"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Sunday, March 11, 2018


    (Originally published 1451 08 FEB 2012 - He's 86 now. ;-)

While I whine and moan about approaching 70, this guy reached his 80th birthday today (Wed, 08 Feb 2012) and is still doing his thing;  still being creative.

Happy Birthday, John Williams.

His Imdb page (linked above) lists 139 movies and television shows that he has composed the music for, going back to the mid-50s, including Playhouse 90, M Squad  (a detective series starring Lee Marvin), Wagon Train, Gilligan's Island (Ok! Maybe not the greatest thing on his resume), Lost in Space (what I said just before).

He'd been working almost 30 years when he was picked to do the score for Steven Spielberg's Jaws.  I recall an interview with Spielberg (probably on one of the DVD issues of Jaws) in which he mentioned Williams coming over to his house one evening and playing on his piano what he had in mind for Jaws.

Spielberg confessed that his first reaction to hearing what would become one of the most iconic pieces of music since Bernard Hermann's Pyscho and Henry Mancini's Theme from Peter Gunn was "That's IT?!!!"  Not even Spielberg realized just what he had at the moment.

Williams had already worked with Spielberg before, and then went on to score almost everything from him afterwards.  At present, post-production work is being done on Spielberg's latest (Lincoln) and once again, Williams is doing the score.  I've no doubt at all that the result will be worth watching and hearing.

This kind of longevity is not all that unusual in the arts, especially in classical music.  There are composers (Igor Stravinsky, Ralph Vaughn Williams) and conductors (Leopold Stokowski) that were still doing fresh, original work in their 90s.

The secret almost certainly lies in doing something that you truly love.

(Consider this post as a work-in-progress.  I'm thinking of other examples and will probably either expand it, or do a follow-on.)



Foxfier said...

Modern classical music FTW.

Paul Gordon said...

Modern classical music FTW.

If you mean Williams in particular, or (some) movie scores in general, I agree,.

The classical music I love best are ballet because it tells a story, so it's not surprising that I love movie soundtracks.

Foxfier said...

Movie scores will someday get the respect they deserve. ^.^


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