Lucas, never having been a conventional filmmaker, completed the tar wars (Original) Trilogy (CT) with Return Of The Jed in 1983 (see Appendix: Synopses). However the original Star Wars premise was off 9 episode epic. The TO was the middle three films (Episode IV – A New Hope, Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. And Episode VI – Return Of The Jed) and many fans thought that with Return Of The Jed the saga was complete.
However, in 1999 Lucas released Episode I ? The Phantom Menace, This began the prequel Trilogy (P T) which culminated in 2005 with Episode Ill – Revenge Of The Sits Working in this way has not only meant that the look and design elements of the film (2005 costumes and sets maintaining continuity with 1977 counterparts) have had to be carefully monitored, but have given John Williams a wealth of previous themes and styles in which to work in.
Personally, I believe this to be the best Star Wars score; both as a stand alone piece of film scoring (as it complements the film excellently) but also acts as the shining jewel within the six film crown. Through the recommendation of their mutual friend Steven Spielberg, Lucas and Williams’ union resulted in the resounding, nearly unheard-of success of the Star Wars soundtrack. Yet Lacuna’s use Of an operatic score in A New Hope caused some o raise their eyebrows.
M,’hen George started A New Hope, in the mid-asses,” sound designer Ben Burnt remembers, “the trend was not to have densely scored movies. Music was used sparingly by today’s standards. ” Lucas nevertheless went on to order a soundtrack that played for much of the film’s running time . A New Hope went on to win Williams an Academy Award for his score that year And that was just the beginning of a successful collaboration. Part of this success has been continuity.
Not only has Williams drawn on his previous material from the Star Wars saga for this film, but he has used, as with all the Star Wars films, the London Symphony Orchestra (I-SO) and (certainly for the PET) the London Voices choir. Despite working in a multitude of ways and scoring a wide variety of films, it is ironic that Williams is best known for his grand orchestral scores, like Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and Star Wars. It is no coincidence that these films are part of a series, and for each film in the series Williams has been invited back to do the scoring.
The massive scale of the ALSO has always been integral to the Star Wars films, but in Episode Ill Williams carefully blends synthesized vocal work into the fabric of the score. Williams uses the various sections of the orchestra to great effect. One could suggest that strings and woodwind moments could be quite natural for lush, romantic scenes, whereas brass and percussion will be batteries moments within the film. However, it is Williams’ art that he can juxtapose instruments in classically inopportune moments, yet still create a fantastic score.
One Of Williams’ pet preferences is the use Of the French horn. Throughout the Star Wars films the French horn has always had prominence during the more emotional, quieter moments. For example, the Binary Sunset cone in A New Hope (where Luke looks out over twin sunsets on Tattooing from outside his uncle’s friar) featured a French horn version of the Force Theme, which is also revisited note-for-note as Uncle Owen holds the newborn Luke in his arms looking out over a Binary Sunset at the close of Episode Ill.
The solo French horn also plays a version of the Leila theme as the infant Leila is presented by Bail Organ to his wife. Not only do instrumentation’s choices such as this imbue the Episode Ill score with a sense of continuity within the compass of John Williams’ work, but also establishes itself as a score in a larger collection to Star Wars scores. The use of the ALSO (a 100+ piece orchestra) and the London Voices (an over 180 strong choir) gives a large degree of, well, force, to the recordings.
When Williams thinks a French horn solo will give the best results, he uses a 5010 French horn (such as the Binary Sunset homage on Tattooing), and if he thinks that the French horn is the instrument of choice but needs a thicker texture, or more resolute timbre then will write for all four horns (Timothy Jones, David Patty, John Ryan and Jonathan Lipton It is this integral knowledge of how far to extend parts to instruments that is Williams’ forte. Williams can write in a myriad of different styles and genres.
Perhaps no coincidence that his most well loved scores (most of which have a predominance of large orchestras) happen to be the biggest grossing films at the box Office. Prom E_T, Indiana Jones’, Jurassic Park, (in fact, think almost every Steven Spielberg film) to the recent Harry’ Potter films, large dramatic orchestra has been the way to go. Still, it is With films like Minority Report, Jaws (his first Oscar-winner), Saving Private Ryan, Chandlers List, AAA. Nixon, that emotional context and delicacy become just as important to Williams.
Through Star Wars and his other big-orchestral works he can indulge his clear influences from the likes of Erich Gordon (himself an Oscar winner for The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) ) and become the forefather of the ‘modern’ film score. Starting in the asses with the likes of Gordon, big orchestral scores were popular until the experimental ass and ass where jazz, world music and other influences would saturate the scoring community. However, with the score for the then titled Star Wars (since renamed Episode IV – A New Hope), Williams returned the big orchestra to the tray, where it has resided ever since.
Part to the effectiveness of Williams’ A New Hope score was his extensive use of the leitmotif device. In music drama, this is a marked melodic phrase or short passage which always accompanies the reappearance of a certain person, situation, abstract idea, or allusion in the course of the play; a sort of musical label. Also appears as a dominant and recurring theme. With origins in the operas of Wagner, who wrote particular melodic or harmonic passages that the audience associated with certain characters such as the Sigmund theme from Wager’s teratology Deer Ring Des Unbelieving, Williams’ use of leitmotifs throughout the 30 year history of
Star Wars is never more evident than in Revenge Of The Sits The Force Theme, Luaus Theme and Lei’s Theme all appeared in A New Hope and return in various (and perhaps their most emotional) guises in Revenge Of The Sits. The Imperial March (often quoted as Dart Evader’s Theme although differs from the A New Hope Evader theme), and Hood’s Theme from The Empire Strikes Back return. Also returning is the Emperors Theme from Return Of The Jed. It is through the use Of these themes and tracked music from the PET that Williams creates a sense Of continuity between the preceding five films and Revenge Of The Sits.
In terms of this score, Williams himself said in The Making of Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sits – The Final Chapter by J. W. Reindeer: “My first impression, whenever George shows me these films, is usually, My God, so much? I’m not going to be able to write all that. Because it goes from scene to scene, battle to battle, and fight to fight, I have to confess its always a little bit daunting when I first see these things. May ask George something like, how many weeks did you say we’ve got to do this in?
And he’ll tell me and we laugh,” This is a very important trend with the Star Wars films even more 50 than in Williams’ canon as a whole: there is a lot of scoring in Star Wars. The majority of the film is scored; perhaps as much as of the final two hour twenty minute running time has music added. Add that to the fact that these films have an awful lot of post production and visual effects shots to be completed before release, and it’s no wonder that Williams often appears in danger of running out of time to write and record the pieces for this film.
One of the main elements of this score has surfaced numerous times throughout the Star Wars saga, which is the process Of tracking. With such a back catalogue Of themes and recordings o look back on, much of the thematic material is used in new ways (one of the predominant examples is the appearance throughout all the films Of the Force theme in its various guises), and some is literally taken from previous recordings and used in the final film.
Not only does this alleviate slightly the burden of work on Williams, but also thematically links all six films together. For example, the opening shot of the Battle of Shaky could have had some original music composed and recorded, but a track from Episode – The Phantom Menace entitled Activate The Droid’s, has not only been established as a theme for a Attlee within the Star Wars universe, but fits the action cue too.
It seems in terms of tracking within Revenge Of The Sits that (Sound Designer) Ben art, has not massacred Williams’ score like he did in Attack Of The Clones, where much of the Arena duel was not scored even though Williams wrote exceptional music for that scene (in a curious twist much of Williams’ unused music from the Arena is tracked into Episode Ill), but rather Lucas and Williams have sat down and spotted exactly where new music needs composing, and where tracking of specific previous material is acceptable. This can be seen from the Nanking vs..
Obi Wan cue, which ends on the exact same chord that segues into the opening choir of Duel of the Fates from The Phantom Menace. Most of the tracking of the music in the film was exemplary, with only a few exceptions Although, like most avid listeners of Williams’ music expected to hear the Imperial March when Evader climbs the steps to the Jed Temple, the absence of it, and it’s predominance at the close of Attack Of The Clones, made much more sense in context than would have initially predicted. Some fans Of Star Wars and Williams in general seem to focus too much on associating a piece of music
With a particular scene, rather than as a cue in itself. For example, When Wood confronts Studious in his office, a highly dramatists version of the Imperial March theme is heard, and as Studious is the Empire, this music fits so well With the scene. However, some fans complain that “this is the music from The Empire Strikes Back final duel” and can’t see past this to discover how well it fits with the scene In listening to the CD soundtrack release, it is clear that during certain scenes, such as the CD tracks Nanking vs.. Obi-Wan and Enter Lord Evader have added percussion parts that seem to be ‘additions’ by the sound design apartment.
It seems similar to Ben art’s ‘additions’ to the Attack Of The Clones Druid F-actors sequence; luckily Lucas did not like the metallic percussive ‘sound effects’ and asked John Williams to score that sequence instead! This raises an interesting question regarding ownership and collaboration within the motion picture business. Many critics of film scoring see it as an interior side of music, merely bashing out the same tired old cliche©s time and again, They do not see the craftsmanship involved in weaving a tapestry of musical ideas that complement the moving images so succinctly and successfully.
I personally believe that film scoring is one of the best forms of musical expression available, and at a commercial level is one of the most effective ways of distributing your material too vivid audience. The question that has to be asked is to what extent is the composer in charge of their material? Certainly in Attack Of The Clones Ben Burst’s decision to track the entire Arena sequence when Williams’ new original music (available on the film’s soundtrack CD) was not used seems criminal, but ultimately by wearing both sound designer and editor hats Burnt had the final say. Lay being assistant editor on Revenge Of The Sits, and because Williams and Lucas held detailed spotting sessions (including what material was to be tracked), Burst’s ‘creative’ decisions were limited. Fortunately. The main reason for this, and the explanation for many fan’s bitter disappointment with the previous two prequel films, boils down to the belief that “George Lucas is surrounded by ‘yes’ men” . Lucas will be certain in his convictions towards certain aspects of the film, but then his producers and heads of departments will start working on talking him around to their way of thinking.
This extract from The Final Chapter demonstrates this: Animator Shawn Kelly then plays a rough animation of a scene outside the Jed Temple when Obi-Wan and Wood are attacked, with Wood throwing his lightfaces through a storekeeper, jumping on the troopers chest, and pulling it out. *They do this a lot in video games,” Kelly says. “l like it,” Lucas responds, “but in theory. ” “Dart Evader throws his lightfaces on the walkway [in Episode VI],” Knoll chimes in. ‘”Yeah! Let’s do it,” Rick interjects. Non want to think about it? Rob asks. “l hate to say it, but it seems very UN-Jed,” Lucas says. “But these are difficult mimes,” McCollum counters. “A good Jed does not let goof his sword,” Lucas protests, but adds, “If Wood swings around, he could end up on his chest . -“The matter is left hanging. When the final film was released the scene Of Wood throwing his lightfaces was in the final print, much to the dismay of many fans. It seems that Lucas, the man Who knows exactly What a Jed would or wouldn’t do, could not say no to the people around him.
Fortunately it seems he was much more resilient in terms of Williams’ scoring. Lucas knows how far to push Williams, as another extract from The Final Chapter reveals: As they go up the stairs, heading for the dining room, Lucas explains that after the spotting session, ‘This is it. I wont hear the music until step onto the stage at Abbey Road Studios, Tears always the most exciting part, usually, love ninety percent of what Johnny has done. Of the other ten percent, might complain about five percent of it, and Johnny rewrites it during the weekend.
The other five percent I stay quiet about” I’m sure much of Lucas’ faith in Williams comes not only from the wealth of experience that he brings with his compositions, but also that Williams scores are tremendously popular. Part of the popularity of Williams’ scores is that an audience can understand it and relate to it. If they went into Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and were delivered a post-modern diatribe in atonality, they Would be severely disappointed.
Although mostly diatonic in Origin, Williams is not afraid to use extreme dissonance (particularly to create tension with some Of the more horrific Dark Side moments of Evader’s actions in Episode Ill) when the emotional and semiotic context of the film requires it. It is his knowledge Of how far to push the dissonance that makes all the difference. Certainly the agree of dissonance increases as the film works towards Manikin’s fall to the Dark Side. Williams’ brass parts in Episode Ill can be highly charged, such as in the opening space battle. Or mournfully solemn such as during Paid©’s final words to Obi Wan before her death.
Station within the brass is prevalent for much of the action sequences, Williams either has an innate knowledge of how to create exciting action music, or over 46 years-worth of experience (if you are cynical), Brass station with either woodwind and strings, or full orchestral melodies have been his trademark, and in Revenge Of The Sits they are no experimented, Melodic focus is vital to Williams’ scores. Upon viewing Raiders to the Lost Ark (Indiana Jones), Superman, or Jaws, I debt’ anyone to not be able to whistle the main theme’s melody whilst leaving the screening.
It is the balance of melody and accompaniment that makes Williams relevant. This is not to be completely sycophantic, there are some times where a lack of either discernible melodic strands or driving bass rhythm can just take the edge off the film, but they are rare moments in this picture The melodic material in this film is highly developed. Just taking the Force Theme (see Appendix: Star Wars Thematic Material) as an example unearths a variety of developments depending on the action.
From the opening militaristic rendition (which indicates who the fighter pilots are before their faces are ever shown), to the disappointed woodwind version in the Jed Council chamber (which tells us how Obi Wan is feeling about his Old pedant’s impulsiveness as if the look on his face was not enough), to the triumphant trumpet blasts of Force as Wood defeats the Clones outside the Jed Temple; each character using the Force in different ways, each Force theme being used in different ways. There is only one rendition of Hood’s theme FM The Empire Strikes Back, yet it is at its most touching.
After having been rescued from the Clones by the Hookiest, Wood is given an escape pod and (much like E. It’s exit from the film of the same name) escapes to the stars. At this point there is a subtle yet emotional strings and woodwind voicing of Hood’s melodic theme from Episode V. Notably there are many references to the Imperial March. Although expected to be revealed in its fullest most powerful form (as in The Empire Strikes Back), it does not appear this way, having it’s moment of infamy at the close of Attack Of The Clones, where the taking off of the Republic arms ships railed the true beginnings to the Galactic Empire.
However, it does appear in a number of forms, some incredibly subtle such as the harp chords when Palatine is rescued, some incredibly dramatic such as in the battle been Vodka and Dart Studious, The development of this theme throughout the film perfectly ties the Prequel trilogy and the Original trilogy together. The more sinister representations of this theme occur when the (not yet revealed to be evil) Chancellor Palatine is manipulating and clouding the judgment of the confused Nanking Jaywalker, though these sections are also punctuated with elements f the Emperors theme.
Perhaps the most revealing suggestion of the Kith’s corruption Of the Jed Order is the use Of the Imperial March theme When Nanking is in the Jed Council and is told he is not granted the rank of Master… As Episode II ? Attack Of The Clones showed the blossoming love between Nanking and his wife Paid©, so Williams created a musical motif to complement their closeness. Entitled Across The Stars (and often dubbed the Love Theme for expediency), this piece made up the majority of the Episode II score and returns in various (more and more disintegrating) versions within Revenge Of The Sits.
From being harassed in mostly the same manner as the previous film when Nanking is first reunited with Paid© at their apartment (although with a wonderful solo violin countermanded akin to the more beautiful parts to James Newton Hoard’s The Village score), to the emotionally draining synthesized layering’s whilst Nanking is deciding to intervene in the Chancellors arrest (CD soundtrack title Paid©’s Ruminations), this piece gradually fades away throughout the length tooth score, Not because Nanking feels any less for Paid©, in fact, it is because he loves her so much that he becomes Evader, the ultimate in tragic_ irony, but because he Dark Side of the Force, and it’s musical connotations, are brought into the foreground. Eel at this point I should mention Paid©’s Ruminations; ever since Hans Shimmer’s wonderfully collaborative score with Lisa Gerard for Riddled Coot’s epic Gladiator (2000), ethereal, mellifluous female vocals have surfaced during intensely emotional scenes. Here, Williams’ foray into this use of the female voice adds fantastic insight into the scene. Where there is no dialogue, Williams’ can show the audience what the characters are thinking and feeling clearer than any lines Lucas could have put in the scene. The blending of the (synthesized) female vocal wailing, and synthesized exposition of the Love theme create such a strongly emotional scene that even Nanking makes his decision to stop Mace, as an audience you feel his pain too.
Another cue Of Williams at his most experimental in this film is a bizarre hybrid of scoring and source music; As Nanking meets With Chancellor Palatine in a Coruscate theatre, we are treated to the sight of a troupe of Moon Calamari performing an aerial / water ballet. Here Williams creates source music literally like nothing ever heard in Star Wars before. He uses the throat singing technique, with all the overtones and polyphony associated with it, to create a dramatic and ethereal musical experience. Through this scene Palatine divulges to Nanking the story of the Sits Master Dart Plagues, and as it progresses we hear less throat singing, and more low sinister strings and brass as the focus of the scene changes. This audacious balancing of source music and score creates a memorable musical experience.
It is scenes like the Calamari ballet and Paid©’s Ruminations that show Williams at his most experimental, yet still making the score believable. It is with his more recent works like Revenge Of The Sits and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Cabana that demonstrate an experimental edge and maturity that are a direct influence on the complimentary tone of this essay, Some of the ‘enlightened’ academic criticism of film scoring as an art form and “banging out tired old cliche©s” has been leveled at John Williams because he gives the audience a familiar frame of reference. It is with experimental scoring like the tuft scenes have mentioned that seem to confound the critics and endear his scores to those with more than a passing interest in film.
One of the more memorable and emotional reverberations of original themes is the use Of Lei’s theme. First written for A New Hope in 1977, the theme that captures the beauty yet determination Of the First Daughter Of Alderman is reworked for the lead in to that particular episode. Unpredictably, it is not played when Leila herself is born, but on a French horn when Bail Organ tells Master Wood that he and his Wife will adopt her. Williams’ use of the French horn manages to convey the sadness that the tubing are being split up, yet still retains a glimmer of hope. The theme also appears with an orchestral backing when Bail actually does present Leila to his wife in their palace on Alderman.
This is striking in that it establishes a bizarre paradox where chronologically Williams uses material he has already composed some thirty years previously, yet in the chronology of the films’ story he is merely alluding to music that will become much more familiar in the next episode, The absence of Luck©s theme is just as striking. As this theme also serves as the Main Title in its most triumphant reincarnation, it has not been heard within the context of the films since 1 ass’s Return To The Jed. After Luke is born at the end of Revenge Of The Sits, and in the Binary Sunset reverberation, it returns with the string section optimistically looking foamed with Luke as a new hope for the galaxy.
The main title of every Star Wars film opens in the same way: The 20th Century Fox fanfare and logo (composed by Alfred Newman in 1954 and used as the studio’s trademark before all their films) followed by the Localism logo. Immediately afterwards the Star Wars title card flies away from the viewer before the story exposition text crawl slides up the screen before fading into the distance and giving way to the action. This continuity (it happens in each of the six films, the only difference being the textual content of the crawl) imbues the saga with a sense fulfillment: you know what you are going to get at the opening. In fact, having seen Episode Ill on its opening night, the first beat Of the Main Title music was received vivid raucous cheering and applause!
They knew that this was the last in the series, a poignancy made even more apparent by the Luke theme at the close of the film. The ending rendition of the Main Title serves just as important a function in the tradition Of Star Wars scores. Throughout all ix films, and Revenge Of The Sits being no exception, the final scoring scene builds up to a climax that segues into the same ending arrangement of the Main title theme. This then continues through the reverberation of various pieces (for example Episode Ill cycles through the Main Title, then Lei’s Theme, then Battle of The Heroes) before finalizing with a triumphant concluding rendition of the Main Title.
This not only creates a framework for scoring the end credits sequence, but once more demonstrates the continuity been all six pictures in the saga. It is not just character leitmotifs that Williams has revisited during his film, but also situation themes, In Episode – The Phantom Menace, Quiz-Goon Jinn’s funeral pyre was accompanied by a lamentations choir, and in Revenge Of The Sits he revisits the powerful funeral dirge for paid©’5 funeral band indeed the rebirth of Dart Evader). The orchestration for Episode Oil’s funeral is again a more mature and sensitive approach, to the extent that the cinema screening saw had many a glistening eye…
Battle themes are a staple within the Star Wars universe; the clash of lighteners mostly always accompanied by some dramatic Williams scoring (although interestingly a lot of the opening Obi Wan & Nanking s. Took duel is unsecured). In The Phantom Menace Williams blended 180 voice strong Sanskrit choral favor with driving brass station and a woodwind countermanded in the dramatic Duel Of the gates. This cue reappears in its exact original form in Revenge Of The Sits when Master Wood and the Emperor are dueling in the Senate Chamber. The tracking here is deliberate, the newly composed previous cue Nanking vs.. Obi Wan concludes with the same chord as the opening choral blast of Duel of the Pates; a prefect segue between the two. Nanking Vs..
Obi Wan, instantly passing the hospitality test has a new 9 note elodea over a driving brass station, and through the course of the Mustard battle picks up choral and brass voicing of the Force theme, with emotionally tragic overtones. This battle theme is typical Star Wars pomp and spectacle, the music matching the quality of the storytelling, and the dazzling special effects. It is through his music that emotionally Williams can switch in a heartbeat from influencing the way the audience feels, to demonstrating exactly how a particular character is telling. Yet emotional context is not all the score tort Episode Ill is limited to. The trademark wipe scene transitions associated with the Star Wars alms are back in Revenge Of The Sits, and with them come very slight musical fanfares or transitional lead-ins to accompany the visuals.
Some are literally just moments, such as the flight over night-time Coruscate before the reveal of Nanking and Paid©s apartment, overhears others, such as the transition of Obi Wan flying down onto taupe, lead into a more extended musical passage. Underscoring dialogue is vital in Star Wars, especially in Episode Ill as most of the film’s running time is musical. However I feel that Burnt sometimes mixes the music too low for it to be as effective as the composer intended. But, when al is said and done that is his responsibility and not the composers. Marrying music With image is also important. Whether it is a sinister anti-fanfare heralding Grievous’ arrival on the bridge of his ship, or a timpani roll just before Nanking decapitates Count Took, the music just adds an extra layer Of depth to the picture.
Williams is also not afraid to hit the action where appropriate; not in a cartoon bonk splash fashion, but, for example, where Grievous is advancing on Obi Wan with his ‘sabers twirling, and at the exact moment Obi Wan lunges at the General, only to have his strike blocked, the dramatic music licks in with gusto. It is the diverse roles of Williams’ music within Episode Ill – Revenge Of The Sits, punctuating action scenes, influencing the emotions of the audience, explaining the emotions of characters, underscoring dialogue, transitioning between scenes and locations, that am certain contribute to the success of Revenge Of The Sits, And a film that in only one showing at 12. 01 am on its opening day can make $16. 5 million cannot be deemed anything but successful.