The Giants and the Patriots will meet on the field at Super Bowl XLVI, but when NBC goes to commercial, John Williams will meet dubstep and other modern music styles.
Intending to reflect the epic nature of this NFL championship, a rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl, NBC commissioned composer Joel Beckerman to create an orchestral-rock hybrid of Williams' 2006 piece "Wide Receiver" for use during the game. Using a rock rhythm section and a 45-piece orchestra -- 90 percent of the musicians were from the New York Philharmonic -- Beckerman recorded a new 90-second version of "Wide Receiver" and newly composed music Thursday at New York's Avatar Studio for the Feb. 5 Super Bowl.
Beckerman described one version as dubstep, another as bombastic rock with percussion, and a third simply as "a percolating soundtrack." It's titled "Epic Matchup." "This year's game is expected to be the most watched telecast in history so NBC wanted it to be much bigger (than earlier versions)," Beckerman said shortly after the session concluded. "I did (an arrangement) in '09 that was much more a fanfare. This is more of an epic soundtrack."
The next step for NBC is take the main theme and the three new pieces and start cutting 30 or 40 versions of different lengths for bumper music that takes viewers in and out of commercial blocks. In 2009, Beckerman, who owns the sonic branding agency Man-Made Music, wrote five pieces that are also expected to be integrated into the broadcast. The music will make its debut just prior to the game.
Beyond Beckerman's work, NBC will use the Super Bowl to tout its musical programming by having the judges of "Sing-off" and "Smash" star appear on air at the game in Indianapolis.