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natedog

Is Williams conducting The Force Awakens?

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Do we know if Williams is conducting any of the Force Awakens? If someone else is conducting, will that have a major effect on the outcome of the score?

Probably depends on his back. I doubt it will really make much difference. Loads of composers don't conduct their own scores nowadays anyway. I don't think JW conducted Jurassic Park and that turned out fine.

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JW didn't conduct all of Jurassic Park, but he did conduct part of it. Artie Kane stepped in after JW hurt his back.

And since the tempo's are dictated by the film, and JW probably supervised the recording or gave precise instructions there is no way of hearing who did what

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Do we know if Williams is conducting any of the Force Awakens? <snip>

Do we have visual evidence, or was it just reported by someone who knows someone who knows someone...?

Relating to the first trailer, yes, yes, and yes.

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It's my understanding that John Williams is the primary conductor, but when his back hurts him others step in to do the actual baton waving for the cue. However, he's right there doing all the little adjustments and talking to the orchestra, etc that are the important parts of conducting anyway. Don't forget, the tempo is locked to the picture.

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Tempo isn't always locked to the picture though. Sometimes they'll have a click, but sometimes it's done freely. In those cases, the skill of the conductor with rubato does matter, because you have to be able to push forward or pull back in a musical way that still keeps certain sync points where they need to be. Ross is certainly capable of doing this well.

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Interesting.

Still, I'm not convinced that there'll be any noticeable difference in this particular score if Williams conducted every note himself, or not.

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No, it's not something that makes a difference to your average listener, or even to a listener who knows what to look for unless they're actively examining the performance. There is something to be said about every conductor bringing their own unique "spirit" to the music though, especially in the case of film where timing may be far less the concern of the conductor than emotional coherence is. Everyone is going to interpret "10% more bittersweet" a bit differently.

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I think it would be different if the schedule was tighter, or if Williams wasn't there during the other conductor's conducting. This isn't a case like Hobbit 2 and 3 where the composer was literally on another continent while the conductor handled all the podium changes. Williams is still handing all that and everything else as he always would, just not the baton waving once the recording light goes on.

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Yep.

The score is being orchestrated by Conrad Pope and conducted by William Ross.

And supposedly, it is written by John Williams, but don't quote me on that.

Yeap the take over is being orchestrated by Conrad Pope and conducted by William Ross. Right.

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William Ross did a fine job with HP&CoS. I'm sure JW, although unable to physically conduct himself, is in the control room for every cue with pencil and notebook in hand to correct, mold, and adjust every note that the orchestra is playing.

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Honestly, I don't care if he's conducting or not, I just want him in that control booth. Based on various featurettes and reports over the years, it's clear that Williams is the type of composer to alter things or notice orchestral errors in real time. I would want him there just to ensure nothing gets through that shouldn't.

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With all of this news on John Williams' cancellations and Bob Iger's statement that he'd seen a cut of the movie was "without most of its music" I wonder if we'll still get a full score for TFA.

Like Jay said, we have no way of knowing when he saw that cut. Could have been quite some time ago. I am 100% sure we'll be getting a full score for TFA. Back problems don't inhibit the writing of music.

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I wouldn't make any assumptions about the state of the score based on Iger's comments. The film is in the middle of post-production, hence lots of elements are still missing. Also, Abrams' preferred method of workflow is post-producing the film in chunks. The score is being recorded that way too, so at the moment it's likely the film has more or less a few completed scenes with score already mixed in, while others are still a long way to go.

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