John Williams - Schindler's List

An emotive Oscar-winning score from cinema's maestro of movie music.

Liam Neeson

The most successful movie composer ever, John Williams has penned some of the most emotional orchestral music of the past 40 years. 

When his longtime collaborator, the director Steven Spielberg, showed him Schindler's List , the composer felt it would be too challenging to score. He said to Spielberg, 'You need a better composer than I am for this film.' Spielberg responded, 'I know. But they're all dead!' 

The great violinist Itzhak Perlman was brought in to play the heartbreaking main theme. He was amazed at the authenticity of John Williams's sound, evoking the traditional Jewish music of central Europe.

In the scene where the ghetto is being liquidated by the Nazis, the folk song Oyfn Pripetshik ('On the Cooking Stove') is sung by a children's choir. The song was often sung by Spielberg's grandmother to her grandchildren. The clarinet solos heard in the film were recorded by Klezmer virtuoso Giora Feidman. 

Williams won a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Original Score for the film, his fifth Oscar.

Williams: Schindler's List recordings

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