Jane Eyre (1971)
Music Composed And Conducted By John Williams
Produced By Lukas Kendall
LaLaLand Records LLLCD 1214
11 Tracks – Disc Time: 33:42 Grade: B+
Jane Eyre was another famous adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s novel directed by Delbert Mann who directed another famous adapation of Heidi in 1968, which was notorious for pre-empting the final two minutes of the infamous Jets/Raiders play off game. This adapation starred the late George C. Scott and Susannah York and aired on NBC’s Bell System Family Playhouse in March of 1971 after a theatrical release overseas and it turned out to be a huge success for NBC generating huge ratings.
After writing the music for Heidi in 1968 as Johnny Williams, the now musically mature John Williams, who would winding up winning Oscars for Jaws and Star Wars years after this film and gaining a huge popular fan base scores for such as The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, Family Plot, Black Sunday and Close Encounters of The Kind soon after along with an Oscar for music adapation for The Fiddler On The Roof. Jane Eyre like Heidi and The Reivers, is one of the earilest scores of this time period where his future style would be front and center. The quiet, intimate and romantic style that would be a staple for the rest of his career and easily made him one of the more popular American composers in history.
This score which could become a staple in Williams’ concert ovre with the Boston Pops Orchestra was one of the more sought after soundtracks in 90’s and soon after due to the fact that the CD which was released by Silva Screen Records went out of print for sometime until it was reissued in 1999 and again went out of print soon after. Is a very intimate and lyrical work full of wonderful lush melodies and orchestrations beginning with the “Jane Eyre Theme” which is pure romance. Lovely piano, harpischord and flute solos that are just so heartwarming and elegant like Williams’ style. “Overture (Main Title)” which follows is a variation and full rendition of main theme established in the opening album track. Lush strings, woodwinds, and harpschord drive the track establishing the central themes of the score with regal quality. “To Thornfield” is wonderful vintage schertzo by Williams that full of energy with full emphasis on melody and the lush romance established early on. The track has the certain feeling of his future work “The Land Race” for the film Far And Away over twenty-years later. There is some darkly hued material where the harpsichord and tense string work in “Grace Poole and Mason’s Arrival” that really shifts the scores romantic aspects to something more sinister along with the track “Thwarted Wedding” where more heavy strings and ominous woodwinds really have more suspenseful feeling to them. “Reunion” is the album’s fine and engaging finale for the score where the music plays off a bit off the darker material and switches over to the lush romance of the main theme. Soaring strings, a sweet flute and tinkling piano bring a wonderful and majestic close to both the album and the score.
This wonderful reissue by LaLaLand Records features a bright new sound to the music which sounds far suprior to the original releases by Silva Screen and it’s an important release of Williams’ grand early masterwork to which he had to sit down and listen and reorchestrate the score from to create the suite of music for his concerts in the future. The sad part is that the album couldn’t be further expanded due to the original tapes lost to age, still this album is still a marvellous and elegant work that really deserves to be rediscovered once again. Jane Eyre might not be as popular as his scores for Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Jaws, but for John Williams’ fans it is an essential and great album of his early transition from good composer to greatness.
Jane Eyre is available from http://www.lalalandrecords.com
Limited Edition of 2000 Copies
1. Love Theme from Jane Eyre 3:15
2. Overture (Main Title) 3:55
3. Lowood 2:25
4. To Thornfield 1:51
5. Festivity at Thornfield 2:08
6. Grace Poole and Mason’s Arrival 3:00
7. Meeting 3:07
8. Thwarted Wedding 2:37
9. Across the Moors 2:37
10. Restoration 3:56
11. Reunion (End Title) 4:22