Next up in our look at the work of John Williams for #Johnuary is his work on the soundtrack for the 1978 Superman film.

Interestingly Williams chose not to score the sequels, but many elements from his score for Superman have been used for every Superman film since.

The Main Theme track is interesting as it contains both the Superman Fanfare and also the Superman Main Theme. It’s arguably the Superman main theme which is the most famous and that little kids would sing whilst running around the playground. It’s fun, triumphant and victorious. I still wouldn’t put it quite in the same league as Star Wars and Indiana Jones though. Very nearly but not quite. What does push it up into that league though is the Superman Fanfare at the start. The first 25 seconds of the YouTube track below. I just love this fanfare. And what works so well about it is that it can be used in so many ways. It’s used again later in the main theme and it works well as a marchy, faster paced motif, but I think it’s at its most powerful when played slowly on a single brass instrument, like at the beginning of the movie and also even more slowly at the start of “Leaving Home”. It can be a very poignant fanfare when played in that way.

Here is the Superman Fanfare and the Superman Main Theme

And here is the full soundtrack playlist.

The first minute and a half of “The Planet Krypton” is so satisfying. Simple yet sublime. I think it’s tubas playing that? Gorgeous.

“Love Theme” is a beautiful track which is certainly a standout in this great soundtrack.

“Fortress of Solitude” is also one that I like. Some nice use of choir vocals and callbacks to the great motif from “The Planet Krypton”.

It’s a very good soundtrack which is great to listen to and has some iconic themes. Not quite a Star Wars though but it’s still one of Williams’ best. The Superman Fanfare does elevate it to greatness though.