steven Spielberg john Williams

How many film collaborators are as closely tied as John Williams and Steven Spielberg? They’d be a benchmark in the director-composer relationship if it were only for the big, generation-defining tracks — the sort you could start humming in your head with just the slightest provocation — but theirs is a pairing that runs from picture to picture, encompassing even more moods, genres, tones, and feelings than it does decades. For a window into their professional and personal history, we recommend a 2011 AFI masterclass between the two.

This makes their separation on Spielberg’s excellent new picture, Bridge of Spies, all the more strange. (The reasons are sadly ordinary, having come down to Williams’ health.) But Thomas Newman, the helmer’s first “new” composer since Quincy Jones, carried himself well, covering ground that’s not unfamiliar to Williams fans while still carrying his flair for effective, none-too-bombastic scoring. If you’ve seen the film, huzzah: its soundtrack is not only available to stream on Spotify, but holds up rather well as its own shadowy, inspirational bit of work.

Watch and listen below:

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