Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade – music by John Williams

Indiana Jones And The Last CrusadeIn Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, John Williams composes the music for the last film in this famous series (or at least, we thought back then). In my review of Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom, I said that the album had an overall majestic feel. In this album, Williams decides to go for a more orchestral feel, with heavy usage of stringed instruments. It almost feels ambient in certain places, with very quiet sustained notes and light dynamics in the piece, like in “The Penitent Man Will Pass”.

The album starts with “Indy’s Very First Adventure”, a calm track that soon breaks into strings and flutes and then later on picks up in excitement and dynamics. “X Marks The Spot” builds up the usage of horns, but soon falls into the aforementioned ambience.

In “Scherzo For Motorcycle And Orchestra”, John Williams shows off his classical chops. “Scherzo” is an Italian word for “joke”, and usually used as a term for a single movement in a larger symphony. Williams lives up to the title by giving the song a playful feel, with a return of the Indiana Jones theme throughout the song. Unfortunately, there seems to be no motorcycle included in the piece.

“Ah, Rats!!!” returns to Williams’ use of dissonance, using it to punctuate deep dark tones and create a sense of anxiety (most likely to Indiana Jones’ loathing of the aforementioned rodents). “The Keeper Of The Grail” starts with sustained notes and again, a sense of ambience, but soon breaks into a slow emotional piece. On the other hand, “Keeping Up With The Joneses” is an up-tempo track, brassy and dramatic.

3 out of 4Williams again upholds a fine standard for film music, and give The Last Crusade a worthy send-off. It will be interesting to hear what he has up his sleeve for Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, but one can almost be assured that it will fall neatly with the rest of the music from this series.

Order this CD

  1. Indy’s Very First Adventure (8:13)
  2. X Marks The Spot (3:11)
  3. Scherzo For Motorcycle And Orchestra (3:52)
  4. Ah, Rats!!! (3:40)
  5. Escape From Venice (4:23)
  6. No Ticket (2:44)
  7. The Keeper Of The Grail (3:23)
  8. Keeping Up With The Joneses (3:36)
  9. Brother Of The Cruciform Sword (1:55)
  10. Belly Of The Steel Beast (5:28)
  11. The Canyon Of The Crescent Moon (4:16)
  12. The Penitent Man Will Pass (3:22)
  13. End Credits (Raiders March) (10:37)

Released by: Warner Bros.
Release date: 1989
Total running time: 58:40

Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom – music by John Williams

Indiana Jones And The Temple Of DoomJohn Williams. Steven Spielberg. Two great tastes that taste great together. Ever since Williams worked on Spielberg’s first theatrical film, The Sugarland Express, the two have been nearly inseparable. So, again they pair up for Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom, Spielberg’s 8th film (and Williams’ 47th).

This soundtrack album starts off, interestingly enough, with a Mandarin rendition of the famous Cole Porter song, “Anything Goes” sung by the Kate Capshaw, the female lead of the film. This is from an early part of the film where our hero sees her for the first time. Later on, in “Fast Streets Of Shanghai”, Williams employs Oriental influences (as the name suggests) and a dramatic flair that Williams is well known of. Bits of the Indiana Jones theme carry throughout the piece.

On the track “The Temple Of Doom”, chanting is used to give the song a dark, ominous feel as we come across the temple for the first time. “Bug Tunnel And Death Trap” has brief moments of dissonance, underlining the horror of the place. Melodies reach higher and higher, creating a sense of anxiety and confusion. On the other hand, the track “Slave Children’s Crusade” is loud and majestic, with booming cymbals and a strong string section serving as the anchor of the piece.

An interesting thing to note is that John Williams often employs leitmotif in his scores. That is to say, he composes and assigns themes to certain characters or ideas in the films. For example, in the Star Wars series, he composed separate themes for the characters Princess Leia, Yoda and Darth Vader as well as others (although it is Darth Vader’s theme that everyone usually thinks of). On this album, Williams downplays that aspect a bit. Even though the character Short Round has a theme, most of the music is incidental music and not specifically tied to a character. Even Indiana Jones’ own recognizable theme doesn’t make a full appearance until the finale. In my opinion, not having a “stand-out” piece detracts from the work as a whole.

3 out of 4The soundtrack carries a dramatic feel. One of the recognizable strengths of John Williams is that he very much as a unique styling in his music. You can listen to a piece by Williams and immediately sense that, even if you don’t know explicitly that it is Williams’ work, you know at least it’s meant for a film or a similar endeavor. Overall, a fine score that stands up well on its own apart from the movie.

Order this CD

  1. Anything Goes (2:51)
  2. Fast Streets Of Shanghai (3:44)
  3. Nocturnal Activities (6:01)
  4. Short Round’s Theme (2:32)
  5. Children In Chains (2:44)
  6. Slalom On Mt. Humol (2:26)
  7. The Temple Of Doom (3:00)
  8. Bug Tunnel And Death Trap (3:33)
  9. Slave Children’s Crusade (3:29)
  10. The Mine Car Chase (3:42)
  11. Finale And End Credits (6:27)

Released by: Polydor
Release date: 1984
Total running time: 40:29