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  1. Since my early days of studies on John Williams’ Opus, I have always been intrigued and confused about the two big Suites from Star Wars. Now, thanks to the wisdom and knowledge of jwfan.com scholars, I hopefully await for a lot of answers to the numerous mysteries about these transcendental pieces. These are the movements from the two different suites, obtained from the original LPs presentations: Zubin Mehta 1. Main Title 2. Princess Leia’s Theme 3. The Little People 4. Cantina Band 5. The Battle 6. The Throne Room and End Title Charles Gerhardt 1. Main Title 2. The Little People Work 3. Here They Come! 4. Princess Leia 5. The Final Battle 6. The Throne Room and End Title Mehta Movements 1, 2, 3 and 6 can be considered equivalent to Gerhardt 1, 4, 2 and 6. Main Title and Princess Leia arrangements are similar to those from the original album by John Williams. The extended concert version of The Throne Room and End Title doesn’t appear in the original album, but it is undoubtedly from the hand of the composer, and so it has been well-known as a concert piece and has been printed under Williams’ signature. Mehta Movement 3, The Little People, is almost equal to Gerhardt Movement 2. Although a different presentation from the recording from the original Williams' album, I dare to affirm that it is an arrangement by Williams himself, since it would appear in the cd John Williams Conducts The Star Wars Trilogy [1990]. Mehta Movement 4, Cantina Band, sounds more like an “improvised” arrangement. I suppose it would be difficult to ascertain Williams’ involvement in it. Mehta Movement 5, The Battle, which combines music from disperse scenes, makes me doubt: could it be a special arrangement by Williams’ himself? If it is so, it is unique to this suite, as far as I know. Gerhardt Movement 3, Here They Come!, with its special concert coda, doesn’t appear in the original album, but it would be used with an almost identical content in Williams’ own recording for the cd John Williams Conducts The Star Wars Trilogy [1990], so I assume it is an arrangement by the composer (it also appears in Varujan Kojian’s cd The Star Wars Trilogy [1983].) Gerhardt Movement 5, The Final Battle, presents a concert arrangement of themes in an order and form unique to this suite. I really would like to know if the conductor was using a music sheet by the composer, or if the arrangement should be credited to Gerhardt himself.
  2. As companions to the Star Wars suites recorded by Mehta an Gerhardt, two different suites from Close Encounters of the Third Kind were presented in those LPs from 1977. Mehta’s version is 13 minutes long, while Gerhardt’s is much longer, up to 21 minutes, and it specifies the titles of its sections: Barnstorming - Arrival of the Mother Ship - The Pilots’ Return - The Visitors - Final Scene. Both versions offer what they seem to be real voices singing in appointed passages, though no choir ensembles are credited. Now I humbly demand the help from jwfan.com scholars, regarding the authorship of both suites. As it has been demonstrated that Williams himself is responsible for the Star Wars suites concert arrangements, it is logic to assume that the composer also prepared the material for, at least, Mehta’s recording. Gerhardt’s version seems very more doubtful to me. Certain experts accuse Gerhardt of freely expanding his Battle for the Star Wars suite. Could he do the same thing when preparing the suite for CEOT3K, with the conductor choosing the material for the piece, or maybe Williams also approved this quite different presentation? As far as I know, Mehta’s and Gerhardt’s suites are unique in the history of recordings. In 1980, Williams composed new music for a new scene in a new version of the film (the revealed interior of the mothership), and he created a new suite including this material, 10 minutes long, and recorded it twice, in the albums Pops in Space [1980] and The Spielberg / Williams Collaboration [1991]. Some years afterwards (and this is speculation), Williams arranged another CEOT3K suite, much shorter and with no mothership’s interior material and no chorus in the palette, about 8 minutes long. This last suite could have been created when Williams was providing material for printed editions under his signature. The first recording I know of was made by Gustavo Dudamel for the cd Celebrating John Williams [2019], but I am quite convinced that the suite was in circulation in concerts quite long before, since in 2008 Stephen Bulla arranged a version for winds, offered in the recordings from John Williams and the President’s Own [2021]. Williams himself employed the version for full orchestra in his concert in Vienna, registered in cd in 2020.
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