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About Falstaft

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    Tufts University

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  1. I suppose it doesn't sound like one because it really isn't one. From what we can tell, it's a film cue, or (more likely in my opinion), a couple of different cues that were stitched together. And some of those stitches are more successful than others. It's telling that the TROS piano album's version of "Anthem of Evil" is solely the opening choral part. You can see & play the whole thing here: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/anthem-of-evil-from-the-rise-of-skywalker-digital-sheet-music/21698591
  2. Nice catch! It even starts out at pitch, though the two cues quickly diverge after the first couple of notes (C#-C-F#-F-D-B in TROS, C#-C-F-E-Ab-G in ROTJ). I'd say it's unlikely this is a deliberate allusion; Star Wars is full of these low, plodding chromatic lines for ominous scenes. But you never know...
  3. Listening to this again, I'm struck by the similarities between the build-up section here (2:08-2:33) and the lead-in to the Anthem of Evil in the end credits, though the tonal relationships are reversed (Gm-Bm here, Bm-Gm in the credits). Not a detail wasted in this score. And those ascending dotted figures outlining minor chords also recall The Force Theme, and maybe even more specifically, its fragmentation in "Torn Apart" from TFA.
  4. A big open question. We've seen and tried to analyze the a screengrab of the cello part for 8m4 in another thread, but I don't think we made all that much progress: https://www.jwfan.com/forums/index.php?/topic/31031-the-rise-of-skywalker-complete-score-discussion-spoilers-allowed/page/29/
  5. Another week, another underappreciated aspect of the Rise of Skywalker score to explore. This time, let's talk about the big new villain theme, "Psalm of the Sith." (Better known as "Anthem of Evil" but I just cannot stomach that name!) My first two impressions of the theme were I love the wordless acapella statement on track 7 of the OST; closest we get in this score to the "Legend of Darth Plageuis" unreleased snippet from ROTS we all love... This is kind of just an ersatz Imperial March, more technically fluent but maybe not much more original than Giacchino's Imperial Suite themes... Since getting to know the score much better over the past few months, I've grown to appreciate the leitmotif quite a bit more, especially after revelations like what @Ludwig pointed out last week concerning its development in "Advice." It's treated quite flexibly over the course of the TROS soundtrack, seeping into many moments where the theme isn't necessarily at the forefront. There are also some new touches, harmonically, like the emphasis on the minor-triad immediately below the tonic (e.g. Cm <=> Bm) which is fairly rare in Star Wars and a nice alternative to the over-familiar Cm<=>Abm evil progression. My favorite part has got to be the explosive and well-rounded statement of the theme in its full glory during the End Credits. I especially enjoy the build-up starting at 2:06 (shades of the Force Theme's dotted rhythm) and, even more, the delightfully gothic middle section. This 10 measure span has got to be one of the best but least-remarked-upon aspect of this entire score. Here's a transcription. Could have come straight out of Dracula or The Chamber of Secrets. If anyone can discern even a passing hint of this B-section in the score proper, say so, I am just itching to add it to my thematic catalogue.
  6. Oh for sure, though in HP:POA the flute is an impressive special effect in that one cue, and there's some other odds & ends, like the end of the alternate Saving Buckbeak. And maybe it stands out more as a result. But I wouldn't describe it as a flute showcase in the way the whole BFG score is.
  7. It's one of Williams's most colorful scores from the past 20-30 years, for sure, particularly in terms of orchestration. The whole thing is a glorious listen for the simply unparalleled flute writing if nothing else. Not sure of any other film score, Williams or not, that features such exuberant or technically impressive flute material, both solo and choir. Particularly in comparison to the Star Wars sequels, which, for all their riches in other areas, are decidedly less showy or inventive when it comes to instrumentation (a few exceptional moments notwithstanding, of course).
  8. Oh gosh, don't get my hopes up! Though I'd be interested in seeing pretty much any Powell score in the Omni series. On a related note: I just got my hands on the Hal Leonard piano album of Solo. It's actually quite good for this type of thing, definitely recommend it.
  9. Wonderful! Thanks for pasting the text. I love how, rather than coming out and saying he's pissed off so much of his own music is inaudible, he comes up with this cute, hedgy subjunctive that Beethoven would have been pissed! The man is nothing if not diplomatic, but he sure does seem to be expressing this frustration more often and more openly as of late...
  10. Wow, fantastic analysis @Ludwig. I was so focused on getting the notes right, measure by measure, that I missed these subtle developments of the Psalm of the Sith theme (I still prefer that label to Anthem of Evil! ). The motivic manipulations you've revealed remind me a bit of what Charles Leinberger calls the "micro-cell" technique in Morricone's writing. Not something we normally associate with Williams, but perhaps we should. It's quite impressive here. And, in a way, the concealed allusions to the Psalm of the Sith in this cue make for a great preparation of the next sequence, in which Kijimi is destroyed where we get the boldest statement of the leitmotif in the score. . Fixed! It didn't occur to me until now that there were two back-to-back saber tosses in this movie... I think that's absolutely right, and it's closely associated with Ben Solo's redemption throughout. Well-spotted, @Fabulin!
  11. Another week, another great cue from The Rise of Skywalker to talk about. Since a lot of what we've been celebrating in this score has been its leitmotivic richness, I thought I'd change things up and offer a piece that is pretty athematic on the surface: the FYC track "Advice" (or, probably more properly, 7m8 "Father Knows Best"). I don't have a whole lot to say about this sequence, other than it strikes me as very effective, more so because Williams avoids any too on-the-nose statement of Kylo Ren's themes here. There's a few other cues in SW that feature this sort of two-voice counterpoint in high strings ("Death of Dooku" comes to mind), but this is the most poignant. The closest comparison I can draw is with the similarly evocative, sad "Watching the Eclipse" from Angela's Ashes. There's no direct reference to "Torn Apart," to my ears, but the harmonic language in m. 16 does venture into similar harmonic territory). Instead of further analysis, I thought I'd offer a transcription of the stringy part, before the orchestra swells and Kylo/Ben tosses his saber. (Alas, this one's by ear and thus prone to inaccuracy, esp. in rhythm -- no score leaks for this one unfortunately AFAIK...)
  12. I have a serious soft-spot for it too. Interesting that, of all the iconic set-pieces from ROTJ, it was this one he chose to expand (with snatches of the unused Sail Barge Battle too, of course). I love that it begins so angrily, in JW's typical aggressive octatonic mode, but progressively gets sillier as it goes on, especially as that Ewok can-can tune comes to dominate everything. For all he knew, in 1983 this was to be his "final word" on Star Wars. One wonders if the absurd proliferation of false endings is his winking farewell to the franchise.
  13. I don't know how anyone could hear passages like this, among the most exquisitely orchestrated in all of JW's canon, as dull! (Also, some impressive thematic work here, in the way the delicate To Kill A Mockingbird-esque melody from 6:38 blossoms at 7:30. Unpopular opinion: Images is overrated from nearly all quarters -- JW aficionados, casual film types, and even apparently Williams himself. Not bad, mind you. Maybe it's even a great score. It's just not as interesting or sui generis as we make it out to be.
  14. I really dislike that the discourse around TROS's score has been so negatively focused on the reuse of Yoda & The Force, as if 35 seconds of returning music was more salient than the 2 1/2+ hours of new material. I also regret that I contributed to this discourse by criticizing the scene in a podcast earlier this year. Though my point was not so much the music, which is obvious and fitting enough, but the unearned nostalgia of the scene proper. Oh well. Any way, my opinion on the ST scores continues to evolve, but I'm pretty comfortable saying I think TROS is my favorite of the bunch now. TLJ has the most satisfying dramatic highlights but weakest new themes. TFA the best themes and finale, but its underscore is the least interesting to me. TROS, messy and frustrating as it is, is overall the most impressive. I love it.
  15. Wow, that's a considerably longer cue list than I would have guessed for this movie. Thank you as always @BrotherSound!
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