CD Earthquake no longer available
By 1984, John Williams’ film music was familiar to audiences the world over and it was only natural that the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee would turn to the city’s most famous composer of popular instrumental music when they decided to commission a fanfare to be used during the Games. While it was an honor to be asked to compose such a piece of music, the prospect was not without its challenges. Leo Arnaud’s “Bugler’s Dream” fanfare (from his Charge Suite) had become synonymous with the Olympics since ABC began using it for its televised coverage of the Games in 1968. Any new composition would necessarily compete with the attachment listeners had developed to Arnaud’s music. At the same time, the opening fanfare was to be played by herald trumpets at all of the medal ceremonies and official Olympic events, so it had to be based on the harmonic overtones these instruments were able to produce. Williams met these challenges with aplomb, creating a piece that is the very definition of “goose bump” music. He presented the world premiere with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall on June 12, 1984.