On August 3, the Academy of Scoring Arts hosted a score study of John Williams’ score for Jurassic Park. During the event, Don Williams, veteran studio percussionist and brother of John, dropped some details about the score for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, including its total length, the recording sessions’ schedule and which original Star Wars themes will be featured in the score.
“Well, John’s started up with another Star Wars, we started out last week. He’s got 135 minutes of music to write, okay, so that kind of tells you how long the film is. It is top to bottom music. We’ve done 4 days and we’ve just scratched the surface. I think we’ve got something like 34 minutes in the can at this point but I can tell you that every theme you’ve ever heard is gonna be compiled into this last effort. Every one — Leia, Yoda, the Phantom, Darth, all of it is gonna be in there. And in his usual style he hides them, you gotta go look for them. You’ll find them but you gotta go look for ’em! And then you’ll be sitting there watching the film go by and, oh, there it is, there’s two bars of it and it grabs you and takes you away. I find that happening a lot with this while I’m playing which takes me away from what I’m supposed to be doing which is counting and coming in at the right place.
So it is that nuts. And he seems to be keep writing harder stuff for me to play! Which, OK, I’m fine with but, you know, did I do something when I was a kid that I don’t know about? But he’s marvellous… he’s got an energy at 87 that is beyond my belief that he can stand there in front of an orchestra and conduct and know all this music, know everybody’s part, whether someone’s out of tune or untogether, at 87 he still stands there for 6 hours and still conducts. I think that’s part of his MO. He can’t do it any other way. And the other thing I can say about the film, what we’re doing with it is, we’re doing a lot of the stuff to streamers. Very little to click. We’ve only done about, maybe 6 to 8 minutes of music at like 150 on a click, something that fast. He has had Bill Ross come in and conduct a couple of those so he can get a little bit of a breather in but he also makes comments and things… it’s going and he’s gonna take a couple of weeks off and go to Tanglewood and when he comes back in September we’re gonna go at it and try to wrap the thing up in about a month and a half. It’s hard, it’s wonderful, the privilege of working with my own brother. It’s pretty amazing.”