John Williams, the American composer best known for his film scores to Star Wars, Jaws, E.T. and Indiana Jones, composed this fanfare for the Los Angeles Olympic Games of 1984.  Williams wrote that his music was intended to represent “the spirit of cooperation, of heroic achievement, all the striving and preparation that go before the events and all the applause that comes after them.”

Since the opening fanfare was to be played by herald trumpets at all the medal ceremonies and official Olympic events, it had to be based on the harmonic overtones these instruments could produce. The music also needed to be split into small chunks to be used before and after commercial breaks.

The opening fanfare for brass and trumpets is in two sections which are then repeated. A crescendo on the final chord leads to a quiet snare drum figure that carries on throughout the following section. This opens with a noble ‘Olympic Theme’, answered quietly by the second part of the fanfare on trumpets and woodwinds. Low woodwinds and strings, supported by horns, then state a jauntier melody which builds to a repeat of the second part of the fanfare. Low brass instruments now join in with the percussion on the rhythmic ostinato and the orchestra sings the noble theme in full force. In the exciting coda, pieces of the fanfare are passed around between horns and trumpets.

Composer:  John Williams Title of Musical Work:  Olympic Fanfare and Theme

London Concert Choir concerts featuring this musical work: