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THE LAST JEDI - Score mentions in online reviews & social media, etc

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One of the rare comprehensive informed reviews online.

 

http://www.movie-wave.net/star-wars-the-last-jedi/

 

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The Last Jedi is wonderful music and will bring me (and almost certainly you) great joy for many years to come; it’s not quite the masterpiece from start to finish that The Force Awakens was, but here we are in 2017, with brilliant new Star Wars music from the 85-year-old master John Williams to celebrate.  **** 1/2

 

Though I have a feeling the reviewer has read these forums for some of his analyses.

 

I am looking forward to Clemensen's review (for my money the single best reviewer of film scores out there).

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48 minutes ago, Taikomochi said:

I would imagine Clemensen will award it 5 stars for it's superb handling of past themes, but we'll see.

 

Atleast 4. All the previous 7 SW JW scores got 5 stars for music as written for the film. Only EP III got 4 star overall for a weaker album. 

 

Even Gia's R1 got 4. So I think atleast 4, perhaps 5. 

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Could the bad ass series of moments starting at 2:03 of "The Last Jedi" be related to Luke's theme as heard at 1:33 in "The Rebellion is Reborn"?  I'm not musically trained, but they seem to be structured similarly and have a similar progression.  Curious what others think.  Maybe I am just hearing things.

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37 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Yeah, completely unnecessary nitpick. Obviously the man's too rigid regarding "film composition rules". It takes an artistic talent to know when to break them.

 

Yikes! I did say I've grown to appreciate it, didn't I? :P

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58 minutes ago, hornist said:

I do not understand that nitpick of the "dissonance" of Rose's theme? WTF?

 

Actually I heard it now, in the Fathiers when Rose's theme blasts, I first thought it was just a cool twist that dissonance but I tried with the piano and there it is. Williams hides it cleverly when the theme is played softly.

 

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7 minutes ago, Falstaft said:

 

Yikes! I did say I've grown to appreciate it, didn't I? :P

 

Yes you did, I was maybe a bit harsh. :) I liked the comparison with Wagner, though. Especially the Force theme has a kick-ass Wagnerian counterpart - you know which theme I'm talking about.

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5 hours ago, pete said:

 

Lehman's response to the question of whether studying Williams in the classroom perhaps is a motivator to study related classical artists like Wagner is great:

 

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Why does it have to go from Williams to Wagner? Maybe it should go in the direction, to increase our appreciation of John Williams or Hans Zimmer. 

 

Indeed! It makes more sense anyway from a historical point of view and, most importantly, doesn't cheapen the value of studying film music.

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14 minutes ago, Ludwig said:

Indeed! It makes more sense anyway from a historical point of view and, most importantly, doesn't cheapen the value of studying film music.

 

Though i found the whole interview and reasoning strictly d'oh-variety. The whole leitmotif shebang is overrated anyway. Williams himself didn't take (following them) overly seriously and the qualities of the compositions (SW/Indiana Jones) doesn't hinge on them. They are just very memorable melodies.

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16 minutes ago, publicist said:

 

Though i found the whole interview and reasoning strictly d'oh-variety. The whole leitmotif shebang is overrated anyway. Williams himself didn't take (following them) overly seriously and the qualities of the compositions (SW/Indiana Jones) doesn't hinge on them. They are just very memorable melodies.

 

Agreed. The interviewer's question just rubs me (and obviously Lehman) the wrong way. One could probably get more out such study just by not trying to make historical connections in the first place (as was the interviewer's suggestion). Instead, it would probably be more enlightening for students to study film music in its own right and discuss some of the techniques that are endemic to it. Its immediacy, for example, rather than the goal-directed sort of development that is a linchpin of so much classical music. Personally, I find film music to be a great pedagogical tool not only because of its stylistic variety (you can access almost any concept you want) but, most importantly, because for the better film music, it demonstrates very directly some of the emotional meaning behind certain techniques, which I find just about everyone can understand, if not relate to.

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2 minutes ago, Ludwig said:

Instead, it would probably be more enlightening for students to study film music in its own right and discuss some of the techniques that are endemic to it. 

 

Yeah, or how the dying breed of 'classical' Hollywood composers took the best of 300 years of musical history, from Bach to Bacharach, and molded something out of it that can't be explained with some lofty artistic ideal from 200 years ago. I guess the hard work that came with the big-time competition that has always been part of working in the film industry has a lot to do with it, at least more than studying Wagner atop an ebony tower.

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7 minutes ago, Loert said:

 

It's precisely because of the dissonance that Rose's theme becomes more interesting. If it were a simple I-II shift, how boring would that be? I don't really understand Lehman's gripe, Williams is obviously experienced enough to know what he's doing.

Exactly!!

 

I was just about to write that to the comments section but I was afraid my english is not good enough...

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A nice appreciation from Alex Ross in the New Yorker.

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/a-field-guide-to-the-musical-leitmotifs-of-star-wars

 

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In decades past, it was fashionable for self-styled serious music types to look down on Williams, but the “Star Wars” corpus has increasingly attracted scholarly scrutiny: Lehman’s catalogue will be published in “John Williams: Music for Films, Television, and the Concert Stage,” a volume forthcoming from the Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini. This attention has come about not only because of the mythic weight that George Lucas’s space operas have acquired in the contemporary imagination; the music is also superbly crafted and rewards close analysis. Williams’s latest score is one the most compelling in his forty-year “Star Wars” career: Rian Johnson’s film complicates and enriches the familiar template, and Williams responds with intricate, ambiguous variations on his canon of themes.

 

Especially liked the references he raises at the end:
 

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Williams is no minimalist, favoring quick harmonic motion in his music, but here he fixates on an F-minor chord, with a three-note figure—F, C, A-flat—ricocheting around the orchestra. When Luke inexplicably survives an all-out Imperial barrage, the motif returns, banged out on the timpani. The dramatic soprano Christine Goerke was not the only person who thought here of the Agamemnon figure in Richard Strauss’s “Elektra.” Agamemnon haunts that opera from beyond the grave; likewise, Luke is not actually present on Crait, instead appearing by long-distance Force projection. All that darksome, epic music is swirling in Kylo Ren’s conflicted mind.

 

The Wagnerian cliffhanger in this installment involves a shot of Luke’s lightsabre, broken in two. Siegfried’s task is to forge the shattered sword anew; someone in the far-away galaxy is likely to follow suit. When I pointed this out on Twitter, Rian Johnson responded with a sword emoji, suggesting that I might not be making much ado about Nothung.

 

 

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Some people may say this score as John Williams cutting and pasting classic themes. He is a five-time Academy Award-winning composure. And don’t forget he won the Academy Award for Episode IV, “A New Hope”. Every character we have ever loved in Star Wars has been given a theme of sorts; eight movies of John Williams magic. It is nostalgia at it’s best for all of us and total ear candy. I welcome it. And I think you will too.

 

And yet, its not completely beyond Williams to give an existing character another, new theme, if only for the sake of keeping the score fresh. There should have been more of that in this. As it is, its a notable departure from the composer's body of work in that each score was based predominantly on new thematic material.

 

On 12/19/2017 at 11:15 PM, publicist said:

Though i found the whole interview and reasoning strictly d'oh-variety. The whole leitmotif shebang is overrated anyway. Williams himself didn't take (following them) overly seriously and the qualities of the compositions (SW/Indiana Jones) doesn't hinge on them. They are just very memorable melodies.

 

And yet his compositions are, at their core, leitmotivic. That he sometimes (and not that often) strays away from the narrative significance of the leitmotif doesn't undo the structure as a whole. Wagner also used his themes like that, sometimes. 

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There’s not much to find there anyway, but the 5* rating and his general opinion of the score is appropriate, I think.

 

Wonder if and when he’ll change the rating of ROTS from 4 to 5 at some point, as he did with HPSS. 

 

Edit: oh, his claim that the score was badly treated in film and micro-edited to hell, more than TFA (!) is absurd. It’s clear that he’s no fan of the movie and its director, but this is not something to blame Rian Johnson for.

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4 hours ago, Remco said:

 

Edit: oh, his claim that the score was badly treated in film and micro-edited to hell, more than TFA (!) is absurd. It’s clear that he’s no fan of the movie and its director, but this is not something to blame Rian Johnson for.

 

Indeed, if anyone is to "blame" it's Williams himself for his insistence to work with edits so early in the post-production process. That's not a complaint mind you, that's just the reality of his process at an age where he can no longer pull 12 hour writing days. The modern film goes through dozens, if not hundreds of edits before the final cut. The alternative would be no Williams score at all.

 

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The revisions, lost music, and micro-edits are less the result of JW's approach to scoring and recording and more the unavoidable result of directors no longer delivering locked pictures for composers to score. Last minute film editing is the norm these days and all composers are impacted by this reality. 

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Even CC compares TLJ to RotS in what he terms an 'unmemorable score'. I think RotS has the stronger themes, culminating in BotH and the Mustafar/Senate sequences which happen to be the material that's found in the complete score and cut down for the OST. 

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Doesn't mean they didn't discuss the music.

 

 

Dunno if this article was posted here. Williams talks about The Post and TLJ with John Burlingame.

 

http://variety.com/2018/music/awards/john-williams-could-set-oscar-record-1202658996/

 

All of this required an orchestra of 101, the 64-voice Los Angeles Master Chorale, and 11 days of recording from December 2016 to June 2017. The L.A. musicians recorded 184 minutes of music, some of which was discarded before the final cut of 2 hours, 35 minutes was reached. (By comparison, “The Post” required a smaller orchestra of 76 and was recorded over three days in late October and early November.)

Johnson was so delighted with the results that, Williams says, he would eventually like to release a version of the film “without the dialogue and effects, just the music played in the foreground. All of the accompanimental music will be brought forward — every gesture, the music traveling along with the moods and textures, references to characters and so on.”

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