I think people confuse good music with nostalgic music. Themes such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Jurassic Park will last an eternity, but that is because they are catchy (which undeniably takes lots of talent to compose.) However, John Williams's music does not move me. You know that epic feeling that you get when you hear an incredible part in the music, where you're on the edge of your seat and get goosebumps? I have never gotten that feeling while listening to any of his soundtracks. I HAVE gotten that feeling while listening to Hans Zimmer. I don't care if John Williams has more intricate melodies or denser harmonies, because ultimately, music is meant to inspire and move us.
I love both composers and their music. But, I find Hans Zimmer to be a better composer due to the drama in his music. John Williams is the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Superman composer while Hans Zimmer is the The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, and Man of Steel composer. I truly love both of their music though.
Zimmer's work is a lot more technical and impressive from a technique/music theory standpoint. Williams' has an incredible list of iconic music from lots of different movie eras. The dude is prolific and incredible. I love his music.
That said, what is catchy isn't always the best music. Zimmer's music is sooooo much more dynamic and living. Peaks and valleys, you live and die in his songs. You could study music theory for a lifetime and still be blown away by Hans. His music would have worked without movies, he would have rivaled Beethoven if he had lived back then. Comparing the two Williams has more catchy hooks in little snippits that are great but not a lot of depth, but Hans are pure masterpieces that take the full score to truly appreciate.
Both are incredible in different ways but I'd take Hans by a bit, his music is truly timeless.
I got no real technical critic on any of them, i just know that Zimmer sometimes uses some of the material of his old compositions one the new ones with some tweaks (gladiator and PoTC for example are very similar, just a different rythme and some other teaks) , but as far as i know, John Williams has people to Compose for him and then decides which compositions he signs in his name. Any ways, I find Zimmer´s movies in general more enjoyable. The docking scene in interstellar, time (origin) along with PoTC and Lion King really earns hima spot in my nº1 score composer.
I love Williams. Used to watch the Star Wars Death Star scene on VHS every morning before going to school. I didn't know then how much of an influence Williams had on bringing that scene to life. With this and the other classics the warm feeling will last forever I'm sure.
But - having been a massive fan of Zimmer for years now I think he's set the bench with Interstellar. So original and rich, a less is more approach and study in subtlety. It has it's booming moments but the timing is perfect. I can't criticise Williams but with Interstellar Zimmer has shown incredible originality and gets my vote
Interstellar - never heard anything like it. The Zimmer - Nolan partnership keeps delivering the most immersive cinema around. Both Zimmer and Williams are a class apart but Interstellar sets the bench. Great timing and simplicity, a totally unique approach to scoring a film of this genre. Confirms his superiority
Hans Zimmer has so much more sensitive and emotional scores, Williams has done great job at movies he has done. But if Williams made score for let's say Inception or Dark Knight it would sound horrible - He's good at composing bombastic, loud soundtracks, but Zimmer is so much better in composing by my opinion
Hans' style tends to use more strings than williams' music does, so it creates more of a feel to it and can express wider emotions. But Williams uses brass more Ryan strings and is okay in some situations, but watching the early Star Wars prequels, I felt that it needed zimmer' music and gas too brassy
He has got more variation in his music than Williams and that is the point where he is unique. But i like both they both have same level of qualities. I have seen almost all movies of both and have found that Hans can give score for more type of movies than Williams.
If i like Williams, it's because his music reminds me those cult movies he worked in (Star Wars, E.T). It's because i love those movies that i love their soundtracks. So it's not really 'cause of Williams talent... Actually i find him too pompous sometimes (too many trumpets...).
But, with Hans, it's completely different. He worked on lots of excellent movies too (dark knight, last samurai...) (even if to me, you can't compare Star Wars Saga to anything..). But i can also love his work even if i didn't enjoy the movie : Thin Red Line for exemple : i'm not a big fan of Terrence Malick but the soundtracks of his films are always gorgeous and they help me to keep watching the movie (and sometimes even make me enjoy it a little). So i really like Hans for his talent and not because of the movies he worked in. Also, Hans his able to make me dream with one single musical note: check out Interstellar Main Theme Next movie of Nolan... I've a good feeling for this OST ;)
And don't forget to listen to others than Zimmer and Williams ;)
Howard Shore, Alexandre Desplat, Thomas Newman, Danny Elfman, James Horner, Max Richter, James Newton Howard, Cliff Martinez... Enjoy!
There is no doubt that both composers have created enthralling sound worlds for their respective projects. But Zimmer's scores are primarily feats of sound engineering and, While they can sound chilling or "epic, " rarely achieve the emotional nuance that Williams consistently delivers. After all, John Williams is a descendant of a film-scoring tradition brought to Hollywood by Max Steiner, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Alfred Newman, Franz Waxman, Bernard Herrmann, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. . . The list goes on. Many of these composers were personally taught or influenced by the likes of Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Aaron Copland, Giacomo Puccini. . . All bona fide masters of late-Romantic/Modern composition. One can hear traces of all of these musical legacies in Williams' soaring melodies, Rich harmonies, And colorful orchestrations. Listen beyond his soundtrack highlights and you'll see that he wrote much, Much more than catchy brass fanfares.
Which is great if you like videogames. But not every movie is a videogame. But Zimmer makes every movie sound like one. He also makes every movie sound the same. You can remember at least 5 John Williams themes; you can't remember a single one of Zimmer's, Which means he can't write character themes that are any good.
The difference between Hans Zimmer and John Williams is the difference between Jerry Bruckheimer and Steven Spielberg.
If you can’t tell which one is better I can’t help you.
As for the claim Zimmer is technically/harmonically/musically more rich and complex that is not open to debate. There is more music theory in 10 bars of Williams than in the deafening drone that is most of Zimmer’s work. By any measure: melodic research, instrumentation, variety of meters and tempi, harmonic rhythm (how fast chords change), excellence of voice leading, counterpuntal writing: Williams is in a different universe.
There is a reason nobody has earned more awards and nominations for awards that John Williams.
Every once in a while Zimmer gets creative. Interstellar is a great example. It is also the exception. Subtlety is not what Hollywood asks of Zimmer. He is expected to deliver very loud, percussion driven, sonic adrenaline. He does this perfectly.
Williams runs circles around Zimmer in terms of craftsmanship. Modulations. Never repeating himself twice. Jumping in 3 beats from childish wonder to pure evil. Equally comfortable in the atonal world as in the romantic music vocabulary, or in jazz. Able to channel Ravel, Debussy, Chaikovsky, Copland, Wagner, Holst or Mancini at will and transition from one to the next in 2 bars without you even knowing how he did it.
And of course: one writes everything with a pencil and paper at the piano. The other has an army of assistant producers and works on a computer.
Both have had great careers but only one will forever become part of American musical cultural heritage. The other will be remembered for making really really loud music than not one person can whistle to save their life.
We are talking about two composers of modern music. At some point in the future, this music will be considered classical music. I predict that when people in the future are looking back at this classical music, John Williams will be put on the level of Mozart, and Hans Zimmer will be compared with Salieri.
Anyone who is saying that Hans is more emotional than Williams must never have really listened to the violin solo from Schindler's List. As a musician, you want your music to reach people and make them feel something. Clearly both composers are able to reach people. However, I can't hum as single Hans theme (the main Pirates theme was written by Klaus Badelt), whereas I can hum over a dozen Williams' themes and immediately get transported into the movie scene. Isn't that what a movie composer is supposed to do?
I am sorry, but I can't understand why people think Hans Zimmer is genius. The music sounds always the same (just compare some themes from gladiator and pirates), I am missing melodies that are staying in my head, passages that touch me.
John Williams has much more Themes that really touch me and he builds in his themes better in the scene.
I don't know who said that Zimmer orchestrates much better than Williams, but that's completely untrue. Zimmer uses his keyboard and sinthesysers, he doesn't really compose for an traditional orchestra.
Anyway peace to all of you, I am just a huge fan of Williams.
Obviously Zimmer and Williams are great composers, but we have themes such as inception that are really only notable because of the dynamics, but with Williams, we have pieces that are considered to be the best scores of all time, such as Duel of the Fates or the Imperial March
Zimmer himself said that Williams is better than him (interview for Superman).
Zimmer did a great job in the 90's (the Red Line for instance), but today it's not very interesting, doing soudntrack - very well done - to closed each another.
I like how John Williams works, in a former way, creating univers and unforgotten themes.
More enjoyable and bright, with the good movies, done get me wrong i love the batman theme and all but i just personally like John Williams better, I dont know if they already have or not but they should collab and make a good song. SO overall- John Williams :)
Coming from a tuba player, Close Encounters of the Third Kind has to push John Williams above Zimmer. Zimmer is fantastic; he is my second favourite movie composer, but the mothership in close encounters of the third kind (A TUBA :) ) just completely and utterly does it for me :)