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"Psalm of the Sith" (aka "Anthem of Evil") from Ep. 9 Appreciation


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Another week, another underappreciated aspect of the Rise of Skywalker score to explore. This time, let's talk about the big new villain theme, "Psalm of the Sith." (Better known as "Anthem of Evil" b

Of all the new themes in TROS, I think this is the one that has the most to reveal in an expanded soundtrack release. I say this because of all the leitmotifs in the saga according to @Falstaft's cata

Wasn't it rumoured that Palpatine's presence/resurrection originally didn't happen until later in the film? I know everyone's speculated ad nauseum about why Disney withheld basically all footage and

I love the Anthem of Evil track, but can we even confirm that "Psalm of the Sith" is the original name of it?  Or that it's even a proper concert arrangement and not an edit of various film cues?  I think all that is still an open question.

 

Anyways, as for the OST track itself, I really like it, especially the quiet moody opening.


What I really don't like about the track, though, is the obvious edit at the 3:08 mark.  It takes me out of the trance the music has me under every time, I can't not hear it :( 

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17 minutes ago, Jay said:

I love the Anthem of Evil track, but can we even confirm that "Psalm of the Sith" is the original name of it?  Or that it's even a proper concert arrangement and not an edit of various film cues?  I think all that is still an open question.

 

A big open question. We've seen and tried to analyze the a screengrab of the cello part for 8m4 in another thread, but I don't think we made all that much progress: https://www.jwfan.com/forums/index.php?/topic/31031-the-rise-of-skywalker-complete-score-discussion-spoilers-allowed/page/29/

 

 

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You know I'm sure it has been discussed before. But the end credits track on Clones. That part where Dooku meets Palpatine, you can clearly hear this hideous cut at 1:14.

Too bad some of the original titles don't stick. Psalm of the Sith is way more powerful and fitting. Anthem of Evil sounds like some dumb mickey mouse shit. I also preferred "Concerto for Hubcaps" as the original title for the Knight Bus.

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Well, we can only hope that his scores are all released one day, but highly doubtful, until it gets to the point of being a million years from now, but still the scores for Korngold and such composers the studios supposedly still are very stingy with. It is amazing what greed does. They were so concerned with making a buck that music that could have been beloved staples, is now kind of forgotten about except by serious fans. Although this may be an unrelated rant........

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45 minutes ago, BrotherSound said:

The beginning of Psalm of the Sith isn’t anything we’ve identified yet, but the bulk of it appears to be the music heard from about 1:33-3:00 in Join Me (whether it’s tracked or was directly incorporated into the music written for the scene we don’t yet know):

 

 

Listening to this again, I'm struck by the similarities between the build-up section here (2:08-2:33) and the lead-in to the Anthem of Evil in the end credits, though the tonal relationships are reversed (Gm-Bm here, Bm-Gm in the credits). Not a detail wasted in this score. And those ascending dotted figures outlining minor chords also recall The Force Theme, and maybe even more specifically, its fragmentation in "Torn Apart" from TFA.

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10 hours ago, SilverTrumpet said:

Is the part at 1:35 a coincidence or just like when Vader is egging Luke on by telling him he knows about his sister in ROTJ?

 

Nice catch! It even starts out at pitch, though the two cues quickly diverge after the first couple of notes (C#-C-F#-F-D-B in TROS, C#-C-F-E-Ab-G in ROTJ).

 

I'd say it's unlikely this is a deliberate allusion; Star Wars is full of these low, plodding chromatic lines for ominous scenes. But you never know...

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1 hour ago, Falstaft said:

 

Nice catch! It even starts out at pitch, though the two cues quickly diverge after the first couple of notes (C#-C-F#-F-D-B in TROS, C#-C-F-E-Ab-G in ROTJ).

 

I'd say it's unlikely this is a deliberate allusion; Star Wars is full of these low, plodding chromatic lines for ominous scenes. But you never know...

 

I feel like it could have lasted longer, but the big problem with the concert arrangement is it doesn't sound like one. It starts out with an idea and either spends too much time on it or not enough time. The beginning goes on for too long and I space out, and the the ending is abrupt. 

 

I like the subtle use in the movie, but the track itself is meh.

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17 minutes ago, SilverTrumpet said:

 

I feel like it could have lasted longer, but the big problem with the concert arrangement is it doesn't sound like one.

 

I suppose it doesn't sound like one because it really isn't one. From what we can tell, it's a film cue, or (more likely in my opinion), a couple of different cues that were stitched together. And some of those stitches are more successful than others.

 

It's telling that the TROS piano album's version of "Anthem of Evil" is solely the opening choral part. You can see & play the whole thing here: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/anthem-of-evil-from-the-rise-of-skywalker-digital-sheet-music/21698591

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The obvious edit at 3:08 solidifies for me that it wasn't recorded as a pure concert arrangement.

 

It could be purely various film cues stitched together (like "Irina's Theme"), or it could be a "Theme From Jurassic Park" situation where he wrote a specific album-only intro to lead into a part of a film cue...

 

But yea, great theme in general, and I hope a future expanded release reveals it was intended to be use more (both more often and in grander statements) originally (and they were recorded)

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I don’t think it’s that puzzling in TLJ. The scene evoked Palpatine torturing Luke in ROTJ so Williams wanted to remind of that scene, if all the other allusions weren’t obvious enough. It’s a touch I like a lot, but doesn’t work as well in light of the fact that Palpatine actually showed up. I don’t read it as Williams having any deep purpose

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Yea, so he might have written the eerie choir opening specifically for the album, intending it to lead into the already recorded music for the Destruction of Kijimi to create the album track

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I was not speculating that he recorded an entire pure concert arrangement, then later replaced the ending with a film cue for the album.


I was speculating that he recorded a specific album-only intro, that was always intended to segue into an already recorded film cue. 

 

This is exactly how Theme from Jurassic Park was created; 0:00-0:48 and 3:15-end of that track are a specific album-only intro (3M2 Record Intro) and outro (3M2 Wompi Ending), while 0:48-3:15 is just 3M2 The Dinosaurs, literally identical to what's in Journey To The Island, same takes and all.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Ludwig said:

Now what parts of ROTS were tracked that use the Emperor theme? I couldn't find it among those listed in the spoiler tags above.

 

I believe it's 7M03 "Birth of the Twins" -- the music heard right after Kijimi is blown up in TROS, and when Palp is returning to Coruscant at the end of ROTS, respectively.

 

Another facet of this theme that hasn't gotten so much attention is that it garners an unaccompanied, non-texted choral arrangement. Maybe because it's such a strikingly obvious feature, but I'm hard-pressed to think of other truly voice-only sections in the Star Wars series. Snoke's "theme" I suppose, though that's almost more a musical texture than anything else. Even "Palpatine's TV Set" has some bizarre other stuff going on above the voices. Really, the closest relatives that come to mind would be from AI and Empire of the Sun.

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There is already that amazing Emperor's Theme rendition when Tie fighters fly in, before The Emperor Lives.

Quote

1M26 Spy's Message

1M26 Lightspeed Skipping

 

2M01 Cockpit Dialog

2M02 Fixing The Helmet

2M03 The Wisdom of Maz

2M04 The Emperor Lives

If there was ever an ambiguity who the mysterious Sith lord was... well, that's where it would have ended.

 

Which I doubt anyway, because Ian McDiarmid had his "roll it again" reveal on April 13th 2019.

 

By May 11th 2019 Williams had written just around 25 minutes, based on the news from back then:

 

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Decrypting the creation of TROS, both score and film, is a fools’ errand. 
 

But that’s what JWFan excels at, so I’m looking forward to having a full rundown of every second of composed music and their respective scenes deciphered in the next few years. I was here to see it happen with the prequels and I’ll sit here and see it again with this one.

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23 minutes ago, Docteur Qui said:

Decrypting the creation of TROS, both score and film, is a fools’ errand. 
 

But that’s what JWFan excels at, so I’m looking forward to having a full rundown of every second of composed music and their respective scenes deciphered in the next few years. I was here to see it happen with the prequels and I’ll sit here and see it again with this one.

 

That mammoth task is what's so interesting about them. The movies themselves are total stinkers but trying to figure out how the hell they became what they did is fascinating to me. The holy grail of discovering this would be finding out what Lucas's original intentions were. 

 

I have a feeling he would have done exile Luke, but not Palpatine. 

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10 hours ago, Arpy said:

Just an aside, I love the Emperor's Theme in this cue! It's so powerful and dark and ugghh I need it!

 

A wonderful statement of the theme, almost luscious sounding, but in a dark way. All too short, though!

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Since we are on the subject of the writing process...

 

I often wonder if the repeated motif from the Speeder Chase was one he wrote earlier in the writing process, only for it to be replaced by the more heroic variant later.

 

Back to Anthem of Evil, I'm overall happy with it. Everyone was wanting Williams to write a theme for the First Order and we kind of get that here, although not how you'd think. I think people really like the bombastic military marches that Williams writes for his villains (the Droid March, imperial March, Arena March) and we just don't get that here, which is actually quite refreshing. We do get Anthem of Evil in march mode at times throughout the film (the destruction of Kijimi comes to mind, as does the End Credits appearance) but nothing that I think would wholly satisfy the fans of his earlier work.

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On 8/12/2020 at 5:54 PM, BrotherSound said:

The Final Order fleet rising scene may have originally been part of this sequence: if you move that scene here between the conversation with Palpatine and Pryde and the destruction of Kijimi, the second half of Anthem of Evil fits remarkably well, and the novelization has some evidence that supports that this may have been the original intention as well. I’d put a video up to demonstrate, but they seem to get taken down very fast.

I just listened to the audiobook, The Novelisation has the fleet rising in the same spot as in the film.

 

Unless I misunderstood you

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42 minutes ago, The River (Fal) said:

I just listened to the audiobook, The Novelisation has the fleet rising in the same spot as in the film.

 

Unless I misunderstood you


I’m not saying that scene was in a different place in the novelization, just that the extended conversation of Palpatine and Pryde, during which he shows off a hologram of the Sith fleet, suggests perhaps it was here originally, especially when the leaks suggest that the scene was moved much earlier in the film. The second half of Fanfare and Prologue also happens to perfectly fit the first Exegol scene if the fleet rising is removed…

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On 8/13/2020 at 10:48 AM, Not Mr. Big said:

It sounds like Holdo's Resolve, but evil

 

Indeed. There's even a melodic preview of sorts in TLJ here:

 

 

It's probably all part of that Tension/Desperation/Ludlow motivic complex Williams draws from so often. To paraphrase Maz Kanata: if you listen long enough, you see the same melodic patterns in different leitmotifs.

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15 hours ago, The River (Fal) said:

BTW The novelization starts with Rey training (instead of Kylo on Mustafar) and having a vision of the Throne instead of whatever is in the film IIRC.


Yeah, the novelizations always play fast and loose with the precise ordering of scenes, so I’d take that with a grain of salt. But, it can still be useful for details of what might have been. For instance, the Chewie’s Interrogation scene is restored, which seems to have been filmed since there’s a cue with that title.

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2 minutes ago, The River (Fal) said:

is there any sheet music out there for that part of the film?

 

Not that I know of. But what a day it will be when they do leak.

 

I have hope, given that the other SW scores are floating around in some form or another, and we do have bits & pieces of info about TROS, like the cue list, too...

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1 hour ago, BrotherSound said:


Yeah, the novelizations always play fast and loose with the precise ordering of scenes, so I’d take that with a grain of salt.

The partial cue list wr have does hint that that ordering could be valid tho, with Rey Trains being 1m05 and Rens Entrance being 1m06

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On 8/15/2020 at 11:48 AM, TheAvengerButton said:

I often wonder if the repeated motif from the Speeder Chase was one he wrote earlier in the writing process, only for it to be replaced by the more heroic variant later.

What's the distinction? Is there a non-heroic statement in the cue?

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