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Schindler's List
Album Cover Art
1993 MCA, 1995 MCA, 2018 Universal
2018 La-La Land
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, Orchestrated, and Produced by:

Violin Solos by:
Itzhak Perlman

Performed by:
The Boston Symphony Orchestra

The Li-Ron Herzeliya Children's Choir

The Ramat Gan Chamber Choir
Labels Icon
MCA Records/Universal
(December 7th, 1993)

MCA Records
(August 29th, 1995)

Universal Hong Kong
(August 10th, 2018)

La-La Land Records
(November 23rd, 2018)
Availability Icon
The 1993 MCA album is a regular U.S. release. A remastered "MCA Records Ultimate Masterdisc 24 Karat Gold Disc" edition was issued in 1995 with the exact same contents, similar to the concurrent gold Apollo 13 release, and it was eventually valued at over $50.

The 2018 Universal Hybrid-SACD album is a Hong Kong product available internationally for $40 as an import. The 2018 La-La Land album is limited to 4,000 copies and available initially for $30 through soundtrack specialty outlets.
Winner of an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, and a Grammy Award. Nominated for a Golden Globe.
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you're not afraid of being fundamentally moved by an overwhelmingly emotional, artistic masterpiece, the most subtly potent triumph in the storied career of John Williams.

Avoid it... only if the oppressive weight of the subject matter bothers you too greatly to be able to appreciate its undeniably powerful musical accompaniment.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 9/24/96, REVISED 2/23/19
Schindler's List: (John Williams) Based on the novel by Thomas Keneally and a screenplay by Steven Zaillian, Schindler's List is the powerful World War II story of factory owner Oskar Schindler and his evolving plight to save Jews from the horrors of Nazi Germany, first for the purposes of the profits of his own factory and eventually for the sake of saving as many people from extermination as possible. Shot mostly in black and white, the film's balance between audacious presence and passionate restraint is the mastery of Steven Spielberg, who maintains that Schindler's List was his most emotionally charged professional directorial project. The film swept the Academy Awards, among other ceremonies, for 1993, giving Spielberg his overdue statuettes and proving that any terrible and vivid madness, no matter how terrifying, can be elegantly portrayed in a dignified fashion on film. The brutality of the killings conveyed on screen occupies a place in your memory that will be challenging for any viewer to purge. One crucial element in the success of Schindler's List is its application of original music despite early discussions that the film could be serviced solely by source applications. Spielberg inevitably turned to trusted collaborator John Williams, however. The two were in the process of completing Jurassic Park together, from which the film and its score brought endless riches and popularity throughout the year. Despite the monumental success of Jurassic Park that led Williams to immediately feature its suite at the end of his conducted concert performances during 1993, Schindler's List would ultimately overshadow the previous score with such an enormous memorable impact that Jurassic Park came dangerously close to being classified as a "forgotten" or "underrated" score a dozen years later. It has been argued that Schindler's List is Williams' greatest score in his lengthy career, and while nobody with a decent film score collection will dispute its title as Williams' best emotionally "artistic" effort, it's really difficult to objectively compare it to the classic horror and adventure scores for which Williams had earned his previous Academy Awards.

Regardless of context, the music for Schindler's List is a force to be reckoned with, and its success on screen and album exists in Williams' ability to precisely mirror Spielberg's own passionate restraint in the production process. Often, this careful approach led to the decision not to include any music at all for long sequences in the film. For the relatively short score, the maestro was forced to write its major cues while on vacation away from his Los Angeles area home due to the director's pressing of the release date forward by six weeks. He later admitted that being in a rented home with a beautiful view inspired him during his process of writing the lovely themes for this score. To simply describe the technical elements of the Schindler's List score would not do justice to its effectiveness as an overall product. So much of what makes the score a gripping emotional enticement is intangible, stemming often from significant influences in its heartfelt performances. Much credit needs to be awarded to Williams, however, for keeping it simple. The complex layers of frenetic activity that collectors had begun to hear in Williams' writing in the early 1990's, including Jurassic Park fresh in memory, is completely absent from Schindler's List. Instead, like Spielberg, Williams approaches the horrors on screen with a beauty so primordial that the score is dripping with romantic heartbreak at each of its harmonic turns. Williams creates three themes to accomplish this addictive loveliness, two of which expanded upon with enough attention to merit concert performances. The primary theme is the unparalleled success story, meandering about an octave as smoothly and gracefully as any in modern history. Each lush progression of the main theme, famous for its teasingly near-octave alterations, takes advantage of heart-wrenchingly simple harmonic progressions, ironically combining to form a theme that, despite these very basic movements, is a unique and lasting memory for many listeners. A secondary theme is introduced in "Remembrances," an identity written first by Williams for the picture and meant to commemorate the Holocaust from a modern perspective. While the primary theme was later devised as a companion for the tragedy of the events as they unfolded, the "Remembrances" theme is more robust because its performances often muster a fuller ensemble.

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Average: 4.36 Stars
***** 17,177 5 Stars
**** 3,696 4 Stars
*** 1,578 3 Stars
** 1,380 2 Stars
* 1,239 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1993, 1995, and 1998 Universal Albums Tracks   ▼Total Time: 64:36
• 1. Theme From Schindler's List (4:14)
• 2. Jewish Town (Krakow Ghetto - Winter '41) (4:40)
• 3. Immolation (With Our Lives, We Give Life) (4:43)
• 4. Rememberances (4:20)
• 5. Schindler's Workforce (9:08)
• 6. OYF'N Pripetshok and Nacht Aktion (2:56)
• 7. I Could Have Done More (5:52)
• 8. Auschwitz-Birkenau (3:40)
• 9. Stolen Memories (4:20)
• 10. Making the List (5:10)
• 11. Give Me Your Names (4:54)
• 12. Yeroushalaim Chel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold) (2:17)
• 13. Rememberances (with Itzhak Perlman) (5:16)
• 14. Theme From Schindler's List (Reprise) (2:59)
(most track times on the 1993 packaging are incorrect)
2018 La-La Land Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 93:16

Notes Icon
The packaging of the MCA albums includes the note below from Steven Spielberg. The 1995 MCA album's back cover states, "Music Composted and Conducted by John Williams." The insert of the 2018 La-La Land album contains extensive notes about the score and film.

"With dignity and compassion, John Williams has composed original and stunningly classical music for Schindler's List in a collection of themes and orchestral remembrances that will haunt you. The antihuman events beginning with Kristallnacht (1938) to the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau (1944) posed a deliberate challenge to both John and me: how to make the unimaginable factual, and how to create not so much a motion picture but a document of those intolerable times.

The choice John Williams made was gentle simplicity. Most of our films together have required an almost operatic accompaniment, which is fitting for Indiana Jones, Close Encounters, or Jaws. Each of us had to depart from our characteristic styles and begin again. This is certainly an album to be attended with closed eyes and unsequestered hearts.

Joining John in honoring the memory of the Shoah is the world renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman. His and John's contribution to the musical literature of this project is significant. I want to thank them both for making Schindler's List the most deeply moving filmmaking experience of my life."
Copyright © 1996-2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Schindler's List are Copyright © 1993, 1995, 2018, MCA Records/Universal, MCA Records, Universal Hong Kong, La-La Land Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/24/96 and last updated 2/23/19.
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