Folk legend inspired blockbuster film score

nrhn 090212 ''Composer and folk musician John Tams at the opening night of War Horse at the Quad cinema in Derby.
nrhn 090212 ''Composer and folk musician John Tams at the opening night of War Horse at the Quad cinema in Derby.

A MULTI award winning musician from Nether Heage has told how he helped a legendary composer with the score for the blockbuster film War Horse.

Former Belper News editor John Tams this week spoke of how he guided John Williams to write the soundtrack to the Oscar-nominated movie via a series of emails and calls to his Hollywood office.

nrhn 090212'A still from the movie War Horse

nrhn 090212'A still from the movie War Horse

John, who started his working life as a Derbyshire reporter in the 1960s, co-composed the music to the stage play of Michael Morpurgo’s book when it hit the West End in 2009.

And in 2010 he was enlisted by Hollywood director Steven Spielberg to advise legend Williams, the composer behind the Star Wars and Indiana Jones soundtracks, on the War Horse movie, out in cinemas now.

Mr Tams said: “I got a call from Steven Spielberg’s office asking if I would take a conference call with John Williams and Kathleen Kennedy, the producer.

“You can’t really say no when you get a call of that nature!”

Mr Tams went on to describe how he helped inform Williams, who turned 80 yesterday, on the orchestral score for the movie.

War Horse tells the tale of Joey, a teenager’s beloved horse sold to the cavalry and shipped to France during the First World War.

He said: “I chatted with John (Williams) a lot and gave him some insight into what I believe the style of music would have been at the time in the early 20th century in a rural community.

“I never actually met him, but I spent two months working with him pretty regularly.

“We exchanged emails, phone calls and MP3 recordings.

“He is nearly 80 so he couldn’t fly really, but we worked as close as we could without actually meeting.”

Mr Tams, now 62 and also a well known folk solo artist, theatre producer, actor and broadcaster, said rural Derbyshire and his home village have long been an inspiration for his music.

“I’m inspired by my community of course,” he said. “It’s a lovely place to be and I never want to live anywhere else.”

And he was full of praise for John Williams’ score .

He said: “I think John did an excellent job. He is one of the most celebrated composers in the history of the ‘talkies’.”

Mr Tams is working as musical director on the Canadian version of the War Horse play. It is due to open in Toronto at the end of February.