6,7,e
  • Duel Of The Fates from Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace 1,8
a Itzhak Perlman, violin
b Yo-Yo Ma, cello
c Timothy Morrison, trumpet
d Christopher Parkening, guitar
e Tommy Morgan, harmonica
e Dean Parks, guitar
1 London Symphony Orchestra/John T. Williams
2 Boston Pops Orchestra/John T. Williams
3 Skywalker Symphony Orchestra/John T. Williams
4 Tanglewood Festival Chorus
5 Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/John T. Williams
6 Studio Orchestra/John T. Williams
7 Studio Chorus
8 London Voices
Sony Classical S2K51333 2CDs
Find it at AmazonFind it at Amazon UKFind it at Amazon GermanyFind it at Amazon CanadaFind it at Amazon FranceFind it at Amazon JapanOrder Now from ArkivMusic.comFind it at CD Universe

It's really interesting to finally own this set. Taken off iTunes a year ago, and probably hard to find in stores, I don't know if this well-designed twofer ever made much of a commercial impact, if any classical release does so. A pity, because the famous selections here, conducted by the master himself, practically define film.

I don't use the word famous lightly; even more than Beethoven's Fifth, everyone knows about Jaws, Star Wars, and especially at this writing, Indiana Jones. And while many people complain that all Williams music sounds the same (also said of his director of choice, Speilberg's films), not a single naysayer will deny that Williams played a major part in some of the biggest films of all time, and at least four Olympic contests.

Who cares if some of it sounds the same? For those of you with allergies to film, Williams favors powerful brass fanfares, soaring strings, and beautiful middle sections in most of his themes. He tends to be more creative outside the action genre, with his score to Home Alone a notable example. He also can occasionally go over the top, as with "Summon the Heroes". Still, not one of these 26 films represented in the set would have been the same without Williams, and that alone is a testament to his excellence.

Copyright © 2012, Brian Wigman