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  Comments about: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (John Williams)
John Williams is a petty theif


Aaron
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(ac987c73.ipt.aol.com)


  Responses to this Comment:
Ken Applegate
Aaron
Wedge
Casey
skywalkersound
The Halfminded Writer
Edmund Meinerts
Matius
Aaron
  John Williams is a petty theif   Tuesday, June 8, 2004 (11:20 a.m.) 

As much as I like Mr. Williams' music (and I have 47 of his CDs), he steal far too much from other composers. I am trying to assimilate a collection of all the things he has stolen from. So far I have Dvorak's "New World" Symphony, Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet," Sibelius' "Finaldnia," Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition," "The Rite of Spring" and "The Firebird" by Stravinsky, Korngold's theme to "King's Row," Persichetti's 6th symphony, Neverending Story, "Death and Transfiguration" by Strauss, and Holst's "The Planets." Does anybody out there know of any more rip-offs? If you have some more, please email me at Pudgevader@aol.com or chat via AIM, my screen name is Composer111285.


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Ken Applegate
(lsanca1-ar13-4-60-135-085.lsanca1.dsl-verizon.net)

  In Response to:
Aaron
  Re: John Williams is a petty theif   Saturday, July 17, 2004 (9:59 p.m.) 

Gee. Hate ta say it, but if that's all he's stolen from in his decades of film scoring, he's done well. Besides, most of the pieces you mentioned are stolen in other instances by other composers, but few can hide those stealings the way that John Williams can.

Have fun.

> As much as I like Mr. Williams' music (and I have 47 of his CDs), he steal
> far too much from other composers. I am trying to assimilate a collection
> of all the things he has stolen from. So far I have Dvorak's "New
> World" Symphony, Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet," Sibelius'
> "Finaldnia," Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition,"
> "The Rite of Spring" and "The Firebird" by Stravinsky,
> Korngold's theme to "King's Row," Persichetti's 6th symphony,
> Neverending Story, "Death and Transfiguration" by Strauss, and
> Holst's "The Planets." Does anybody out there know of any more
> rip-offs? If you have some more, please email me at Pudgevader@aol.com
> or chat via AIM, my screen name is Composer111285.


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Aaron
(acc2754a.ipt.aol.com)

  In Response to:
Aaron

  Responses to this Comment:
Adam Lewis
  Re: John Williams is a petty theif   Sunday, May 15, 2005 (11:03 p.m.) 

I ran across this review the other day and thought it would be a good idea to type a follow-up. I wrote the original posting some time ago and now have a much broader understanding of music and the art of composition, so perhaps I can portray my opinions in a better way. (Maybe I can spell a few more words correctly, too)

I still stand by my criticism of Mr. Williams' propensity to "borrow" from other composers. As a current music composition major in college, I certainly understand the challenge of writing original music. It's not easy by any stretch of the imagination. What is easy, however, is borrowing other people's ideas and incorporating them into your own work. While I can certainly appreciate his music, I also have to recognize where it comes from. In fact, what I love most about Williams' music... isn't his music at all. It is the work of other composers such as Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, Persichetti, Holst et cetera... that I hear reproduced through Williams' pen. In an field defined by originality and creativity, Maestro Williams is neither. He is a good composer, but not a great composer. His music will not survive the test of time.

Now, the above comments refer only to his film scores. His lesser known classical works feature much more original ideas. They are much harder to listen to- in fact, I don't care for most of them- but at the same time, I recognize the dramatic increase in genuine musical quality from his film works.

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Adam Lewis
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(d220-236-222-133.dsl.nsw.optusnet.com.au)

  In Response to:
Aaron

  Responses to this Comment:
JW Fan
  Re: John Williams is a petty theif   Tuesday, August 23, 2005 (7:35 p.m.) 

What you mean John Williams won't stand the test of time? His music is still the very best film music around and his music is the work other's are judged by. His music is timeless and part of our culture. His music lives beyond the films they are written for and will live on for as long as there are people to listen to it.

He is the greatest film composer of all time!

> I ran across this review the other day and thought it would be a good
> idea to type a follow-up. I wrote the original posting some time ago and
> now have a much broader understanding of music and the art of composition,
> so perhaps I can portray my opinions in a better way. (Maybe I can spell a
> few more words correctly, too)

> I still stand by my criticism of Mr. Williams' propensity to
> "borrow" from other composers. As a current music composition
> major in college, I certainly understand the challenge of writing original
> music. It's not easy by any stretch of the imagination. What is easy,
> however, is borrowing other people's ideas and incorporating them into
> your own work. While I can certainly appreciate his music, I also have to
> recognize where it comes from. In fact, what I love most about Williams'
> music... isn't his music at all. It is the work of other composers such as
> Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, Persichetti, Holst et cetera... that I hear
> reproduced through Williams' pen. In an field defined by originality and
> creativity, Maestro Williams is neither. He is a good composer, but not a
> great composer. His music will not survive the test of time.

> Now, the above comments refer only to his film scores. His lesser known
> classical works feature much more original ideas. They are much harder to
> listen to- in fact, I don't care for most of them- but at the same time, I
> recognize the dramatic increase in genuine musical quality from his film
> works.


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JW Fan
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(spkdsl-116-189.cet.com)

  In Response to:
Adam Lewis
  Re: John Williams is a petty theif   Friday, January 27, 2006 (5:29 p.m.) 

John Williams' film scores will stand the test of time because it is some of the very best music ever written. Too bad if he didn't actually write it.

Hopefully time will expose him if he really is a fraud.

> What you mean John Williams won't stand the test of time? His music is
> still the very best film music around and his music is the work other's
> are judged by. His music is timeless and part of our culture. His music
> lives beyond the films they are written for and will live on for as long
> as there are people to listen to it.

> He is the greatest film composer of all time!


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Wedge
(modemcable124.116-203-24.mc.videotron.ca)

  In Response to:
Aaron

  Responses to this Comment:
Admiral Hull
  Re: John Williams is a petty theif   Thursday, February 2, 2006 (12:15 p.m.) 

Well I don't think he stole music, been greatly influenced by those composers would be the right words. Who could blame him? Composers of all time were influenced by previous composers, if not writing variations upon other's. Note the Beethoven and Mozart's classical style in Chopin romantics works. Like the other guy saying that the Qui-Gonn's funeral scene and "Duel of the Fates" were copied on Orff's Carmina Burana: of course, a choir on a funeral scene would have this tone, like Mozart's "Lacrymosa". And for "O Fortuna", a lot of people thought that it was used integrally in "Duel of the Fates", a mistake for people's lack of musical earing. Of course, I'm 17 and I don't have the knowledge of a major in music composition student, but I think that those "stealings" are simple influences.

> As much as I like Mr. Williams' music (and I have 47 of his CDs), he steal
> far too much from other composers. I am trying to assimilate a collection
> of all the things he has stolen from. So far I have Dvorak's "New
> World" Symphony, Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet," Sibelius'
> "Finaldnia," Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition,"
> "The Rite of Spring" and "The Firebird" by Stravinsky,
> Korngold's theme to "King's Row," Persichetti's 6th symphony,
> Neverending Story, "Death and Transfiguration" by Strauss, and
> Holst's "The Planets." Does anybody out there know of any more
> rip-offs? If you have some more, please email me at Pudgevader@aol.com
> or chat via AIM, my screen name is Composer111285.


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Admiral Hull
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  In Response to:
Wedge
  Re: John Williams is a petty theif   Friday, May 26, 2006 (8:21 a.m.) 

> Well I don't think he stole music, been greatly influenced by those
> composers would be the right words. Who could blame him? Composers of all
> time were influenced by previous composers, if not writing variations upon
> other's. Note the Beethoven and Mozart's classical style in Chopin
> romantics works. Like the other guy saying that the Qui-Gonn's funeral
> scene and "Duel of the Fates" were copied on Orff's Carmina
> Burana: of course, a choir on a funeral scene would have this tone, like
> Mozart's "Lacrymosa". And for "O Fortuna", a lot of
> people thought that it was used integrally in "Duel of the
> Fates", a mistake for people's lack of musical earing. Of course, I'm
> 17 and I don't have the knowledge of a major in music composition student,
> but I think that those "stealings" are simple influences.
I agree. There is distinct difference between copying something note for note and just sounding similar to it. For example: Bill Conti's theme for The Right Stuff is exactly the same as a theme from Tchiakovsky's violin concerto, but the Force theme from Star Wars merely has a similar feeling to the main motif from the fourth movement of Dvorak's ninth symphony.
And let me lay down a little revelation for you all: this is movie music. It was not written to be original, independent, or even to be enjoyable to listen to for that matter. It was written to fit a film. If Host's The Planets fits a movie perfectly, then by golly (sp), put it in there. We are simply lucky that composers such as John Williams and Howard Shoare and James Horner etc. are gifted enough to create some astounding, original music.

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Casey
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  In Response to:
Aaron

  Responses to this Comment:
Nate
  Re: John Williams is a petty theif   Saturday, February 18, 2006 (2:46 p.m.) 

I just listed to the John Williams "Munich" soundtrack. I know I've heard the theme from track "Bonding" before in another classical work. If anyone knows where he lifted the music from, I would like to know. Thanks.

- Casey

> As much as I like Mr. Williams' music (and I have 47 of his CDs), he steal
> far too much from other composers. I am trying to assimilate a collection
> of all the things he has stolen from. So far I have Dvorak's "New
> World" Symphony, Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet," Sibelius'
> "Finaldnia," Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition,"
> "The Rite of Spring" and "The Firebird" by Stravinsky,
> Korngold's theme to "King's Row," Persichetti's 6th symphony,
> Neverending Story, "Death and Transfiguration" by Strauss, and
> Holst's "The Planets." Does anybody out there know of any more
> rip-offs? If you have some more, please email me at Pudgevader@aol.com
> or chat via AIM, my screen name is Composer111285.


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Nate
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(ip70-161-224-44.hr.hr.cox.net)

  In Response to:
Casey
  Re: John Williams is a petty theif   Friday, April 21, 2006 (6:52 p.m.) 

> I just listed to the John Williams "Munich" soundtrack. I know
> I've heard the theme from track "Bonding" before in another
> classical work. If anyone knows where he lifted the music from, I would
> like to know. Thanks.

> - Casey

This song doesn't sound like any classical piece I've heard before, however I do notice a very strong resemblence to William's "Schindler's List Theme(with violin solo by Itzhak Perlman)." Since the solo instrument is a classical guitar, it might be similar to some other classical guitar pieces. Try Segovia's trascriptions of Paganini, or his transcriptions of Bach.

-Nate

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skywalkersound
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  In Response to:
Aaron
  Re: John Williams is a petty theif   Tuesday, November 28, 2006 (10:30 a.m.) 

> As much as I like Mr. Williams' music (and I have 47 of his CDs), he steal
> far too much from other composers. I am trying to assimilate a collection
> of all the things he has stolen from. So far I have Dvorak's "New
> World" Symphony, Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet," Sibelius'
> "Finaldnia," Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition,"
> "The Rite of Spring" and "The Firebird" by Stravinsky,
> Korngold's theme to "King's Row," Persichetti's 6th symphony,
> Neverending Story, "Death and Transfiguration" by Strauss, and
> Holst's "The Planets." Does anybody out there know of any more
> rip-offs? If you have some more, please email me at Pudgevader@aol.com
> or chat via AIM, my screen name is Composer111285.
WHEN DID JOHN WILLIAMS STEAL "DEATH AND TRANSFIGURATION", EXACTLY?



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The Halfminded Writer
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  In Response to:
Aaron
  Re: John Williams is a petty theif   Tuesday, October 27, 2009 (2:39 a.m.) 
• Now Playing: Prokofiev - The Love for Three Oranges  

Oh, could I agree more! As much as I always thought of him as probably one of the de best orchestrators and "soundtrack engineers" of all times, his many stealings (and auto-stealings) turn him into a quite questionable "artist". I think his repeated and uncredited plunder of Prokofiev orchestral works (such as "Romeo and Juliet" but especially of "The Love for Three Oranges", from which the "artist" took basically all of the incidental music for his most famous early soundtracks such as "Star Wars" or "Indiana Jones") is quite self-explaining.

I'm definitely more a follower of slightly more original composers such as Morricone, Goldsmith or Thomas Newman. At least, when they do, they give credit for what's borrowed.

Congrats in this long-lasting piece of controversy.

> As much as I like Mr. Williams' music (and I have 47 of his CDs), he steal
> far too much from other composers. I am trying to assimilate a collection
> of all the things he has stolen from. So far I have Dvorak's "New
> World" Symphony, Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet," Sibelius'
> "Finaldnia," Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition,"
> "The Rite of Spring" and "The Firebird" by Stravinsky,
> Korngold's theme to "King's Row," Persichetti's 6th symphony,
> Neverending Story, "Death and Transfiguration" by Strauss, and
> Holst's "The Planets." Does anybody out there know of any more
> rip-offs? If you have some more, please email me at Pudgevader@aol.com
> or chat via AIM, my screen name is Composer111285.




The Halfminded Writer (in Spanish)
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Edmund Meinerts
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  In Response to:
Aaron
  Nothing compared to James Horner, though *NM* *NM*   Friday, November 20, 2009 (1:50 a.m.) 




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Matius
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  In Response to:
Aaron
  Re: John Williams is a petty theif   Wednesday, June 2, 2010 (1:08 a.m.) 

You should realize that borrowing musical ideas from others has been happening all the time. In the Middle Ages and even in Renaissance it was very common, sometimes even welcome, to "steal" others' themes and use them in your own compositions. In Classicism and Romantism every composer was learning from his predeccesors, sometimes borrowing musical ideas from traditional music. Smetana in his symphonic poem Vltava used the Jewish song Hatikvah, and it became worldly famous and most favourite composition of him. John Williams used Hatikvah in his score for Munich as well.

So, I think every composer who wants to compose listenable classical music (you know what I mean has to more or less steal from others. John Williams became a legend of the film music, well, good for him. And for us? I think that his most important goal is to bring people to listening to classical music. And he was successful with me. In my teenager years I listened to his scores a lot and he really brought me to classical music .

> As much as I like Mr. Williams' music (and I have 47 of his CDs), he steal
> far too much from other composers. I am trying to assimilate a collection
> of all the things he has stolen from. So far I have Dvorak's "New
> World" Symphony, Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet," Sibelius'
> "Finaldnia," Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition,"
> "The Rite of Spring" and "The Firebird" by Stravinsky,
> Korngold's theme to "King's Row," Persichetti's 6th symphony,
> Neverending Story, "Death and Transfiguration" by Strauss, and
> Holst's "The Planets." Does anybody out there know of any more
> rip-offs? If you have some more, please email me at Pudgevader@aol.com
> or chat via AIM, my screen name is Composer111285.



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Aaron
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  In Response to:
Aaron

  Responses to this Comment:
Jon8
  Re: John Williams is a petty theif   Saturday, May 18, 2013 (6:01 p.m.) 

Hello,

I read with interest your post on John Williams as 'petty thief".

As someone who works in a creative industry, I will tell you that all artists "expand on ideas" "are influenced by" or in your case "steal" from other artists all the time.

Take for example writers, early greek mythology establishes the core archetypes of all modern narratives that have we enjoy in print, stage and screen today. Just because modern fiction has a CIA operative as a protagonist doesn't mean this story hasn't been told a thousand times over already.

It is the same with music, Mozart was influenced by Haydn. You can hear the influence in the music.

Similarly you can hear the great influence Wagner had on Debussy's Opera "Paleas and Melisande".

And more recently - I went to the Disney concert Hall and heard the composer John Adams conduct his new piece The Gospel According to the Other Mary - and guess what - IT RECOGNIZABLY SOUNDS LIKE WILLIAMS!!

The notion that any artist is a truly original act, simply highlights the fact that most people are not that familiar with these artists influences and inspirations. The number of times I hear a famous melody in another artists work happens all the time. It's called cultural legacy. This is what artists do - they leave behind a legacy that will hopefully inspire and further the intellectual pursuit of mastery of their specific craft.

Think of the last great book you read or movie you watched. You can trace it back to mythology.

The notion that Williams is a "petty thief" is really just intended to inflame. Think about it, because you recognize a motif does not account for how Williams will orchestrate and EXPAND on it in the totality of a particular cue or score. All artists do this.

So in essence when you recognize 7 notes in a particular order, what about the other tens of thousands of notes that surround and expand on it in a particular work?

The notion that an artist must never pay homage to and expand on a source of inspiration insists that they live and work in a sterile bubble.




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Jon8
(23-30-165-249-static.hfc.comcastbusiness.net)

  In Response to:
Aaron
  Re: John Williams is a petty theif   Monday, March 10, 2014 (2:01 p.m.) 

I have a problem with this thread - John Williams is not a petty thief, he is a master thief.

To quote one of his great influences, Stravinsky: "Good composers don't borrow, they steal".

> Hello,

> I read with interest your post on John Williams as 'petty thief".

> As someone who works in a creative industry, I will tell you that all
> artists "expand on ideas" "are influenced by" or in
> your case "steal" from other artists all the time.

> Take for example writers, early greek mythology establishes the core
> archetypes of all modern narratives that have we enjoy in print, stage and
> screen today. Just because modern fiction has a CIA operative as a
> protagonist doesn't mean this story hasn't been told a thousand times over
> already.

> It is the same with music, Mozart was influenced by Haydn. You can hear
> the influence in the music.

> Similarly you can hear the great influence Wagner had on Debussy's Opera
> "Paleas and Melisande".

> And more recently - I went to the Disney concert Hall and heard the
> composer John Adams conduct his new piece The Gospel According to the
> Other Mary - and guess what - IT RECOGNIZABLY SOUNDS LIKE WILLIAMS!!

> The notion that any artist is a truly original act, simply highlights the
> fact that most people are not that familiar with these artists influences
> and inspirations. The number of times I hear a famous melody in another
> artists work happens all the time. It's called cultural legacy. This is
> what artists do - they leave behind a legacy that will hopefully inspire
> and further the intellectual pursuit of mastery of their specific craft.

> Think of the last great book you read or movie you watched. You can trace
> it back to mythology.

> The notion that Williams is a "petty thief" is really just
> intended to inflame. Think about it, because you recognize a motif does
> not account for how Williams will orchestrate and EXPAND on it in the
> totality of a particular cue or score. All artists do this.

> So in essence when you recognize 7 notes in a particular order, what about
> the other tens of thousands of notes that surround and expand on it in a
> particular work?

> The notion that an artist must never pay homage to and expand on a source
> of inspiration insists that they live and work in a sterile bubble.



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