What a score
Legendary composer John Williams writes new ESPN anthem for TCU-Georgia National Championship
Talk about a big score. In what is believed to be the largest-scale musical commission ever for ESPN, the sports network has commissioned Hollywood icon John Williams to compose a new anthem for the College Football Playoff National Championship between TCU and University of Georgia, Varietyreports.
The game, which airs on ESPN at 6:30 pm Monday, January 9 from California's SoFi Stadium, will be preceded by Williams' new three-and-a-half minute theme called "Of Grit and Glory.”
The music will back up special visuals that convey “the feeling behind the night, fear and anticipation, triumph and failure,” ESPN co-director and producer Martin Khodabakhshian tells Variety. The magazine, which got an exclusive preview of the new anthem, says it "plays like a joyful overture, opening with fanfares and shifting seamlessly from martial urgency to anthemic splendor, all richly orchestrated and instantly memorable."
Williams - whose famous compositions include four Olympic fanfares - told Variety he was thrilled to be asked to write the theme for the championship.
"Intercollegiate football has been at the heart and soul of our nation’s life for so long that the opportunity to musically salute this great tradition has been a particularly meaningful joy for me," he tells the magazine. "The games themselves always raise the collective spirit and, in the end, the competition brings us all closer to a place where the concept of winners and losers dissolves into mutual respect and admiration. The invitation to write this music constitutes a great honor for me, and I feel especially privileged to make a small contribution to one of our country’s most treasured traditions.”
Williams reportedly recorded the theme with a 96-piece orchestra on the Sony scoring stage in a three-hour session on December 21. ESPN filmed it using seven cameras.
It remained top secret until game day, January 9.
The new music - the main anthem plus shorter snippets - will be heard throughout the TCU-Georgia matchup, but its use after the game is unclear, Variety reports.
A five-time Oscar winner, Williams, 90, is best known for his Hollywood film scores, including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Jaws.