Monday, May 27, 2013

Saving Private Ryan: Score, and John Williams Talks about Scoring Ryan

By Nicholas Stix
May 30, 2011, 5:30 a.m.
Saving Private Ryan Soundtrack composed by John Williams, performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Somber music for a somber movie.

John Williams is God’s gift to the movies.

When Aaron Copland (1900-1990) composed music for a movie, he would not only write stunning music, but lots of it, so that a picture like The Red Pony might contain over a solid hour of music, very little of it repeat themes. He took twice as long writing a score as the typical composer, and he demanded and got a much higher fee—and he earned every bit of it. The opening theme alone to The Red Pony is so stunning that when my 10-year-old son and I saw the picture for the first time last summer, and the opening credits cited Copland, my son said, without prompting, “Thank you, Aaron.”

Although there is a fair amount of repetition in this score, it still blows me away how many great individual themes John Williams wrote for one picture, and how powerful they are, not just the requiem. We Stix men feel the same way about seeing John Williams’ name in the credits as we do about Aaron Copland.

[Postscript, Memorial Day, 2012: Unfortunately, I just found that the movie folks have exercised their prerogative, and forced Youtube to cease from hosting all but Williams' requiem to Ryan.]

Memorial Day, 2013: I posted the best Youtube version I could find of each passage, but after “Hymn to the Fallen,” which is the version I’ve used since the original post, they all stop and start.

“Hymn to the Fallen”

Thanks to generalkenji and Jonathan Maxfield.

02 Revisiting Normandy

Thanks to Ellijah De Leon.

03 Omaha Beach (Warning: This one gets stuck a lot)

Thanks to Ellijah De Leon.

04 Finding Private Ryan

Thanks to Ellijah De Leon.

05 Approaching the Enemy

Thanks to Ellijah De Leon.

06 Defense Preparations

Thanks to Ellijah De Leon.

07 Wade's Death

08 A High School Teacher (Pending: I couldn’t find a decent version)

Thanks to Ellijah De Leon.

Edith Piaf: “Tu Es Partou”
English Translation:

We loved each other tenderly,
Like we loved all lovers,
Then one day you left me,
Ever since I've been desperate,
I see you everywhere in the sky,
I see you everywhere on the earth,
You are my joy and my sun,
My nights, my days, my clear dawns.


You are everywhere, because you are in my heart,
You are everywhere, because you are my happiness,
Everything that is around me,
Even life does not represent you,
Sometimes I dream that I am in your arms,
And you speak softly in my ear,
You tell me things that make me close my eyes,
And I find that marvelous.

Maybe one day you will return,
I know that my heart waits for you,
You cannot forget,
The past days we spent together,
My eyes never stop searching for you,
Listen well, my heart calls you,
We can love each other again,
And you’ll see life would be beautiful.


09 The Last Battle (Also gets stuck a lot)

Thanks to Doom2012Today.


John Williams Talks about Scoring Saving Private Ryan

Thanks to farma2006.


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