June 10, 2021

Legacy Conversations: Steven C. Smith and William Stromberg

Distinguished author Steven C. Smith and composer & conductor William Stromberg discuss the lineage that connects John Williams and the great composers of the Golden Age of Hollywood, including Bernard Herrmann and Max Steiner

John Williams is the film composer who, more than any other, was able to take the great tradition of the Golden Age of Hollywood's film music and revive it for modern audiences. Thanks to the impressive box office success of such films as Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Superman, the late 1970s saw a resurgence of the classic symphonic film score as intended by the great composers of the Golden Age: Max Steiner, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Alfred Newman, Dimitri Tiomkin, Miklós Rózsa, Franz Waxman, were the forefathers of what is commonly referred as "the Hollywood sound", i.e. the lush, romantic orchestral vernacular in vogue during the 1930s, '40s and '50s, mostly based on the great tradition of Late Romantic symphonic music from Europe, of which all the aforementioned composers were all natural descendants. This type of vibrant, colorful and emotional musical accompaniment defined Hollywood's film music until the dramatic turn of the tide known as the end of the studio era in the early 1960s. John Williams restored almost single-handedly that tradition with a sincere, heartfelt homage to those musical stylings and a new renaissance of film music began.

This is the starting point of this new episode of the Legacy Conversations series on The Legacy of John Williams podcast, featuring two very esteemed and distinguished special guests who are among the most respected authorities on the subject of classic film music: author Steven C. Smith and composer/conductor William T. Stromberg.

Steven is an Emmy-nominated documentary producer, author, and speaker who specializes in Hollywood history and profiles of contemporary filmmakers. He is the author of two acclaimed biographies: Music by Max Steiner: The Epic Life of Hollywood’s Most Influential Composer (Oxford University Press), and A Heart at Fire’s Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann (University of California Press).

William T. Stromberg is a respected composer and conductor working in the film music business since the late 1980s. Together with his artistic partner John W. Morgan, he produced an impressive amount of brand-new recordings of classic film scores from the Golden Age of Hollywood by Max Steiner, Bernard Herrmann, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Franz Waxman, Dimitri Tiomkin and other illustrious composers, including premiere complete recordings of such iconic scores as King Kong, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Fahrenheit 451, The Egyptian.

The profound expertise and knowledge of both Steven C. Smith and William Stromberg make them the ideal guests to talk about the lineage that connects John Williams to the great tradition of the Golden Age of Hollywood’s film music, especially to composers like Max Steiner and Bernard Herrmann.

For more information and the list of the musical excerpts featured in the episode, visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2021/06/10/steven-c-smith-william-stromberg-podcast

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