01 DEC 08 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Just in time for the holidays, Concord Records releases the perfect gift for the adult-sized kid in your life. Indiana Jones: The Soundtracks Collection contains all four of composer John Williams' scores, the first three digitally remastered.
There's also a bonus CD with previously unreleased music and interviews with Steven Spielberg, Williams and George Lucas. Handsomely packaged, it includes a hefty booklet of movie stills, storyboard drawings and behind-the-scenes shots of the cast and crew.
Occupying neighboring offices at Universal Studios, Williams has worked closely with Spielberg since Sugarland Express in 1974. Like Alfred Hitchcock's chief composer Bernard Hermann, this professional collaboration has resulted in more than supportive musical cues. The music itself creates an extra dimension that heightens the visual experience.
The current trend in movie soundtracks is a collection of independent and alt rock recordings. Williams' scores, on the other hand, are masterly renditions of the symphonic art, old school in the best sense of the words. The success of his music as a stand-alone entity in the concert hall is a testament to its artistry.
The orchestrations are deep and moving, undulating between languid tension and climatic release. Indy's Theme is woven throughout and when it bursts onto center stage, the listener feels the same thrill as when one of Beethoven's famous themes suddenly appears in his symphonies.
One benefit of having all this music in a single package is observing the development of Williams' musical ideas through the 27-year cycle of these soundtracks. Young composers will no doubt be taking notes, studying the techniques Williams employs as his themes grow and mature.