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Everything posted by Falstaft

  1. Quite right! One of the prettiest "variants"!
  2. This is what we've been calling Shmi's theme. ... Unless I've tallied wrong, it's used: On one occasion in TPM (so def. not a leitmotif at that point), Four distinct times in AOTC (def. a leitmotif), And maybe once, vaguely, in ROTS. I go back and forth on whether this was an intentional reference or just four notes that coincidentally resemble her theme. The "It's Working" theme is, as far as I remember, totally restricted to TPM. It goes like this: You get it once in "Anakin's Racer Roars to Life," and then a variant of it is developed as the main tune in "Anakin is Free." The middle phrase is very close to ROTJ:SE's Victory Celebration and the end of the first phrase of Across the Stars, though this is probably a case of Williams's consistent harmonic language more than an intentional reference.
  3. Surprised not to have seen anyone mention this, but Williams picked up yet another honor yesterday, a Saturn Award for his score to The Rise of Skywalker, beating out Tenet, Knives Out, Parasite, 1917, and Mank. https://deadline.com/2021/10/saturn-awards-winners-2021-full-list-star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-once-upon-a-time-in-hollywood-knives-out-star-trek-1234863222/ I don't generally put much stock in awards like this, though I have to admit it's nice to see JW's achievement with this score receiving some well-deserved recognition.
  4. Love how he pronounces it as "Hed-vig's" theme when introducing "Hedwig's Theme" -- proper German consonants!
  5. Brilliant work, @crumbs (and @BrotherSound). Hairs on the back of your neck standing up is right -- I got chills and I've seen/listened to this sequence god how many times now.
  6. Take heart, @King Mark, sure sounds like we'll be getting it on record soon enough. The arrangement for ASM is pretty striking. Follows the formal outline of the 2018 arrangement but with quite a lot added, including a brand new intro and outro and expanded inner section. Interesting that he gives a full statement of the B-section of the theme that was missing from that 2018 arrangement. And it ends if anything even darker and pained than the 2018 one. With all those drooping chromatic sigh figures towards the end, I half expected him to hint at Kylo Ren's theme!
  7. Seems to follow exactly the formal structure of the 2008 arrangement for orchestra, except a subtly redone opening and brief new codetta.
  8. Perhaps we'll finally get to hear the unperformed "Han Solo and the Princess" arrangement shown in her instagram post from Jan 2019! https://www.instagram.com/p/Bsvqs0mnfsq/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link Though of course I hope something from TROS is on the table. And how great would it be for a proper action cue to get the ASM treatment?
  9. Your prerogative, of course! And I'm the last person who would dispute Williams's Anglophilia. (Though I hear little of RVW in JW's Tuba Concerto specifically, oddly enough.) That said, I find it hard to hear this or other Williamsesque passages from the Symphony, or a few select passages from Metaboles, as being a case of convergent musical evolution via Ravel or Debussy -- which Dutilleux really doesn't sound like to my ears -- much more Messaein and Roussel, with maybe a little Koechlin and a little jazz in there too. Nor can I listen to L'arbe des songes and imagine it wasn't at least in the back of JW's mind when composing Treesong. None of this is meant as a slight to Williams, it's just a cool influence in addition to the other, more well-documented ones.
  10. Not sure I've seen this mentioned before, but there's a moment in Williams's Tuba Concerto (1985) that's manifestly based on a passage in Henri Dutilleux's First Symphony (1951). I'll let the excerpts, and sheet music, speak for themselves. (The symphony is staggeringly wonderful, in case you've never heard it.) It's not just the Tuba Concerto, though I think that hosts the passage most directly modeled the Dutilleux's. In general, I think Dutilleux remains an underrated but important influence on Williams's soundworld, particularly in terms of harmony and orchestration.
  11. Since my mind's on it, here's an attempt at a transcription of the brass chorale from midway through the 2nd movement, the "Thornhille-esque" harmony part
  12. Well, darn, looks like the YouTube upload of the new concerto got taken down. On one hand, I understand fully why this was done. But at the same time, it's depriving many a chance to hear and familiarize themselves with the work. Especially considering prior exposure & study helps enormously if you're going to review a live performance!
  13. Need to update that vid at some point with examples from The Post and TROS. and We usually place the first instances of the "Ludlow Motif" towards the final San Diego scenes in The Lost World, but there are a few proto versions earlier on in TLW too, like: God I love this score.
  14. Beautiful summary! It was really touching JW singled out Bryant like this.
  15. Couldn't help myself. Here's a transcription of the soaring main theme, as it appears after the Jovian/Galaxy's-Edgesque opening. I left out some of the trumpet countermelody stuff around m. 14-16 for clarity's sake, and a few of the chordal inversions are speculative on my part, given the low audio quality at present. Really classic 1980s-sounding Williams, not-so-distant cousin of "The Mission" and a few other occasional pieces. Some of the harmonies and progressions are particularly characteristic -- oddly enough, most similar to the music when Willie is lifted from the lava pit in TOD!
  16. Found this on Twitter: Looks like "Rey and Ben" is, or at least begins with, "Farewell" from TROS.
  17. Glad to see such a positive response! I can't promise it'll be quick, but I will try put together a similar listening guide to the other three movements. Until that point, here's something that ought to be quite useful: my attempt at a transcription of the main theme of the whole concerto, the one that occurs prominently in the second and fourth movement, and which some reviewers missed (?!). This particular iteration comes from Mvt. 4, and goes up until its little internal modulation from C to Eb. My rhythmic transcription is a little iffy in places, but the pitches are right, I believe. Top part is solo violin, bottom accompanying harp & strings. Putting this down on paper, I'm struck not only by its affinities with "Moonlight" but also JW's Elegy for Cello and, oddly, Always, with those turn figures in measure 5. Gorgeous music.
  18. Hi everyone. I thought it might be useful to put together a listening guide of sorts for Williams's second violin concerto. This struck me as appropriate given how it's going to be heard in performance again fairly soon. Also, the piece, particularly its first movement, is fairly difficult to grasp on first listen! I've only put together a guide to the first movement (by far the most challenging), but if this is indeed helpful I'll consider doing the other three--or maybe someone else would like to. It's quite difficult to do this without a score, to put it mildly, so take everything here as provisional. I'm surely missing quite a lot of important details... Listening Guide for John Williams, Violin Concerto 2 MOVEMENT 1: "PROLOGUE" Overall, the most formally loose and spontaneous-seeming movement, fitting given Williams's striving for a "quasi-improvisatory" character. Not a truly non-repetitive piece, however: there are both aspects of inner-movement unity and some subtle prefiguring of material to come, particularly the concerto's principle "leitmotif" introduced in the 2nd Movement. The unpredictability of the music on a measure-to-measure level is compensated by an extremely clear division of 6 large-scale sections, summarized below. More in-depth account: SECTION 1 – INTRODUCTION 0:00 Quiet, slow introduction showcasing harp, supported by bed of strings. Shape of opening harp melody (D3-E3, D3-E3-C3-A3-D3) vaguely anticipates some later motivic details. First harp-based subphrase tonally centered on B♭-lydian, with contrasting Gm6(♭13) in middle. Second, string-based subphrase more dissonant, melodically disjunct. The third, once again harp-based subphrase coalesces on Dmaj6/min chord. 1:11 Introduction of soloist. Violin begins with repetition of note F4, giving bluesy quality to faint D-major tonality maintained by strings/harp. Melodic D tonic flanked by tritones A♭4 & G♯3 above and below. Progressively expands range upward, with what will become a quasi-motivic repeated note figure, here on B♭4 and E♭5. Thinner texture and new harmonies (F♯m and A-dim) and octatonic scale-fragment in violin at 1:50, followed by downwards chromatic cascades and melodic peak of E♭6. Unaccompanied violin sags glumly back downwards. SECTION 2 – FAST AND TURBULENT 2:24 Pulsing, agitated pattern in orchestra midrange on dissonant harmony (A3+B♭3+C4+ D♭4), supported at unpredictable intervals by rising bass-figure starting on low D. Violin gathers energy with repetition of Eb4, proceeds to a flowing, unpredictable musical thought, up to the first of several big orchestral swells marked by dissonant chord and percussive punctuation that swallows up soloist. 2:46 Violin reasserts itself over motivic rising bass-figure. Pace of textural and melodic change speeds up considerably, and music becomes increasingly key-less, violin and orchestra exchanging frenzied, short-lived ideas. Particular prominence to harp, timpani, clarinet. Low-strings trace downwards arpeggio of important Gm9 chord, echoed by violin (3:09), and Em9♭5, F♯dim7. 3:16 Lighter but more dissonant texture. Spiky, progressively accelerating violin writing against unpredictable staccato wind and pizzicato bursts. 3:33 Arpeggiating eighth-note figures in low strings resume, now upwards (D2-B♭2-D3-G2-C3-E♭3, etc.), quickly losing tonal focus as another dissonant tutti swell overtakes violin, followed by brief timpani solo (3:44). 3:46 Purely orchestral climax. Dissonant pitch pyramid assembled over B pedal. Similarly vaulting bass figures under now unified upper strings in octaves on urgent melody, arching upwards in successive swells. Pulsing/sustained brass and string melody help refocus tonality onto D, and downwards chord progression (D--C--B), while dissonant, can be referred to D-center. Ends on a shrieking tutti cluster, similar to opening sonority of section but greatly intensified. SECTION 3 – SLOW AND TRANSPARENT 4:23 Dreamy extended-tertian sonorities, starting with and centered on Gm13 (chord anticipated at 3:11, arpeggiated texture anticipated at 3:33). Violin enters with comparatively lyrical theme with pronounced downwards-moving trajectory. Tonality shifts to Dm, moving stepwise to Fm. Melodic shape heard in passing at 5:00 (F5-E5-G♯5-C5) seems to anticipate the recurring “leitmotif” of movements 2 & 4 -- you know, the one that sounds a bit like "Moonlight" from Sabrina. 5:10 Clear sense of tonality dissolves, violin becomes more agitated, emphasis on dotted rhythms, brief mini-solo of dissonant stops (5:18-5:22). Followed by dense, highly dissonant wind-ensemble writing, drawn from immediately preceding violin solo and segueing back into it. 5:39 Deep, dark minor chords (C♯m--Caug) prepare a catchy but ominous melody for solo violin built on double-stops (parallel minor 6ths), again with contour (A♭4-A♭4-G4-B4-C4) that anticipates shape of recurring leitmotif from mvts 2 & 4. 5:50 Busily spinning passagework for violin and glittering accompaniment, foreshadowing movement 2, recedes to background to allow brief flute solo (B♭4-A4-E5-G5-F♯5-F♯4) in E-minor, suggestive but as far as I can tell not motivically derived from anything else. Violin follows-through with flute melody, seamlessly moving to a… 6:20 Pre-cadenza for violin and harp, again with elements of flute melody (G6-F♯6-A5…B♭5-D♭6-C6-C5) SECTION 4 – CADENZA 6:50 Succession of contrasting technical and expressive ideas, not a huge degree of thematic connectivity with preceding sections though fairly consistent within its own scope. (Substructure: Downwards Em/B♭ chords—leaping octave pairs—compound melody (E6-D♯6-B5-A♯5, D♭6-C6-A5-G♯5)—trills—resigned droop—gathering energy—ascending melody over pedal—arpeggios—trills—melody reminiscent of VC1—ascending passagework maxing out at A6—descending, harsh stops, ending with repeated D4.) SECTION 5 – BROAD AND CLIMACTIC 8:38 Rather spooky melody for violin (F♯4-D5-B♭6-F♯5) over brief suggestion of B-minor. Quickly yields to new material for orchestra, with massed brass, strings in octaves, and thick, repeating wind quasi-fanfares, all grounded over low C-pedal (C-A♭-D♭-G chord?). Classic JW concert music stuff (c.f. For Seiji, Soundings, Heartwood, etc.). Much of this seems to respond vaguely to material introduced in the Cadenza. 9:00 Almost aleatoric sounding passage for harp, solo high winds, pizz strings. 9:09 Emphasis on low winds and strings. Recollection of ascending bass figure from 3:33 (now E2-B2-D3, F♯2-B2-E3) 9:14 Climax building really starts in earnest. Wind chords seem to outline violin’s spooky melody from start of section, against aggressive massed-string section counterpoint, ending on bright, dissonant wind chord. 9:25 Violin solo reasserts self, now more actively interacting with rest of orchestra. Strong sense of rhythmic and harmonic acceleration, climax building pauses after timpani interjection (9:40). 9:48 Final, rapidly attained climax, fastest solo violin writing; impression of huge sweeping motions from whole orchestra, culminating on a huge tutti chord of characteristically JW-dissonant flavor (A-C-E- F-A♭-C♭) SECTION 6 – AFTERMATH AND CODA 10:11 Instantly quiet, clear duet for harp and violin. Clear reminiscence of beginning of Section 3, via repeated harp arpeggio of extended triadic sonority, this time F♯m11(b♭13) instead of Gm11(nat13). Meditative violin solo above, not clearly connected to previous themes. 10:40 Quiet upwards scurrying from violin, reaching high B6, followed by abrupt, staccato motif (second phrase accompanied by four dissonant pizzicato chords from rest of string section). 11:03 Violin settles on sustained low A♭3, against resonant F2-A1 bass support on harp. Full fade-out by 11:16.
  19. Haha, very good question! With Williams, it's sometimes hard to tell whether its forgetfulness or just self-deprecation. He's proven to to have a remarkable musical memory when it suits him. As for "Falcon Flight," I suspect the helpful hand of a Star-Wars-based temp track could have been at play. Pure speculation on my part though.
  20. That Williams delivers a product he is pleased with, both on its own legs and the way its treated in the film.
  21. Perhaps this?: Video just uploaded today by Brett Mitchell. Great channel.
  22. Bostonians rejoice: Williams conducting his new violin concerto w/ ASM will be opening night for the BSO this season! https://www.bso.org/brands/bso/features/2021-22-bso-season-overview.aspx Amazing, that approaching his 90th year, Williams is not only not slowing down in terms of conducting, but seemingly increasing his activity! Hope he doesn't wear himself out!
  23. Sad to see no love for this (long unreleased) miniature masterpiece! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxWgmhYWi1A&ab_channel=JohnWilliams-TopicJohnWilliams-Topic (I ended up voting for X-Mark The Spot, but this would be 2nd)
  24. Not the first time JWfan has speculated about this particular cue! To complicate matters further, I wonder if Gordy Haab had Horner's "The Ride" and/or "The Train" from Zorro 1/2 in his ear when writing "Han's Kessel Run" -- which I further suspect Williams had in his ear when writing "The Adventures of Han."
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