OK, I didn’t mean for today to be Harry Potter day. It’s purely a coincidence that I have three posts in a row that mention it. But I was listening to Fumio Hayasaka’s score to The Seven Samurai all the way through for the first time this afternoon when I was struck my the similarities between a certain thematic passage and, (possibly because i had recently listened to the rock version), John Williams’ Hedwig’s Theme.
Now I’m not suggesting anything ill towards Mr. Williams. I think he’s a great composer who has written some of the best contemporary music for orchestra and I absolutely adore his work for the Harry Potter franchise. But a simple listen should reveal, despite differences in orchestration and arrangement, that the two piece sound similar.
First, The Seven Samurai. This excerpt is taken from the 5 minute intermission interlude. It was written in 1954.
Then there’s Hedwig’s Theme, written in 2001.
What say you? Separated at birth? Coincidence? Or am I reading too much into this one?
One of the advantages of having your own website is that you get to see what keywords are bringing people to it. I recently took notice when somebody stopped by the tunequest looking for "Hedwig’s theme rock version." Being both a fan of both John Williams’ Harry Potter scores and off-beat cover versions, I set out to learn more.
It didn’t take much effort before I had tracked down a copy. Apparently some guys named Andrew and Kenneth of Northern Virginia recorded the theme with what sounds like a standard 4-piece rock band (or some kind of digital equivalent). And while it’s not quite a masterpiece, I do think it is noteworthy. Like if John Williams were writing music for Wyld Stallyns.
Download it here.