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mxsch

Reason for tracked music in AOTC and ROTS

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Some sources tell it was planned, others than Williams refused to score scenes with unfinished VFX, what I don't get. Which to trust?

 

 

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Editorial and VFX post-production for both films was complex. Lucas kept re-editing and fine-tuning the film up until a few weeks before release. JW of course prefers to score a locked cut, but it was impossible already under those circumstances. It was a compromise to avoid writing and recording music that would have been unusable in the end.

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I believe that, due to the mess that reel 6 of TPM ended up becoming (Williams scored a totally different cut than what went to cinemas), they decided that just tracking music would be the preferable choice.

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In both cases, the tracking was planned by Lucas and Williams.

In AOTC, they started working on the CGI of the final battle very late (whereas early CGI sequences such as the Chase of Coruscant were already completed) and Williams recorded the score a bit earlier than usual (late January instead of February). 

That, however, doesn't account for the tracking during two dialogue scenes (Anakin's dream and Dooku-Obi-Wan). I can't explain the reason behind the tracking of those scenes.

 

In ROTS, the last section completed was Reel 4 (Battle of Utapau), which has quite a lot of tracking. Other than that, it seems that the "not-ready-to-be-scored" scenes were selected to have tracked music. 

 

Williams has been scoring scenes with unfinished VFX for a long time. He scored SW without the VFX effects. I don't believe he would refuse anything.

 

 

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1 hour ago, mxsch said:

Wanted to throw in additional question, why JW decided not to use LSO for sequels?

 

Probably for practical/logistical reasons. Flying and all that heavy travel gets harder on your body as you get older and Williams is in his eighties. Plus the schedule for those movies was a little weird; on "The Last Jedi" for instance, instead of recording the score all at once like you usually do, he would write maybe 45 minutes of music, record it, then spend a few more weeks writing another 45 minutes, record it, and did this for three or four months. With that schedule it was much easier to stay home instead of traveling for such a long time.

 

In a perfect world I think JW would have liked to continue using the LSO since they're such an important part of Star Wars history, but in interviews he's spoken very highly of LA's musicians (they're seriously some of the best in the world), and by the time of "Rise of Skywalker" he and his music contractor had assembled an orchestra of the best players they could find -- the absolute cream of the crop -- so he was very happy with the results.

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2 minutes ago, SilverTrumpet said:

Is this to demonstrate agreeing or disagreeing? 

Listen to whatever the hell the percussion is doing and decide.

 

 

(Added a :P to hopefully clarify the post)

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40 minutes ago, Holko said:

 

:P

Don Williams is really smashing those timps in this version of The Imperial March, I think you lose quiet a bit of the harmonic context coming from the strings on the ostinato when the percussion is too loud in the various recordings of the piece (including the TROS one). 

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40 minutes ago, aj_vader said:

Don Williams is really smashing those timps in this version of The Imperial March, I think you lose quiet a bit of the harmonic context coming from the strings on the ostinato when the percussion is too loud in the various recordings of the piece (including the TROS one). 

But you can't disagree that this version of the theme is just effing smashing. When I've first heard it, it just blew me away.

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1 minute ago, mxsch said:

But you can't disagree that this version of theme is just effing smashing. When I've first heard it, it just blew me away.

 

I cried (seriously) when I heard it, felt so fresh and was fantastic to hear a modern studio recording with Williams conducting. It completely caught me off guard, wasn't expecting it at all. 

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2 minutes ago, aj_vader said:

 

I cried (seriously) when I heard it, felt so fresh and was fantastic to hear a modern studio recording with Williams conducting. 

We need whole piece re-recorded like that. Or compilation featuring all concert pieces (at least from OT) can be really great.

2 hours ago, Skelly said:

 

Probably for practical/logistical reasons. Flying and all that heavy travel gets harder on your body as you get older and Williams is in his eighties. Plus the schedule for those movies was a little weird; on "The Last Jedi" for instance, instead of recording the score all at once like you usually do, he would write maybe 45 minutes of music, record it, then spend a few more weeks writing another 45 minutes, record it, and did this for three or four months. With that schedule it was much easier to stay home instead of traveling for such a long time.

 

In a perfect world I think JW would have liked to continue using the LSO since they're such an important part of Star Wars history, but in interviews he's spoken very highly of LA's musicians (they're seriously some of the best in the world), and by the time of "Rise of Skywalker" he and his music contractor had assembled an orchestra of the best players they could find -- the absolute cream of the crop -- so he was very happy with the results.

So, this LA orchestra in TROS kicked LSO ass? And this is most uncomplete and chopped to hell SW score to date, ah, irony.

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1 hour ago, mxsch said:

We need whole piece re-recorded like that. Or compilation featuring all concert pieces (at least from OT) can be really great.

YES!!!!

 

I was hoping there was something like the Musical Journey that came with the Revenge of the Sith soundtrack, but with all the major themes across the 9 films. 

 

Ah the dreams! 

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2 minutes ago, aj_vader said:

YES!!!!

 

I was hoping there was something like the Musical Journey that came with the Revenge of the Sith soundtrack, but with all the major themes across the 9 films. 

 

Ah the dreams! 

Forgot to mention that I wanted all OT concert pieces re-recorded in full with the same powerful perfomance as this Imperial March excerpt. But Musical Journey-like release would be cool too.

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Yes, the LA orchestra kicks ass. I don’t know why they selected that particular bad take – but let’s not pretend the LSO gave a world-class performance on the OT. It’s full of tiny errors everywhere.

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Performance errors are a part of life, you'd likely hear them in a live setting as well. It just adds to the immediacy and individuality of concert performance. Bernstein's Mahler 9th has a very noticeable missed entrance by the horns in one movement, it sounds like they are on strike actually, and it makes it so distinctive. It is an incredible disc, very well-regarded.

 

Additionally, Poledouris' original recording of Conan is one of this genre's all-time absolute best, regardless of the performance errors. Imo, if Williams liked it, he has vastly more experience than I, and I am going to trust his judgement. Maybe he liked it this way, sounds a little dangerous, like the whole thing is almost on the verge of collapse and the Imperial March is finally fragmenting but trying to give us one last blaze of glory. It's sort of brilliant.

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Williams has addressed this.  He mentioned that while he was watching a rough cut with Lucas on the scenes in question, he teared up a bit over how poorly edited they were. Lucas said, "I am going to need you to score these," to which Williams replied, "I'd rather be dead."  

 

 

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On 7/14/2020 at 5:55 PM, mxsch said:

Wanted to throw in additional question, why JW decided not to use LSO for sequels?

 

I'd like to know why he didn't use the LSO for TOD and TLC.

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On 7/15/2020 at 1:40 PM, Remco said:

let’s not pretend the LSO gave a world-class performance on the OT. It’s full of tiny errors everywhere.

Could you point to a better performance of the OT? Just so that we know they did not do the best an orchestra could have done with this music when it was brand new...

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1 hour ago, JTWfan77 said:

 

I'd like to know why he didn't use the LSO for TOD and TLC.

 

I've often wondered that too.

 

'77 Star Wars: LSO

'78 Superman: LSO

'79 Dracula: LSO

'80 Empire: LSO

'81 Raiders: LSO

'83 Jedi: LSO

 

So why was TOD in '84 LA musicians?  And why was the Sanskit Chant music recorded in Boston?

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I would guess it depended on Williams' schedule. He was probably less free to travel when some of those were recorded. For the TOD material recorded in Boston, I'm sure this was the case... that they needed the music done quickly and he was there due to commitments.

 

In some cases, the producers of the respective films probably had to weigh budget vs. scheduling when deciding where to record.

 

Star Wars seems to be the only series that Williams felt should stay attached to the LSO, for whatever reason. But Lucas and the specifics of the production may have come into play there as well.

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4 hours ago, Fabulin said:

Could you point to a better performance of the OT? Just so that we know they did not do the best an orchestra could have done with this music when it was brand new...


This is silly. The LSO is/was fine, but the orchestra itself became much better with sightreading around the time of the prequels and also the Hollywood performances are much more polished than the OT ever was.

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4 hours ago, Jay said:

So why was TOD in '84 LA musicians?


I think it may have had something to do with the Anvil-Abbey Road partnership dissolving that year. I can’t remember where I read it, but there was at least discussion about using the LSO again.
 

4 hours ago, Jay said:

And why was the Sanskit Chant music recorded in Boston?


Probably needed to precorded apart from the main sessions so that onscreen action could be synced to it. Is the date it was recorded known vs. the LA sessions?

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28 minutes ago, Jay said:

Interesting, I've never heard this before!  If you find any more information about this, please post it!


Ok, I found the source I was looking for. It’s from Chris Malone’s profile of recording engineer Eric Tomlinson:

 

Quote

Tomlinson suspects that the end of the alliance was probably the reason why Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was not scored at Abbey Road. In fact, his 1984 diary reveals a conversation with director Steven Spielberg on 23 February concerning this.

 

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I dunno, Amadeus opened in theaters 4 months after Temple of Doom, was the score really recorded very far in advance, before Doom's score was recorded?

 

Which orchestra would be recording the score would be something JW would have known ahead of time, so he'd know from a conceptual level whether he was writing music for the LSO and their featured players to perform, or for someone else to perform...

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21 hours ago, Tom said:

Williams has addressed this.  He mentioned that while he was watching a rough cut with Lucas on the scenes in question, he teared up a bit over how poorly edited they were. Lucas said, "I am going to need you to score these," to which Williams replied, "I'd rather be dead."  

 

 

 

Is this for real? 

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I'm happy with both Hook and TOD from their LA recordings, both sound exceptional.

 

The Last Crusade was a missed opportunity though, simply because an LA recording would've saved us from that awful Wallin mix.

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6 hours ago, Jay said:

Sanskrit Sacrifice and More Sacrifice were recorded in Boston on the afternoon of Thursday, May 12th, 1983:

Interesting that they were recorded so late but still got pretty messed up in the film.

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1 hour ago, Holko said:

Interesting that they were recorded so late but still got pretty messed up in the film.

 

Check the year again :P

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Did you read the Boston Globe article I included?  It talks about how Spielberg needed them quickly so they could play them on set while filming!

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