I was first exposed to the music of John Williams with three notes; three magically laid notes which lead to a build up of emotion as Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler beheld in living color and life dinosaurs whose bones they had dug, habitats they had pondered, and life cycles they had lectured on, but whose living and breathing bodies they had never encountered. The music emphasized the moment.
Those three notes now remain a pronouncement of something marvelous. At the time, I had no idea who John Williams was, nor that his music was responsible for conjuring sensations of hope, inspiration, happiness, and sorrow all jumbled together.
I continued my early elementary years hearing the music of Williams, yet never knowing the brilliance behind it. Not realizing that the very same man who had made a first view of dinosaurs so breathtaking and prominent would also give me the ‘gingerbread feeling’ of Christmas in the first two Home Alone movies. Nor would I realize it was Williams who had terrified a nation with four eerie notes paired with a view of the ocean.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a concert dedicated to the works of John Williams. My violin teacher, born and raised in Venezuela and now currently living in New Jersey, is the Concertmaster of the Pennsylvania Philharmonic. This fairly new orchestra is devoted to bringing music to areas that rarely have the opportunity to experience a live orchestra. In addition, the orchestra has made it their mission to perform more than half of their performances in schools in order to benefit students in under served areas.
As I soaked in the music of my childhood, I marveled at how the talents of one man had such power to impact people whose paths he might never cross. I felt the edge-of-your-seat thrill as I listened to “Raider’s March”, “The Star Wars Suite”, and “The Superman March”, my mind drifting to mental stills of moments in time these sounds linked to for me. I felt the heart wrenching sorrow as my teacher played the “Main Theme of Schindler’s List” a tune that now plays in my mind on a weekly basis.
I left the concert recognizing the influence music possesses and the impact it can make on one’s life. I found myself inspired by the works of Williams, charged with an excitement of the possibilities that lie in the vast world in which we live.
Which composer’s music has had an impact on your life?