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Jim Svejda interviews John Williams on Classical KUSC

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I think I just heard JW say that not only will this put the bow on 9 scores for him, but he would like it if Star Wars as a whole is put to rest instead of going in new directions or spinoffs.

 

226 minutes of music recorded for Rise of Skywalker :o

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3 minutes ago, First TROS March Accolyte said:

J.J. robbed us of a new theme for Kylo Ren! Oh, the villain!

It's cool to transform a theme, and that really saved the Ren music for me.

I remember JW saying that all the themes were recapped in TROS. Does anyone have a tally of how many are in the released score? (OST and FYC)

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9 minutes ago, David Story said:

It's cool to transform a theme, and that really saved the Ren music for me.

I remember JW saying that all the themes were recapped in TROS. Does anyone have a tally of how many are in the released score? (OST and FYC)

 

Yes, it was very gratifying to hear JW asked and respond so thoughtfully about that musical detail! Wish he were asked those sorts of questions more often!

 

Tallying the themes that are recapped in TROS depends a bit on what you define as a theme and what you count as a recurrence. But by my count, there's around ~17-18 previously established true themes brought back (noticeably lacking anything from the prequels or TLJ), plus the 5-6 new themes for TROS.

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7 minutes ago, Falstaft (hiatus til TROS) said:

 

Yes, it was very gratifying to hear JW asked and respond so thoughtfully about that musical detail! Wish he were asked those sorts of questions more often!

 

Tallying the themes that are recapped in TROS depends a bit on what you define as a theme and what you count as a recurrence. But by my count, there's around ~17-18 previously established true themes brought back (noticeably lacking anything from the prequels or TLJ), plus the 5-6 new themes for TROS.

Yes! It's nice to hear him speak about his love of modal transposition and reharmonization, now I hear his voice when I see the variations in the catalog :)

With another 100+(!) minutes of score confirmed recorded we may find something from the prequels or TLJ. I'd love to hear his thoughts on Duel of the Fates, Battle of the Heroes or Anakin.

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6 hours ago, crumbs said:

Interview now available on demand:

 

Sadly is just the interview and no music... I'm guessing the original broadcast featured excerpts from TROS?

 

Thanks. The Svejda interviews are always OK, but my heart aches knowing that nobody ever probes Williams' mind further, beyond the obvious stuff. He has this whole warehouse of information and stories (like the one from RAIDERS), but most interviewers are content staying in the small 'reception room' outside the warehouse over and over again. Also, the whole 'endless compliments' culture of the US entertainment industry makes me very uncomfortable.

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My highlights from the interview:

 

“...he said I know, but they’re all dead.”

 

“Did you hear what that hack did with my speeder chase music? Jesus Christ.”

 

I also didn’t expect him to admit to wanting to stab JJ repeatedly after having to record a fifth alternate to “Journey to Exegol”.

 

 

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16 hours ago, Falstaft (hiatus til TROS) said:

 

Yes, it was very gratifying to hear JW asked and respond so thoughtfully about that musical detail! Wish he were asked those sorts of questions more often!

 

Tallying the themes that are recapped in TROS depends a bit on what you define as a theme and what you count as a recurrence. But by my count, there's around ~17-18 previously established true themes brought back (noticeably lacking anything from the prequels or TLJ), plus the 5-6 new themes for TROS.

 

And that's of the themes we hear in the film. It's quite possible we got a few more in some of the unreleased material.

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2 hours ago, Cerebral Cortex said:

 

And that's of the themes we hear in the film. It's quite possible we got a few more in some of the unreleased material.

 

Hmm, that makes me wonder what the likeliest "phantom" themes would be. Here's some pure speculation...

 

I'd be willing to bet good money that the original version of the Ahch-To scenes featured Jedi Steps at least in some way. The existing cue "Destiny of a Jedi" seems to want to refer to it on several occasions only to pull back. The theme also seems to hover suggestively over "A New Home." Perhaps Luke in Exile stuff too, though bringing that back strikes me as less likely, if only because it's rather less iconic.

 

If there were any more extended but unused scenes featuring Rose, it's not unfeasible her theme was recalled. At the very least, I find it hard to believe Williams forgot he wrote the theme, seeing as how he's still programming and conducting it!

 

We get a tantalizing hint of a Duel of the Fates-y choral chord at the end of "Approaching the Throne," maybe even in Sanskrit (?), though no other traces of the piece elsewhere in the score, as far as I can tell. I heard a rumor that DoTF was recorded anew during the TROS recording sessions, though given what we've seen of the cue list, my guess would be it might have been an additional possible entry into the End Credits suite if that were the case. Then again, who knows what could have gone over the beginning of the Death Star fight.

 

Despite JW recently revisiting it in the Anne Sophie-Mutter arrangement, it doesn't seem like Across the Stars would have been called back. That said, there are two moments that are reminiscent of the theme, purely by accident I imagine. First, there's a snatch of the main motif in that spiky Approaching Exegol ostinato -- assuredly just a felicitous coincidence. Second, and maybe more significant, is the chromatic string figure early on in The Old Death Star, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the ostinato from the middle section of the ATS Concert Arrangement. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that that chromatic figure itself doesn't appear to my knowledge in AOTC, I'd consider adding it to my catalogue as an incidental motif.

 

Leitmotifs that could have been justifiably recalled but, as far as anyone knows, weren't would be the original Death Star motif, the Lando/Cloud City motif, Throne Room, anything else from the Prequels, and (alas!) Parade of the Ewoks...

 

 

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Is this a new tidbit - that he wrote Leia's theme as a sort of love theme for Leia and Luke? I know them being siblings was a late decision but I never saw Leia's theme as a love theme, always as a character theme. Though its romantic sound means it could easily be a love theme.

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I can naturally understand it as, but still find it hard to perceive as, primarily a love theme. To me it sounds too much like a "damsel in distress" kind of theme. Sadder than romantic. And to be fair, if the love themes from Indiana Jones or later Star Wars are brought into comparison, it places Leia's Theme, in terms of happiness, even below Marion's. Of course this may be attributed to it being Williams' first theme of such lyrical power, perhaps before he developed more sophisticated means of expression of a dramatic detail, but I find the declaration of it being primarily a love theme a bit underwhelming as a description of what it feels like.

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To be honest, I don't know how you can listen to the concert arrangement of Leia's theme and not think it's a love theme—or at least, a sex theme.
 

Quote

For the first film, George, I even wrote, you'll remember, a quite heated love theme—with a melody and a development section and a torrid climax—thinking that Luke and Leia were lovers…

 

In a way, I think JW may have written Rey's theme with this in mind, wanting to make amends of sorts. I think he mentioned in that interview with Tavis Smiley that he specifically wrote it to not suggest a love theme in any way.

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I think it entirely depends on one's personal perception of romance and eroticism in music. To me Leia's Theme is a scream of sadness and loneliness, not extasy; a scream of a prisoner of a steel fortress in the void of cold space, awaiting rescue. Constant building of hope that always ends on a low note. I am sure I am not the only one who hears it as that.There is of course the possibility that I have programmed myself with the literal dramatic context and cannot unhear it. Maybe without it I would hear it as you do. Or maybe Williams composed it as a love theme for a captive lady and her rescuer. Still, I hear neither happiness, nor longing in this piece. Only tearful sadness, which I have to admit having experienced many times over the years while listening to this.

 

But then I do not find Steiner's music romantic either, so I might be more picky about what "is" and what "is not" than usual.

 

To me most (and more) evocative in the direction romantic or erotic would be Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome, Bacchanale from Samson et Dalila, Symphony No. 3 by Scriabin, No. 4 by Bruckner, or the waltz from Zlatye Gory by Dmitri Shostakovich.

 

What flavour of love or romance does it represent to you, @aviazn, @Arpy ? I am curious of your perception.

Hint: happy / unhappy / youthful / tragic / hopeful, fulfilled, longing, erotic, platonic,... etc.

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20 minutes ago, Edmilson said:

Tbh, the fact that Williams had to write 226 minutes of music for a movie that uses less than a half of it is a little sad. It shows that he and Abrams weren't exactly in the same page about the score, and Abrams made him record lots and lots of alternates and revisions, new versions, etc. - I mean, more than usual. Then, the score got moved around, tracked, parts were discarded, buried beneath sound effects...

 

JJ was so lost with the movie and the score suffered for it. But hey, at least he gave Williams his first cameo, something neither Spielberg or Lucas did.

It is sad.  I don't think it was so much different pages as Abrams kept handing Williams a different movie to score for months in a row.  I like (but don't love) Abrams movies in general but it is very clear that he is not a man with substantive artistic visions.  

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3 hours ago, First TROS March Accolyte said:

I think it entirely depends on one's personal perception of romance and eroticism in music. … But then I do not find Steiner's music romantic either, so I might be more picky about what "is" and what "is not" than usual.

 

[…]

 

What flavour of love or romance does it represent to you, @aviazn, @Arpy ? I am curious of your perception.

Hint: happy / unhappy / youthful / tragic / hopeful, fulfilled, longing, erotic, platonic,... etc.

 

Entirely fair! I didn't mean to call into question anyone's personal readings of it. In fact, I hardly find it romantic at all.

 

All I meant was, JW's stated intent that it's a literal representation of sex is quite clear to me—complete with the "torrid climax" and post-coital descending triplets. And to be honest, for that reason, it's never roused much emotion in me. I always thought of it as essentially a concert-piece-length dirty joke, completely at odds with Leia as a character—an anachronistic theme that defined her primarily as a sex object. No wonder he says he felt bad about it and was always apologizing to Carrie Fisher for it.

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