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  1. For your interest, here’s a little review of mine, reflecting the gorgeous John Williams & ’The President’s Own’ digital album. https://jarijuhanikallio.wordpress.com/2021/01/13/album-review-band-of-perfection-john-williams-conducts-the-presidents-own/
  2. Here is my analysis of the soundtrack album that appears on the main page as well and in addition a thematic breakdown with track times. Comments, observations and corrections are as welcome as always: War Horse A review and an analysis of the Original Soundtrack Album By Mikko Ojala (Incanus) The upcoming film War Horse is the 28th collaboration between director Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams. The movie is based on a popular children’s novel by author, poet and playwright Michael Morpurgo and tells of a young English boy Albert and his extraordinary friendship with his horse Joey, set in the times of WW I. It is a story of courage, loyalty and friendship told through the eyes of a horse. John Williams’ score for the film is a beautiful and powerful achievement and as Steven Spielberg himself in the liner notes of the album says, Williams seems indeed be blessed by earth and heaven both with continuing inspiration and talent. And if this CD is anything to go by we can still be the beneficiaries of this inspiration through the War Horse soundtrack album. Williams has once again created a beautiful tapestry of music, diverse yet feeling like it forms a coherent whole, thematic ideas sharing often common musical base. And because of this the score feels like an world unto itself. The composer’s self professed love for English music is very evident in this score and indeed the first stylistic influence that came to my mind when hearing this music was Ralph Vaughan Williams, maestro who is almost synonymous with English music and whose musical style Williams seems to channel through his own sensibilities very strongly, never resorting to pastiché but rather evocation and allusion. English folk music seems another inspiration, much as it was to Vaughan Williams, the lilting melodies and progressions dancing from Williams’ pen with fluid ease. And then there are the somewhat maligned Celtic music influences, the detractors indignant that such musical ideas should be present in music that should depict Englishness, since Celtic music apparently shares very few commonalities with English music but in the score, to the layman’s ears, this Celtic sound enhances the time and place quite strongly, lending the music further lyricism and warmth. So all the above Williams mixes with his own unmistakable voice resulting in a score full of powerful emotional music that has also quiet majesty and scope, conjuring up the natural world, English countryside and rustic life style in a sweeping lyrical way. And working as a counterweight to this is the often intense music for the war, unrelenting rhythms and harsh orchestral writing driving home the ugliness of battle. The elegaic writing of the war scenes is yet again classic Williams, somber yet moving, subtle nuances often carrying a lot of emotional weight, even the most rousing battle material tinged always with mournful tones of the tragedies of war. An interesting phenomenon with this score is that it feels extremely familiar, the traits and stylings of Williams’ writing very evident and I could cite several scores from his oeuvre this score might bring to mind yet somehow there is a strong emotional charge to every aspect of it, the string elegies, the dramatic war music, the pastoral writing, humourous music, intimate dramatic writing and folk melodies so that they feel fresh and new, ready to be discovered yet again. It sounds like there was true inspiration at work in the score for War Horse. The recording is as excellent as in his previous score The Adventures of Tintin, bringing out the orchestral depth and colour, nuances and the soloists with equal wonderful vibrancy. As with many of Williams’ dramatic scores instrumental solos carry an important role in the music. Highlighted are in particular the flute and trumpet that reflect the different sides of the story, the flute usually speaking to the bucolic country life and peace, the trumpet to the war, both the nobility and the sorrow. Oboe and cor anglais lend themselves also to the reflections of the natural world and English countryside and French horns’ tones give a sheen of afternoon sun and familial warmth but also nobility to the story. The Themes As I have not seen the film yet my thematic speculation is exactly that, more of my own impression of what these musical ideas seem to represent dramatically to me on the album. Also similarly all guesses concerning the dramaturgy of the music are my own based on what I have heard about the film and the music. War Horse contains a whole plethora of thematic ideas, reflecting quite clearly Williams’ own reported enthusiasm for the film. The English countryside and Narracott family, Joey and Albert among others all receive their own themes in this score. 1. War Horse Main Theme (Bonding Theme): A warm, majestic, rising and falling melody representing the bond between Albert and Joey that carries a strong emotional charge. Initially Williams uses this theme as the boy and the horse form their bond as they work and live together on the Narracott farm but by the end of the score it becomes a noble and poignant expression of their mutual affection, a heart warming theme for true friendship. The warm, rising Bonding theme receives a complementary melodic phrase later in the story and on the album which could be called 2. Friendship Theme: This theme sounds like a natural continuation of the Bonding Theme, almost like it is completing the melodic phrase started the Bonding Theme. A noble, directly emotional, hymn like piece that speaks perhaps to the deepened friendship Joey has with Albert but also to friendships the horse has formed during his journeys. Williams conjures a homely feel of safety and love with this theme although there is a subtle undercurrent of yearning in it as well. 3. Discovery Theme : An ethereal, mysterious Celtic flavoured melody which perhaps depicts the first encounter between Albert and Joey and appears again towards the end of the album. 4. Dartmoor Theme: An English sounding melody for the locale of Dartmoor of full lush orchestral writing, evoking all at once green rolling hills and other pastoral landscapes bathed by perpetual sunlight. Closest cousin to this music in Williams’ own repertoire would be the Irish evocations in Far and Away and his expansive sounding Americana writing for numerous movies. 5. Nature Theme: This is a Celtic tinged melody also infused with the spirit of Vaughan Williams and is often performed by solo flute and reverent strings. The theme seems to speak of the natural world and its beauty, its progressions stately, slow and majestic. 6. Narracotts Theme (Farm Work): A jauntier folk song melody full of lilting English stylings that accompanies the Narracotts and their work on the farm. Reaches its most powerful rendition during the track called Plowing. 7. Playful Horse: Another English folk music evocation, a playful and almost jig-like theme for the humour and lighter moments of the story. 8. War Theme: A lonely trumpet call, reminiscent of Williams’ similar work in JFK, Born on the Fourth of July and Amistad, this theme represents what I think is the actual war horse aspect of the main character, echoing like a bugle on the field of battle over a snare drum cadence, fateful,denoting also the central element of the story, war, noble and mournful at the same time. 9. Joey’s New Friends Theme: Another lyrical thematic idea for friends Joey meets during his journeys. A peaceful, innocent and haunting, this idea appears only twice on the album. Track-by-track analysis: 1. Dartmoor, 1912 The score opens on clear solo flute intoning the Nature Theme joined by warm and stately strings, full of Celtic lilt evoking majesty of the land itself. The flute continues developing the theme, clear and pure sound speaking to the serene country landscapes and natural world’s strength. An accordion appears to offer some rustic commentary establishing the time and place perhaps but soon the sprightly rhythmic tugging of double basses and celli surges forward and the folk song-like Narracotts Theme is heard on flutes with woodwind doubling. Trumpet section supports the melody with delightfully busy staccato motif while the strings continue their own rhythmic idea, Williams providing what sounds like travel music until at 2:10 the Dartmoor Theme bursts into view with full ensemble presenting this sunny lyrical idea in all its glory. After a brief interlude of Vaughan Williamsian string work the traveling variation of Narracotts Theme continues and for the second time climbs into a statement of the Dartmoor theme. This piece is like an excellent overture, giving us a taste of things to come and I love how Williams conjures the feel and colours of English countryside so strongly in his music, the score truly evocative here. Closest equivalent in WIlliams’ catalogue but only with strong Americana feel would be the opening music from Patriot. 2. The Auction A swaying expectant string figure is soon joined by a 7-note thematic idea, an early version of the Playful Horse Theme, on clarinet, bassoon and flutes that dances forth almost mischievously. Williams adds more instruments in and passes the melody around the orchestra, providing steady development of the motif along the way. The whole piece has a feel of growing anticipation as it is underscoring an auction and orchestrations finally grow heavier as some moment of decision is reached. Maestro is building up suspense but does it with great humour and distinctive orchestration and melodies which I think he does better than anyone, raising the piece from being a bit of underscore to being an active part of the storytelling, the music not even needing the images to let you know different little twists and turns that take place in the story. At 1:56 a new swaying harp figure and a melody on clarinets, flutes and horns appears obviously denoting that something significant is again happening. The strings take up the swaying idea subtly raising their voice until at 2:52 a variation on the Nature Theme is heard, the lilting theme further elaborated by horns, a sense of probing and curiosity on high strings and flutes entering just before harp finishes the piece tentatively. 3. Bringing Joey Home, and Bonding Rhythmic low strings, celli and doublebasses, present a jaunty little march that is accented by woodwinds, creating at once a sense of determination and comedy, the little melody developed in the low strings as it progresses forward with stops and starts until at 1 minute mark solo flute appears, performing the Dartmoor Theme in dreamy rendition. This section is repeated, the jaunty theme and the Dartmoor Themeworking in almost question and answer fashion, the little march getting weightier now joined by violins but then over a bass pedal sound another new theme appears, the Discovery Theme on solo flute, rising ethereally, beautifully lyrical and haunting, underscoring most likely the first close encounter of the boy and the horse. Oboe answers the theme with a warm melody of its own, the writing classic Williams. This has to be despite scant few appearances one of my favourite themes of this score so full of wonderful thematic ideas. There is youth, fragility and vulnerability but also dreamy ethereal quality to the music that is enchanting. It could well describe a child’s fascination with an animal. After the oboe solo a nostalgic clarinet follows suite and flows into the first statement of the Bonding Theme on warm harp, strings and horns speaking of the importance of the moment, the first bond between the two, and clarinet returns to soothingly end the theme. At 3:52 a rather skittish and bumbling oboe line appears, followed around by woodwinds, pizzicati strings and basses making rhythmic tugs, clarinet wandering into a humorous finish. This short piece sounds like Williams in his trademark style scoring the young horse’s clumsy movements with light good natured humour. 4. Learning the Call Pastoral strings and harp and dreamy clarinet offer a brief moment of bucolic colour until another swaying string idea jumps into a reading of the Bonding Theme on warm horns with a delightful swirling string counterpoint. Rhythmic excited tugging in the string section and bubbling woodwinds lead the orchestra into a development of the Playful Horse Theme previously heard on track 2, which dances forth like an English folk song, the orchestrations passing the melody around the different instrumental groupings, the double basses providing lively momentum to the music. Vertical rhythmic string figures that were heard on the opening track and the same busy trumpet accompaniment are also reprised here as the Narracotts Theme appears, Williams combining it here with Playful Horse Theme, both themes dancing briefly around each other. 5. Seeding, and Horse vs. Car Serene strings, clarinet and harp rise and fall in peaceful luminous setting, the string section finally performing the Nature Theme full of warmth, majesty and reverence. Clarinet and solo oboe over celli sings out a pastoral melody of Celtic flavour that sounds like it is build on theNature Theme’s contours, both instruments ruminating peacefully in almost nostalgic fashion, flute and horns sounding for a brief interlude. Another oboe solo which to me sounds very close to Williams’ nature and tree inspired concert compositions melts suddenly into the string section taking up again the boisterous rhythmic motif from track 1 and 4 that lifts the orchestra into a joyous burst of the Dartmoor Theme, the galloping of a horse most vividly illustrated by the music, the exhilaration of race now reflected first in the Playful Horse Theme and then in theNarracotts Theme underscoring both Joey and Albert, the orchestra dashing into a brilliant finale that recalls Williams classic horse riding scherzos from the Cowboys and The Reivers Suite. 6. Plowing Despite the rather rustic title this track is truly a standout piece. The Narracotts Theme on clarinets over a deep contrabassoon and doublebass rhythm starts a long development of the thematic idea, the insistent motion of the strings conjuring up the steady, determined nature of the farm work. Williams starts to embellish the melody and the rhythm with different instruments and slowly but surely it grows, ebbing and flowing until 1:20 when a new noble theme appears, seemingly celebrating the honest work and country life that builds into a grand statement of the Bonding Theme, flute over the up-and-down swaying strings, Narracotts Theme appearing again now mingled with the snatches of the Bonding Theme, the Dartmoor Theme fleetingly passing under the two themes until the rhythmic motif of the basses returns with strong readings of the Narracotts Theme on woodwinds and horns that opens up into the most powerful and majestic reading of theBonding Theme on the album at 3:33 the melody rising on proud resounding horns with the accompanying string figures reaching higher and higher and finally united with the Dartmoor Theme in a pure and unabashed celebration of countryside and simple life and the bond that is forming between the boy and his horse. After the majesty of the thematic statements has faded into near silence solo flute’s crystal clear voice playing what sounds like a ruminating variation on the Nature Theme and warm horn and string textures brings this orchestral set piece to a truly satisfying conclusion. This is without a doubt one of the most satisfying tracks on the entire album. Williams’ build-up throughout the piece is masterful, the expansive sound he conjures truly a celebration of nature in musical form. The full statement of the Bonding Theme (this version is the one heard also in the trailers) is a truly classic Williams moment of spine tingling grandeur and warm humanity, showing once again how he knows how to capture the human heart and aspirations in his music. 7. Ruined Crop, and Going to War Mournful duet for oboe and bassoon seems to depict quiet loss and resignation, almost elegaic strings adding to the emotionality of the piece. The duet and the string theme is reprised but soon taken over by a fateful sounding figure in the string section that mounts in strength with murmuring brass appearing underneath, underscoring the direness of the situation. A new section begins with a nostalgic and emotional reading of the Bonding Theme but is soon supplanted by a new theme for Joey, as he goes to war, Williams presenting almost formally a solo trumpet idea of the War Theme that seems to speak both for the war and men in it but also for Joey himself. The tones are noble and clear but the melody carries with it a mournful fatality and somberness as it echoes over a snare drum cadence. As said above in the thematic overview the theme is one in a long tradition of Williams’ trumpet themes for war and military, a dichotomy of heroism and loss. 8. The Charge and Capture The previous track segues to this one without pause. High strings support a clear trumpet call reminiscent of the War Theme in its style almost like a bugle before the battle, carrying with it a steely resolve. Snare drum and whirring, buzzing string patterns emerge and start a wild nervous gallop, deep dark brass making exclamations undernearth, rhythmic strings growing insistenly louder with dissonant brass choirs from both sides of the orchestra screaming, promising carnage. This is war at its most brutal. The orchestral chaos grows and grows, finally stripped down to the galloping rhythm and then only to sorrowful strings, the War Theme echoing over the bleak soundscape on solo trumpet. Reverently sad brass and string elegy slowly starts in the orchestra, the melody trying to continue but soon subsides exhausted. 9. The Desertion Similarly gloomy high strings and low woodwinds that accompanied the previous track open this one, the disheartening tragedy of war clear in their tones until a fast rhythmic figure kindles in the string section and begins a breathless race through the orchestra, a repeating angular motif emerging through the writing, augmented by growing brass providing rapid staccato figures, cymbals making tight bursts. This is not joyous music for a gallop in the sun, this is a head long flight full of terror and panic, Joey trying to escape the war. And slowly the escape music dies down but encounters the grieving sounds of strings, elegaic once more full of deep sadness. You can’t run away from war. It is everywhere. Noteworthy here is that Williams creates the kinetic pull of the piece through the use of string section and brass alone, percussion, so common in most modern scores as the providers of momentum playing a minimal part which is a wonderful change of pace and a smart move from Williams. 10. Joey’s New Friends A calm, ethereal flute solo comes to offer brief solace from the horrors of war, joined by a second flute, dueting quietly, strings accompanying subtly the melody representing Joey’s New Friends, warm and comforting. Humorously optimistic and determined horn melody with a clarinet bubbling in the background seems to indicate a positive turn in the events. Soon another new melody dances forth on woodwinds, harp and happy strings, quick, dexterous and light, alternating with rather comedic interludes for brass and woodwinds, painting a light and bright hued picture of momentary respite from fear and toil. An excellent piece of music offering some needed humour and lightness to the proceedings in the middle of the heavier and dramatic war tracks. Reminds me of some of the lyrical lighter moment in Terminal score and curiously enough Heartbeeps. 11. Pulling the Cannon Heavy rhythm on double basses indicates danger, toil, hardship and struggle, the music continually growing around the rhythm, pacing slowly but inexorably forward, the tugging of the menacing strings leading into a noble reading of the War Theme again on the signature sound of the theme, a solo trumpet. From this grows a dramatic, tragic piece for the whole orchestra, different sections creating a sense of mounting struggle. Fatal brass, strings and percussion and low end piano do battle with each other, snare drum providing military pacing amidst the orchestral war. At 2:37 the battle subsides leaving in its wake a touching string elegy where glowing strings perform with grace and subtlety, even their smallest gestures heartbreaking. 12. The Death of Topthorn The tone of the previous cue continues here, the tragedy and gentle sorrow mixing into one in another string led piece. Solo clarinet comes in midway through, subtly poignant, the strings taking up its notes and rising slowly into a full orchestra crescendo of heart breaking proportions. 13. No Man’s Land Cold high string tones screetch and unsettle, harp wandering ghostly amidst their dissonant textures for a good while like over fields of the dead. At 1:52 the orchestra bursts into action with a resounding piano and double bass crash, snare drum and racing string figures providing pace for another race, this time perhaps for freedom. Woodwinds and brass join the performance, this time the percussion adding their weight to the escape, the brass tones heroic, victorious and rousing, the War Theme appearing in the middle of the charge that builds towards a dramatic crescendo of furiously fast orchestral forces. The momentum is finally stopped by deeply violent string figures and pouding rumbles of a grand piano that slowly die down into silence. 14. The Reunion The music opens with the Discovery theme as ethereal as we heard for the first time on track 3, but here played delicately on piano and then the strings take up the Bonding Theme in a wonderfully gentle fashion the melody extended here by Maestro with a poignant passage for strings, flute subtly appearing under the theme’s texture. Solo oboe and warm dreamy horns propel us to another reading of the Bonding Theme rich with noble brass writing, string jumping higher with their accompanying figures, truly emotional in their restrained performance, Williams infusing them with feeling of much grander reading of the thematic material. The Friendship Theme, a perfect continuation of theBonding Theme, appears if to announce us that all is well, the soothing, yearning tones here fully at peace. This is for me the best piece of the entire score, summing up the emotional strength of the main thematic ideas and bringing them around a full circle. The restrained yet highly powerful performance has an air of serene peace and fulfillment without the music becoming too saccharine or maudlin. A perfect balance. 15. Remembering Emilie, and Finale The Bonding Theme is heard on flutes this time, the sound warm and peaceful, continuing the tone of the previous track. Soothing strings and horns create a homely and comforting mood when at 1:19 solo flute appears from that texture, playing the Joey’s New Friends theme, tender and delicate. Harp and strings continue, horns quoting the Bonding Theme’s opening before solo piano gives a lyrical and emotionally direct statement of the Friendship Theme, the instrument all at once nostalgic and homely, poignancy of the story fully captured in the melody’s contours. This is further enhanced as the strings take up the Friendship Theme next rising into an emotional peak of the piece, repeating theBonding Theme on horns with the rising strings infused with the sense of fulfillment. And as the piece draws to a close Williams makes a wonderful dramatic gesture by having the War Theme appear on clear solo trumpet with flutes quoting the Bonding Theme’s rising and falling figures quietly underneath, both aspects of Joey coming together in the end. 16. The Homecoming For the film’s end credits Williams has written one of his classic extended suites, gathering up all the major themes of the score and developing them in different ways. Featured are The Playful Horse Theme, The Nature Theme, Dartmoor Theme, The Narracotts Theme and finally the Bonding and Friendship Theme. The music opens with the Narracotts Theme on solo flute, which is featured throughout the suite and then the music quickly dances forward to a variation of the Playful Horse Theme with its rhythmic double bass figure, the composer developing the theme beyond what we have just heard on the album, the idea becoming almost a sprightly jig for a symphony orchestra. At 2:21 solo returnsflute to perform the Celtic flavouredNature’s Theme which is then taken up by the strings, the orchestra exploring the majestic slow theme until it joins aptly to The Dartmoor theme that is intoned on lovely solo flute over warm strings, alternating with the Narracotts Theme. A brief boisterous strings interlude with shades of the Playful Horse Theme then flows into a lovely combination of the Bonding Theme and the Friendship Theme, now singing beautifully with the help of the entire string section, making a final truly emotional statement of Albert’s and Joey’s friendship. But quite fitting the music ends where it started, the Nature Theme, solo flute carrying in its ancient and revenrent tones the piece into a beautiful, serene finish. The soundtrack album feels like a well paced journey, a coherent dramatic arc from the bucolic country life to the horrors of war and back again, the final few tracks embracing friendship, peace and sense of closure. All the large and small instrumental touches reflecting the story, its majesty, humanity, playfulness, the brutal futility of war, friendship, the beauty of earth itself come together to form a beautiful whole, unfolding in just 65 minutes, a perfect length presentation of the music. For me this score represents all that is best in John Williams’ music: the thematic brilliance, the mastery of orchestral colours and orchestration and the inherent emotionality of his music. Thematic breakdown The Main Theme (Bonding Theme): Track 3: 3:18-3:49 Track 4: 0:29-0:42 Track 6: 2:02-2:12 3:33-3:56 Track 7: 2:08-2:30 Track 14: 0:37-1:07 2:18-3:04 Track 15: 0:10-0:45 1:58-2:07 3:46-4:24 Track 16: 5:28-6:17 The Friendship Theme: Track 14: 3:05-end Track 15: 2:08-3:45 Track 16: 6:17-7:19 The Discovery Theme: Track 3: 2:16-2:40 Track 14: 0:00-0:34 Nature Theme: Track 1: 0:00-0:54 Track 2: 2:52-3:07 Track 5: 0:32-0:58 Track 6: 4:31-end Track 16: 2:20-3:35 Dartmoor Theme: Track 1: 2:08-2:29 3:15-end Track 3: 1:01-1:19 1:43-1:56 Track 5: 2:21-2:34 Track 6: 2:28-2:39 3:56-4:25 Track 16 3:35-3:59 4:21-4:46 Narracotts Theme (Farm Work): Track 1: 1:34-1:59 2:57-3:06 Track 4: 2:05-2:28 2:50-3:10 Track 5: 2:54-3:18 Track 6: 0:00-1:29 2:12-2:28 2:41-3:31 Track 16: 0:00-0:18 4:00-4:21 Playful Horse: Track 2: 0:00-1:35 Track 4: 0:43-1:56 Track 16: 0:19-2:20 War Theme: Track 7: 2:30-end Track 8: 0:03-0:28 1:51-2:08 Track 11: 1:01-1:16 Track 13: 2:43-3:06 Track 15: 4:25-end Joey’s New Friends Theme: Track 10: 0:00-0:51 Track 15: 1:19-1:58 © -Mikko Ojala-
  3. I'll repost my review here at this point and I will be making updates once I have seen the film to make more accurate comments on how the music relates to the story and the drama. Lincoln Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by John Williams http://www.jw-collection.de/images/lincoln_02.jpg A Review By Mikko Ojala The 26th collaboration between Steven Spielberg and John Williams takes them to the turbulent Civil War era of American history, the life and times of Abraham Lincoln. The upcoming motion picture Lincoln focuses on the last four months of the president’s life and the momentous decisions he was faced with during the ending of the civil strife and drafting the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery. Tony Kushner the famed screenwriter and playwright, who previously collaborated with Spielberg on Munich, provided a script based on the mammoth of a historical biography A Team of Rivals by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, which apparently took 6 years to forge into a workable script as the entire presidency and life of Abraham Lincoln proved too much for a single film to depict. The film boasts an impressive cast of Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Todd Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, David Strathairn as the Secretary of State William Seward just to name a few and part of the film crew are the usual suspects in a Spielberg production, the cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, editor Michael Kahn and of course composer John Williams. John Williams is certainly no stranger when it comes to portrayals of American history and Americana as he has scored numerous films in the spectrum of the idiom throughout his career from the rural, frolicking The Reivers and The River to the heart aching string led lyricism of Born on the Fourth of July, and from the Southern flavoured blue grassy Rosewood to the stately nobility of Amistad or quiet heroism of Saving Private Ryan or the brassy valour of The Patriot. His approach to this type of film could be said to be archetypical for such a subject matter, the composer describing his score in a May 2012 interview with Jon Burlingame as written in the 19th century musical language and containing hymnal modalities in the spirit of the American music of the times. So it might not come as a huge surprise to Williams’ dedicated fans that he chose a mix of Coplandesque and his own inimitable brand of Americana to address Lincoln and still this might actually be one of his most outwardly traditional scores in the idiom to date, so strongly he embraces the modes and musical gestures, feel and inflections of tradition of American music. You could say that this new score forms a walk down the memory lane to the long time afficionados of his music as the different facets of his Americana writing pop up constantly on the soundtrack album and we do encounter in Lincoln brass and string writing in line with the style of Saving Private Ryan and Amistad, folk music stylings from scores like The Reivers, solemn sections similar to those in both The Patriot and War Horse and elegiac tones of Born on the Fourth of July, JFK and Nixon, but it has to be said that Williams does not self quote his old music but rather the overall sounds and styles of what has come before and building again something new on this foundation. In this respect Lincoln might not be groundbreaking in style and sound but it is despite of this highly entertaining and accomplished, at times ravishingly beautiful and powerful music which showcases once more Williams’ strengths, his gift for strong themes, deftness of orchestration and dramatic instinct. To enhance the connection of the music to the president himself the composer at Spielberg’s suggestion engaged the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus to perform the music in honor of Lincoln’s old home state of Illinois and to evoke some of the local musical flavour through their talent on the soundtrack. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has to be complemented for its vibrant and warm sound and the beautiful and numerous heartfelt solos gracing the album, the playing further elevating the emotional appeal of the music. Violin, trumpet, clarinet, bassoon, horn, cello and piano all receive lengthy solo passages but the entire ensemble creates a very empathetic, resounding and warm sound that feels very appropriate for this kind of music, capturing both the tenderness and the stateliness with equal skill and certainly gives the studio orchestras run for their money. The music on the soundtrack album travels between the two poles of stately reverent and lyrically intimate by the way of some rustic humour, reflecting perhaps the balance of these elements in the film, the public and private persona of the president and the affairs of his office. The above mentioned soloists play an important role in the music and on nearly every track one or more of the Chicago Symphony’s musicians are offered a moment to shine. This serves both the restraint for which this score audibly strives but also imparts a sense of simplicity, honesty and fragility, a certain sense of isolation, giving an impression a man amidst events that are greater than he is, and provides a great deal of emotional resonance to the music. A healthy amount of restraint seems to be a guiding thought in this project to both Spielberg and Williams so as not to overpower the performances of the actors or the reality of the film and the composer is obviously trying to do more with less in many instances, reserving grander musical histrionics only for a handful of moments on the album. This restraint and certain stream lined sparseness and reliance on gentle simplicity does not however dilute the musical expression of the score and I actually feel that it strengthens and focuses it, Williams saying perhaps more emotionally with reduced forces than with a complete symphonic ensemble blowing full steam ahead with brass section blazing through every track. Themes: The score boasts with a whole host of themes ranging from noble pathos to familial tenderness. As it might be clear from the above general description of the music all these ideas share a strong Americana feel, whether it is a down-to-earth and folksy or more classical hymnal one and here as in both of Williams’ recent scores (The Adventures of Tintin The Secret of the Unicorn and War Horse) these themes seem to form a family, that shares common musical roots. The composer’s decision to provide so many different ideas perhaps reflects the different aspects of Lincoln and the people close to him, the themes forming a tight knit fabric of motifs that flows from one to the next with fluid ease on the soundtrack album. Partly as a consequence from this way of writing and thinking Williams doesn’t obviously assign any of his themes a clear central position as the “main theme” of the score that then would be stated and restated with regularity, which might puzzle and frustrate some of his fans, and there are indeed several long and well developed ideas on the album vying for that title, appearing continously from one track to the next. Still after numerous consecutive listens With Malice Toward None seems to be for me the most important and emotional and certainly most memorable of all the themes on the album. With Malice Toward None (Lincoln’s Theme): The name of the theme refers to the second inaugural speech of Lincoln and it is a folk song styled, simple, lyrical and honest melody that could be said to be main theme of the score. It seems to embody the down-to-earth nobility of the main character and his humanity. Coloured with lilting gait of folk music in some settings and slow solemn progression of traditional hymns in others, this theme paints a very humble, thoughtful and gentle picture of the president of United States. Appears on the album: 04 The American Process: 1:18-1:47 and 3:10-end 06 With Malice Toward None 12 Freedom's Call: 0:24-2:29 16 The Peterson House and Finale: 1:49-3:13 and 7:40-8:25 17 With Malice Toward None (Piano Solo) The American Process: A gentle lilting Americana "home and hearth" melody with almost folk song quality, the theme pensive yet optimistic with a sense of earthy wisdom. It is set often in the woodwinds, clarinet, bassoon and flute but this idea is also frequently developed on stately strings or brass, revealing a nobler aspect and aspirations in this guise. Appears on the album: 01 The People's House: 2:16-3:09 04 The American Process: 0:00-1:19 and 2:10-3:00 11 Equality Under the Law: 0:00-1:36 12 Freedom's Call: 2:29-3:18 16 The Peterson House and Finale: 4:50-5:43 and 8:26-9:14 The People’s House: The most dramatic and triumphant of the themes, this noble and heroic idea is built on a leaping four note clarinet figure heard initially on the opening track and soon blooms to a full brass and strings setting, imparting a sense of victory and achievement, probably reflecting political and personal accomplishment. The idea is used sparsely on the soundtrack album appearing only on the opening track and the Finale track, and it seems that Williams is reserving this level of musical heroism for specific and crucial instances in the narrative. Appears on the album: 01 The People's House: 0:00-2:15 and 3:10-end 16 The Peterson House and Finale: 3:14-4:49 Freedom’s Call (The 13th Amendment): A short and direct melody, composed of a series of a few alternating chords, depicts perhaps Lincoln’s just and good aspirations and goals, the 13 Amendment and the abolition of slavery and his gentle wisdom and noble humanity. There is stately grace in this simple yet affecting idea, bridging the public and personal side of Lincoln and Williams offers numerous alternating variations of it throughout the score in different settings from solo piano to brass chorale. Appears on the album: 02 The Purpose of the Amendment: 0:55- 1:39 and 2:26-end 09 Father and Son: 0:34-0:52 and 1:08-end 11 Equality Under the Law: 1:37-end 12 Freedom's Call: 3:18-5:29 15 Appomattox, April 9, 1865: 0:24-1:08 16 The Peterson House and Finale: 0:24-1:20 and 6:19-7:39 The Elegy: A mournful and anguished string elegy, quite religioso in nature, that seems to exude regret, sorrow and horror all in one harrowing theme, a reminder of the Civil War and its ravages. Appears on the album: 08 The Southern Delegation and the Dream: 3:06-end 13 Elegy The Loss and Remembrance Theme: A theme that seems to relate both to Lincoln's personal loss, of his son William, but also to mourning of the tragedy of Civil War and remembrance. It is an unadorned piano melody that expresses bittersweet sorrow with a hint of regret. This musical idea is used sparsely and always retains the same guise, invoked on the piano, the most familial and "domestic" but also emotionally direct of instruments. Appears on the album: 05 The Blue and Grey: 0:00-1:01 14 Remembering Willie: 0:29-end 16 The Peterson House and Finale: 9:29-end *** Track-by-track analysis As I have not seen the film nor do not know the full narrative of the movie, the below analysis and names of the themes are pure speculation on my part, made only to give the piece a structure and to help identifying recurring musical ideas on the album. 01. The People’s House (03:41): A pensive 4-note phrase (a warm nod to Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring) on solo clarinet, played by Stephen Williamson, opens the album with an air of gentleness and optimism, the lilt of the melody almost asking a question as it repeats several times all the while developing the phrase, strings rising to support it. Flute and clarinet restate the original 4-note idea before Williams lifts the melody forth in key and strings sing out a fully formed upward climbing People’s House theme, noble and stately, as if denoting a moment of accomplishment and victory, brass accompanying the melody warmly underneath. Woodwinds present the second phrase of the thematic idea, slightly more thoughtfully winding melody implicating resolve before it is swept again into a majestically fanfarish and rousing full orchestra statement of this Americana theme, the 4-note motto of the theme slowly receding through the ranks of the orchestra to solo trumpet after the crescendo. Clarinet and flute duet plays a new theme, The American Process, another Americana melody where the two swaying woodwinds interlace their voices in the song-like melody that is dignified and initially almost folksy but soon reaches stately proportions as suddenly glowing violins underpinned by lower brass take up the theme, giving the music an air of importance, solo trumpet rouding out the track with a calm and proud statement of the People’s House theme. One of the stand-out pieces of the album, this is a wonderful way to open the CD but oddly the opening heroic musical idea does not return to the score until the finale. In overall feel this cue sounds like Amistad meeting Saving Private Ryan with a dash of the unabashed heroism of The Patriot thrown in. 2. The Purpose of the Amendment (03:06): A new ruminating and stoic melody is heard on clarinet and bassoon, developing slowly phrase by phrase but then moving to a hopeful and warm string idea, the first appearance of the Freedom’s Call theme, that calmly rises forth on higher strings, the celli and basses playing accompanying figures underneath giving the music a sense of forward progress, the theme perhaps illustrating Lincoln’s ideals and political aspirations concerning the 13th Amendment and healing the war torn nation. Clarinet and horns and trumpets all pass phrases, solo trumpet’s clear tones rising alone for a moment before autumnal strings and clarinet transition again to Freedom’s Call theme in the string section, this time more assured, glowing and reverent, clearly indicating a moment decision. The writing here reminds me of War Horse and Saving Private Ryan, especially Williams’ way of combining flute, clarinet and bassoon voices and the way the broad long lined theme is developed on strings. 3. Getting Out the Vote (02:48): Solo violin quickly and subtly hints at the chords of Freedom’s Call Theme, maybe a nod to the political action taking place during this light hearted cue, before Williams spins a wonderful jaunty Appalachian scherzando or dance for strings, solo fiddle, viola, woodwinds, tuba and light percussion, the music exuding wonderful hoe-down folk music feel and humour. The soloists have their moment to shine, violin and bassoon performing particularly delicious solos. This piece is a delightful interlude that offers not only variety and levity but allows the composer to explore a different side of Americana writing, the style and feel of the piece harkening back to his similar music in The Reivers. A terrifically sprightly and fun piece! 4. The American Process (03:56): Clarinet and bassoon duet once more, this time giving a long rendition of the American Process theme, solo flute joining them and for a while the trio develops the music alone the melody full of tender warmth. Oboe’s lyrical voice has almost a bucolic air here supported by the gentle lower strings before stately and burnished low and slow brass choir introduces a brief first statement of With Malice Toward None that ends in very dignified sounding brass phrases, hinting possibly at official state business. Randy Kerber, the only soloist not from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, performs a simple yet emotional piano variation on the American Process theme with solo flute ghosting subtly, calm swaying string chords melting into Christopher Martin’s sublimely serene trumpet reading of With Malice Toward None, a perfect depiction of nostalgia and longing, which closes the track in soothing tones. 5. The Blue and Grey (02:59): A dark hued theme plays on solo piano, the Loss and Remembrance Theme, slow and thoughtful, expressing in equal measure sorrow and regret, a warm yet sad memory. Randy Kerber’s reading is beautiful, the halting phrases of the theme capturing a quiet sense of loss and the toll of war. A repeating string rhythm starts a slow tug, piano first striking paced rumbling chords underneath, the music expressing deliberation, slow wait for a moment of decision, pensive clarinet and bassoon appearing underneath the rhythm, which transitions briefly from strings to the woodwinds and then back again continuing inevitably and finally slides into resigned silence. 6. “With Malice Toward None” (01:50): String orchestra performs the main theme of the film with sensitivity and grace, the melody in equal part hymnal and traditional folk music, the nobility, humane spirit and a sense of wisdom captured in this gentle lyrical melody. One of the highlights of the album full of emotion and tenderness of Williams’ best themes, the only downside being that it feels too short and I would have loved to hear Williams develop this theme further. 7. Call to Muster and Battle Cry Of Freedom (02:17) Williams includes on the album this resounding reminder of the music of the Civil War era, a piece of diegetic music for militaristic drums and choir, where the traditional sounding military snare drum tattoo with a lively piccolo melody bookends a performance of a famous Civil War era song Battle Cry of Freedom sung by the Chicago Symphony Chorus with patriotic resolve. 8. The Southern Delegation and the Dream (04:43) Somber strings and subdued militaristic brass calls give away to a solo trumpet intoning a tragic and dark melody above string harmonies, paced by subtle timpani, the atmosphere grave. The same grimly martial mood continues and after a brief passage for snare drum, elegiac strings and solo trumpet the music suddenly plunges into disturbing rumbling synthesizer textures and turbulently quivering murkily dissonant string layers, like a musical depiction of a nightmare. High strings slowly rise from the dark cloud of sound and begin a reading of the Elegy Theme, a mournful, lonely and subtly religioso composition, which seems to lament the tragedy of the Civil War and the countless victims of the conflict, the tone of the music forlorn and sad although the piece seems to find some measure of solace in the end. An interesting mix of moods, this piece conjures up shades of the darker and more challenging music and elegiac writing from Born on the Fourth of July, Nixon and JFK. 9. Father and Son (01:42) A solo bassoon presents a halting ruminating melody that moves on to a noble but grave horn statement before melting into a variation on the Freedom’s Call theme on celli and basses, a brief lyrical solo oboe phrase transitioning back to the theme, this time heard in a simple affecting solo piano reading, suggesting a moment of paternal wisdom. 10. The Race to the House (02:41) (Traditional, arranged and performed by Jim Taylor ) A selection of Civil War era folk music titled The Last of Sizemore arranged and performed by the traditional and folk music expert Jim Taylor and licensed from his album The Civil War Collection. A jaunty jig for fiddle, banjo, guitar and hammered dulcimer that contains excerpts from "They Swung John Brown To A Sour Apple Tree", "Three Forks of Hell", Last of Sizemore" and Republican Spirit". Another track that offers some authentic diegetic music from the era and at the same time some lighter tones amidst all the serious and solemn music. A very entertaining piece of music. 11. Equality Under the Law (03:11) A dreamy clarinet solo over expectant string harmonies plays the American Process theme before whole string section takes up the phrase, hinting at the Freedom’s Call’s harmonies before horn and clarinet in somber mood move to a humble statement of American Process theme. Clarinet and flute pair to perform the Freedom’s Call again, this time with solemnity, developing the original melody further until string section rises through this build-up finally to a beautiful yet restrained and reverent reading of this idea that poignantly rises higher and higher, a powerful and emotional musical moment before subsiding in warm harmonies in a classic Williams style. Another winner track, the slow build through the cue reaching a highly satisfying release at the end of the piece. 12. Freedom’s Call (06:06) Tubular bells toll quietly over glowing strings that flow into a solo violin rendition of the With Malice Toward None, a soulful and yearning performance by Robert Chen of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the melody gently underlined by simple guitar chords. The solo is full of poignancy and idealism yet the violin lends the melody touching emotional fragility that would melt the hardest of hearts. The string section continues to develop the theme, finding new avenues for it and in solemn beauty raises the music to a magnificently emotional height. After the theme has subsided clarinet and bassoon appear together, duetting and performing the American Process Theme that is taken over by the brass in almost heraldic proclamation, the theme working in this piece as a bridge melody that ushers in high strings that play the Freedom’s Call theme in its more developed and emotional guise while rhythmic figures on the double basses play underneath with a feeling of determination, the performance full of stately largesse and sense of accomplishment. Horns and trombones continue the theme reaching a triumphant peak with sense of finality when Williams suddenly releases an ethereal almost beatifically glowing variation of the theme on strings and ends the piece in a noble horn soliloquy by Daniel Gingrich. A stunning composition by the Maestro, drawing together the three central themes of the film. The music is combining moods similar to those of Saving Private Ryan, War Horse and the fiddling of Mark O’Connor from The Patriot. 13. Elegy (02:34) This track is a long development of the Elegy Theme that was previously hinted at on the track The Southern Delegation and the Dream. It opens with a duet for trumpets in almost military bugle call style singing the main melodic line of the sorrowful and tragic theme before the strings come in and repeat the theme in harrowing tones, Williams’ elegiac writing strong and lyrically moving as usual, the performance of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra highly emotional, the mood alternating from sadness to heart rending pathos and finally to religioso majesty, which ends the piece in a resigned calm. 14. Remembering Willie (01:51) After a few harp notes, solo violin and viola receive their own passages, subtly quoting the Elegy Theme before the cello takes over and sings forlorn above simple guitar chords until Loss and Remembrance Theme appears on the solo piano as mourning and contemplative as before, now further enhanced by the sonorous emotionality of the solo cello that appears in brief duet with the piano, expressing quiet but powerful sorrow and feeling of loss. The fragile tone of the music is just superb here, this brief but powerful piece full of emotion. 15. Appomattox, April 9, 1865 (02:36) Horn calls out alone, solemn and slightly mournful and a piano variation on the Freedom’s Call plays serene and unadorned, Williams relying on the simplicity of the most domestic of instruments to carry the emotion and message of the moment, before brass chords slowly flow into heart breakingly beautiful, ethereal sounds of ghostly choral voices, a moment of haunting sorrow, followed by solo clarinet and horn both equally sorrowful and pensive, deep woodwinds and strings bringing the cue to an ending full of dark foreboding. 16. The Peterson House and Finale (11:00) This piece draws together all the themes of the score into a long tone poem styled piece, meditation on all that has gone before on the soundtrack, a stunning and emotional finale. Oboe starts off alone, wandering and ruminating when solemn chords appear halfway between the opening of several of the main themes, showing their interconnectedness, but finally clarinet and flute settle on Freedom’s Call in a humble setting, oboe and cor anglais interrupting, a hint of the Elegy Theme darkening the mood. Reverently slow the With Malice Toward None rises in the strings, Williams omitting a few folk song styled decorative notes here and there in the melody to transform the theme into a more hymn styled variation, a regal deep brass choir repeating the theme full of telling solemnity, slow and dignified in their progressions from which the People’s House Theme begins in the flutes and surges quickly up into a fantastically triumphant full ensemble statement of the theme that slowly fades into a solo trumpet stating the 4-note motto of the idea. The American Process theme on its emblematic woodwinds, clarinet and flute, appears and soon leaps into glowing and courageous string rendition that is followed by a heraldic trumpet solo interlude, showing again the skills of Christopher Martin, his voice sounding like a lonely bugle over a field of battle. From this grows the Freedom’s Call theme in the high strings with the rhythmic low string accompaniment, here perhaps even more expressive than on track 12 and it marches forth, the theme statelier here than ever before. The solo trumpet returns singing With Malice Toward None in serene, warm and clear tones over piano chords, a stunning moment of Americana before the piano continues alone performing an innocent and down to earth variation on the American Process Theme, flute appearing to ghost the theme and in the final reassuring chords the music seems to fade into silence accompanied by a swaying string figure but Williams gives the last word to the Loss and Remembrance Theme, its somber and sorrowful notes bidding farewell to the listener in bittersweet thoughtful tones. 17. “With Malice Toward None” (Piano Solo) (01:31) A solo piano rendition of With Malice Toward None theme rounds out the album in a gentle, pensive mood, Randy Kerber’s performance liltingly warm and even nostalgic, a great finale to the entire listening experience. *** Lincoln is a very strong entry in Williams’ dramatic ouvre and on album it is a highly entertaining and listenable score, permeated strongly by the spirit of Americana. It might not break radically new ground in its approach for such a subject matter but it makes up for it in engaging thematic material, emotional soloist performances and a strong dramatic arc. While the score does make an instant impression with its melodic nature and warmly emotional tone, this is music that benefits from multiple listens, the thematic ideas intertwining through the album so that it takes a few listens to explore Williams composition in full and appreciate the way he approaches the subject matter and Lincoln's different facets. Those who come to this score expecting for the music to impress with bold brassy themes, sweeping statements and grand musical gestures or some kind of complete reinvention of the composer's style might be disappointed but all I can say as a fan of his intimate scores for dramas, his writing for solo instruments and his trademark Americana, this is another wonderful and heartfelt score from the Maestro and shows yet again how Williams is still at the top of his game and going strong at the age of 80, continuing to create some of the best film music around. Lincoln is definitely among the best of the year for me for its mastery of the idiom and sheer emotional appeal. © Mikko Ojala Credits: Music composed and conducted by John Williams Performer: Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Chicago Symphony Chorus Violin: Robert Chen Trumpet: Christopher Martin Clarinet: Stephen Williamson Bassoon: David McGill Horn: Daniel Gingrich Piano: Randy Kerber Additional Musicians: Charles Bisharat fiddle George Doering mandolin Alan Estes, Don Williams percussion Tommy Morgan harp Michael Valerio arco bass Producer: John Williams Editor: Ramiro Belgardt / Robert Wolff Recording Engineer: Shawn Murphy Mixing Engineer: Shawn Murphy Engineer: Brad Cobb Contractor: Sandy De Crescent Preparer: Jo Ann Kane Music Service Mastering Engineer: Patricia Sullivan Update: Film Cue List and approximate correspondence with the soundtrack album I have tried to figure out how does the soundtrack album line up with the film and how much of it is used in the movie and how much left out. Below is a break down of the score in the film cue-by-cue with track times to indicate pieces found on the album. This list contains a rough estimation as some cues sound very similar to the music on the CD but might be different takes. The track titles are either taken from the soundtrack album or the FYC promo and where none is found I have made them up myself. 1. Quickstep and the American Process/ The Dream (1;36) (OST track 7, approx. 0;00-0;32, 1;40-end + unreleased 0;30 + OST track 8, approx. 2;20-3;04) FYC CD track 1: Quickstep and the American Process The film version uses only a short portion of the Call to Muster found on the OSTberfore transitioning to the unreleased piano section and the music for the dream. 2. Sleeping Tad (1;42) (OST track 9) FYC CD track 2: Sleeping Tad 3. With Malice Toward None (0;48) (OST track 4, approx. 2;09-3;01?) FYC CD track 3 With Malice Toward None The OST section is probably an alternate take or a more fleshed out version of this variation of the American Process Theme made for the album. 4. Getting Out the Vote (2;25) (OST track 3, (2;49)) FYC CD track 4: Getting Out the Vote The album version is slightly longer than the film cue, which sounds like editorially shortened and looped. 5. The Southern Delegation Arrives (2;13) (OST track 8, 0;00-2;01) FYC CD track 5: The Southern Delegation Arrives On the OST the music crossfades with the dissonant Dream music. 6. Remembering Willie (1;41) (OST track 13) FYC CD track 6: Remembering Willie 7. Fort Fisher Is Ours (0;39) (Unreleased) 8. Trouble with Votes and Voters (1;20) (OST track 10, approx. 0;29-1;57) Non-Williams material. The music differs slightly from the OST counterpart, the music edited at various points. 9. Message from Grant and Decisions (2;35) (OST track 5, 1;01-end) FYC CD track 7: Message from Grant and Decisions The OST is missing some material and a clean opening. 10. No Sixteen Year Olds Left (1;51) (Unreleased) FYC CD track 8: No Sixteen Year Olds Left 11. The Telegraph Office (1;44) (OST track 1, 0;00-0;48 + track 12, 4;46-5;05 + track 1, 3;07-end) This piece is comprised of the clarinet and flute opening of track 1, which is edited into a short snippet of the Freedom's Call (track 12) and then quickly goes to the track 1 again. FYC CD track 9: The Telegraph Office 12. The Purpose of the Amendment (1;28) (Unreleased) FYC CD track 10: The Purpose of the Amendment 13. Equality Under the Law (1;34) (OST track 11, 1;37-end) FYC CD track 11: Equality Under the Law 14. The Military Hospital – The Argument (Unreleased) (1;35) 15. Persuading George Yeaman (0;27) (OST track 11, 1;09-1;36) 16. Mr. Hutton (0;59) (Unreleased) 17. Welcome To This House (1;41) (OST track 2, 0;00-1;40) FYC CD track 12: Welcome To This House 18. Race to the House (1;12) (OST track 10, partially unreleased) This piece mixes both the authentic folk music snippet from track 10 of the OST with a short new variations on the Getting Out the Vote (track 3) material which is editorially spliced together. 19. The American Process (2;26) (OST track 4, 0;00-2;10, (alternate)) The OST album contains an alternate version of the cue with different ending. FYC CD track 13: The American Process 20. Battle Cry of Freedom (0;50) (OST track 7, approx. 0;33-1;39) This is probably for the large part the same performance heard on the soundtrack album. 21. Thaddeus Stevens Returns Home (1;44) (OST track 2, 1;40-end, alternate) (Film version: unreleased opening section + OST track 2, 1;40-2;24 + 0;55-1;40) The version on the album is probably an alternate. The film version seems to combine a short unreleased opening section with the music found on the OST plus some tracked music from the Welcome to This House cue (incidentally found on the same track on the OST). 22. Lincoln Responds to the Southern VP (1;18) (Unreleased) FYC CD track 14: Lincoln Responds to the Southern VP 23. City Point (1;16) (OST track 5, approx. 0;00-1;00) FYC CD track 15: City Point The album cue crossfades with the Message from Grant and Decisions material. 24. Lincoln and Grant/Lee’s Departure (1;57) (OST track 15 (Alternate) (2;38)) FYC CD track 16: Lincoln and Grant/Lee's Departure 25. Trumpet Hymn (1;06) (Unreleased) FYC CD track 17: Trumpet Hymn 26. Now He Belongs to the Ages (2;47) (OST track 16, 0;00-2;47) FYC CD track 18: Now He Belongs to the Ages 27. End Credits (8;13)(OST track 16, 2;47-end) FYC CD track 19: End Credits Entirely or mostly unused pieces/concert suites: Track 1: The People's House: Aside from the opening, the whole middle section with the People's House theme and the whole American Process Theme are unused in the film. Track 6: With Malice Toward None: A concert arrangement of the theme. Track 8: Southern Delegation and the Dream (3:05-end): A variation on the Elegy Theme, which was entirely discarded in the film. Track 12: Freedom's Call: Again only a small snippet was used in the film, edited together with the music from the People's House track. Track 13 The Elegy: This theme is unused and its placement in the film is uncertain. Track 17: With Malice Toward None (Piano Solo): A concertized solo piano version of the theme. Warning the following contains spoilers! The Complete Score Analysis Lincoln is among the most subdued of the Spielberg/Williams collaborations in terms of the amount of music and its function in the film. John Williams has spoken in several interviews of trying to work underneath Tony Kushner's wonderful script and enhance the words and not to be a too obtrusive partner to the images. The composer was also extremely aware of the style and focus of the film and he and Spielberg use the music more as a subtle support for the drama than as a forefront participant in the storytelling. On the other hand the score works in a very traditional way by accenting the small beats and nuances of the scenes, fleshing out the emotions, the subtext often the unseen emotional turmoil of the main characters. It underscores the important turns of events in the film, facilitates transitions and provides humour but there is audible restraint working in the music throughout, the composer approaching the subject with obvious reverence (for good and for ill), the music rarely rising above a gentle whisper. As scoring approach is restrained and almost reverent, the composer chooses to enhance the positive qualities of the main character with various themes, all drawn seemingly from the Americana vocabulary of the times but still carrying Williams' indelible musical stamp on them. His inspiration were indeed the hymns and folk music of the 19th century but he has chosen rather to channel them through allusion than try to employ a completely authentic approach involving rigorous scholarship or strict recreation of the music of the times. Williams also focuses much of the time on soloists of the Chicago Symphony, their numerous solo parts and duets and trios throughout the score evoking an intimate lyrical atmosphere. Williams by his own word recorded over 90 minutes of music with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus but only about 40 minutes of this material ended up in the finished film. The soundtrack album contains a good portion of this music but a few sections still remain unreleased. The CD also includes much music that went unused in the film or these pieces were perhaps meant as concept compositions that would enhance the album listening experience as they are obviously well rounded pieces in their own right. A For Your Consideration album was sent at the eve of the Academy Award season to the voters, which presumably contains the music as it is presented in the film (by Academy rules) and also is the source of some of the track titles in the below track-by-track analysis. Themes Freedom’s Call (The 13th Amendment): A short and direct melody, composed of a series of a few alternating chords, depicting Lincoln’s just and good aspirations and goals, the 13 Amendment and the abolition of slavery and his gentle wisdom and noble humanity. There is stately grace in this simple yet affecting idea, bridging the public and personal side of Lincoln and Williams offers numerous alternating variations of it throughout the score in different settings from solo piano to brass chorale. The music connects especially to the moment when a group of blacks for the first time in the history of United States arrive at the People’s House to observe the vote for the Amendment. As stated the motif portrays Lincoln's noble qualities and humanity but also the great work of passing the 13th Amendment and ending slavery and naturally becomes the central musical idea that travels through the entire film, appearing more frequently than any other theme in the score. Appears on the album: 02 The Purpose of the Amendment: 0:55- 1:39 and 2:26-end 09 Father and Son: 0:34-0:52 and 1:08-end 11 Equality Under the Law: 1:37-end 12 Freedom's Call: 3:18-5:29 15 Appomattox, April 9, 1865: 0:24-1:08 16 The Peterson House and Finale: 0:24-1:20 and 6:19-7:39 With Malice Toward None: The name of the theme refers to the second inaugural speech of Lincoln and it is a folk song styled, simple, lyrical and honest melody. It seems to embody the down-to-earth nobility of the main character and his humanity. Coloured with lilting gait of folk music in some settings and slow solemn progression of traditional hymns in others, this theme paints a very humble, thoughtful and gentle picture of the president of United States. In interviews Williams said that he started the scoring process from the final scene of the film and worked backwards from there after he had gotten the theme for the inaugural address right. His goal was to find a melody close to the hymnal writing of the times and he mentioned that he had searched for something suitable from old hymnals but in the end found it better to try to convey the spirit of the music of the era and hymns with his own theme for the president. While this theme is frequently used on the album, in the film it appears a scarce few times, the composer reserving it for a few key scenes toward the end of the film, the most pivotal being the finale, where it gains a near beatific character. Appears on the album: 04 The American Process: 1:18-1:47 and 3:10-end 06 With Malice Toward None 12 Freedom's Call: 0:24-2:29 16 The Peterson House and Finale: 1:49-3:13 and 7:40-8:25 17 With Malice Toward None (Piano Solo) The American Process: A gentle lilting Americana "home and hearth" melody with almost folk song quality, the theme pensive yet optimistic with a sense of earthy wisdom. It is set often in the woodwinds, clarinet, bassoon and flute but this idea is also frequently developed on stately strings or brass, revealing a nobler aspect and aspirations in this guise. Williams keys this musical idea to the processes of state, the peace making overtures and especially the actual vote and work at the House of Representatives, the music exemplifying the positive force of democratic process. Appears on the album: 01 The People's House: 2:16-3:09 04 The American Process: 0:00-1:19 and 2:10-3:00 11 Equality Under the Law: 0:00-1:36 12 Freedom's Call: 2:29-3:18 16 The Peterson House and Finale: 4:50-5:43 and 8:26-9:14 The People’s House: The most dramatic and triumphant of the themes, this noble and heroic idea is built on a leaping four note clarinet figure heard initially on the opening track and soon blooms to a full brass and strings setting, imparting a sense of victory and achievement, probably reflecting political and personal accomplishment. The idea is used sparsely on the soundtrack album appearing only on the opening track and the Finale tracks. In the film this motif appears only as a single subtle quote of the opening phrases in one cue, the actual full melody appearing only in the end credits. Appears on the album: 01 The People's House: 0:00-2:15 and 3:10-end 16 The Peterson House and Finale: 3:14-4:49 The Elegy: A mournful and anguished string elegy, quite religioso in nature, that seems to exude regret, sorrow and horror all in one harrowing theme, a reminder of the Civil War and its ravages. This musical idea went entirely unused in the film, the movie makers most likely deciding that the images of war spoke even more powerfully without musical accompaniment. Appears on the album: 08 The Southern Delegation and the Dream: 3:06-end 13 Elegy The Civil War: This theme or motif is more of a set of orchestral colorings, military styled brass calls, snare drums and tense strings conjuring terse martial mood. A few alternating chordal progressions seem to convey the looming threat of the civil war and the military aspect of the political machinations. This style of music is reprised a few times in the film always either directly relating to the Southern Delegation and their military surroudings or the presence and danger of the war, which sets a dark backdrop to the whole story. This is another subtle nod the the direction of Aaron Copland, his work The Lincoln Portrait in particular. Appears on the album: 08 The Southern Delegation and the Dream: 0;28-1;39 The Loss and Remembrance Theme: A theme that seems to relate both to Lincoln's personal loss, of his son William, but also to mourning of the tragedy of Civil War and remembrance of the dead. It is an unadorned piano melody that expresses bittersweet sorrow with a hint of regret. This musical idea is used sparsely and always retains the same guise, invoked on the piano, the most familial and "domestic" but also emotionally direct of instruments. Appears on the album: 05 The Blue and Grey: 0:00-1:01 14 Remembering Willie: 0:29-end 16 The Peterson House and Finale: 9:29-end *** Complete Score Track-by-track Analysis The track names are taken from the For Your Consideration album and Original Soundtrack and where unavailable made up by myself. 1. Quickstep and the American Process/The Dream (1;36) (OST track 7, approx. 0;00-0;32, 1;40-end + unreleased 0;30+OST track 8, approx. 2;20-3;04, FYC CD track 1) Following the unscored bloody opening scene where the black Union men are locked in a hand-to-hand combat with the Confederate forces, president Lincoln is shown sitting under a tent tarp in a military camp where he is having a discussion with two black soldiers. Then two young awed Union soldiers approach as they spot the president and start to recite the Gettysburg Address to the chagrinned commander-in-chief. And none too soon the snare drums suddenly stir and interrupt the men and call the troops to muster (to the tune of the Quickstep march rhythm) before they can finish their rather automaton-like litany. A black corporal Ira Clarke, who has also been conversing with the president, continues to recite the ending of the Address almost as a reminder to Lincoln to heal the war torn nation and set the things right as he promised and a gentle piano rendition of The American Process Theme mixes with the snare drum tattoo, hinting at Lincoln’s important duty and work that still lays ahead of him. The film transitions to the president recounting his dream to his wife Mary, where he was riding a tall metal ship towards an unknown shore and this dissonant rumble in the lowest reaches of the orchestra, a bed of tremoloing strings and sizzling rubbed gong depicting the flickering dream imagery, sepia and grey in Lincoln’s memory, before fading slowly away as he finishes his tale. 2. Sleeping Tad (1;43) (OST track 9, Father and Son) Lincoln comes upon his son asleep before the fireplace with glass plates of African-American slaves sprawled beside his tin soldiers on the floor. A solo bassoon presents a halting ruminating melody that moves on to a noble horn statement as the president looks at the glass plate photos in grave sadness before the score melts into the first variation on the Freedom’s Call Theme on celli and basses, the theme associated here to Lincoln personally but also reinforcing his thoughts concerning the civil war and especially the 13th Amendment, a brief lyrical solo oboe phrase transitioning back to the theme as Lincoln lowers himself beside his son and gently awakens him. This time the melody is heard in a simple affecting solo piano reading, colouring this moment of paternal love as Lincoln carries his son to bed on his back, the familial moment of tenderness gracefully captured by the music. 3. With Malice Toward None (0;48) (OST track 4 approx. 2;09-3;01) After Lincoln makes a journey to the house of Preston Blair, the founder and head of the Republican party, and agrees to have him travel to Richmond to negotiate peace, we see the old man getting ready to leave in his carriage and a hopeful piano variation of the American Process Theme sees him off on his mission, the peaceful solution to the hostilities through negotiations his primary concern. 4. Getting Out the Vote (2;32) (OST track 3, (2;49)) A trio of agents (“skulking men” as the film puts it) is hired and sent by the Secretary of State William Seward to procure the critical votes on Lincoln’s behalf for the amendment. Solo violin nimbly opens this wonderful jaunty Appalachian scherzando or dance for fiddle, viola, woodwinds, tuba, light percussion and strings, the music exuding wonderful folk music feel, energy and humour when we see the various ways these voters are cajoled into changing their stance. The efforts of these three gentlemen are met by various stages of success and the music comments their haggling accordingly as we see them reporting to Seward on their results. The soloists have their moment to shine, violin and bassoon performing particularly delightful solos, the former actually underscoring an on-screen fiddler in the film. This music provides a much needed sense of humour and lightness to the otherwise serious film and Williams has fun with the rather salt of the earth and no nonsense characters of Robert Latham, W.N. Bilbo and Richard Schell. The film version is slightly different than the counterpart on the soundtrack album. Not only it is shorter but also contains repeated phrases to conform to the dramatic outline and beats of the scene. 5. The Southern Delegation Arrives (2;13) (OST track 8, 0;00-2;01) William Seward confronts Lincoln concerning the rumours of a Southern peace delegation arriving to Washington through the efforts of Preston Blair and somber strings slowly murmur to colour his feeling of apprehension at the notion, especially since the president neglected to consult him, his Secretary of State. When we transition to no-man’s land outside Petersburg, Virginia, subdued militaristic brass calls give away to a solo trumpet intoning a tragic and dark melody, The Civil War Theme, above string harmonies when the opposing forces have arrived to receive and escort the delegation, paced by subtle timpani, the atmosphere grave when the Confederates and the Union men stare at each other in obvious tension. The same grimly martial mood continues and after a brief passage for snare drum, elegiac strings and solo horn, the music suddenly plunges into disturbing rumbling strings when the dismayed delegates find out that majority of their escort is made up of black soldiers but in a show of temperate diplomacy ascend their carriage courteously, the score portending that these will not be easy negotiations. 6. Remembering Willie (1;50) (OST track 13) On the evening of the Grand Reception at the White House Lincoln is alerted of Mary’s sudden harrowing mood brought about by the party and grim memories connected with it. The president hurries to comfort her in Willie’s old room, their son having died 3 years prior during a party in the White House. The depressed and guilt ridden Mary is holding the portrait of their son, a few delicate harp notes and solo violin and viola subtly quoting the Elegy Theme, expressing her sorrow and remorse, the party another reminder of how they lost their child and how they couldn’t save him. As she laments the death and their time in the house that reminds her of it all, solo cello takes over and sings forlorn above simple guitar chords until Loss and Remembrance Theme appears on the solo piano, inconsolable and contemplative, further enhanced by the sonorous emotionality of the solo cello that appears in brief duet with it. The instruments express quiet but powerful feeling of grief and the parents' loss, the fragile tone of the music capturing both the tender bond between the pair and their shared sad memory as Lincoln gently urges his wife to stay strong. 7.Fort Fisher Is Ours (0;39) (Unreleased) Lincoln and his Secretary of War Edwin Stanton are in the midst of the nervous bustle of the War Department telegraph office monitoring the progress of the assault on Wilmington. Stanton is on edge and when the president goes into one of his stories the secretary storms out to oversee the war effort in less of a storytelling atmosphere. When he returns one of the telegraphs operators announces the news: Fort Fisher has fallen but Wilmington itself has not surrendered. Tense heavy and slow bass drum strokes amid grave low string chords announces the sour victory for the North as both the president and the secretary look alarmed and dismayed demanding to know the tally of casualties, the music portending heavy losses and further bad blood between the contending parties. 8. Trouble with Votes and Voters (1;20) (OST track 10 approx. 0;29-1;57) A selection of Civil War era folk music arranged and performed by the traditional and folk music expert Jim Taylor. A jig for fiddle, banjo, guitar and hammered dulcimer that contains excerpts from "They Swung John Brown To A Sour Apple Tree", "Three Forks of Hell", Last of Sizemore" and “Republican Spirit" underscores more efforts to get votes from rather reluctant Democrats, the troubles and unlucky incidents accented by this folksy and spirited music. Here the film makers saw an opporturnity to colour the characters of W.N. Bilbo and comrades and their rather unscrupulous dealings with sprightly humor and inject the score of the film with earthy and suitably playful music of the times. 9. Message from Grant and Decisions (2;35) (OST track 5, 1;01-end) Meanwhile General Grant has had discussions with the Southern delegates and telegraphs the president that someone of authority in the government has to come and negotiate with them or the opporturnity for peace will be lost. Seward in his usual habit presents Lincoln with the options, setting the peace and passing of the 13th amendment side by side, leaving the president to make the final decision, adding that he cannot hope to have both. A repeating string rhythm starts a slow tug, piano first striking paced rumbling chords underneath, the music expressing deliberation, slow wait for a moment of decision, pensive clarinet and bassoon appearing underneath the rhythm which transitions briefly from strings to the woodwinds and then back again continuing inevitably and finally slides into resigned silence when we see Lincoln torn over the chance of peace and the chance to end the slavery, both seeming to exclude each other at this juncture, the music enhancing the mood of his troubled pondering and the underlinining the high stakes of his decision. 10. No Sixteen Year Olds Left (1;51) (Unreleased) Lincoln, who is plagued by heavy burdens of the state and his important decision, can’t sleep and thus works through the night. He appears at the bedside of his young aides in the small ours of the morning, waking them up and arguing to the bleary eyed young men of the Stanton's decision of executing 16 year old private for laming his horse to avoid going to battle. He wants to pardon the boy, but the aides say that Secretary of Defence Stanton is against pardons to deserters. A pensive clarinet solo underscores Lincoln’s weary sorrow for such wasteful death and as he mentions to the surprise of his young assistants the Southern peace delegation and the rumours being true after all, the celli sing out a somber line. But when the president switches back to the issue of the young soldier, finally deciding to pardon him, an optimistic string phrase and noble solo horn quote the stately but stoic military brass colours of the Civil War Theme but here the mood is optimistic and resolved, the music blooming into a tentative reading of the first chords of Freedom’s Call Theme as Lincoln heads for the War Department telegraph office, the transition earning another statement of the military material pertaining to the peace delegation, now on glowing woodwinds. 11. The Telegraph Office (1;44) (OST track 1, 0;00-0;48 + track 12, 4;46-5;05 + track 1, 3;07-end) At the telegraph office Lincoln, while he is sending a reply to general Grant, gets into a conversation with the two young men on duty, the subject Euclid and equality. The president takes the mathematical theorem and expounds on its universal law so that it should apply to people as well as mathematics, the noble sentiments heard in the burgeoning clarinet reading of the opening phrases of the People’s House Theme that is gracefully taken up by the flutes when the president makes up his mind and decides to stall the arrival of the peace delegation, his desire to see the amendment passed winning in his mind and we hear a tenderly glowing strings rise into a short statement of the Freedom’s Call Theme, a trumpet soliloquy of People’s House Theme escorting the president out of the telegraph office, his plans and mind made up. In this piece the composer seems to pay homage to the great Aaron Copland, whose music has become almost synonymous with orchestral Americana, the initial 4-note opening phrase of the People's House Theme quoting the central motif from Copland's perhaps most famous work, the ballet Appalachian Spring. 12. The Purpose of the Amendment (1;28) (Unreleased) Things are coming to a boiling point in the debates at the House of Representatives and Thaddeus Stevens makes his entry in the discussion on the 13th Amendment bill. His word as the leader of the radical Republican wing holds a lot of weight and his colleagues plead him to compromise on his views in his speech and announce that the bill stands only for equality before the law and not universal equality for the blacks. A solo horn opens the cue when Thaddeus Stevens glances at the balcony where Mrs. Lincoln sits watching the debate, the music giving the moment pensive air, Mr. Stevens torn between his own radical opinion and what would be a politically more temperate approach. The solo continues as a Democrat representative Fernando Wood deliberately goads Stevens by proclaiming that he had always previously demanded full equality for the blacks and demands to know if this is still so. When Stevens seemingly struggles with the answer, the Freedom’s Call Theme plays in humble yet proud woodwind setting with subtle lower string accompaniment that rises to the fore, the rhythm of the motif repeating as everybody is holding their breath before Mr. Stevens answers. Solo horn calls out in stately manner as we see the brief moment of inner struggle of the representative, the music stopping just before he announces his stance: Stevens proclaims that the purpose of the amendment is to guarantee not full equality but equality before the law for the blacks. 13. Equality Under the Law (1;34) (OST track 11, 1;37-end) George Pendelton, one of the leaders of the Democrats and rabidly against the amendment, accuses Stevens of turning his coat and prevaricating. Stevens then repeats his stance, Freedom’s Call Theme starting a slow development on clarinet, flute and bassoon, Williams extending the theme’s melody ever so slightly as the leader of the Republican’s ends his scatching speech on equality before the law on a triumphant note, the Republican party members cheering, the orchestral strings blossoming into a soaring and unabashedly hopeful reading of the Freedom’s Call Theme, which continues relieved and confident as he walks slowly out of the House chamber after finishing his speech, the score celebrating this smaller stepping stone and victory on the road to abolishing the slavery. 14. The Military Hospital – The Argument (Unreleased) (1;35) Lincoln is visiting the military hospital accompanied by his eldest son Robert, who sulkingly accuses his father of deliberately trying to dissuade him from enlisting by bringing him along to see the wounded and the dying. Defiantly he says that he knows all about the horrors of war and that his father won’t turn his head. To all this Lincoln answers with apparent good natured calm. As the president goes about his official business of meeting the wounded, Robert sees two soldiers carting off a covered bloody heap on a wheelbarrow, their work leaving a grim red trail behind them as they go. He follows and sees to his disgust and horror that they were transporting amputated limbs to be buried, all unceremoniously dumbed into a pit behind the hospital. Robert walks away shaken and a tragic call of a solitary horn over whispering high strings exclaims his shock and sorrow. He stiffles a sob and when his father appears elegiac strings sing out the younger man’s defiant wish to enlist, the suffering of war only steeling his resolve and adding to his frustration. Lincoln understands but reminds him of the suffering of those, who have to give up their children to war, Freedom’s Call Theme humanely calling out his fatherly concern on warm brass as the president dispenses this wisdom as a father not as a head of state but he also reminds his son that he is the president and can decide on his enlistment if he so wishes. Robert snaps that his father is just afraid of his mother and what she might do or say, which suddenly provokes a slap from the president, the music turning tragic and ominous as Robert storms off shouting, the solo trumpet and accompanying grim horns quoting the militaristic mood of the Civil War Theme once more, the threat of war and death looming in the music as Lincoln wearily exclaims in half-whisper that he doesn’t want to lose his son to the civil strife. 15. Persuading George Yeaman (0;27) (OST track 11, 1;09-1;36) One of the uncertain Democrats, George Yeaman, is invited to the White House to a discussion with the president. Lincoln in his typical way starts a story, this time about him and his father, but finally makes an honest plea to the representative to vote for the amendment, arguing his case emphatically. Solo clarinet in equally pensive style opens this short cue and as he makes his final plea the American Process Theme on woodwinds and brass seems to ask a decision from Mr. Yeaman before trailing off into silence. 16. Mr. Hutton (0;59) (Unreleased) A somewhat gloomy clarinet and bassoon duet underscores Lincoln’s attempt to persuade Mr. Hutton, another Democrat representative, to vote for the amendment. The man refuses as he holds a deep grudge against the blacks as his brother died in the Civil War and the music remains stoic and melancholy as the clarinet and bassoon continue their discussion. Lincoln then says he is not going to try to turn Mr. Hutton around with any more speeches and that the amendment will likely pass without his help and that he has to acknowledge that the black people will live among the white and the score subtly quotes a few opening notes of the Freedom’s Call Theme before warm string phrase ends the piece as Lincoln offers his condolences to Mr. Hutton’s family and steps into his carriage having made his case. 17. Welcome To This House (1;41) (OST track 2, 0;00-1;40) And so comes finally the morning of the vote for the 13th Amendment. The stoic melody heard in the previous cue is reprised again on clarinet and bassoon, developing slowly phrase by phrase as Thaddeus Stevens is seen arriving to the empty House floor obviously full of trepidation on the eve of this momentous occasion. The melody moves gradually to flute and clarinet coupling as we see people assembling to the House of Representatives. When Asa Vintner Litton, a Republican representative and a fervent abolitionist, welcomes a group of African-Americans to the House balcony to observe the vote, first such group to ever visit the House of Representatives, a hopeful and warm string reading of Freedom’s Call Theme kindles in the orchestra that steadfastly rises forth on violins and violas, the celli and basses playing accompanying figures underneath. These are finally joined by low burnished brass to celebrate this historical moment, the music itself here winding into silence to observe the vote. 18. Race to the House (1;12) (OST track 10, partially unreleased) The debate preceding the vote for the amendment comes to a standstill when the Democrats demand confirmation to the rumours of Confederate peace delegation in the capital and thus of postponing the vote until a peace has been negotiated. The conservative Republican wing joins with the Democrats in their request under orders of Preston Blair and soon the president’s aides and N.W. Bilbo are rushing to the White House to inform Lincoln and asking him for the answer to the Democrats’ question. Williams answers this scene with a brief humorous scherzando, which editorially combines his motif for the “skulking men” heard in Getting Out the Vote and the traditional folk music melodies, when we see the trio of men running from the Hill to the White House in breathless hurry to deliver their message and to save the vote for the amendment. 19. The American Process (2;24) (OST track 4, 0;00-2;10, (alternate)) The vote is finally drawing to a close and Williams underscores the action with the American Process Theme that evokes in its honest simplicity the rightness of the democratic process. A duet of clarinet and bassoon sings the theme alone for a moment when representative Alexander Coffroth announces his “yes” vote and soon a solo flute joins in, the action moving to the headquarters of General Grant where the troops are intently following the tally through the telegraph. The orchestrations gather strength as the woodwind section finally reprises the melody in full form as votes are cast one by one by the representatives. In the White House Lincoln is seen sitting with his son Tad in his lap reading a book together and a serene and familial oboe solo expresses a tender and calm personal moment for the president in juxtaposition to the historical event taking place at the House of Represetatives, the deep and warm strings carrying the score back to the House where the roll call is concluding. A sustained chord in high string plays as the Speaker of the House Colfax announces suddenly that he wants to cast a vote and George Pendelton objects the rarely used priviledge as subdued clarinets play a dour phrase. Stately brass announces the Speaker’s “aye” vote and concludes the tally, strings rising with noble intent as the clerk hands the document to Schuyler Colfax, the cue ending in another sustained chord for suspense as he slowly reads the results. 20. Battle Cry of Freedom (0;50) (OST track 7, approx. 0;33-1;39) The 13th Amendment passes and the Republicans rejoice, the representatives beginning an impromptu chorus of Battle Cry of Freedom, a popular patriotic Civil War era song by George Frederick Root and the unofficial tune of Lincoln’s second term campaign. The song gradually morphs from the rough version sung out of tune at the House floor into a full chorus and orchestra, here performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, first male voices and then female joining with them when Thaddeus Stevens is seen taking the bill of the Amendment and walking home through the streets where people are celebrating, the song proudly calling out as a victorious march on this historical occasion. 21. Thaddeus Returns Home (1;44) (OST track 2, 1;40-end (Alternate)) (OST track 1;40-2;24 + 0;55-1;40) The orchestra starts tentatively when Thaddeus Stevens closes his door and is welcomed by his black housekeeper and he hands her the Amendment as a “gift”, the melody in the strings and woodwinds reminiscent of the one that opened the Welcome to This House cue. Clarinet passes a proud and confident melodic phrase to horns and finally to solo trumpet as Stevens is seen getting into bed, where his housekeeper is already seen sitting with the bill in her hands and a gentle and tender clarinet voices the man’s affection for her. She begins to read the Amendment aloud to him and Freedom’s Call Theme is evoked by Williams in its proudest and most resolute form yet, a musical reassurance of the values inherent in the document and the crowning moment to Mr. Stevens in his struggles against slavery, which as we now see has also had a very personal motive. 22. Lincoln Responds to the Southern VP (1;18) (Unreleased) After the passing of the 13th Amendment the president travels to meet the Southern delegation and their leader the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens. Both parties express their views at the negotiation table, the Confederates bitter and resentful of their lot and the recent passing of the amendment. As Lincoln expounds upon the ideal of democracy and its longevity, the futility of further bloodshed and war, a ruminating bassoon solo above subtle string accompaniment supports his words with quiet lyricism. Strings slowly grow more insistent as the tension grows and the same turbulent orchestral rumbles that underscored Lincoln’s nightmare at the opening of the film are suddenly quoted when the president makes a plea to stop the war, the question left ominously hanging in the air unanswered, the image dissolved into a raging inferno of a town burning in the night, a grim nightmarish visage of the destruction of the Civil War. 23. City Point (1;16) (approx. OST track 5, 0;00-1;00) Outside Petersburg, Virginia Lincoln arrives at the scene of a recent battle, the land torn and burning, the countless dead, the Blue and Grey, lying side by side in the middle of the carnage. As the president rides amid the battle field a touching and unadorned rendition of the Loss and Remembrance Theme plays on piano, the head of state taking off his stove pipe hat and honoring the fallen soldiers as he passes in silence through the fields of the dead, the music giving the moment a poignant but mournful cast, the weariness brought on by this long suffering reflected in the president’s face and in the score. 24. Lincoln and Grant/Lee’s Departure (1;57) (OST track 15 (alternate) (2;38)) The piece opens with an unused section of music. Lincoln meets with general Grant at the Thomas Wallace House at Petersburg, where he holds his temporary headquarters. A horn calls out alone, solemn and remorseful as the two men share a moment while sitting on a porch by the roadside, the horror of the field of the dead still fresh in the president’s mind. A piano variation on the Freedom’s Call Theme serene and unadorned with a tinge of regret appears, Williams relying on the simplicity of the most domestic of instruments to carry the emotion and message of the moment, when Lincoln admits to Grant they have allowed each other to do terrible things, the gentle tone of the music almost rueful here as Lincoln is still shocked by the death he has seen, a concrete reminder of the toll of war. The general admits this but also says that they have won the war and that now Lincoln should focus on healing the nation. Slow and solemn brass chords (unused in the film) flow into heart breakingly beautiful, ethereal sounds of ghostly choral voices of the Chicago Symphony Chorus that seem to evoke the voices of dead of the Civil War as much as they mark this important moment of history as we see general Lee surrendering to general Grant and effectively ending the war. Here the significance of the relatively small and intimate scene and all the historical ramifications are carried by the score, which magnifies the near everyday scene with dramatic subtextual meaning. Solo clarinet carries a defeated and somber tones as Grant magnanimously salutes the defeated general with his men, horn answering for general Lee, both equally sorrowful and pensive, deep woodwinds and strings bringing the cue to a gloomy finale as the Confederate commander rides away from the Appomattox courthouse in silence, the music mirroring more the mindset of soldiers and their honor, won and lost, than the relief at the end of the civil strife. On the album this piece is slightly longer than in the film, opening with a solo horn soliloquy, which then proceeds to the Freedom's Call Theme. In the film the score opens with the Freedom's Call Theme on piano but in different key and omits the longer bridge between it and the choral section. 25. Trumpet Hymn (1;06) (Unreleased) And so the rebuilding of the nation can begin. At the White House Lincoln is holding a meeting with the Speaker of the House and select representatives, when his aide comes to remind him of his engagement at the theater and that he should be leaving to pick up his guests. Lincoln’s black valet Mr. Slade hands him his gloves and the president proceeds to leave and all the assembled rise to see him off and a solo trumpet sings With Malice Toward None in poignant spirit, the music speaking clearer than words for the significance of the moment, the noble yet earthy decency captured in the melody, the music equivalent of a goodbye as the president exclaims almost wistfully "I suppose it’s time to go, though I would rather stay". The president throws away the leather gloves that he distinctly dislikes and his servant tries to catch up with him but stops at the last minute and turns to take a look at Lincoln with some premonition in his eyes. Williams catches this foreboding by weaving a subtle strain of the supporting chords of Loss and Remembrance Theme into the score on piano as we see the figure of the president slowly walking down the hall and disappearing from view, the trumpet’s voice receding into silence with him, the scene and music full of poignant inevitability. Williams originally composed this cue for Lincoln's ride through the battlefield at City Point but the piece was unused in that scene. Instead Spielberg moved it in this scene where it provides a poignant final salute to the president before the assassination. 26. Now He Belongs to the Ages (2;47) (OST track 17, 0;00-2;47) The president has been shot (this happens off-screen) and we next see him when he has been taken to the Peterson House near the Ford Theater, where he has lain through the night. Oboe begins the piece alone, wandering and ruminating full of aching grief as near hysterically weeping Mrs. Lincoln is escorted out of the room, where she has just seen her dying husband. The cabinet ministers, the doctors, president’s aides and his eldest son Robert have gathered around the deathbed and slowly solemn chords appear halfway between the opening of several of the main themes, showing their musical interconnectedness and common source in Lincoln's character when a physician finally announces the president dead. When Edwin Stanton the Secretary of War exclaims “Now he belongs to the ages” clarinet and flute settle on Freedom’s Call in a humble setting as the camera glides away and moves to the flame of a lamp and we hear Lincoln’s voice reciting his second inaugural address, the president seen at the center of the flame. The speech continues and oboe and cor anglais interrupt the Freedom’s Call melody, a briefest hint of the Elegy Theme appearing as Lincoln reminds the listeners of the horrible cycles of hate and of the punishment for sins of which the slavery is among the worst to his mind and he saw the Civil War as a divine punishment for this. Reverently slow the With Malice Toward None rises in the strings when the president expounds upon the charity and humanity people should show in rebuilding the state, to friend and foe alike as they are still of the same nation. Williams omits a few folk song styled decorative notes here and there in the melody to transform the theme into a hymn styled variation, the string setting reverent and solemn with deep benevolent warmth, the gentle strains of the melody drawing the film to a calm resolution as the screen slowly fades to black. 27. End Credits (OST track 17, 2;47-end) This cue draws together all the themes of the score into a long tone poem styled piece, meditation on all that has gone before on the soundtrack, a stunning and emotional finale. A regal deep brass choir with woodwind accompaniment repeats With Malice Toward None full of calm solemnity, slow and dignified in their progressions from which the People’s House Theme begins in the flutes and surges quickly up into a triumphant full ensemble statement of the melody that slowly fades into a solo trumpet stating the opening 4-note motto of the theme. The American Process Theme on its emblematic woodwinds, clarinet and flute, appears and soon leaps into glowing and courageous string rendition that is followed by a heraldic trumpet solo interlude, showing again the skills of Christopher Martin, his voice sounding like a lonely bugle over a field of battle. From this grows the Freedom’s Call Theme in the high strings with the rhythmic low string accompaniment marches forth, the theme perhaps statelier in its progression here than ever before. The solo trumpet returns singing With Malice Toward None in serene, warm and clear tones over piano chords, a stunning moment of Americana before the piano continues alone performing an innocent and down to earth variation on the American Process Theme, flute appearing to ghost the theme and in the final reassuring chords the music seems to fade into silence accompanied by a swaying string figure but Williams gives the last word to the Loss and Remembrance Theme, its somber and sorrowful notes bidding farewell to the listener in bittersweet thoughtful tones. -Mikko Ojala-
  4. The Czech National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Shih-Hung Young, is currently on tour in Scandinavia this month, performing live to projection concerts of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Besides Oslo, where I attended the concert today, their website lists Aalborg, Karlstad, Stockholm, København, and Aarhus as other cities where they will perform. I am not exactly sure of the concert dates and ticket availability for those, however. This was, in fact, my first ever live to projection concert, and so I'll simply write a few brief thoughts on it, which will not be based on any sort of experience, standards or comparisons with these sorts of events, so do take what I say with a grain of salt. I cannot complain about the technique of the orchestra - it was top-notch. They did really well on the complex action sequences, such as the spider chase and the Quidditch scenes, which where powerful and well-synchronized, no doubt a result of the conductor who was meticulously following the score and the guidance screen in front of him, and lead the orchestra without any noticeable issues. He seems to have lots of experience with live to projection conducting, and those skills were evident. I also loved The Flying Car, and was amazed at how much sound the orchestra produced while playing the Voldemort/Chamber Opening motif - it actually drowned everything else that was going on in the film sound-wise, and I was in nothing but complete awe My criticisms would come from the fact that the audience was explicitly encouraged to cheer, applaud and boo for various characters and events in the film. I realized that half of the seats were filled with small children and young teenagers, who were probably the target audience, and so the whole concert became too casual for my tastes. While I have nothing against applauding the orchestra where applause is due, I do have problems with applause while the orchestra is actually playing. Some character appearances and their actions resulted in moments of complete noise, which made listening to the orchestra practically impossible at times. Also, it seems that the orchestra decided not to play through the whole of the end credits, so there was no reprise of the Fawkes' theme, for instance, which was a minor disappointment - I really liked that rendition on the OST and was hoping to hear it separately from the action/dialogue in the film. On the non-musical side of things, there was a lot of merchandise to buy at the venue. Scarfs, pins, robes from all of the four Hogwarts houses, etc. I got the Programme notes, which were printed on such a massively-sized booklet that I initially thought they were selling vinyls . The notes include lots of pictures and quotes from the film, as well as detailed analysis on the score itself and notable pieces. They were also selling the CD album, which is the 5 Collectible covers version. All of it was definitely overpriced, but, I guess, that's what you'd expect when buying from a temporary stall at a concert venue.
  5. None But the Brave Music Composed by John Williams A Review of the Soundtrack Album by Mikko Ojala None But the Brave is a 1965 film and one of Williams' first real dramas and a war story no less, directed by Frank Sinatra, who himself played a supporting role in the picture. It tells the story of American and Japanese soldiers, stranded on a tiny Pacific island during World War II, who have to form a temporary truce and cooperate to survive various tribulations and is told through the eyes of the American and Japanese unit commanders, who must deal with an atmosphere of growing distrust and tension between their men. Film Score Monthly released the score in 2009 for the first time, the album featuring the complete score and even some bonus material and once again credit has to be given to the FSM for their continued interest in releasing and preserving the music from earliest eras of John Williams career. It is fascinating to chart the evolution of Williams' sound and style through his early scores as what you hear is a lot of talent ready to burst into full bloom as it later does but also a sort of learning curve of a composer slowly picking up certain skills of the craft and fine tuning them. However in the case on None But the Brave there is also a good dose of maturity found here. This score exhibits many of Williams' clear stylistic tendencies and gift for melody but perhaps in a slightly reduced or muted format than in many of his later scores. On album the score forms quite a strong listening experience though perhaps requires a bit more patience than your average JW soundtrack. John Williams has always been a writer of memorable melodies and his main theme for the score certainly is a good example of this, a heroic, resolute but pensive melody often heard on solo brass but he weaves it through many orchestrational variations and uses fragments here and there to tie the score together. The film is not out to glorify war and Williams' somber theme and its rather sparse usage reflect that in an admirable way, the theme being a form of musical solace between the tragic and suspenceful elements in the music. Main Title and Kuroki's Introduction presents the main idea in an almost formal heraldic fashion, but we hear also another important idea in passing here, namely Kuroki's Japanese styled motif, very faux oriental progression on flute almost archetypical you could say, which is later explored in a more thorough fashion, the idea revealing more emotional depth later on in cues like Kuroki's Reflection and The Dream of Hope Is Ashes / Hirano's Problem. These two form the opposing musical sides of the story but in the end the composer uses the main theme for both the Americans and the Japanese, their tragedy of war itself becoming one and the same. That said the score might not feel straightforwardly and winningly melodic at first as much of the opening half of the album is focused on suspence and action writing, both reminding of the concurrently written music for Lost In Space in their certain sparseness and terseness, even though small motific ideas spin throughout to tie the pieces together. Especially the wandering fluttering woodwind motifs remind me of the aforementioned TV-series as does some more suspenceful writing for forcefully rhythmic brass and lower strings. E.g. Busy Hands / Kuroki Prepares for War / Fishing Spear, Night Adventure, Brothers in Command / The Water Hole and Waiting for Battle all feature this tense militaristic suspence and action, snare drums and muted snarling brass and rumbling woodwinds. It is interesting to note how many of these techniques, e.g. furious kinetic string and woodwind runs and tense muted brass are carried to Williams' classic scores and appear still 20 or 30 years hence. The composer also has a few chances for light comedic scoring in places and he incorporates a few traditional Japanese tunes into the underscore, often to provide lightness and humor but this also brings some variety and colour to the tone of what is otherwise mostly suspenceful and tense music. But the composer's definite dramatic sense is strong here, the emotional writing for some dire situations in the film gradually rising to truly satisfying heights but only in the latter half of the score (from Uneasy Peace / Okuda and Craddock onward) the music warms up and we hear the themes more often and in a more emotionally resonant guise culminating in the powerful and tragic The Final Fight / The Spirit Lives / End Cast, which rounds up the score on a resounding if somewhat sombre note. This progression and build-up through the album is very effective and reflects the narrative of initial hostilities turning to friendship and back to war again and slowly but surely the music reaches this final confrontation and dramatic peak and the composer makes it seem very natural from musical story telling perspective, a show of his dramatic instincts and skill in crafting a strong architecture through the score. In this score you can hear that Williams is undeniably already developing his own vocabulary and musical voice and showing great promise and he also has here a rare chance to show his dramatic talent amidst all the comedies he ended up scoring in 1960's. I would say this is a surprisingly mature and well conceived score although it might lack the immediate appeal of the Maestro's classic accessibly melodic scores with catchy main themes. But after a few listens you start to hear the intricacy of Williams' music and the more subtle thematic progression he is building. In addition to the complete score the FSM album also contains extensive and highly informative liner notes and track-by-track analysis by Jeff Eldridge and a few bonus tracks, a terrific piano rendition of the main theme by the Maestro himself, which is a worthy addition and was planned to be released as a single but got cancelled, a luau styled Hawajian radio source cue and a couple of alternate orchestrations of Kuroki's Introduction and a robust trailer version of the main theme. At the end of the album to round out the listening experience FSM included as a curiosity the only music previously released from the film, an LP single titled None But the Brave sung by Jack Halloran Singers, a rather schmaltzy affair with an equally saccharine version of Sylvia, the B-side of the single, a song version of David Raksin's theme for a movie of the same name both from 1965. A solid early dramatic score from John Williams, certainly worth the spin to his devoted fans but casual listeners might not be entirely won over by it. 3½-4 stars.
  6. SCORE: - THEME - The Force Theme Credit for the Force Theme Archive i used as the basis for this thread goes to the admin emeritus General Kenobi from the TheForce.net board. Thanks for your work! Of all the themes and melodies John Williams ever composed the Force Theme is among the very best and famous ones. What makes it truly unique is the fact that it single-handedly is the most developed Williams theme ever. No other one has gone through so many permutations, has evoked so many different feelings and is still as listenable as at the first day. You strangely don’t get tired of this theme and this is proven by its extensive use throughout the whole Star Wars saga. The theme appears in all six Star Wars films and pretty much all the Star Wars games. It is also known as Ben Kenobi’s theme and is generally regarded as theme for the Jedi and the Force itself. In 1977 John Williams himself described the Force Theme (according to the liner notes of the LP release) as follows: l think of Ben Kenobi's theme as reflecting both him and, also, the Jedi Knights and the Old Republic that he remembers. It also serves to represent the Force, the spiritual-philosophical belief of the Jedi Knights, and the Old Republic. Like the Princess' Theme, it has a fairy tale aspect rather than a futuristic aspect. There is a lot of English horn in Ben's Theme which is often heard under dialogue. At other times, the melody becomes the heroic march of the Jedi Knights. Some interesting facts: There is no real developed concert suite of this theme. This is surprising considering its high importance in the Star Wars saga. Nevertheless the theme appears (without its B parts) in some of the other suites. The question remains… Why has John Williams not written a proper concert suite for his most developed theme ever? For three scenes of high emotional impact John Williams expanded the Force Theme with differing B-parts. ("For my ally is the Force." [Yoda And The Force, 0:58, 64sec]; "I'll meet you at the rendezvous point on Tatooine." [The Rebel Fleet, 0:03, 51sec]; Luke lights Vader's funeral pyre [Light Of The Force, 2:13, 52sec]) I counted 96 appearances in all six Star Wars scores consisting of 1606sec or 26min46sec. (Of course if i may have missed an appearance or two so feel free to contact me...) In addition there are 15 original theme appearances in the Star Wars Games and Multimedia Projects consisting of 218sec or 3min36sec. (I used a Force theme archive file from a fellow Star Wars fan as a starting point. The track titles in this list refer to the 1997 SE RCA releases for the Original Trilogy, to the Ultimate Edition for Episode 1 and the OST albums for Episode 2 and 3. Unreleased theme statements remain without corresponding track titles till an official release. The tracks are listed chronologically in appearance with Filmquote or Description [Track Title, Start time of the theme statement, Duration] - Short musical attributes like Mystical, Forceful,..) A New Hope (SE): 22 Appearances / 365sec / 6min5sec Leia programs R2 [imperial Attack, 2:21, 9sec] – Mystical, Low Key Binary Sunset [binary Sunset, 2:21, 31sec] – Epic, Poignant, Full Orchestra He's nowhere in sight. [binary Sunset, 3:27, 37sec] – Mystical, Poignant Come here my little friend. [Attack Of The Sand People, 2:47, 16sec] – Dark Now that's a name I've not heard in a long time. [Tales Of A Jedi Knight, 0:09, 35sec] – Ethereal, Mystical The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. [Learn About The Force, 2:11, 16sec] – Ethereal Learn about the Force, Luke. [Learn About The Force, 3:53, 17sec] – Noble, Low Key Wait, Luke, it's too dangerous! [burning Homestead, 0:58, 7sec] – Sad, Epic, Fast and Forceful, Dramatic Luke finds Owen's and Beru's bodies [burning Homestead, 1:30, 12sec] – Sad, Epic, Dramatic, Full Orchestra I want to come with you to Alderaan. [Mos Eisley Spaceport, 0:31, 12sec] – Sad, Thoughtful, Move along, move along. [Mos Eisley Spaceport, 1:53, 5sec] – Low Key Chewie, get us outta here! [The Millennium Falcon, 1:54, 9sec] – Forceful, Fast Looks like an Imperial cruiser. [imperial Cruiser Pursuit, 2:16, 16sec] – Supportive, In Counterpoint to Action This is ridiculous. [The Death Star/The Stormtroopers, 1:46, 14sec] – Sad, Slow Obi-Wan's death [ben Kenobi's Death, 0:00, 6sec] – Sad, Low Key I can't believe he's gone. [TIE Fighter Attack, 1:01, 30sec ] – Sad, Low Key I'm gonna cut across the axis and try and draw their fire. [The Battle Of Yavin: X-wings Draw Fire, 1:11, 7sec] – Militaristic, Epic, Short This is Red Five, I'm going in. [The Battle Of Yavin: X-wings Draw Fire, 1:31, 11sec] - Militaristic, Epic Watch your back Luke, watch your back. [The Battle Of Yavin: X-wings Draw Fire, 3:40, 15sec] – Militaristic, Epic, In Counterpoint to Action I can't shake him. [The Battle Of Yavin: X-wings Draw Fire, 4:01, 15sec] - Militaristic, Epic, In Counterpoint to Action Use the Force, Luke. [The Battle Of Yavin: Use The Force, 6:49, 13sec] – Ethereal, Epic, Triumphant Medal Ceremony [The Throne Room, 0:17, 32sec] – Triumphant, Epic, Forceful, Militaristic, Full Orchestra The Empire Strikes Back (SE): 15 Appearances / 325sec / 5min25sec Luke gets his lightsaber [The Wampa's Lair, 1:07, 12sec] - Mystical, Dark You will go to the Dagobah system. [Vision of Obi-Wan, 4:52, 20sec] - Ethereal, Dark Begin retreat. Fall Back. [The Battle Of Hoth: Beneath The AT-AT, 10:21, 19sec] - Epic, Dramatic, Full Orchestra Something familiar about this place [Arrival On Dagobah, 4:35, 10sec] - Mystical, Low Key Much anger in him. Like his father. [Jedi Master Revealed, 0:09, 18sec] – Noble He is too old. Yes, too old to begin the training. [Jedi Master Revealed, 1:27, 15sec] - Noble I'm not afraid. [Jedi Master Revealed, 1:49, 8sec] - Low Key *not used in film [The Training Of A Jedi Knight, 1:06, 14sec] – Mystical, Noble For my ally is the Force. [Yoda And The Force, 0:58, 64sec] – Ethereal, Noble, Poignant, B - Part Through the Force, things you will see... [City In The Clouds, 2:23, 11sec] – Mystical Even Yoda cannot see their fate. [Lando's Palace, 1:42, 13sec] – Ethereal And I'll return. I promise. [Lando's Palace, 3:17, 31sec] – Poignant, Sad, Full Orchestra *not used in film [Departure Of Boba Fett, 10:58, 12sec] – Dramatic, Full Orchestra, Forceful, Epic Leia, hear me... Leia. [Rescue From Cloud City, 3:21, 27sec] – Ethereal, Epic, Dramatic, Full Orchestra I'll meet you at the rendezvous point on Tatooine. [The Rebel Fleet, 0:03, 51sec] – Playful, Poignant, Epic, Full Orchestra, B - Part Return Of The Jedi (SE): 19 Appearances / 331sec / 5min31sec The rancor picks up Luke [The Den Of The Rancor, 5:18, 5sec] – Dramatic, Militaristic Strong am I with the Force, but not that strong. [The Death Of Yoda, 2:52, 16sec] – Sad, Noble Your father he is." [The Death Of Yoda, 4:33, 25sec] – Sad, Dark Luke, the Force runs strong in your family. [The Death Of Yoda, 6:15, 15sec] - Mystical I can't do it R2 [The Death of Yoda 7:33, 13sec] - Sad, Mystical *not used in film [Obi-Wan's Revelation, 8:57, 21sec] – Low Key *not used in film [Obi-Wan's Revelation, 9:45, 14sec] – Low Key, Mystical Vader's on that ship. [shuttle Tydirium Approaches Endor, 2:03, 16sec] – Dark I'm endangering the mission. [shuttle Tydirium Approaches Endor, 2:41, 18sec] – Dark, Mystical Luke levitates C3PO [The Levitation, 0:19, 20sec] – Mystical, Ethereal 3PO tells of Obi-Wan/Vader duel [Threepio's Bedtime Story, 1:56, 4sec] – Low Key Leia, do you remember your mother--your real mother? [brother And Sister, 0:29, 17sec] – Low Key, Poignant, Sad You're wrong, Leia. You have that power too. [brother And Sister, 4:50, 10sec] – Low Key Obi-Wan has taught you well. [battle Of Endor II: The Duel Begins, 1:20, 7sec] – Noble, Low Key There is no conflict. [battle Of Endor II: The Duel Begins, 2:16, 7sec] – Noble, Low Key I am a Jedi. [battle Of Endor II: The Dark Side Beckons, 6:30, 9sec] – Noble, Dark Vader lifts the Emperor [battle Of Endor II: The Emperor's Death, 9:09, 10sec] – Dark, Epic, Full Orchestra, Dramatic *not used in film [Light Of The Force, 1:19, 52sec] - Sad, Poignant, Full Orchestra, Epic, Forceful Luke lights Vader's funeral pyre [Light Of The Force, 2:13, 52sec] – Sad, Poignant, Full Orchestra, B - Part Due to extensive editing and non complete soundtrack releases of the Prequels this is just a preliminary list which is subject to change as soon as the complete scores are released. Tracked statements are with one exception not included in this list. The Phantom Menace (UE): 11 Appearances / 143sec / 2min23sec Qui-Gon melts the blast doors [Fighting The Destroyer Droids, 1:02, 4sec] – Dramatic, Epic, Full Orchestra The Force is unusually strong in him. [shmi And Qui-Gon Talk, 1:38, 27sec] – Poignant Feel, don't think. [Qui-Gon's Prep Talk, 0:35, 13sec] – Low Key The life of a Jedi [Anakin is Free, 1:14, 13sec] – Ethereal, Poignant Don't look back. [Anakin Is Free, 4:48, 13sec] – Ethereal, Poignant, Epic, Full Orchestra Introducing Obi Wan [Qui-Gon and Darth Maul meet, 1:37, 5sec] - Ethereal Fear is the path to the dark side. [Anakin's Test, 1:16, 15sec] – Low Key, Mystical May the Force be with you. [Qui-Gon's Mission, 1:35, 5sec] – Dark Now this is pod-racing. [The Tide Turns, 0:57, 23sec] – Epic, Militaristic, Triumphant, Full Orchestra, Unique Counterline (Duel of the Fates) Obi-Wan senses Qui-Gon's lightsaber [The Death Of Darth Maul, 1:51, 14sec] - Dark What will happen to me now? [Funeral Of Qui-Gon, 0:26, 8sec] – Sad Attack Of The Clones (OST): 7 Appearances / 110sec / 1min50sec * not used in film; Palpatine's Plotting [unused, 30sec] - Dark, Mystical, Low Key Anakin and Padme depart for Naboo [Departing Coruscant, 0:49, 12sec] – Noble Dangerous and disturbing this puzzle is. [Yoda And The Younglings, 3:10, 9sec] – Sad, Mystical Anakin, I won't be long. [Return To Tatooine, 3:10, 21sec] - Epic, Poignant, Full Orchestra Anakin battles Geonosians on the conveyor belt [Confrontation With Count Dooku And Finale, 0:09, 12sec] – Dramatic Anakin Force-throws droid parts at Geonosians [unreleased, 8sec] – Dramatic, Forceful She would do her duty. [Love Pledge And The Arena, 7:40, 18sec] – Epic, Dramatic, Full Orchestra Revenge Of The Sith (OST): 22 Appearances / 332sec / 5min32sec Approaching the Coruscant Space Battle [star Wars, The Revenge Of The Sith, 1:38, 27sec] – Militaristic, Epic, Full Orchestra, Forceful * not used in film [Grievous and the Droids, 3:13, 6sec] – Low Key Anakin pilots the Invisible Hand through the atmosphere [tracked from The Tide Turns, 0:57, 23sec] – Epic, Militaristic, Triumphant, Full Orchestra, Unique Counterline (Duel of the Fates) Mourn them, do not [Anakin's Dream, 3:31, 24sec] – Dark, Low Key Good relations with the Wookiees, I have. [Palpatine's Teachings, 2:59, 14sec] - Dark Obi-Wan leaves for Utapau [unreleased, 34sec] – Epic, Full Orchestra, Militaristic Obi-Wan arrives at Utapau [unreleased, 9sec] – Playful, Full Orchestra Obi-Wan riding the Boga [General Grievous, 0:38, 8sec] – Dark, Percussive Anakin jumps in an airspeeder [unreleased, 9sec] – Dark, Dramatic Anakin pleads with Mace to spare Palpatine [unreleased, 17sec] – Dark, Dissonant Yoda finishes killing clone troopers [Enter Lord Vader, 3:43, 6sec] - Dramatic Obi-Wan/Anakin force push [Anakin vs. Obi-Wan, 3:21, 13sec] – Chorus, Full Orchestra, Dramatic, Epic, Forceful I have failed you, Anakin. [battle Of The Heroes, 1:56, 15sec] – Chorus, Full Orchestra, Dramatic, Dark Obi-Wan arrives at Polis Massa [unreleased, 12sec] – Uplifting, Full Orchestra, Poignant Padmé dies [The Birth Of The Twins And Padmé's Destiny, 1:54, 5sec] - Sad Vader's rage [The Birth Of The Twins And Padmé's Destiny, 2:53, 5sec] – Sad, Unique Counter Line (Funeral Theme) To Tatooine, to his family send him. [unreleased, 14sec] – Poignant Training I have for you. [unreleased, 15sec] – Mystical Star Destroyer bridge [unreleased, 8sec] – Sad, Poignant Arrival at Alderaan [unreleased, 5sec] – String Transition Obi-Wan gives Luke to Beru [A New Hope and End Credits, 0:51, 28sec] – Poignant, Full Orchestra, Epic * not used in film [A New Hope and End Credits, 7:04, 35sec] - Triumphant, Epic, Militaristic, Full Orchestra Appearances in Star Wars Games and Multimedia Projects Over the years the Force Theme also appeared in several Star Wars games and multimedia projects. Most of them were recorded with full orchestra. Shadows of the Empire counts as the best of the bunch. Composer Joel McNeely recorded about 50 minutes of music with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and a 150 - piece chorus and incorporated the Imperial March and the Force Theme at appropriate moments. The Kotor games were praised for their good and versatile music. Jeremy Soule, the composer of Kotor 1, had to use an 8 megabit per second MIDI system. Regardless of the limitations he managed to compose an epic and worthy score with almost exclusively new thematic material. Mark Griskey on the other hand recorded his music for Kotor 2 and both Force Unleashed games with full orchestra. For the Force Unleashed games he decided to include a larger amount of established Williams themes. The Imperial March, the Force Theme, the Rebel fanfare as well as some lesser known Williams material like the Kamino motif all appear throughout the scores. In 2011 Bioware and Lucasarts released the very ambitious "The Old Republic" MMORPG. For this game a team of composers recorded over 4.5 hours of original music performed by the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra and choir. Mark Griskey once again was one of the Lead composers. The team incorporated several Williams themes like Yoda's Theme or the Force Theme. The tracks are listed chronologically in appearance with Filmquote or Description [Track Title, Start time of the theme statement, Duration] - Short musical attributes like Mystical, Forceful,..) Shadows of the Empire (Soundtrack Album): 1 Appearance / 32sec [Night Skies, 3:10, 32 sec] – Noble, Full Orchestra, Epic Knights of the Old Republic (Complete Score): 1 Appearance / 19sec [bastila Shan’s Theme, 0:50, 19 sec] – Ethereal, Poignant Knights of the Old Republic II (Complete Score): 1 Appearance / 13sec [Lightside, 0:00, 13 sec] – Ethereal, Upbeat The Force Unleashed (Promo): 5 Appearances / 38sec [General Kota and the Control Room, 2:52, 11sec] – Militaristic, Full Orchestra [Drexl’s Raiders, 2:18, 5 sec] – Forceful, Dramatic [infiltrating the Junk Temple, 1:42, 6 sec] – Militaristic, Full Orchestra [Maris and the Bull Rancor, 1:50, 13sec] – Percussive, Dark [Redemption, 1:28, 3 sec] – Low Key, Short The Force Unleashed II (Promo): 1 Appearance / 24sec [Discovering Dagobah and the Cave, 6:29, 24sec] – Full Orchestra, Noble The Old Republic (Promo): 1 Appearance / 6sec [Tython the Wellspring, 2:49, 6sec] - Poignant, Thematic Variation The Old Republic (Collector's Edition Soundtrack): 5 Appearances / 1min26sec [Justice, The Jedi Knight, 1:25, 4sec] - Short Transition [Justice, The Jedi Knight, 3:57, 7sec] - Militaristic, Dark [Peace, The Jedi Consular, 0:00, 38sec] - Full Orchestra, Noble [Peace, The Jedi Consular, 3:15, 31sec] - Full Orchestra, Dark, Mystical [Peace, The Jedi Consular, 4:00, 6sec] - Dark, Mystical Update: Edited to include additional Force Theme statements (Thanks to oierem) Included parts of JW 1977 liner notes and further explanations for the tracklists Started to include several Force Theme appearances in Star Wars games and Multimedia projects Added Force Theme Appearances from the Old Republic game score
  7. I've just returned from a spectacular concert that was stunning both musically and visually, so I thought I should write a short overview of what was going on there in the Oslo Konserthus. I am pretty sure there are more John Williams fans in Norway, so if you've been to the concert as well, you're very welcome to contribute your thoughts and correct any mistakes that I may have made (I didn't take any notes, and I am writing this from memory, so there is no guarantee that I won't mix up anything ) I try to never miss any performances of John Williams' scores in my area, even if it's some local amateur orchestra, so when it was announced earlier this year that the world-class Oslo Philharmonic was going to perform music from Star Wars, I simply had no excuses not to grab the tickets asap (and the tickets for both performances sold out in a relatively short time - the whole concert hall was completely full of people of all ages). The orchestra was conducted by the renowned American composer & conductor Lucas Richman. The theme of the whole concert was "using music to tell a story", so Richman did his best to explain bits of the Star Wars story behind every piece, mentioning important characters and events within that universe. The first part of the concert revolved around the Prequels: 1. Main Title 2. Duel of the Fates (instrumental) 3. Anakin's Theme 4. The Flag Parade 5. The Adventures of Jar Jar 6. Across the Stars 7. Battle of the Heroes (instrumental) 8. The Imperial March I've actually never heard a Prequel piece performed live before, so it was really amazing to hear those for the first time non-digitally. There were no vocals during the concert, so the orchestra had to substitute the choir parts by tweaking the orchestration. I suppose the absence of a choir did remove the original oomph out of Duel of the Fates and Battle of the Heroes, but the orchestra did perform those parts really well. The Imperial March was, obviously, a crowd-pleaser, and the concert organizers took full advantage of the lighting available to turn the whole hall red, and invited many cosplayers to provide a real presence of the Empire. The costumes were really well made and realistic, so I assumed there might have been members of the Nordic Garrison involved, which is a branch of the 501st Legion here in Scandinavia, but I am not really sure, and there weren't any details provided about who those people really were. Here's a shot of the whole thing (note the ominous Darth Vader in the back): After a short break, the orchestra returned for the second part, where the classic pieces from the Original Trilogy were presented, with the addition of Rey's Theme: 1. The Asteroid Field 2. Rey's Theme 3. Princess Leia's Theme 4. Cantina Band 5. Yoda's Theme 6. Here They Come 7. Luke and Leia 8. The Forest Battle 9. Throne Room and Finale Personally, I was dying to hear some of these live I loved all of it, and the only criticism I could possibly give would go towards the performance of Cantina Band, as I thought that the instrument balance sounded somewhat off. The woodwinds were drowned by the percussion, and the melody wasn't as clear as I'd have liked. I guess this would always be a problem in a concert hall environment, as these are inherently quieter instruments, as opposed to a studio environment, where the volumes can be tweaked much more. Nevertheless, the technique of the musicians was shining during the whole concert, including the very delicate parts of the score, and it was all really spectacular to hear. The conductor returned for an encore with the reprise of The Imperial March, this time with even more Imperial cosplay: The crowd was ecstatic, and the standing ovations continued for 5 minutes if not more. It would have been nice with a few more pieces, but the concert had already gone beyond the official 1hr 45min mark, so I suppose they didn't have time for more. As far as I am concerned, I wouldn't hesitate to call this my favorite performance of John Williams' music. My previous favorite was the RSNO concert earlier this year, and I've been to a few more performances, although the orchestras there were less known.
  8. Schindler's List Review of the Soundtrack Album by Mikko Ojala This was my first CD (along with The Lost World:Jurassic Park) back in the late 1990's and I have listened to it countless of times but the hushed respectful melodicism and on the other hand the raw emotion distilled by Williams into this singular work still makes my heart ache from the grief inherent in the music but also because of its sheer exquisite beauty. Itzhak Perlman's contribution as the solitary voice in the wilderness is immense as he conjures such sensitivity to his violin solos that range from anguish to solace, from sheer cold terror to heart warming pathos in a way it is hard to imagine Williams' music without it. No other soloist has ever come close to encapsulating the emotions of this music in such raw and refined way although the suite has been recorded countless times by many fine artists. Apart from the famous main theme and the secondary theme titled Remembrances that are most often mentioned by people for a good reason as much of the central pieces are built around these two wonderful sorrowful melodies, but the rest of the score is just as full of both cinematic and emotional power. Immolation is like a pained cry of dying souls, full of anguish and mourning, the cries of the chorus "With our lives we give life" in Hebrew haunting and terrifying at the same time. Schindler's Workforce is both suspenseful in its conspiratorial mood and every so subtly comedic as it underscores the understated defiance of Stern and the people he hires for Schindler's factory to save their lives in the film and contains superbly done allusions to Jewish musical idiom both in melody and orchestrations, the jauntily plodding rhythm effectively pacing the scene from start to finish and it works just as well on the album. There is heart breaking fragility to Stolen Memories where chorus softly laments the loss of not only lives but history as well, cruelly taken from these people and Making the List ebbs and flows full of meaning and dramatic significance, at times doom laden at times quietly triumphant in the best Williams fashion with great interplay with the main themes and really is one of the things people should be mentioning about this score as a highlight among highlights. I do not know what part of his soul Williams pulled some of this music from as it seems to come out of nowhere when looking back at his career. To me Auschwitz-Birkenau is probably some of the scariest music he has ever written, Perlman's solo is so malevolent, so cold and cruel it rends your innards with fear and lurching feeling of dread, especially when accompanied by the hellish churning, groaning lower reaches of the orchestra that thunder underneath. Jewish Town (Krakow Ghetto - Winter '41), a concert staple by now, is another completely unexpected piece which has such feeling of time and place and Jewish character to it, the suffering and perseverance but also such elegant beauty with Perlman's voice taking the narrative lead through the piece with the winding violin solo. Williams employs not only Perlman but also a famed Klezmer clarinetist Giora Feidman on the soundtrack for a brief part as he makes an appearance in the simply mesmerizing Oyfn Pripetshok and Nacht Aktion where after a children's chorus intones a Jiddish song by M.M. Warshawsky Feidman's smoky and exotic solo part over a droning background has a brilliant almost hypnotic quality to it. Give Me Your Names on the other hand is the soothing balm with gorgeous violin solo that weaves around the orchestra so full of comforting emotion as Williams combines main theme and Remembrances into one elegant whole. I Could Have Done More comes at midpoint through the album but is actually the emotional finale which starts quietly but turns into an emotional showcase for Perlman as the composer wrings every ounce of feeling from the orchestra and the soloist for this denouement where the main theme receives its most extensive and perhaps most resonant performances, the violin almost weeping at the end. And what could be a better finale for the album than the quiet small piano refrain of the main theme in Theme from Schindler's List (Reprise) that ends the experience on a tender but thoughtful note. The film is sparsely spotted but the album running little over 60 minutes is a perfect encapsulation of the score and again reminded me why, even though it is such a beautiful piece of music, I don't listen to it very often. It is because the score is such an emotionally taxing experience and the years seem not to have diminished its power over me. It is and will forever remain a classic to me and one of the lasting musical testimonies of the genius of John Williams.
  9. The River Music Composed and Conducted by John Williams A review by Mikko Ojala This is a little gem from 1984 that shares the year with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom but musically is in a wholly different world. Rural Americana performed by small ensemble, given at times a subtle jaunty pop sensibility by a drumkit and peppy rhythms and graced with numerous gorgeous flute and guitar solos the River is a fascinating opus in the middle of the run of the composer's grand symphonic works. Williams's music perhaps with even too generously compliments director Mark Rydell's very everyday drama of a family (Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek in leading roles) struggling to make ends meet on their farm with the constant threat of the nearby river flooding and with a greedy banker/developer (played by Scott Glenn) waiting to foreclose on the land. Sounds less than riveting drama and plot-wise doesn't it. Well not so with the music! Despite the short running time of the album (the movie doesn't have much more music) the composer crafts not one, not two but three distinct thematic ideas, the jaunty down-on-the-farm main theme, the smoky bluesy often flute-led love theme for the family and the main couple and the dignified and noble "ancestral home" theme that stands for the sanctity of home and hearth and the worthy fight of standing up to the forces of nature (and pressures of modern society). Whoever says Williams is only the guy for strum-und-drang should listen to this humble work with down-to-earth melodicism, beautiful and emotional small scale soloist work, especially for flute and guitar, and the joie-de-vivre that bubbles throughout the music. It is a short album full of highlights. The track The River presents a 2-part end credits suite opening with the sprightly and excited rendition of the main title theme where drumkit gives it a slightly more contemporary (for 1980s) feel before the love theme takes over full of bluesy almost film noirish styled yearning and ends in an extended solo flute coda. Absolutely wonderful stuff and a great way to open the album. The Ancestral Home (the finale of the film, here presented in the middle of the album) is the grandest piece on the album but there is not much orchestral grand standing as Williams slowly builds and builds the long lined noble and gentle Americana theme in the strings, illustrating musically a gradual and steady struggle, which finally burgeons into a triumphant crescendo coinciding with shots of the family and neighbours coming together to build protective wall against the river, celebrating the small victory of the individuals and the community. Love Theme from The River is an extended performance of the bluesy melody, first introduced by flute and trumpet and then given a grander string accompanied reading, that is somewhere between truly romantic and longing. A truly outstanding piece of writing that feels so inherently American without pulling out the old Copland sound palette. The Pony Ride is another playfully energetic piece featuring the main theme and great deft guitar work. It is of course not all sunshine and fun and for variety we have the slow burning suspense of the Tractor Scene (a classic matter-of-fact JW title!) where slow threatening atmosphere is conjured up with minimal means. In the same style the slightly ominous Rain Clouds Gather (the actual main title) introduces the main theme on electric bass and the love theme on flute, both almost sullen and subdued by the foreboding as the eponymous river is seen swollen up by the rain. This is also the only piece of the score that in my opinion gives even a slight hint that it was written in the same year as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as the flute work here has the same mysterious, almost exotic dark quality that pervaded some of the early scenes in the Indian village in that Indy film. Young Friends Farewell presents a tender guitar dueting with the flute which rounds off the album in wistful mood, leaving us almost with a musical question mark and certainly wanting for more. The River is an often overlooked little gem of a score, intimate yet full of colours and variety and shows how Williams thrives in very different musical genres and situations and is always acutely aware of the size of the film and what are its requirements. The score is a stylistic second cousin perhaps to the later grander evocations of rural Americana in Rosewood or even the flute solo moments in War Horse and just as good. Not to be missed! 4/5 -Mikko Ojala-
  10. Posted at [MusicBehindTheScreen] is my review of Michael Giacchino's score to John Carter. http://musicbehindthescreen.blogspot.com/2012/03/quick-review-john-carter.html Enjoy!
  11. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Andrew Lockington writes another great adventure score. Highly recommended listening. Read the review here at Music Behind the Screen: http://musicbehindth...mysterious.html
  12. I've been listening to this score all day for the past 2 days. I absolutely love this epic! Here is a review I wrote: http://musicmusekk.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/black-gold-james-horner/ Criticism and commentary are welcomed! Thanks for reading! - KK
  13. Memoirs of a Geisha Review of the Soundtrack Album by Mikko Ojala Memoirs of a Geisha is based on the popular bestseller of Arthur Golden which was in 2005 adapted into a motion picture directed by Rob Marshall of the Chicago fame. The movie features a singular, more introspective score by John Williams which differs from most of his blockbuster fare in its restrained style yet plays a significant role in the film itself, where the music is often spotlighted perhaps due to Rob Marshall's background in musicals. The composer mentioned in several interviews that for this assignment he studied more the Japanese instruments than he did the Japanese music, especially how would these instruments enhance and blend with the Western orchestra and would give a certain ethnic colouring to it without dominating the soundtrack and make it too alien to the Western ears. There is a lot of atmosphere and ethnical touches on the soundtrack to emphasize the locale, time and place but to make it accessible to the audiences it is presented in Western orchestral idiom with the cello taking center stage. Williams was impressed with the book and immediately thought of cello to portray the character of Sayuri, of course not knowing that he would be scoring the film at any point. He knew that Spielberg had acquired the rights to the novel so there was an inkling of it being made into a film. Williams also thought of Yo-Yo Ma from the beginning, actually sending the book to him and talking to him about the possibility of scoring the film and the idea of cello. And later when the film was announced Williams did what by his own words he has done never before: He actively sought to score the film, asked for the assignment. This certainly shows how inspired and impressed Williams was by the story. The movie is very colourful and theatrical portrayal of Japanese culture, more an illusion than real. In other words it is pure Hollywood. The music has a large role in it, almost another character in the storytelling, an integral part of the drama. The film has several of what could be called musical numbers, Becoming a Geisha being the most prominent, so the music is allowed to shine throughout the film. But Williams' music even though it has a large part in the film, is not bombastic or overly lush. I think more than anything it is introspective and subtle, lyrical and delicate with a lot of underlying subtext both psychological and poetic. Most of all it is a portrayal of a society and culture. Hence it is restrained and subtle. I can't say to be an expert on Japanese culture and customs but I know that they are a reserved people and put a lot of emphasis on public appearance and honor. Public outbursts of big emotions is not part of their culture. I think the music follows this idea throughout. There is emotion in it but it is mostly not in Hollywood proportions. You have to read it more carefully. Often the emotion is tied to the instrumental solos, carrying all the unsaid and unexpressed in their timbre and voice. Only at the end of the movie the music blooms into larger than life emotion on the track Confluence where both of Sayuri's themes are performed in a grand manner offering an emotional closure as Sayuri and the Chairman are finally reunited, finally expressing their true feelings openly. Williams had as a starting point the cello as the voice of Sayuri's character. Cello that has a soulful and warm sound is indeed ideal to portray this young woman's journey through life and Yo-Yo Ma's expertise and artistry brings her alive in music in a way I do not think would have been possible with any other artist. The counterpoint to Sayuri's cello is the violin played to perfection by Itzhak Perlman that portrays the character of the Chairman. Both artists elevate the music with their playing immensely. These are really the two main components of the score. Oboe could be added to this instrumental group as it has a prominent role in the music as well being a lyrical and ruminating, showing perhaps Williams' attempt to capture some of those qualities he sees in Japanese culture. Thematically as instrumentally the music is built on Sayuri's theme and Chairman's theme. Sayuri has 2 different themes associated with her: Chiyo's theme, the musical identification of the young girl before she becomes a geisha, that could be called the real Sayuri's theme, depiction of the real person under the guise of the geisha (Journey to the Hanamachi 2;41-3;13, Confluence and finally A Dream Discarded which is a sort of deconstruction of the theme on cello. End Credits contains subtle interpolation of this theme in flute and chimes 1;36-1;53). And then there is the more prominent Sayuri's theme, the actual musical depiction of the geisha that can be heard throughout the soundtrack. Both themes are lyrical, Chiyo's music showing more fragile image of a young girl than Sayuri's theme that is elegant and mature but no less soulful. Cello is omnipresent in scenes involving Sayuri and many tracks containing cello solos involve her and inform us of her state of mind with beautiful and lyrical solo lines. The Chairman's Waltz is heavily European, even Slavonic in its style and contains a clear melodic line with very little decorative violin work that it might have gotten if not for the character's nature. The Chairman is reserved and nearly paternal at first in his encounters with Chiyo so the music is reserved, elegant, cultured, hinting of Western civilization as if to show how the Japanese of that day and age might have admired the European culture. It could be seen to depict Chiyo's idolized view of the Chairman as a citizen of the world, sophisticated and cultured. And as the music is strongly melancholic, described by Williams as valse triste, it could also hint at Chiyo's sadness for noticing how the Chairman does not return her affection (even if that is not the truth but this man does not show it publicly). Williams transforms this theme into an introspective elegy for solo oboe, harp and two celli in As the Water... where the waltz time is kept by the pizzicato celli and after the oboe solo the duo plays a deconstructed version of the waltz. This music marks both the passage of time in the film as well as Sayuri's sorrow of being separated from the Chairman. These two character portrayals are accompanied by several musical devices and shorter motifs that are associated with fate and destiny referenced clearly in the film. Williams has cleverly constructed highly symbolical and powerful yet simple and direct and they seem take their inspiration from water, also a prominent symbol in the film, a river, flow of destiny and the current of fate. There is a constant forward momentum in the music depicting the irrevocable flow of both time and fate of Sayuri/Chiyo or they are used in important moments in the story to note the changes of fate.This idea of water or flow of water/destiny can be heard in the music throughout from the constant motoric string figures accompanying Sayuri's theme to the End Credits. Most prominent of these destiny/water motifs is heard on the track Chiyo's Prayer 0;32-> in the accompanying strings, 3;03-> on solo cello, Finding Satsu 2;31-2;52 and Fire Scene and the Coming of War 4;31-> accompanying the Chairman's theme. There is the constant arpeggio-like up-and-down motion to it, usually voiced by strings, like a current that is carrying the main character forward on her path. Another motif associated with fate appears in Finding Satsu 0;05-0;40, and again in A New Name...A New Life 0;10-0;34 in a fuller guise and again at the end of the track 2;31-2;54. Even the Rooftops of Hanamachi contains a subtle quote of this motif as Sayuri tries to escape over the rooftops and her destiny and fate are uncertain (small portion of the motif is quoted 3;03-3;15). More of a self contained continuation of this water/destiny idea is the Destiny's Path track with the constant motion in the music without major thematic material. Williams also composed a good amount of singular set piece material for different scenes that enhances more the mood and ethnic flavour than adds to the thematic palette. Going to School, Brush On Silk, Dr. Crab's Prize, Rooftops of Hanamachi all add more authentic Japanese instruments to the orchestral palette and enhance the mood of the scenes. They add colour and variety to the music and give it a more Japanese flavour and reportedly Williams worked extensively with the soloists to integrate their sounds and range and timbres to the Western orchestral palette. He usually utilizes these instrumental colours with a ghosting effect from the regular orchestral instruments, e.g. with koto he has the concert harp ghosting the plucked sounds, creating an enhanced effect, which rings full and is subtly both familiar and exotic. E.g. Becoming a Geisha contains between the developments of Sayuri's theme a percussive interlude that not only adds ethnic flavour but in Williams' own words denotes almost a some sort of sacrifice taking place, the young girl being transformed into a geisha, losing her former life and identity in the process. This is a score you have to pay close attention to. You have to find the emotional core of this score from the soloist performances which are at center of this music rather than from bold and big performances of the themes, which are well integrated and stated throughout but certainly more restrained than in many Williams scores. There is an introspective atmosphere to this score but it is also an extremely beautiful and layered and nuanced, worth the time you invest in it. -Mikko Ojala-
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