When John Williams was in Poland to record the soundtrack for Schindler’s List , he watched a few minutes of footage without the music. “I looked at this wide shot of masses of Jewish people being herded through the Warsaw Ghetto, all with shaved heads,” John recalled. “And I burst into tears.”
“That evening when I was about to leave, I asked if I could go by the piano. And I sat down and for an hour straight played through all of Schindler’s List .” John said that he thought about little other than the music for days after his short visit.
“The emotion came out of me at full strength,” John described, “because I was playing the music for what I had seen, not just imagining it.” John later said that he thought Steven Spielberg would have been pleased by his passion because “the essence of film is emotion”.
After John suggested to Spielberg that violinist Itzhak Perlman should play Schindler’s theme on the piano, John and Itzhak recorded the piano track together. John also wrote a string arrangement of Schindler’s Theme for the movie’s end credits. This was John’s third Oscar nomination, and he won his fourth Oscar for this score.