October 12, 2020

“They’re Already Here”: Mike Matessino Talks ‘War of the Worlds’

Exclusive video podcast with soundtrack record producer Mike Matessino discussing his restoration work on John Williams's thrilling score for the sci-fi classic directed by Steven Spielberg in 2005

Hosted by Maurizio Caschetto and Tim Burden

Steven Spielberg's big-budget adaptation of the sci-fi classic novel by H.G. Wells War of the Worlds marked the 22nd collaboration between the esteemed director and composer John Williams. The film turned out to be a very unique and perhaps even personal project for the director, who took the opportunity to craft a grim moral tale disguised as an action-packed sci-fi drama.

The movie presented a unique challenge for composer John Williams. The music accompanies the drama with his usual skillfull dramatic sensibility, giving the film's action sequences its necessary propulsive energy, but at the same time avoiding any kind of leeway to conventional scoring. Instead the music enhances the dark, grim tone of the film through violent Herrmann-esque orchestral colors (12 horns, 2 tubas, 5 trombones, 2 sets of timpani playing antiphonally), unstable harmonic language and an overall tone of fragilty and uncertainty. 

The new remastered edition released by soundtrack specialty label Intrada Records has been meticolously restored and produced by Mike Matessino, who worked from the original audio elements to rebuild from scratch the mixes and all the performance edits. The new release is spreaded on two CDs--Disc 1 presents the complete 80-minutes film score with all the cues in chronological order as they appear in the film (including unreleased and extended material), while Disc 2 offers the remastered original soundtrack album, plus a slew of alternate cues that reveal Williams' meticolous creative process for the film.

In this conversation with The Legacy of John Williams, Mike Matessino offers his deep thoughts about how this new release of War of the Worlds came about, how the perception on the film and some of its most controversial aspects changed throughout the years and became even more relevant in today's world, the role of the music within the film and how the new edition was meticolously assembled and produced.

Special Thanks to Mike Matessino and Tim Burden, and to Douglass Fake and Roger Feigelson at Intrada Records

War of the Worlds - Expanded and Remastered 2-CD Edition available for purchase at http://store.intrada.com/s.nl?it=A&id=12263

Visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com for more information

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