Saving Private Ryan

Saturday Soundtrack # 6

Saving Private Ryan, Dreamworks Records DRMD 50046, released 1998, 60 minutes, 10 cues. Music by John Williams

In honor of Veteran’s Day, next Wednesday November 11, here’s a CD of Music From the Original Motion Picture Saving Private Ryan, composed and conducted by John Williams.Saving Private Ryan CD cvr sml

Everyone knows John Williams’ music, he’s written for a LOT of films. Here’s a partial list, less than half of them. If you haven’t heard music from any of these, you’ve been living on another planet, for a long time:

Diamond Head (1963), None But the Brave (1965), Valley of the Dolls (1967) The Reivers, Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), Jane Eyre (1970),The Poseidon Adventure (1972), The Long Goodbye (1973), The Paper Chase (1973), The Towering Inferno (1974),  Earthquake (1974), The Sugarland Express (1974), Jaws (1975), The Eiger Sanction (1975), Midway (1976), The Missouri Breaks (1976), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Jaws 2 (1978), Superman (1978), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), The River (1984), Empire of the Sun,(1987), Hook (1991), Schindler’s List (1993), Nixon (1995), Seven Years in Tibet (1997), Amistad (1997) and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005).

Oh, and all of the Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park  films.

Williams’ film music generally has a theme, often large and sweeping, that carries through the entire soundtrack, with many cues repeating and embellishing. The theme is always repeated in the closing music. In Saving Private Ryan, that theme is “The Hymn ot the Fallen”, and it’s repeated or suggested thoughout the 60 minutes. In fact the 10th cue here is a full reprise of the opener.

This is stirring, but not blasting, war music. If you’ve seen the film you have a good idea. What’s nice here, and not all that usual in film music, that that the nine pieces are of goodly length. Often with soundtracks there are many short bits, under a minute or under three minutes. That’s usually the way it is with film music. However, on this CD, the music is put into a suite by the composer, so the individual pieces are longer, the shortest being 4:31 and the longest 11:03. Very nice.

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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5 Responses to Saving Private Ryan

  1. Patti Abbott says:

    I wonder why I so rarely notice the music in a film unless it’s music I already know. I saw a movie two nights ago and I couldn’t tell you a thing about the score. Sad, isn’t it?

  2. Richard says:

    Not sad, Patti, just typical. Most people notice the music only as an accent to what’s on the screen. I notice film music as I watch because I listen to a lot of instrumental music (mostly classical, and soundtracks but some jazz) and I listen for it when I see a film. Often when my wife and I see a film afterward I’ll make a comment about the music and she’ll not have noticed it at all.

    I believe the best film music is both integral to the film but should also stand alone. If you heard “Hymn to the Fallen”, I think you’d recognize it.

  3. Ray says:

    I have ‘Hymn To The Fallen’ from this movie on a compilation disc.
    A good film score can enhance a good movie.

  4. Richard says:

    It surely can. I do a soundtrack review every Saturday, hope to see you back.

  5. Finally, a soundtrack I already own! You’re right about the music both enhancing a movie and standing on its own, Rick. Despite John Williams’ prolific career, he maintained a high level of quality control. There aren’t too many clunkers in his oeuvre.

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