Samuel Barber
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Number-two seed Samuel Barber versus John Williams.

John Williams is probably the best known American composer in the world. Probably? How about definitely? Is there a better known riff than the Jaws theme? Who hasn’t seen Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark?

It would be easy to call this music superficial, but is it? I wouldn’t call Schindler’s List superficial music.

Jaws, the opera.

Williams gets grief for sampling the great composers but it’s not like he doesn’t write great original music.

The issue with John Williams is that he’s not creating the emotions in the music, he’s enhancing the emotions and actions in a movie. We consider that to be less artistic. I’m not sure why. Puccini was creating emotions in music based on the story of the libretto he was working on.

In fact, all great opera composers are doing that. As I keep thinking about this, I’m becoming more and more convinced of the merits of "movie music."

I’ve always enjoyed music from the movies but felt a little bit guilty about it because, come on, it’s movie music. But it’s still great freakin’ music.

Whatever the case may be, movie composers do appear to be on a lower tier than other composers.

I wonder what a John Williams opera would sound like? I’d like to hear Jaws as an opera. We’ve had Moby Dick the opera, so why not?

John Williams is up against Samuel Barber here and as convinced as I’m becoming as to the merits of film music, there’s no way Barber is going down in the first round here.

Barber is a composer who wrote in all forms of music. He wrote symphonies, songs, opera, concertos, choral pieces, and chamber music.

Barber’s Prayers of Kierkegaard is an example of a great piece of music that gets overlooked. Barber’s reputation is dominated by his Adagio and the Violin Concerto but he wrote a substantial amount of great music.

Barber moves through to the next round.

Americans in the Cup

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