As soon as I decided on film as a general theme for this year’s countdown I knew I wanted something from Home Alone because I wanted a Paris connection in light of the recent attacks just over a month ago. If your memory needs jogging, in Home Alone Kevin is accidentally left at home alone as the rest of the family heads to Paris for Christmas from Chicago (and incidentally, I’m posting this from Chicago on a layover). Kevin is left to face attacks at home from the inept burglars, the Wet Bandits. Most of the film is a terrific John Hughes romp of Kevin’s inventive hijinks to throw off the robbers, but there’s a bit of real Christmas longing and tenderness too. That’s this song, and I’ve embedded it as it’s heard in the film score.
This song, “Somewhere in My Memory” was nominated for an Oscar and comes courtesy of John Williams. Williams has turned out fabulous score after fabulous score (two of my less-celebrated favorites are the Sabrina and The Witches of Eastwick soundtracks), and the world will enjoy another one starting midnight tomorrow (with a little help from Lin-Manuel Miranda). Like many of John Williams’ film scores such as the theme for Jurassic Park or the Star Wars theme, this song, “Somewhere in My Memory,” forms a recurring theme of the entire soundtrack. Williams wrote it as a new carol that he meshed with other traditional Christmas favorites including “O Holy Night,” “Carol of the Bells,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
When the song first appears at the beginning of the score, it bridges the simplicity of a children’s chorus and glockenspiel with Williams’ rich and expansive orchestration. That’s the clip I’ve selected here. It opens with notes that outline the same opening notes of Brahms’ lullaby and has that childlike and soothing sound. But perhaps what captures that feeling even more are the lyrics:
Somewhere in my memory,
Christmas joys all around me,
Living in my memory,
All of the music,
All of the magic,
All of the family home here with me.