Given this film’s subject matter, Williams’ usual vigour and pomp was obviously inappropriate. As a result, the soundtrack for Schindler’s List is defined by a serene sense of muted beauty. The various themes are carried by lone instruments, a violin in most circumstances, in a way that highlights the horrors of the German concentration camps in a far more personal manner, rather than merely the ruthless statistics they produced.
There is a simplicity and elegance to this piece that still manages to deftly convey the inner turmoil and despair that Schindler portrays in the film. Its compositional simplicity belies the emotional depth of the experience, a descriptor that could, perhaps, be applied to virtually all of Williams’ output – the ability to hone in and truly access the emotions of the listener (be they excitement, joy, trepidation, and so on) is the mark of a master composer. While this may seem like the least ‘Williams-esque’ of his scores, the fact it manages to strike those emotional chords in such an effective way certainly stamps it with his everlasting seal.