Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

John Williams - By Request (1987)


John Williams was one of the most prolific film score composers of the 20th century. For this release, he conducts the Boston Pops in 15 of his works, mostly film scores. Williams often gets criticized for plagiarizing himself, but even if he does so intentionally, I can't say that I blame him. If the main purpose of film scores is to support the image and dialogue without drawing attention to the music, how can Williams write such memorable melodies? All the familiar favorites are here along with a few hidden gems, specifically, The Cowboys Overture and marches from the movies Midway and 1941. I love hearing a composer conduct his own work - it's as close as you can get to a definitive interpretation.

Tracks: What a fantastic collection! Over 70 minutes of music.
  1. Olympic Fanfare and Theme
  2. The Cowboys Overture
  3. Excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  4. March from Midway
  5. Flying Theme from E.T.
  6. Luke and Leia Theme from Return of the Jedi
  7. March from Superman
  8. Liberty Fanfare
  9. March from Raiders of the Lost Ark
  10. Yoda's Theme from The Empire Strikes Back
  11. March from "1941"
  12. Theme from Jaws
  13. Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back
  14. Mission Theme (Theme for NBC News)
  15. Main Theme from Star Wars
And all this by 1987! He would then go on to write for the Harry Potter movies, Jurassic Park, and JFK, the latter being one of my favorite works by Williams.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: This was one of the first releases I ever heard on a CD. I didn't own a CD player until January 1987 and the discs were very expensive at the time (compared to a cassette or LP). So CDs were still a rarity in my world, but I had heard this release at the home of John, a fraternity brother. Even though I knew how good it was, I inexplicably put off buying the CD until 2009.

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