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Williams Lifting Tchaikovsky

Discussion in 'Score Study Resources' started by Dillon DeRosa, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. Hi everyone,

    If you don't know I'm a huge fan of Tchaikovsky, and I've stated many times that John Williams is heavily influenced by Tchaikovsky. I wanted to share prob the most direct influence/lift from Tchaikovsky and in the spirit of Christmas.

    Tchaikovsky, Russian Dance Trepak from Nutcracker

    Williams, Holiday Flight from Home Alone

    First notice how Tchaikovsky's 0:14 seconds does the 16th note run into the melody as does Williams does with his melody at 0:03 seconds. Also they're both on the melody note G.

    Notice the very similar feeling and orchestration including the use of tambourine. Even notice how in the B sections of both pieces, (Trepak at 0:28) (Holiday Flight 0:28) have this celli/basses exciting string runs/melody going on.

    Just little comparisons, but I wanted to share with everyone in case you didn't realize and was interested.

    What do you guys think?
  2. Yep, they are very similar. My girlfriend always confuses these two pieces as if they were the same one. And, mind you, she's very familiar with both Tchaikovsky and Williams, because she's a huge music fan and loves both The Nutcracker and Williams's music. But I get why anyone would be confused, they're even in the same key.

    I don't think it would be polite to ask the man, even if we could, my best guess is that he was under some type of time pressure or something like that when writing this, and for some reason, the original song did not fit the movie (most likely a sync issue). I can't think of anything else that would pressure a composer to take melodic shape, orchestration, key, structure and even the ornamentation from the same piece, it seems a bit much.
    Dillon DeRosa likes this.
  3. Great post @Dillon DeRosa once again. I also love Tchaikovsky and Williams. In fact, I think my love for the music of John Williams is directly related to his "channeling" the spirits of some mighty classical composers of the past. In this particular case, I think the Tchaikovsky version seems to me far better than the Williams imitation. This is despite the fact that I am certain the Williams version would be far more difficult to perform, and Williams goes to great lengths to use lots of flashy gestures (almost every measure).
  4. Yes! I actually heard J.W.'s before Tchaikovsky's when I was a little kid. When I finally heard Nutcracker I was like, wait isn't that home alone?

    I agree, it was most likely was a time pressure or demand of producer(s) or director(s). I love the piece still as when I hear it I think of the home alone scene, the family running through the airport! But the similarities are very strong indeed. :D
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  5. Thanks Paul!

    Yes, exactly! I love that Williams channels and tries to make his inspirations/likes from the great classical composers into his own work. I do 100% agree though that I prefer Tchaikovsky's piece.
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  6. I've always wondered why they didn't just used the Tchaikovsky original.
  7. It feels more fun!
    Dillon DeRosa likes this.

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