90-year-old John Williams stays away from movies, but not music

New York (AP) — After more than six years of soaring bikes, panicking swimmers ashore and other fascinating close encounters, John Williams Is making final notes on what might happen his The final soundtrack.

“Currently I’m working on ‘Indiana Jones 5,’ and Harrison Ford — a lot younger than me — I think will be his last film,” Williams Say. “So, I thought: If Harrison can do it, then maybe I can do it too.”

For the record, Ford has not said it publicly.and WilliamsHe turns 90 in February and isn’t sure if he’s ready.

“I don’t want to be seen as categorically eliminating any activity,” Williams with a smile, over the phone from his Home in Los Angeles. “I can’t play tennis, but I like to believe that maybe one day I will.”

However, there are other ways Williams want to spend money his time.A Star Wars movie takes six months of work he Notes, “At this point in my life, it’s a long-term commitment for me.” Instead, Williams is working on composing concert music, including his piano concerto for Emmanuel Ax.

this spring, Williams Released the album “A Gathering of Friends” with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, recorded with the New York Philharmonic, Pablo Sainz-Villegas and Jessica Chow. This is a glorious collection of cello concertos from scores from “Schindler’s List,” “Lincoln,” and “Munich,” including the sublime “Prayer for Peace.”

The 90th birthday — an event that the Kennedy Center and Tanglewood are celebrating with a birthday concert this summer — has caused Williams reflection his Achievement, his Remaining ambition and what a lifetime of music means he.

“It gave me the ability to breathe, the ability to live, to understand that there is more to life in the flesh,” Williams Say. “There is no religious belief, which I don’t particularly like, there is a spiritual life, an artistic life, a realm that transcends the everyday reality of the mundane. Music can elevate the human mind to the level of poetry. We can reflect on the importance of music to human beings “I always like to speculate that music is older than language, and we may be beating drums and blowing reeds before we can even speak. So it’s an important part of our humanity.”

“It gave me life.”

in turn, Williams Soundtracks countless people’s lives with more than 100 film scores, including Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Jaws, Encounters of the Third Kind, ET, Indiana Jones, “Superman,” “Schindler’s List,” and “Harry Potter.”

This is an achievement that is difficult to quantify. With 5 Oscars and 52 Oscar nominations, only Walt Disney can beat that number, by a measure. But even that hardly hints at the cultural power of his music. A billion people might immediately hum the two-note fix from Williams’ Jaws or Star Wars’ March of the Empire.

“I’ve been told that music is played all over the world. What could be more valuable than that?” says Williams“But I have to say it doesn’t seem real. At the moment I can only see what is in front of me on the piano and do my best.”

All those indelible, perfectly constructed themes, he Believe that products are not from divine inspiration compared to daily hard work. Williams do most of it his Sitting at work for hours at a time his Steinway, composing with pencil.

“It’s like cutting a rock on your desk,” he Say. “My younger colleagues are much faster than me because they have electronics, computers and synthesizers and so on.”

when Williams start(his The first feature film soundtrack was 1958’s “Daddy-O”), and the film’s traditional big orchestral scores began to lose out to pop. Many people these days tend to make synthetic music for movies. increasingly, Williams There’s the aura of a venerable old master who straddles the distant era of film and music.

“In the New York Philharmonic recording, the whole orchestra was blown away by this 90s gentleman who could hear everything and was always kind and gentle and polite. People just wanted to play he,” Ma said. “They were intimidated by this man’s musical talent. “

in this last chapter Williams‘A career is in some ways an opportunity his The vast legacy is not only associated with cinema, but also with classical legends. WilliamsHe led the Boston Pops from 1980 to 1993, conducting in Berlin, Vienna and New York Philharmonic, etc. In the world’s elite orchestras, Williams‘ works have entered the canon.

Williams‘Certainly, the enduring collaboration with Steven Spielberg helped the composer’s odds.Spielberg, who first Williams After being charmed in 1972 his The score for “The Reivers,” says he “My most important contributor to my success as a filmmaker.”

“No John Williamsthe bike doesn’t really fly,” Spielberg said at the AFI honor Williams 2016.

They remain irrevocably linked. Their offices in the Universal Lot are just a few steps away. With “Indiana Jones”, Williams He recently scored for Spielberg’s upcoming semi-autobiographical drama about growing up in Arizona, “The Fabermans.”These two films together make 30 films by Spielberg and Spielberg Williams.

“It’s been 50 years now. Maybe we’ll start with the next 50,” said Williams said laughingly.

In the films of Spielberg and others, Williams It has carved enough perfectly condensed melodies to rival the Beatles.Spielberg once described his Five-note “Communication Motif” from “Close Encounters” as “Door Bell.”

“Simple little themes, articulated clearly, without confusion, are hard to find and hard to do,” says Williams“They are really the result of a lot of work. It’s almost like a chisel. Move a note, change the rhythm emphasis or interval direction, etc. A simple piece can be done in dozens of ways. If you find that one, just It’s like you’ve found something that you want to be found.”

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