THE BOOK THIEF
A critical element in establishing and reinforcing THE BOOK THIEF's themes and characters is the score. Long before cameras started rolling, the filmmakers set their sights on a composer whose majestic achievements in film scoring are unparalleled: John Williams.
Throughout a career spanning six decades, Williams has become one of America's most accomplished and successful composers for film and for the concert stage, and he remains one of our nation's most distinguished and contributive musical voices.
He has composed the music and served as music director for more than 100 films, including all six Star Wars films, the first three Harry Potter films, Superman, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July and Home Alone. Williams' 40-year artistic partnership with director Steven Spielberg has included many of Hollywood's most acclaimed and successful films, including Schindler's List, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Indiana Jones films, Saving Private Ryan and Lincoln.
Like so many film and music enthusiasts around the world, Percival was a huge admirer of Williams' work, and feels extraordinarily fortunate to have the iconic composer weave his magic through THE BOOK THIEF. "I was amazed and thrilled when John agreed to compose the score," he says. "I grew up watching Steven Spielberg's films scored by John. They had a big influence and attraction to me. I spent hours sitting in cinemas, enjoying the ride and loving every minute. The thought that I am now actually working with this great man is still quite beyond belief. He is a legend, a genius and a true gentleman. I am in awe."
For several years, Williams has chosen to compose film scores exclusively for Mr. Spielberg. THE BOOK THIEF is his first film score for another filmmaker since 2004's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The legendary artist accepted the new assignment because, "I was captivated by The Book Thief. First, by the book itself, with its originality and imagination, and then by the film, done with such tenderness and simple humanity by director Brian Percival. When Mr. Percival invited me to compose the music for his project, I was delighted at being offered the privilege of creating a score that might be worthy of the notions and ideas contained within this illuminating film."
"John saw this film as a departure from some of the work he has done in the past, including the huge, fanfare scores for which he is best known," adds Percival. "His score for THE BOOK THIEF is a very emotional one. I think that challenge appealed to him."
Williams and Percival agreed that much of the film's score would eschew big orchestrations, opting instead for music characterized by what Percival calls "a simple, honest beauty."
"The images in the film reflect the innocence and humble nature of the story we are telling," the director continues. "It would be wrong to create a grand score that would overshadow the simple lives of the ordinary people of Himmel Street, and John understood this. He has written a score that is beautiful and perfectly suited to this approach, and it moved me to tears."
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