Scoreboard Rising

Scoreboard Rising

Posted by Mike Finnegan on Dec 14th 2017

Movie theaters will ring out with two new scores by the gifted and prolific 85-year-old musical titan John Williams this holiday season, beginning tonight with the arrival of the hugely anticipated sci-fi epic Star Wars: The Last Jedi from filmmaker Rian Johnson and continuing next weekend with director Steven Spielberg’s topical historical drama The Post, for which Williams has already earned 2017 Best Score Award nominations from the Golden Globes and the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Soundtrack salutation being a mission and a passion for Twilight Time, it’s an occasion to point out three other examples of the maestro’s art to which our label proudly lays claim, all released this year. Williams’ last collaboration as an orchestrator/adaptor of the melodies of other composers is lovingly served up in the Richard B. Sherman/Robert M. Sherman musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer (1973), paired up on a tuneful double-feature with the team’s follow-up effort Huckleberry Finn (1974, for which Fred Werner ably took on the conducting/ adapting mantle). Thanks to TT Audio Supervisor Mike Matessino’s long-standing relationship with the Williams cinematic canon, Tom Sawyer includes a glorious Isolated Music Track as well as expertly mixed 5.1, 4.0 and 2.0 DTS-HD surround tracks to envelop you in the engaging Americana of the Sherman Brothers’ catchy and delightful songs. Meanwhile, reflecting two appealingly different romantic colors in the composer’s diverse repertoire and his ability to make evocative musical matches to projects large and small as well as light and dark, there’s the stylish Paris-filmed lark How to Steal a Million (1966),starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole under the smooth direction of the venerable William Wyler, and the sweetly soulful, blue-collar simplicity of the underrated Stanley & Iris (1990), with Jane Fonda and Robert De Niro finding solace and regeneration under director Martin Ritt at the helm of his final film. The former is breezy, propulsive and effervescent, bursting with defiant brass, swanning strings, flirty woodwinds and occasional insolent guitar riffs; the latter is delicate and meditative, a chamber-scaled almost-concerto in which piano, flute and strings blend to capture everyday rhythms and underlying dreams. Therefore, while Williams currently lays out masterful musical carpets for intergalactic clashes and earthbound battles over press freedom at the local bijou, the TT hi-def Blu-rays of Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn, How to Steal a Million and Stanley & Iris offer equally lovely soundscapes that reinforce the amazing range of a composing giant. Another marvelous Williams-scored title is on the TT docket for 2018, so stay tuned.