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Greetings, fellow JW fans! My name is Aaron Fullan and I'm a film composer from near the Chicago area. As you know, John Williams' 88th birthday is this weekend (February 8), so I decided to arrange a musical tribute piece in honor of this most special occasion. It's entitled "Skywalkers' Legacy | A Star Wars Symphonic Suite" and it highlights some of my favorite themes from the Star Wars saga. Much to my surprise, John Williams' go-to orchestrator (William Ross) listened to the piece last night and used words/phrases like "quite good", "wonderfully arranged", and "bravo!" in his comments about it! Needless to say, my day/week/month/year was made. I'd love to hear your honest thoughts about it if/when you have a few minutes to listen/watch it! I highly value the opinions and input of my fellow JW fans on this "labor of love." HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Recently, the question of how much of the CoS score was done by William Ross came up, and I said I'd do an analysis basen on what we have. Well here it is! There are also a lot of misconceptions thrown around about how much of the score is just retreading the first one, I hope my final numbers can put an end to that. Any thoughts and corrections on calculating errors, typos and unnoticed references are most welcome! I'm using the leaked PS and CoS sessions, so the main analysis will only take into account the final intended version of every cue so far known to be recorded for the movie, no unused/not recorded music from leaked sheets and no tracked cues. I will assume satisfactory knowledge of the movies and all major themes at least. I've also decided to have a look at the OST and recommend the best cues not on it, and also to break down the major tracked cues appearing in the cue list, just for completion's sake - look for the Appendix at the end of this post. The Analysis My custom terminology OM - Old Material, used in PS, similar tempo, similar orchestration - will reference PS session cues, slates and timecodes if relevant, won't if unnecessary (I don't have to point out where Nimbus 2000 is in Hedwig's Theme) AM - Adapted Material, themes/specific cues used in PS or other movies, but adapted/orchestration and tempo changed significantly enough (like Nimbus 2000 in Cakes for Crabbe and Goyle, for example) NM - New Material, thematic and melodic material first heard in CoS From Reel 3 onwards, I'll be using contractions for frequently reappearing themes with long and tedious names : 3NL - 3-Note Loop (original Philosopher's Stone motif here repurposed as a generic danger/mystery theme) HWWO - Harry's Wondrous World Opening N2 - Nimbus 2000 Reel 1 Reel 1 Old Material: 05:52 Adapted Material: 03:19 New Material: 06:07 Complete: 15:18 Reel 2 Reel 2 Old Material: 5:56 Adapted Material: 3:22 New Material: 8:40 Complete: 17:58 Reel 3 Reel 3 Old Material: 2:49 Adapted Material: 3:51 New Material: 5:43 Complete: 12:23 Here I must also stop to say the movie must have been criminally overspotted, because a lot of good and new bits have been left out. Normally, lots of bits and pieces go missing, because the picture gets trimmed after the recording takes place, so the music goes with them, but here most scenes are intact and the music is taken out from under them, for example the beginning of Transformation Class (I guess they wanted the 3NL to be more sudden and dramatic in its appearance?) or the Whomping Willow and some Spiders material (probably tension and "jumpscare" reasons). This could potentially be forgiven had most of Reel 8 not been tracked - a lot of important action score, mysteries and big revelations to never see the light of day because JW had to spend his time writing minutes of unrecorded music, and writing and recording several more minutes that were not used. Kind of like The Arena vs. The Battle of Geonosis all over again! Reel 4 Reel 4 Old Material: 3:40 Adapted Material: 1:54 New Material: 8:46 Complete: 14:20 Reel 5 Reel 5 Old Material: 2:05 Adapted Material: 4:57 New Material: 7:20 Complete: 14:22 Reel 6 Reel 6 Old Material: 2:40 Adapted Material: 1:27 New Material: 3:31 Complete: 7:38 Reel 7 Reel 7 Old Material: 4:56 Adapted Material: 1:54 New Material: 9:58 Complete: 16:48 Reel 8 Reel 8 Old Material: 00:00 Adapted Material: 2:16 New Material: 9:35 Complete: 11:51 Reel 9 Reel 9 Old Material: 4:13 Adapted Material: 3:24 New Material: 4:14 Complete: 11:51 Conclusions Standout NM cues: All Dobby material, Magical Household, all Lockhart material, all Flying Car material, all Fawkes material, Writing on the Wall, Transformation Class, Petrified Colin, Dueling Club, The Spiders Pt.2, Ginny Gets Snatched, Reel 8 Standout OM cues: Escape from the Dursleys, Letters from Hogwarts, Harry meets Lucius, Introducing Colin / Mail, Flying Pixies, Dumbledore and Harry, Reunion of Friends Total Numbers: Complete: 2:02:29 Old Material: 32:11 (26.27%) Adapted Material: 26:24 (21.55%) New Material: 63:54 (52.17%) Discrepancies between the final numbers and the cue list numbers can come down to podium changes, or the fact that I couldn't be bothered to count the seconds of silence on the beginning of every sessions track or in the middle of some cues. The final percentages would not be impacted in any significant way. So on an expanded 2-disc release, counting with 78 min. max per disc, there would be at least 36:40 left for bonus material, probably a few minutes more, since the aforementioned silences and properly joined tracks would make the score shorter than my estimate. I believe we have no idea how many alternates exist/were recorded/were even written, if not many, this could probably house the Children's Suite (24:11 if we count Harry's Wondrous World as the finale, 18:50 if we don't). We'll 100% get HWW as the HP1 Credits, so on HP2 it'll either be the Credits or the Suite (and thus the CD2) finale, if the suite or even the HWW is on there, of course. Appendices Appendix A Reel 10 (Additional material, I don't consider these part of the score) Appendix B The tracked cues - what do they consist of? (An editing guide) Appendix C A complete intended score editing guide This includes every single sessions cue (even ones removed from the movie) and tracked cues. Note: this is simply a guide to my preferred way of listening to the score, not an attempt at a complete film edit recreation with all edited out bits and pieces tracked down; that exceeds even my patiance and tolerance levels, it's work for another year - and probably another user. (A Remixed and Restored trilogy á la Jurassic Park based on the Black Friday John Williams Harry Potter Collection, perhaps? :P) I consider two types of edits: hard and soft. A hard edit means two cues were written to be joined/overlapped, but recorded separately. Listening to them separate worsens the listening experience because you get a buildup to an unsatisfying climax, a few seconds of silence, then a sudden out-of-nowhere climax and continuation. Temple of Doom, for example, is filled with these types of transitions. A soft edit just means one cue is winding down/a note is held, while the other starts or winds up without there being a gap between these. Not joining these cues does not necessarily worsen the listening experience. Hard edits I always recreate, this means I had to split a few tracked cues in half in Reel 8 to avoid overstuffed, non-focused 15 minute tracks. Soft ones I'm more liberal with - if it makes sense musically and thematically as one track, I'll even join cues separated by seconds of silence in the movie. Since there are way more soft edits than hard ones, I'll only indicate hard edits (+ and +h instead of +s and +h). The final track names are my own creations, sometimes I'd reference the edit I've listened to for years, sometimes an original session name since I like it better, sometimes it's completely made up. Appendix D So what is on the OST? Personal comments incoming, feel free to ignore them if you happen to like inexplicably random and non-chronological presentations! OST Old Material: 22:26 (31.83%) Adapted Material: 6:44 (9.55%) New Material: 41:19 (58.62%) Complete: 70:29 Appendix E Which unreleased cues can I look forward to most in a future expansion if I don't touch bootlegs and session leaks? (Personal favourites, recommendations) Yes, I've got way too much free time.
This is the place to highlight William Ross' original work. He's scored about 50 films/TV-films/documentaries/series, but very few have received a regular album release. I'll start with this one. I can't believe it only exists as a promo!