John Williams writes a new ESPN College Football Playoff topic

Legendary composer John Williams Wrote an original theme for ESPNCollege Football National Championship, broadcast at 7:30 p.m. EST the night before the TCU-Georgia game at SoFi Stadium in Englewood, California.

Titled “Of Grit and Glory,” it’s three and a half minutes long and will feature a series of specially created visuals that convey “the feeling behind the night, the fear and anticipation, the triumph and the failure,” ESPN co-director and producer Martin Khodabakhshian says. variety.

New williams theme – preview for variety Late Thursday – plays like a delightful show, opening with fanfare and shifting seamlessly from military urgency to anthemic extravaganza, all richly orchestrated and instantly memorable.

Khodabakhshian and his co-director and editor Michael Cialis of Victory Pictures had dreamed of having the world’s most famous film composer write the music for their opening sequence. So three months ago, at the request of lead game producer Bill Bonnell (who had worked with the composer on previous Olympic events), they wrote what Khodabakhshian calls a “love letter” to Williams, outlining their thoughts and gently inquiring about the possibility of an original theme.

“There is no better person on the planet to write about the feelings and things that come with the biggest night on ESPN’s biggest stage, the Super Bowl, than John Williams,” Khodabakhshian says. Adds Sciallis, “We’ve written about the feelings of bringing people together, not just the competition aspect of it, but how the audience is affected.”

Two days later, the word came back: “He’s started writing something.” The ESPN team jumped into action, envisioning a visual sequence that would feature “college football heroes and legends from all eras” but also add “the beauty of Hollywood and California,” where the game would take place, Khodabakhian notes.

Williams performed a 96-piece orchestra on the Sony Recording Stage on December 21. And ESPN was there with seven cameras, capturing the entire three-hour recording session, parts of which will be interwoven throughout the opening segment—”so you feel the energy of those orchestra members, and John, playing this music for the first time, so the audience can feel that, too,” Sciallis says. “.

Sciallis says the “dizziness and excitement” associated with Williams’ new anthem for the big college football game was evident throughout the ESPN executive suites. Yet it has been kept very secret until today. On Saturday, ESPN will tease Williams’ opening and score during the NFL Wild Card Doubleheader.

Williams’ new music will be heard throughout the TCU-Georgia game. He recorded several excerpts from the main piece as well as brief excerpts, “a reconnection piece and a vamp piece,” Sciallis reports; Short pieces that could be useful during the game itself, were modified in the days following the December 21st session.

“It captured the spirit of the night,” says Cialis. Khodabakhshian admitted to breaking down in tears after the recording session. “I am so confused and grateful that he is the goat!”

This is believed to be the largest ever music commission for the Sports Network. What will happen to the piece after Monday night is not clear. ESPN could theoretically use it to broadcast college football in the future; No plans for a commercial release have apparently been discussed.

In terms of music for athletic competition, the five-time Academy Award winner has written four Olympic ceremonies, a spinoff for NBC’s football coverage, and the results for Kobe Bryant’s Academy Award-winning short “Dear Basketball.” He hasn’t written music for television since his theme “Great Performances” for PBS, which won a 2009 Emmy Award.

Williams, 90, was not available for comment. He is currently on the Oscar shortlist for his music for Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans,” and has been working for the past several months on the score for “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” which is due for release on June 30.

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