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Falstaft last won the day on October 15 2020

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  1. Interesting -- starts with the same melodic gesture as her Young Leia theme, led me to think it was a slowed and minorized variant of her tune on initial watch. Thought exactly the same thing!
  2. Generally, discourse about Classical music influence and originality in John Williams is my absolute least favorite form of discourse, and it's done horribly in almost every case. BUT... and not to toot my own horn too much, your son's teacher may appreciate this talk given by me and my precocious graduate student, specifically the central section where we get into actual classical models for the IM (not Holst).
  3. One of the things that irks me the most is the bait-and-switch its marketing perpetuated with Prequel era music. How many of us allowed ourselves to build expectations for hearing DotF, BotH, and friends after that first trailer--despite knowing full well that trailer music is rarely a reflection of the actual film/show score. For a program that was supposedly a love letter to those who cherished the long-maligned Episodes 1-3, you'd think there'd be a willingness to draw from one of the few aspects of those movies that people unequivocally hold in high regard. But as it stands, we perversely got more Ep 1-3 musical references in Sequel Trilogy, which was at times insultingly blatant in its antipathy to the PT ("this will begin to make things right" -- ugh!), than in a show literally about the characters, themes, and unfinished business of TPM/AOTC/ROTS. What are we left with?: some repeated minor trumpet chords and goddawful choral sample that maybe was intended to evoke Battle of the Heroes, and a variant of the Obi Wan theme that, by sheer virtue of the consistency of Williams's melodic language, kind of resembles Qui Gon's motif if you really want it to. I've said it before, but how profound would a tiny hint of Across the Stars have been when Obi Wan was circumlocuting about Padme? This is what leitmotifs are for, stating in emotional terms what characters cannot in words, connecting events of the past to developments in the present, deepening a scene rather than simply underscoring it. How many other such opportunities for musical commentary, resonance, storytelling were missed? If there's one thing that's slightly reassuring, it's that it's not just film score obsessives like us that feel like something was off musically. I've seen a heartening, if simultaneously depressing, awareness of the issue in the broader conversation around the show as well. None of this, by the way, is to disparage Holt's music, much of which is fine scoring indeed, and a welcome addition to the SW musical canon (especially Young Leia's theme, the Mapuzo arrival, and Tala's death). She was dealt a difficult hand, moreso than I think many of us fully appreciate.
  4. I have a lot of thoughts, most of them negative. I will say, I thought the Force Theme was very effective, and one of the few times--maybe the only time!--this series sounded like Star Wars to me. I kind of got what they (Holt? Ross?) were going for during the rematch, a twist on the Obi Wan Theme that sort of evoked Battle of the Heroes. But man did that thin and inexpressive choir take me out of it, especially its intro. Was that synth? Same goes for the Imperial March; a fine little rendition, I guess, but something about the recording and/or performance just made it sound anemic.
  5. I like it well enough. I would have preferred new arrangements of Yoda's theme and Luke & Leia, of course, to what's essentially a copy-paste situation. Though in the latter at least it's transposed from its TLJ appearance in E to F, and has a slightly different ending. All the newly composed material is great, and honestly I'm not that bothered by the loose usage of themes. Luke & Leia and Yoda's themes, in terms of their overall musical affect make plenty emotional sense for the sequence. So the whole cue is very satisfying, if not especially rigorously constructed. Suffice it so say, I'd vastly prefer leitmotifs being heard in unexpected places than leitmotifs not being heard in expected places (cough cough).
  6. I don't think this show is bad, per se, but the fact that it's so far from being *great* really perplexes me. Because the solutions to its many problems seem to be pretty obvious to us all, and not difficult to implement. And then it would have been a slam dunk. From the lack of thematic continuity (and resulting massive diminishment of emotional and recollective resonance) to the flat (literally) mise-en-scène, the howlingly dumb behavior of villains and heroes alike -- these all should have been self-evident issues right at the onset. And they could have been fixed without any major retooling of the series, whose core I still think is basically strong (namely the performances and the overall narrative conceit). How it all course corrects with only 2 episodes left, I can't say.
  7. That's not the only Disney Era SW sound I hear in this -- there's the opening motif of TROS's Friendship theme (G-A-F#-G-C), and the rhythmic profile of that Sabrina-esque metamotif he loves using (G-F#-Ab-C) sounds like some of the Tension and First Order music motifs. It's just pure Williams goodness, from start to finish: nothing we haven't heard before (inc. the Shostakovich and Walton echoes) but put together in a really compelling overall package. There's some of that impertinent comic scherzo style of his that I can never get enough of. The overture seems more developmental and motivically disciplined than usual, though curiously at the expense of a big, extended hummable tune. @Ludwig, correct me if I'm wrong, but is there what you'd describe as a traditional "grammatical theme" at all in this piece? Makes it tricky to know what to transcribe.
  8. Listen again at 40:22 in Ep. 3 -- a minor variation of Young Leia's theme (which I like very much!). Here's a transcription of the theme on its first clear appearance in Ep. 1 for reference. Young Leia Also, for the interested, here are transcriptions of the new(ish) Stormtrooper theme from Episode 3, and the new Vader theme, from the beginning of their due. Stormtroopers Nu-Vader
  9. This show is testing my patience, musically.
  10. Hah! Only if he doesn't read the footnotes.
  11. Some more transcribing done -- now in you all convinced me is the proper compound (12/8) meter. Here's roughly the first third of the piece: [EDIT: Fixed the first ostinato in light of @Docteur Qui and @Michael G.'s corrections. Not catching a *direct* Battle of the Heroes reference, @karelm, but the main tune itself has more in common with that theme than I realized at first.
  12. Less interesting than the theme itself, of course, but for the curious here's a reduction of the ostinato figures that populate JW's piece. (I am curious if anyone hears these passages, or even the whole piece, in 12/8 instead of 4/4?)
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