Alan Silvestri has a singular sound that announces his work as few can. His brassy fanfare punches are synonymous with the movies they appeared in, and his themes catch the spirit of the characters and propel the story like any other vital element of a film. The Back to the Future theme has almost a sailing, swashbuckling demeanor about it, and it doesn’t really matter if the sailing is through oceans or time. The Predator theme is a massive figure itself, stalking through jungle brush, with just a hint of percussive clicking to indicate something not quite human is in pursuit.
Silvestri can handle small dramatic moments and comedic flourishes, but when it is time to amp up an action setpiece, few are as equipped as Silvestri — an honor we believe even his peers would bestow upon him.
Star Wars. Harry Potter. Jurassic Park. Jaws. Now you’re hearing the music of John Williams, aren’t you? Williams turns 79 today and yet is still turning out music for his most prominent collaborator, Steven Spielberg. Spielberg’s adaptations of Herge’s intrepid character Tintin and the novel War Horse will both have Williams’ musical touch, as has every theatrical movie in his career except for Twilight Zone: The Movie (which was handled by Jerry Goldsmith) and The Color Purple, via Quincy Jones.
You can’t have a website devoted to pop culture, or a column called The Composers for that matter, without honoring Mr. Williams’ unmistakable mark on modern filmmaking. Happy birthday, may you have many more, and may there be more music in all our collective future.