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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 25 October 2003
Be warned, John Williams does not conduct anything in this 4 disc boxset: the conductors are Paul Bateman, Nick Raine and Mario Klemens. When i saw this i expected the worst; all of Williams great scores spoiled by people other than himself! I was wrong! This is actually a very good boxset though it does have it's problems!
Having enjoyed Williams music for some time, i come to expect perfect musical scores and for a tribute to him, i also expect this, but a couple of tracks in this boxset are not so! Take Jaws for example, a brilliant score (which in my opinion only works when volume is cranked up), but this one is rubbish to say the least even when loud! The E.T track is too slow and The Raiders March is too fast! Also my favourite Williams score, Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan is 7 seconds shorter than the original (i'm just nick-picking now)! It also doesn't have the Home Alone theme which i was gutted at! Just little niggles here and there but don't let them put you off buying this! Some of them are near perfect such as Superman theme, Star Wars theme, Duel of Fates and Catch Me If You Can!

Some of the themes in the boxset i never knew Williams done such as Jane Eyre(anyone?) and Witches of Eastwick! I suppose this just shows how versatile John Williams talent is!
If you are looking for a perfect Williams tribute, go for John Williams Greatest Hits 1969-1999, if you are looking for just a tribute, then you can't go far wrong with this boxset!!
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on 17 February 2006
Right, im a massive John Williams fan, and when I saw this box set, i had to add it to my collection. Kinda wished i hadnt now though. The Recordings on this cd are for the most part average at best, with one or two exceptions.
Being a musician myself, im probably a lot more nit picky than most consumers would be though. The orchestra, and in particular the brass section, is very scrappy in many of the tracks. Its almost as if they are sight reading their parts, as there are very many mistakes in places, and the tuning is also diabolical a lot of the time (with some horendous vibrato from the trumpets in some of the indiana jones themes, it sounds more like a new orleans jazz band in places). My advice to people looking to buy this is..... well dont. Stick to the John Williams Greatest hits 1969-1999 double cd set, its got all the essential classics conducted by the man himself, with top quality orchestras like the LSO and the Boston Pops Orchestra, without the fillers that pad out some of the cd's on this one.
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VINE VOICEon 28 December 2005
You would kind of expect an album this big to be the definitive collection of a 40-year (and more) career. It isn't. I'm usually sceptical of recordings made by different orchestras and without the original composer as conductor. Well, this isn't too much of a problem on this album. What I was not happy with was the wasted disc space (one disc is only 49 minutes), and some really bizarre inclusions and omissions. For example, do we really need a mediocre cue like The Flag Parade from Star Wars The Phantom Menace while we don't get a charming, playful theme like Home Alone (and the beautiful Somewhere In My Memory from that movie and the sequel)? I'm sure licensing is the issue here, but that's not very helpful to the average consumer, who might think this is a definitive collection.
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on 9 December 2003
UNFORTUNATELY, film soundtracks are not considered mainstream ‘classical’ music and have not received their fair share of airplay on the airwaves.
We all know about Beethoven, Schubert, Vivaldi et al. But there are many more excellent classical composers of the modern era we hear nothing about. Hans Zimmer, James Horner, Alan Silvestri and Jerry Goldsmith are behind some of the biggest films in recent years (Gladiator, Titanic, The Mummy Returns and The Sum Of All Fears respectively).
But there is one that stands head and shoulders above the rest as the most popular, and more importantly, the most successful film score composer of our time.
And this new 4 CD collection of The Music Of John Williams (40 years of music) is a fantastic ensemble of some of the best film scores of the last 40 years.
Two of the discs are given over to the films of Steven Spielberg and features music from 1974 (The Sugarland Express) right through to 2003 (Catch Me If You Can).
We get everything else in between including Jaws, Indiana Jones, ET, Always and then on to more modern films such as Hook, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Amistad, Artificial Intelligence, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report and Catch Me If You Can.
The other two discs are given over to all the other films Williams has composed and conducted from 1966 (The Rare Breed) through to 2002 (Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones).
Even for a fan of film music, there are some real eye openers here. For one, I certainly didn’t know that Williams had composed for Jane Eyre, The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure or The Witches Of Eastwick.
Ok, so Williams does not conduct anything himself on the entire collection but Paul Bateman, Nick Raine and Mario Klemens certainly do a great job with The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Crouch End Festival Chorus.
If you are a fan of film music, this is a great collection of his entire film score collection. It’s not perfect, the learned listener can tell the difference in styles (such as Hymn To The Fallen from Saving Private Ryan) but is a great collection nonetheless.
If you are looking for a perfect Williams tribute, go for John Williams Greatest Hits 1969-1999, if you are looking for just a tribute, then you can’t go far wrong with this boxset.
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on 11 June 2016
The music here is all by the City of Prague Philharmonic - NOT the original soundtracks - and there are times when you don't hear quite what you expected to hear (the spaceship/tuba of CE3K for instance) but this remains a good value collection of first rate music.
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on 31 December 2014
What a composer - every great film score is here, plus some I didn't realise Williams had written. A fantastic collection that will recall memorable scenes from favourite movies and a good quality recording that reveals detail in the orchestration that is only noticed when properly listening to the music rather than it 'simply' being an emotion modifying tool of Spielburg et al. And the CD is less than half the price of a lower quality download from iTunes!
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on 7 September 2013
Don't misunderstand me many (possibly the majority) of the tracks are good, but even in the good tracks you get little flat disappointing moments; it's like having you're favourite meal in a restaurant and discovering that your favourite crispy bit was soggy, and then that it has a hair in it... OK the meal might generally be lovely but your favourite bit was spoiled and then there was something nasty in it that just doesn't belong.

Fine for musical wallpaper, serious listening, not so much, think Indiana Jones... but in a "fancy dress" outfit from ebay.

When you were a kid did your dad have a Mantovani plays Strauss or James Last DOES the classics.... well there you go
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on 23 February 2014
This I bought as a surprise Christmas present for my wife who adores John Williams musical compositions.
Now I have to suggest to our two sons that other CDs would be very acceptable for Mothers Day.
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on 15 October 2013
Overall, this CD set is very good. You get all of John Williams early scores right up to his most recent " Catch Me If You Can".

There are, however some duds. The theme from Jaws is not good, which is a shame as it is one of the composers most famous scores. The City of Prauge Philharmonic just do not seem to have their hearts in playing this track. Worse is Raiders of the Lost Ark. It is played to quickly and if I'm honest, I've never really liked this music as it just comes across as boring. Indeed, the same theme is repeated throughout the score and I can't understand why so much play time was given to these themes.

The theme to Jurassic Park is just terrible. The orchestra seem out of time and again, this score is not one I like. I just think it boring. Maybe John Williams was having a bad day!

To be fair, the orchestra redeem themselves with the rest of the themes played on this album. For me, the best is disk three as this has all the classic scores Mr Williams wrote between 1966 and 1979. Outstanding tracks are The Fury; Dracula; The Towering Inferno; Jane Eyre.
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on 11 May 2015
This is a brilliant reminder of the rare expertise of someone who has written so many well-known and beautiful film scores that instantly bring to life the images and the music that made those films so great.
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