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Comments about the soundtrack for Minority Report (John Williams)

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Re: Blade Runner vs Minority Report
• Posted by: Paul Andrew MacLean   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2002, at 4:40 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Blade Runner vs Minority Report (ugly joe)

> Vangelis is a genius, wheras Williams is
> not.

I haven't yet heard Minority Report, so I cannot defend it. I am however a BIG fan of *both* John Williams and Vangelis Papathanassiou, and I would personally defend Williams as the more acomplished musician.

John Williams is a classically trained composer, arranger, conductor and concert pianist, a graduate of the Julliart School of Music and influenced primarily by the classical and jazz traditions. Vangelis is self-taught, admits he unable to read music, and is largely influenced by Greek and other ethnic music, sometimes church music, and his roots in rock and roll (from his tenure as keyborist for the bands Formix, and later Aphrodite's child).

>All you have to do is compare the discography of both musicians. If
> all Williams' recordings sound the same, Vangelis has made Jazz,

So has Williams. In the 50s, before he ever scored a film, Williams was well-known as a jazz pianist and arranger.

> avant-garde,

Check-out Williams' highly avant garde, Takemitsu-flavoured score for Images. Sample also his cue "The Abduction of Barry" from Close Encounters. Certainly these are as avant garde as "Beaubourg" and "Invisible Connections".

>rock, progressve,

Williams is not much of a rocker I confess. But speaking as someone who hates rock anyway, to me that's not much of a loss!

> orchestral,

Vangelis' one (and only) orchestral work, "Mythodea", was composed with the help of arranger Blake Neely. Williams can write for orchestra without the aid of an arranger. Williams does use an orchestrator to save time in the rush to complete a film score (but his sketches are essentially complete) and Williams' concert works are penned by him alone.

> new age, futuristic,

Williams has also done a fair amount of electronic work himself (the final scene in The Witches of Eastwick is all synthesized, while Heartbeeps makes extensive use of electronics). In fact I would say Williams is really the more versatile composer.

"Fururistic" is not what one can call a musical genre. However, if one is talking about what type of music tends to be associated with "furturistic" it would probably be John Williams (ever hear of Star Wars?).

> soundtracks... and with excellent results most of the times.

No argument here. Blade Runner, The Bounty, 1492 are all stellar works.

Being classically trained does not make one a better composer necessarily (if I were making a movie I'd probably hire Vangelis before I'd hire, say, Bill Conti) but Williams is *the* most sought-after composer in the film business. This is not only because his scores are popular, but because his music lifts and elivates a movie in a way few other composers can. Williams stature amoung other musicians is proven by the way people like Itzahk Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Christopher Parkening, Stomu Yamash'ta, The Chieftains, etc. have been eager to perform on Williams soundttracks.

And I think it would fair to say that Williams would have been more than capable of writing effective scores for Blade Runner, The Bounty and 1492, but I doubt very much that Vangelis could have as effectively served Superman or Raiders.

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