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I know I am certain to offend some fans, but I must ask this. What is your view of Williams?

A fraud: Williams never really wrote anything; he just took existing melodies and wrote fairly good imitations.
Lax: Although he may not realize it, music that he has certainly heard has influenced his pieces to a considerable degree (as in "heh, that sounds just like..."
Middle of the road: Williams is just a film composer; his music is original
Admiring: Williams is a good composer, who one of the more original film composers (like Herrman).
Fan: Williams is Great. End of Discussion. Most original and certainly better then most "modern" composers.
No idea what fugue's talking about. Can't he just shut up?


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Topic: John Williams: Composer or fraud?  (Read 6147 times)

Offline Fugue

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John Williams: Composer or fraud?
on: June 15, 2005, 03:50:16 AM
Personally, after much study, I feel that Williams either is a complete hack is a thief, or is just sub-consciously influenced by pieces he knows. Just curious what y'all think.

Offline Fugue

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #1 on: June 15, 2005, 03:54:35 AM
For example, Take the harry potter theme (opening theme) and compare to Faure's Sicillene (not sure that's how you spell it) or compare Lord Vader's march to Chopin's Funeral March. They just seem too close.

Offline Nightscape

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #2 on: June 15, 2005, 04:29:05 AM
While the above melodies certainly have similarties, since the dawn of music millions upon millions of melodies have been written (and among those thousands of famous ones) and thus when one chooses to compose a tonal melody (like most of John William's melodies) it is literally impossible to create something that is completely and totally original.  It may be slightly different sure, but there will have been many previous melodies that use similar gestures and figurations like the melody you choose to write - so similar a comparison can be made.

I think John Williams is a good film composer - he is able to create atmospheric and varying moods within his scores, most importantly, and secondly can also spin out a catchy tune if he so pleases.  Keep in mind too, that nobody, not even the great composers of the past, is "pure" and free of the influences of previous composers.

Offline Regulus Medtner

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #3 on: June 15, 2005, 09:45:58 AM
I agree with nightscape. Expanding and working on the Korngoldian style is nothing to be ashamed of. He is a very good and original composer, in my opinion. Not to mention that he is a great orchestrator!

Offline Bob

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #4 on: June 15, 2005, 04:10:10 PM
Influence of the past, yeah I agree.  You have to build off something.

If he is a thief, he's a good thief.  That must be a huge amount of work whether he's stealing these ideas or not.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline Daevren

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #5 on: June 15, 2005, 04:54:02 PM
Good thiefs make good composers. He isn't a Ravel, Shostakovich, Penderecki or something but I don't see what is wrong with his music. He has his strong moments. Plus he wrote alot of stuff.

Offline allchopin

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #6 on: June 15, 2005, 07:29:42 PM
Stravinsky once said that great composers don't imitate - they steal.  ;)

Williams is one of my favorite composers, though I must say all his music for a certain movie will sound the same (as he just takes the theme and makes 20 variations to fill a soundtrack).
A modern house without a flush toilet... uncanny.

Offline contrapunctus

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #7 on: June 15, 2005, 10:15:19 PM
All I know is that he is the only reason I would go see a movie.  ;D
Medtner, man.

Offline Jacey1973

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #8 on: June 16, 2005, 04:15:41 PM
There's a section in the last movement of Beethoven's 5th Symphony and it always reminds me of something from John Williams's Star Wars music - or should that be the other way round?!

I really admire John Williams (not a massive fan) - i'm more impressed by his orchestration skills than his actual original ccompositions though.

However music from such films as Harry Potter (mainly 1st 2 films), Star Wars, ET and Indiana Jones are all quite samey, but if you listen to his music from such films as Schindler's List (Jewish/violin influence), 3rd Harry Potter film (i adored all the baroque style/early instruments he used here) and Catch me if you can (50s jazz band influence) it proves that Williams can be quite a diverse composer when he wants to.

But as I think someone already mentioned the three latter examples i've given are all reproductions/pastiches of past musical styles - but then it's still admirable music, I feel Williams's makes a good job of it and for the average film go-er his music is widely appreciated.
"Mozart makes you believe in God - it cannot be by chance that such a phenomenon arrives into this world and then passes after 36 yrs, leaving behind such an unbounded no. of unparalled masterpieces"

Offline Regulus Medtner

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #9 on: June 16, 2005, 09:35:48 PM
Add to these the Artificial Intelligence soundtrack...

Offline Chrysalis

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #10 on: June 16, 2005, 10:29:03 PM
I like williams...
i saw the war of the worlds trailer today and teh music was ace
Debussy Rox! Debussy Rox! Debussy Rox!

Offline gorbee natcase

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #11 on: June 18, 2005, 10:13:05 PM
Dont call john williams a fraud/ hes a genius
(\_/)
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Offline Triton

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #12 on: June 20, 2005, 08:53:47 AM
John Williams is one of the best composers today.
He is not copying anything. The music he makes is from his own mind. Not someone's else's mind.
He is a master of music ;)

Offline Chrysalis

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #13 on: June 20, 2005, 09:20:04 AM
Does somebody have the schindlers list themes on pdf?
if so plz send them to maarten_Tummers@hotmail.com

tnx in advance

and yeah williams rox
Debussy Rox! Debussy Rox! Debussy Rox!

Offline paris

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #14 on: June 20, 2005, 01:46:05 PM
can i have it too, if somebody has it?

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Offline donjuan

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #15 on: June 20, 2005, 03:10:49 PM
I like John Williams!  Except for that "Olympics" theme he wrote with ppl chanting... what the *** is up with that??

Offline Chrysalis

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #16 on: June 20, 2005, 07:38:31 PM
that was nothing :P but check his newest war of the world theme
DAMN that one kicks ass!!!!!!

Debussy Rox! Debussy Rox! Debussy Rox!

Offline Nightscape

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #17 on: June 20, 2005, 11:06:17 PM
Has anybody noticed the similarity between the love theme of Star Wars episode 2 and the theme from Hook?  (Those are both Williams scored films, of course)

Offline rob47

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #18 on: June 21, 2005, 02:59:38 AM
I wonder what the blaxploitation/SoulCinema hit "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" would have been like with a JW soundtrack?
"Phenomenon 1 is me"
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Offline Chrysalis

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #19 on: June 21, 2005, 06:08:30 AM
i think people rather laugh at his pieces as in

BWHGAHAHAHHAhAHA thats jurassic park... but the pieces are just master!
they should have been called opus73.2 or something :D
Debussy Rox! Debussy Rox! Debussy Rox!

Offline guru_of_time

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #20 on: June 28, 2005, 02:50:57 AM
I recently played Peter and the Wolf with a music festival (we actually had a concert today) and I noticed during our rehearsal a couple of days earlier that there's a part that sounds EXACTLY like the Jaws theme...Go listen to Peter and the Wolf...

Offline a cliffe

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Re: John Williams: Composer or fraud?
Reply #21 on: October 08, 2023, 08:28:14 AM
Hello,

My name is Angela and I live in the UK. I don't know if anyone will see this but for about 15 years I've felt that Hedwig's theme was very, very close to my GCSE composition (played on a wind instrument) submitted to the Northern Examination Board in April/May 1995.

I know it sounds far-fetched but I recognised key phrases a long time ago and although I've worked as a journalist was very unsure what if anything I could do about it.

The exam board to my knowledge kept the tapes for.music but for French and Modern language Oral and Spoken exams they sent tapes back. Why they kept students taoes for music I have no idea. I'm completely sound of mind, not given tonrash accusation etc and have had this at the back of my mind for many years. As I read boarding school books as a child I stayed away from the Harry Potter books and films and did't really look that closely until they had been out for a number of years.

I can still remeber and hum the 'hook' or main passage of one of my three submitted compositions and it aounds very, very similar to Hedwigs theme just with a couple of small tweaks. I think the Composers wealth and poaition meant I would have been laughed at in a court if I had been able to play my 3 minute passages.
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