Friday, December 30, 2011

It's Under-appreciated or Forgotten Music Today

I didn't get the memo that it was Under-appreciated Music Day today, but I'm quick on the zig-zag. Besides, I didn't have my Friday's Forgotten Book post written up yet and was sitting here wondering what to write about. It's been THAT kind of week. Lazy. Sleepy. Relaxing.

All of today's blog links are gathered over at Todd Mason's blog, SWEET FREEDOM. Don't forget to go take a look and listen.

On the spur of the moment, I've come up with my own favorite under-appreciated music to talk about. I'm including a few youtube links at the bottom of the post which will take you to various sections of John Williams' magnificent film score for SUPERMAN - my entry in today's under-appreciated or forgotten music day.

This is my favorite John Williams movie score - not to mention, his own personal favorite - one I listen to all the time, especially when I'm needing a bump on the boot to get things working - art wise.

Of all of Williams' superb scores (among them, JAWS, STAR WARS, JURASSIC PARK,  RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES, EMPIRE OF THE SUN, E.T., CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, etc. etc. etc.) SUPERMAN still has the most resonance with me because of it's perfectly on pitch emotional variety. When needed, there's the stirring, rock/em-sock/em full orchestra thunderclap in the more explosive scenes with Superman in the city and/or saving the world.

But in the early half of the film (after the thunderous musical accompaniment to the destruction of Krypton), we get the emotional farmland/heartland music of the young super child, super boy, super teen.

Phyllis Thaxter's close-up through the screen door as 'her' son leaves to find his destiny is heart wrenching, as is the music that accompanies it.

John Williams musically captures the vastness of the early Midwestern setting. It is a joy to listen to.

Of course, the energetic and stirring Superman theme is just as good in its own forceful way.

It's great driving music, by the by.

Later in the film we get a terrific thing (called March of the Villains on the CD.) which, if I'm remembering correctly, accompanies Ned Beatty (Lex Luthor's incompetent henchman Otis) as he thumps along the street, oblivious.

Of course, very little can compare to the 'flying' theme, when Superman takes Lois on a special flight around the skies of NYC. It is definitely a Big Sigh moment. Absolutely gorgeous music. Williams captures the movement of flying, the lightness - the freedom of it.

I've listened to this score since the 1978 film debuted (was it really that long ago?) and I've never tired of it. I own several of John Williams' memorable film scores, but SUPERMAN still reigns musically supreme for me. Far as I'm concerned, the man is an incomparable genius.

Okay, the embeds didn't work. Obviously I'm still doing something wrong. So here are the links.  The Main Theme  Leaving Home  Love (Flying) Theme  March of the Villains

Ah, technology, how great thou art.

Composer/conductor John Williams.


  1. Well, Yvette, it's not so much a Rather Than than an Along With...the Underappreciated Music meme is a monthly thing usually hosted on Scott Parker's blog on the last Thursday of every month...while I'm still putting together today's list of FFBs, as well, and will cheerfully accept your late entry if you choose to write it for today. (And the Banek: Williams link is now among the music links in That post.) Thanks!

  2. Okay, got it. :)

    Anyway, Forgotten Book is being written as we speak.

    A blogger's work is never done. :)

  3. Of all the superhero films, Reeve's Superman-I has always been my favourite. For me, Reeve is the ultimate Superman, a role he has immortalised. I'm so glad you wrote about John Williams music score in Superman, especially when he's flying way up in the night sky and suddenly turns towards you and smiles before flying off again. A true classic...

  4. Ah, lest we forget, John Williams -- as "Johnny" Williams -- also wrote two different themes for the television show Lost in Space, for which I am just the right age to be forever grateful.

  5. Prashant: I'm with you. The entire score for SUPERMAN is Super. :)

    One of the links below will take you to that music.

  6. No kidding, M.M.? I never knew that. Humble beginnings. Ha!

    Though he did go on to do STAR WARS, so obviously he wasn't so lost in space. :)

    I have only the vaguest memories of that show. Do remember the robot and that hambone Dr. something or other. Wait, Guy Williams. Zorro. Didn't he play the father? What am I thinking of?

  7. Yes, it was Guy Williams as the father, June Lockhart as the mother, and the camped up Jonathan Harris as Dr. Smith (somewhat menacing in the relatively un-campy pilot episode, where, as a spy, he attempts with some success to sabotage and take over the space ship they're in). "Johnny" Williams, as I've had reason to mention in my recent contributions to Overlooked A/V, also wrote the series theme to KRAFT SUSPENSE THEATER/CRISIS/SUSPENSE THEATER...a couple of years before LOST IN SPACE took off.

  8. Jonathan Harris, what a hambone! Now I remember. :)

    Williams has been around for a long time now. I don't wonder that he began in television. But it still comes as a bit of a surprise.

    I guess I missed reading about him in your posts, Todd. Thanks for the update. :)

    I also LOVE his NBC News theme.


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