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Bringing the drama (Hall of Fame #88-87)

#88 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial - John Williams

In my last post I mentioned the orchestral instrument libraries I compose with. One of those libraries is aptly called Hollywoodwinds although it might be more accurately named Johnwilliamswinds. It's full of his signature runs, trills and other effects that turn a great film into something magical.

I chose a video of one of the E.T. soundtrack pieces being conducted by Williams himself. The sound quality may be middling but the performance still captivates. Shimmering strings, fanfare brass, bold harmonic colours and lush textures make this a film scoring masterclass. But all the complexities fall back in deference when that theme appears from the mist.

#87 Piano Concerto No. 20 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

"This man has the power to hold the hearts of man in his hand and do as he pleases. He captivates, ensnares, amazes, baffles and soothes the human heart."

I'm quoting another YouTube commenter here, who isn't referring to Mozart, but Seong-Jin Cho, the piano soloist in the video below. Cho is an absolute force, and expresses the emotion of the piece visibly, perhaps a touch melodramatically.

Apparently Mozart rushed this composition, the ink on the final copy still wet at its debut. No compromises on the quality though. I love Mozart's melodic sequencing, his playful use of suspension and resolution, and his willingness to write showy passages. All the things that Cho brings to the fore in this performance.

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