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The Force Awakens ALBUM Discussion (No Film Spoilers)


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26 minutes ago, Datameister said:

Williams surprised me in a very positive way with that sequence. Rey's theme develops in some really thrilling and scary directions. Like the scene itself, it's less about the fighting than about the characters who are doing it.

 

As opposed to the prequels which were more about cool fighting choreography than having any emotional connection with the characters. Williams was left with no choice but to fill this dramatic void with epic music to create any semblance of drama. TFA allowed him to be restrained dramatically and not resort to cheap "epic choir" battle music.

 

It's a bit sad that the masses have been dumbed down by the prequels in this way. Williams was making up for all of Lucas' storytelling shortcomings with the music. The Force Awakens didn't need such obtuse handholding because it had competent filmmakers in charge, and Williams changed his approach accordingly.

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That's something I have considered.  In the prequels, Williams was compensating.  Now he is supporting.

- Ride out and score them. - For death and glory? - For JWFAN. For your people.

The only thing Plagious was truly afraid of was losing his hair. Which eventually of course he did. Ironic, he could save the hair of those he cared about, but not his own.

1 hour ago, crumbs said:

 

As opposed to the prequels which were more about cool fighting choreography than having any emotional connection with the characters. Williams was left with no choice but to fill this dramatic void with epic music to create any semblance of drama. TFA allowed him to be restrained dramatically and not resort to cheap "epic choir" battle music.

 

It's a bit sad that the masses have been dumbed down by the prequels in this way. Williams was making up for all of Lucas' storytelling shortcomings with the music. The Force Awakens didn't need such obtuse handholding because it had competent filmmakers in charge, and Williams changed his approach accordingly.

This I agree with. So much of JW's prequel music was to represent what wasn't on screen more than what was. The ROTS score in particular has these impressions where JW is working overtime to give the film a sense of drama that was clearly lacking in every other aspect of the film itself. It's no coincidence that some of the best dramatic music was written for some of the worst written and acted scenes. 

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7 hours ago, crumbs said:

 

As opposed to the prequels which were more about cool fighting choreography than having any emotional connection with the characters. Williams was left with no choice but to fill this dramatic void with epic music to create any semblance of drama. TFA allowed him to be restrained dramatically and not resort to cheap "epic choir" battle music.

 

It's a bit sad that the masses have been dumbed down by the prequels in this way. Williams was making up for all of Lucas' storytelling shortcomings with the music. The Force Awakens didn't need such obtuse handholding because it had competent filmmakers in charge, and Williams changed his approach accordingly.

 

Not just that but the climaxes of TPM and ROTS are nonstop action, incredibly slick. They're huge, self-contained displays of expert choreography and therefore huge, self-contained pieces of music work perfectly.

 

TFA's fight is rougher by design. Two amateurs against Kylo with a crossbow wound in his side. Rey is kept on the defense in that first part of her fight, she takes a couple swings then has to run away. It's start and stop, there's not much going on there as far as swordplay goes, and the action is broken up throughout....remind me how Williams was supposed to write Duel of the Fates 2.0 here?

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Hi, guys. My two cents, which are worth even less: it is the best score we have had from williams in a long time. The negative reviews tend to focus on having been unable to find memorable themes. I was baffled at first too. After two listens, I started finding them out. It is much more complex than what we are used to listen to in SW. I am amazed at how the style has evolved and yet remains the same. Also, some of the action pieces are outstanding. I am still reeling from the disappointment that Indy IV was. This soundtrack has been a revelation of what the maestro can still do.

 

I have seen the movie a lot of times now, and listened to the album even more times. A couple of quick questions.

 

First one. Remember the CBS video where Williams conducted some music from the film? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxzUEl0loU8)  At 1.02 we get the beginning of what I presume is the First Order theme. At 1.35 Baby Abrams request Williams to repeat those bars as he needs more time "before we get into the interior of the transport".

The only time I get to hear those bars are in the End Credits suite, as an introduction for Ren's theme (4.15 onwards). And in the movie the only time I remember it is used is when 

Spoiler

Rey uses the force to get the stormtrooper to release her

 

Has anyone found this "theme" anywhere else? It looks like a great introduction for Ren's theme, IMO, I cannot believe they did not use it several times.

 

Second one. In the film, when Rey is

Spoiler

inside the Starkiller, just scaped, climbing down a wall to hide from the stormtroopers, just as she opens the vent where she hides

I believe I can hear an insinuation of a theme Williams used in the Death Star in ANH. Am I magining things? Since the visual reference is there, could the musical one be there too?

 

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10 minutes ago, mantonioes said:

First one. Remember the CBS video where Williams conducted some music from the film? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxzUEl0loU8)  At 1.02 we get the beginning of what I presume is the First Order theme. At 1.35 Baby Abrams request Williams to repeat those bars as he needs more time "before we get into the interior of the transport".

The only time I get to hear those bars are in the End Credits suite, as an introduction for Ren's theme (4.15 onwards). And in the movie the only time I remember it is used is when 

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Rey uses the force to get the stormtrooper to release her

 

 

In the stormtrooper moment, it is a transitional bit, as the very next shot shows Ren approaching, with his proper material, so I believe it is meant to associate with Ren, still.  Additionally, you can hear those rising notes under Ren's "tragic" theme in "The Ways of the Force," so that is not the only version heard in the film.  Listen to the low-brass at 1:06 in the track, where you can hear those rising notes again.  So, the rising notes are heard at least twice in the film.

 

On the other hand, that more aggressive version of Ren's tragic theme is not heard in the film (I don't think.)  I'd guess it is an alternate for the credits, but I can't say for sure.  Maybe an alternate for the opening sequence? It's pretty badass though, so I hope we get it one day!

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55 minutes ago, mantonioes said:

First one. Remember the CBS video where Williams conducted some music from the film? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxzUEl0loU8)  At 1.02 we get the beginning of what I presume is the First Order theme. At 1.35 Baby Abrams request Williams to repeat those bars as he needs more time "before we get into the interior of the transport".

I believe that it's an alternate for the opening scene.  I greatly prefer the Pulling the Cannon-esque cue that replaced it on film & album.  As of right now, it's my favorite opening cue of the saga.

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5 hours ago, mantonioes said:

 

I believe I can hear an insinuation of a theme Williams used in the Death Star in ANH. Am I magining things? Since the visual reference is there, could the musical one be there too?
 

 

I think it is an allusion...sneaking around the death star type music.  I noticed it too and thought it was a nice retro touch.

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6 hours ago, Stefancos said:

Cool. So 6 horns rather then 8.

 

More than enough horns, if you ask me. Hal Leonard will soon publish the orchestral suite with only 4 horns as usual, and I'm sure, like all previous Star Wars music published and performed, we will barely hear the difference. 

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3 hours ago, karelm said:
9 hours ago, mantonioes said:

I believe I can hear an insinuation of a theme Williams used in the Death Star in ANH. Am I magining things? Since the visual reference is there, could the musical one be there too?

 

I think it is an allusion...sneaking around the death star type music.  I noticed it too and thought it was a nice retro touch.

 

Especially with Star Wars, Williams builds themes in such as certain way within a specific soundscape that many moments tend to resemble other ones purely by accident.

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7 hours ago, Scarpia said:

 

More than enough horns, if you ask me. Hal Leonard will soon publish the orchestral suite with only 4 horns as usual, and I'm sure, like all previous Star Wars music published and performed, we will barely hear the difference. 

 

The difference is pretty audible. If you can find Conrad Pope's recording of KOTCS' Swashbuckler on Soundcloud, have a listen and compare it to the OST version. Three note chords are, in that case, often orchestrated for 3 horns - half of the usual 6!

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1 hour ago, hanser said:

I love how the last 3 tracks form a kind of miniature suite  on its own. I often just start with the Scherzo and let play to the end if I do not have much time. The essence of the score in 15 minutes.

 

The End Credits by themselves fit this description perfectly. All the themes are (more or less) presented in chronological order, like a sort of rundown of the music from the film. It's my favourite end credits track from all the Star Wars films. 

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10 minutes ago, loert423 said:

 

The End Credits by themselves fit this description perfectly. All the themes are (more or less) presented in chronological order, like a sort of rundown of the music from the film. It's my favourite end credits track from all the Star Wars films. 

 

Not quite. The End Credits are a kind of best of the themes. The 2 Tracks before show exemplary how Williams works with themes and motifs.

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I listened to all the SW end credits this morning and TFA really does stand up with the best of them. The actual music in the credits of TPM is great but it is lacking as an end credit suite because it doesn't really give us anything new that isn't heard in DOTF and Anakin's theme concert versions.

 

I actually forgot about the little interplay between Across The Stars and The Imperial March at the end of AOTC credits. Really nice. Reminds me of that FANTASTIC moment in the TFA credits where the Force theme interplays with Rey's theme.

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4 hours ago, Alexander said:

 

The difference is pretty audible. If you can find Conrad Pope's recording of KOTCS' Swashbuckler on Soundcloud, have a listen and compare it to the OST version. Three note chords are, in that case, often orchestrated for 3 horns - half of the usual 6!

 

More horns are not more powerful.  They are more enveloping.  2 horns cut, 8 horns envelop. 

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If you'll forgive me for bandwagon-jumping, yeah, TFA has a pretty fantastic credits track. I have a hard time ranking it against the others, but I will say that it definitely "sums up" the entire score better than any of the others, even the utterly unimpeachable credits for the first two films. ANH omits the Force theme and all the Imperial material; Empire really only has the three big new themes and they're all represented, but the droid motif is omitted. Not to mention the poor Force theme again. ;) TFA, in contrast, seems to hit literally every new recurring melodic idea, as well as the Force theme and a new cameo of the main theme.

 

Purely as listening experiences, though, I've got to admit that they're all very good, especially the irresistibly energetic wonderment of ANH and the beautifully seamless contrasts of ESB.

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8 hours ago, karelm said:

 

More horns are not more powerful.  They are more enveloping.  2 horns cut, 8 horns envelop. 

 

More so - even though a published version may be scored for 4 horns, anything that would have been doubled in a 6 horn version would likely be doubled anyway. It's rare for you go to a major or even second tier orchestra concert and not see 6 horns sitting in the section, between having the assistant principal and one other.

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I'm still intrigued by what Colin discussed with Williams at their meeting for the film. Was he thinking of scoring Jurassic World? Was it actually about Star Wars? Or did they just consult about using the original film's themes at Spielberg's behest?

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He definitely seemed to enjoy the percussion writing on Lost World and he probably has so few opportunities to write such material. He made it work for Star Wars though.

 

Ain't gonna get that kind of writing into Lincoln or Spielberg's other dramatic works!

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2 hours ago, E.T. and Elliot said:

One thing I don't recall hearing in TFA was the Lost World-esque percussion. I feel like Williams went all-out with the percussion in TLW and then kept using it in subsequent scores, including the prequels.

 

I wouldn't call his percussion writing in the prequels Lost World-esque...TLW favors partially-improvised jungle grooves that repeat for minutes at a time, whereas the prequels just have more isolated outbursts of percussion soli without much improvisation or repetitive "grooving." Very different, IMO.

 

But yeah, whatever you wanna call it, Williams kinda went back to basics with TFA's percussion. Snare, bass, cymbals, timpani, mallets...nothing exotic.

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4 minutes ago, Datameister said:

 

I wouldn't call his percussion writing in the prequels Lost World-esque...TLW favors partially-improvised jungle grooves that repeat for minutes at a time, whereas the prequels just have more isolated outbursts of percussion soli without much improvisation or repetitive "grooving." Very different, IMO.

Yes, I agree there is a very big difference between percussion in TLW and percussion across the prequel trilogy. In the former the percussion is almost tracked throughout each action cue whereas in the prequels, excepting the opening of ROTS as heard in the film, the percussion is more sparse and not laid over the top of cues but rather more integrated with key sections of music.

 

I'm glad we're talking about JW and his use of percussion though because it's one of the features I love about his music but that he doesn't feature all that often. I love the repeated electronic beat he used in Munich and the killer drums in "Becoming a Geisha" in Memoirs. of course, TLW is great as well. And JFK uses a very different style of percussion but also super effective.

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Anyone hear the 'Duel of the Fates' - esque moment at 2:37-2:43 in 'The Falcon'?

 

Also, I think the reason why 'Burning Homestead' actually makes sense is because the final brass moments at 1:42 just before the death star motif, has some resemblance to how Rey's Theme is presented in tragic moments throughout the score, like at 2:50 in 'Maz's Counsel.'

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