We introduced John Williams back in May 2009. He's a modern film composer (still alive and still writing), and, in my opinion, perhaps the greatest film composer of all time, and the greatest composer of the 20th century.
In June of 1993, the world was introduced to a new film directed by Steven Spielberg, "Jurassic Park". Spielberg had gotten a reputation for his ability to deliver a scary and suspenseful movie back in 1975 with the movie "Jaws" (which John Williams did the soundtrack to as well). "Jaws" was a film about a killer great white shark. "Jurassic Park" was a story about an island that was set up to be an amusement park. Dinosaurs were brought back to life through advanced cloning techniques, and visitors to the island could see them. Although the visitors would be protected by high-voltage fences and other protections, in the film, these systems would fail, and the dinosaurs would run loose.
"Jurassic Park" would go on to have two more sequels: "Jurassic Park II: The Lost World" and "Jurassic Park III". It is also my understanding that "Jurassic Park 4" is scheduled to be released in June of 2014.
Becky and I went to see Jurassic Park at the Trolley Corners theater in Salt Lake City in the summer of 1993. I remember feeling very stressed afterward. In fact, as I recall, I said something to the effect of, "I almost wet my pants!"
I do remember the music. I had already come to love John Williams and I was excited to see what he would come up with for this. While most of his work in the film was atonal (I'll explain that in a minute), I greatly enjoyed two grand themes that showed up throughout the film.
"Atonal" (pronounced AY-TOH-nahl) is a style of music introduced in the 20th century. Western music had been built up over 1,000 years with various scales, chords, rules and structures. While these had been expanded on over the years, there was a movement in the early 20th century to "break free" from these shackles. A lot of atonal music that was introduced was, in my opinion, of little value. The 1950s introduced a lot of composers that went out of their way to produce music that was "weird for the sake of weird". But composers like Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schönberg, would show the world that you could represent raw emotion and color through the use of atonality. It's this style that is heavily used in movies and TV today. The next time you're watching a movie and something suspenseful or scary happens, listen to the music in the background. You'll hear what I mean.
The "Jurassic Park" soundtrack will include a lot of atonal tracks. While those are interesting, I really wanted to focus on the two grand themes that came from the movie. Both of these themes are captured in a single track called "Welcome to Jurassic Park". The first half of this piece focuses on what's called the "Theme to Jurassic Park". The second half is almost a march and a very memorable theme, too. Enjoy the presentation and variations on these two themes!