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About this Piece

The 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial offered another seismic success in the relationship between John Williams and Steven Spielberg, and a decision the latter made during the recording process demonstrates the respect each man had for the contributions of the other. Williams was recording the lengthy and complex music for the finale of the film, and he was having difficulty synching the orchestra’s performance to the many precise cuts and beats of the picture edit. After several takes, Spielberg offered to turn off the film and allow Williams to record the music on its own, with exactly the tempi and phrasing he felt the music required. When it was recorded to Williams’ satisfaction, Spielberg then re-cut the end of the film to match this musical performance. The result was one of the most iconic sequences in movie history, and “Adventures on Earth”—Williams’ concert adaptation of this music—provides a fitting conclusion to this evening’s gala program.