The three-disc set includes two previous compilations – 1991’s The Spielberg/Williams Collaboration and 1995’s Williams: The Classic Spielberg Scores – and a new disc recorded in 2016 with Williams conducting the Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles. The older compilations feature music from 1974’s Sugarland Express through 1993’s Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List, while the new disc boasts music from the numerous Spielberg movies Williams has scored since.
Among film scores featured on the new set are Lincoln, Saving Private Ryan, War Horse, The Adventures of Tintin, Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, The BFG, Amistad, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Terminal, Munich and the documentary, The Unfinished Journey (Williams garnered a whopping seven Oscar nominations for the aforementioned films). During the 2016 sessions, Williams also reworked and recorded a new version of “Marion’s Theme” from Raiders of the Lost Ark, which is available to hear via The Hollywood Reporter.
The Ultimate Collection also comes with a DVD, Steven Spielberg and John Williams: The Adventure Continues, a new documentary from Laurent Bouzerau, who’s been chronicling Spielberg’s work for over two decades. In a clip from the film, Williams discusses his reworking of “Marion’s Theme” as well as getting the chance to perform his music for Spielberg’s films without the film itself.
“I could say, even as I sit with one of the greatest filmmakers in the world, I love playing these pieces without the distraction of the film,” Williams says as Spielberg laughs beside him. “So that we can play all of it and we don’t have to make pianissimo for measure 57 because somebody says something.”
Spielberg adds, “It’s like turning a horse out to pasture and letting him just run headlong.”