97 episodes

Take a musical journey through the 60-year career of film composer John Williams!

The Baton: A John Williams Musical Journey Jeff Commings

    • Film History
    • 5.0 • 17 Ratings

Take a musical journey through the 60-year career of film composer John Williams!

    Episode 97 - Revenge of the Sith

    Episode 97 - Revenge of the Sith

    Host Jeff Commings starts this episode of "The Baton" with a not-so-great opinion about John Williams' score to "Revenge of the Sith," the final film in the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy. Can co-host Andrew Ledford change our host's mind about the score as they discuss the use of the Emperor's theme, the Force theme and the music for all the lightsaber battles? It's going to be a tough sell, but by the end of the episode, it's likely that hearts and minds will be changed about this film ... except for Hayden Christensen's acting, of course.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Episode 96 - The Terminal

    Episode 96 - The Terminal

    Though the movie and score for "The Terminal" might seem like a blip on the radar, neither Steven Spielberg nor John Williams approached this film any less seriously than their major successes. The story marks Tom Hanks' third film with Spielberg, as an Eastern European man stuck in the JFK airport for nine months. Williams supplies a wonderfully light theme for Viktor, as well as a lyrical love theme that host Jeff Commings believes could have been turned into a beautiful love song by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Grab a plate of cannelloni and join us for this exploration of an often-forgotten Williams score.

    • 32 min
    Episode 95 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    Episode 95 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    Many John Williams fans sneered at the music for "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," mostly because the Maestro chose to almost completely scrap the musical ideas he created for the first two films in favor of darker themes and tonalities in Alfonso Cuaron's take on the franchise. Host Jeff Commings is joined by Paulius Eidukas as the two talk about some of the new themes that make up the score and how some of the compositional techniques made Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew musically intertwined with each other. Both praise Williams' work for the film and lament there wasn't another opportunity for Williams and Cuaron to collaborate after this project. 

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Episode 94 - Catch Me If You Can

    Episode 94 - Catch Me If You Can

    John Williams capped off a marathon year of writing film scores with his Oscar-nominated composition for Steven Spielberg's dramedy "Catch Me If You Can." The score gave Williams the opportunity to return to his jazz roots, writing music that reflected the 1960s setting of the film. Many of the music cues feature saxophone solos by Dan Higgins, who joins host Jeff Commings to talk about his musical background and why playing the music in the score fit perfectly into his performance style.

    • 1 hr 14 min
    Episode 93 - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

    Episode 93 - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

    The demanding work schedule John Williams faced in 2002 meant he had to make a tough choice for his score to "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." He asked composer/orchestrator William Ross to help out by adapting much of the music from the first film for use in the sequel, while fitting the new music Williams wrote into certain places. This allowed Williams to work on Steven Spielberg's second film of the year, but it meant trusting that Ross would do a good job with his music. Host Jeff Commings details the specifics regarding Ross' responsibilities, as well as Williams' new thematic material and how it is presented in the film. Brush up on your parseltongue and enjoy this latest episode!

    • 31 min
    Episode 92 - Minority Report

    Episode 92 - Minority Report

    John Williams didn't have a lot of time to think about the score for Steven Spielberg's futuristic science fiction thriller "Minority Report," going right into the project almost immediately after finishing work on "Attack of the Clones." Spielberg and Williams agreed on a score that put more emphasis on tone rather than melody, something that was quite new for a Spielberg/Williams collaboration. But, the film manages to create some compelling themes and interesting action cues, with the flute section getting a lot of play during some masculine and powerful fight scenes. Host Jeff Commings breaks down the various themes and finds an interesting comparison to the music in one scene to music used in a groundbreaking comedy 10 years earlier.

    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
17 Ratings

17 Ratings

ramhouse3 ,

An Incredible Discovery.

I can not get enough of this podcast. Jeff and guest hosts are so addictive to listen to if you’re a fan of John Williams or movie scores in general.

It is so well researched and informed and can not recommend this enough. I thought I was a big fan until I discovered this, quite late actually, and have binged whenever I can.

I particulalry The Accidental Tourist and Saving Private Ryan episodes as these are lower key scores that I thought I was the only lover of.

I have found myself crying at some of the conversations and beautiful music and is great to hear what all of their favourites are.

Love this podcast. Love it.

SophiaH1 ,

Eagerly waiting for next episode

Really enjoying the podcasts, next episode will be starring my dad Siddique Hussain.. looking forward for that one :-)

Dukebases ,

Fantastic podcast

Beautifully presented with great clips of different JW film scores. Little anecdotes thrown in that keep it all so captivating.

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