Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Epic Music

I've mentioned before that I have an educational background in music and I can appreciate music of almost all kinds.  There is one style that I am particularly fond of: film scores.  Depending on the type of film, the composer is challenged to create music that suits the imagery and style that the producers want to convey.  In my opinion, few people have done this better than John Williams and Basil Poledouris.

Basil Poledouris was born in Kansas of Greek heritage, and received music lessons during childhood.  He chose to pursue music and filmmaking at the University of Southern California.  He has many film and TV credits to his name, and his intricate and powerful soundtracks gained him awards for best film music for RoboCop (1987), The Hunt for Red October (1990), and Free Willy (1993).  His score for Conan the Barbarian (1982) is considered to be one of the finest examples of film scoring ever written.  Personally I prefer his soundtrack to Conan the Destroyer (1984), especially the opening sequence which in my opinion is about as epically powerful as music can get.

Conan The Destroyer Opening

John Williams needs no introduction; he is simply one of the greatest film composers ever.  Originally from New York, he was educated in California.  After a stint with the Air Force in which he began his composition career, he studied at the prestigious schools of Julliard and the Eastman School of Music.  His early composing work in film and TV attracted the attention of Steven Spielberg, who requested that he score the music for The Sugarland Express (1974) and Jaws (1975), and the rest is history.  Williams has maintained a friendship with both Spielberg and George Lucas, and provided the score for many of their films.  More recently, Williams composed the music for the first three Harry Potter films and will reportedly be working on the new Star Wars sequels.  He holds the record for the most Oscar nominations in his lifetime for his music and is a member of the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.

My forever favourite piece is of course the main theme from Superman (1978).  The film itself is no slouch either - the opening titles were animated and composited BY HAND before computers.

Superman the Movie Opening Credits


  1. Love John Williams. My husband and I attended a concert at Tanglewood, an outdoor concert venue in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, and the theme was the music of John Williams. Steven Spielberg was there to offer words and the whole night was a tribute to the composer who defined the movie score. He's epic himself, for sure.


  2. I always enjoy a little history and stories behind the name:))