John Williams: Schindler’s List

19 April 2012, 10:17 | Updated: 30 September 2014, 14:55

The line from Steven Spielberg to the people saved from death by Oskar Schindler (Schindlerjuden, as they were known) is indirect but tangible.

One of those whom he saved, Poldek Pfefferberg, told the story to Thomas Keneally, who published his Schindler’s Ark book in 1982. Pfefferberg met with Spielberg and implored him to turn it into a film. Spielberg knew inside that he would, but told Pfefferberg it would happen in ten years’ time. In the end, the film, with the title Schindler’s List, saw the light of day in 1993, winning seven Oscars, seven Baftas and three Golden Globes.

To provide the music for so moving a film, Spielberg turned to his favourite composer, and John Williams came up with one of his most fitting and heart-wrenching scores. The violinist Itzhak Perlman was hired to perform the plaintive melody that runs through the film. The score was one of the Oscar-winning aspects of the movie, helping it to become one of the most successful in cinema history (with a budget of $22 million, its total revenues topped $321 million).

Recommended Recording

Itzhak Perlman (violin); Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; John Williams (conductor). Sony: S2K 51333.