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Your opinion on sequels music?


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I have very uncertain relationship with this three scores

 

On one hand, I like them, but on the other hand due to a very big chunk of music still yet to be released it's not clicking on me completely. I know about Force Awakens LTP leak and TLJ isolated score, listened to both, but I'm not a very big fan of music edited to picture.

 

There is just no proper release for me, since I'm not a fan of standard OST albums because of edits and stuff, with very rare exceptions.

 

And there are some really strange moments, like overusing Force theme in TLJ, attaching Luke and Leia theme to Lando and his daughter reunion, this is like what, family reunion theme now?

 

Something is just missing for me, because OT is OT, prequels have my absolutely favourite period of JW in terms of style, esp. with all this bombastic action cues, but sequels are... OK?

 

Plus lack of Abbey Road and LSO is important too.

 

What do you think about them in comparison to other six JW scores?

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My opinion on John Williams Star Wars Sequel Trilogy scores? They're hella good.

You're right about the fact that Abbey Road makes a big difference. The playing by the LA studio players is SO good, it's almost too good. See: the unnecessary Imperial March in the credits of TROS. M

Yep, the main differences are going to be in the composition styles and the ways things were recorded, mixed, and mastered. In Williams' case, you're really not going to get a noticeable difference fr

1 minute ago, Not Mr. Big said:

TFA and TROS are fantastic scores that rival the PT and the OT in their best moments, TLJ has some good moments.  I see everything post-2008 as a bonus Williams music and it's hard to complain about a bonus trilogy of Star Wars music.

Falcon Flight is absolute banger btw. One of my favourite tracks ever for sure.

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mxsch, I could not agree more to what you write. The only one of the sequel scores with a proper album presentation is episode 7. The episode 8 OST album is too much concentrating on repeating old material including episode 7. Episode 9 feels completely splintered to me, just like the film.

2 hours ago, mxsch said:

attaching Luke and Leia theme to Lando and his daughter reunion, this is like what, family reunion theme now?

Apart from the nice music probably the worst scoring moment of all nine films.

Anyway, I still hope that there will be the complete score presentations of the three films including most of the unused but recorded music for episode 9. The scores are to me mucially great and out of this world but the albums of episode 8 and 9 do not do justice to the original scores. 

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2 hours ago, GerateWohl said:

mxsch, I could not agree more to what you write. The only one of the sequel scores with a proper album presentation is episode 7. The episode 8 OST album is too much concentrating on repeating old material including episode 7. Episode 9 feels completely splintered to me, just like the film.

Apart from the nice music probably the worst scoring moment of all nine films.

Anyway, I still hope that there will be the complete score presentations of the three films including most of the unused but recorded music for episode 9. The scores are to me mucially great and out of this world but the albums of episode 8 and 9 do not do justice to the original scores. 

Exactly. TFA have a very nice album. TROS have like two hours more of unreleased music and album seems to be most butchered among sequels. Lack of proper opening is a big failure too.

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2 hours ago, bruce marshall said:

Thor is ecstatic that a new SW thread has been started!☺

 

True, my heart sank a little when I saw that the 'sequels' in question were about the SW films. But as I've said many times before, I agree with the topic starter. I'm not thrilled with the sequel scores either. I've listened to TFA maybe 5-6 times, the other two twice each. Has nothing to do with the presentation, though, which I think is ace (as always with JW), but the scores themselves.

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I liked the score for TFA, but with TLJ and TROS my feelings were mixed, and the albums have been mostly collecting dust on the shelf since the release of the movies. But now that I'm revisiting those scores again for The Baton podcast, I'm starting to really appreciate them. Going through every single cue, paying attention to what's happening in the music, and the way it all interacts with the stuff on screen, opened my eyes and ears, and allowed me to fall in love with those scores.

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Much has indeed already been said about these. But, briefly:

 

  • TFA: More pedestrian moments than any of its six predecessors, but the new themes are fantastic and overall there's a great energy. One of his finest end credit suites.
  • TLJ: Too much reliance on what's come before. The new writing is quite good.
  • TROS: I was initially really enthusiastic about this score in the theater but haven't actually revisited it that much on album. Not sure why.

All three would have benefited from sounding a bit more like the LSO's recordings. More than ever, I'm convinced it's not an issue with the players - LA musicians are hardly second-rate - but with the venue, mic choices, and mixing. Galaxy's Edge and Solo (other than The Adventures of Han) both get the sound I like. The biggest difference is in the brass, the trumpets most of all.

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Seriously? The tempo is a mess, the percussion has no clue what they're doing. It's so bad it actually makes me worried for the care, involvement and even state of mind of the man who recorded take after take and put 100+ performance edits into the album release of the 5 minute Hedwig's Theme, and here he didn't bother conducting properly, doing another take, even just an insert to patch it up, what the hell happened?

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14 minutes ago, SilverTrumpet said:

You're right about the fact that Abbey Road makes a big difference. The playing by the LA studio players is SO good, it's almost too good. See: the unnecessary Imperial March in the credits of TROS. Maybe one of the best performances of the piece.

 

But whenever I think of the prequel scores, I imagine how freaking majestic the trumpets sound in TPM. Unforgettable. 

 

Exactly! Some of it comes down to the writing, I'm sure; it feels like Williams is a little more inclined to voice the trumpets in octaves these days, as opposed to block chords or unisono, and that's not a sound I'm quite as fond of. But even those octave doublings sound better in the London recordings. In those recordings, the trumpets almost sparkle. They're resplendent. In Williams' LA recordings of the 2010s, there's something slightly grating about their timbre. (Again, no shade at the players; I've heard some of them play in person and I know they're phenomenal.)

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I've considered TFA top-tier JW ever since my fourth or fifth listen to the album. It also works well as an album, which the horribly fragmented other two scores do not. I have a feeling that I'll never be a huge fan of TLJ even in complete form, because aside from some highlights, much of the underscore (at least on the album) seems to rely too much on namedropping existing variations of themes instead of organically integrating new ones. TROS seemed much better in that regard in the film, and the album is even more of a mess, so I expect a massive improvement once we get a complete release. Shame about its end credits suite though, and I'm not particularly fond of its "episode them" - on the other hand, I've become a big fan of The Rebellion Is Reborn.

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2 hours ago, Datameister said:

 

Exactly! Some of it comes down to the writing, I'm sure; it feels like Williams is a little more inclined to voice the trumpets in octaves these days, as opposed to block chords or unisono, and that's not a sound I'm quite as fond of. But even those octave doublings sound better in the London recordings. In those recordings, the trumpets almost sparkle. They're resplendent. In Williams' LA recordings of the 2010s, there's something slightly grating about their timbre. (Again, no shade at the players; I've heard some of them play in person and I know they're phenomenal.)

 

I agree about the trumpets. I noticed he would do this thing in the sequels where he would have them just blare out some really harsh, long note. I can't recall if it's a new quirk or something he's always done that I missed...if he did I haven't noticed it sounding like this. I don't know why I find it so irritating, both compositionally and sonically, but it's one of those things that would just pop up for a few seconds and I'd be like, why. 

 

Reminds me of a duck. Quaaaack!

 

 

 

It's funny the things that annoy us. The infamous comical xylophone hits in his action pieces have always struck me as a similarly awkward/random choice. On the flipside, I'm always a sucker for his false endings which people bitch about.

 

Anyway, sequel scores = good

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2 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

I've considered TFA top-tier JW ever since my fourth or fifth listen to the album. It also works well as an album, which the horribly fragmented other two scores do not. I have a feeling that I'll never be a huge fan of TLJ even in complete form, because aside from some highlights, much of the underscore (at least on the album) seems to rely too much on namedropping existing variations of themes instead of organically integrating new ones. TROS seemed much better in that regard in the film, and the album is even more of a mess, so I expect a massive improvement once we get a complete release. Shame about its end credits suite though, and I'm not particularly fond of its "episode them" - on the other hand, I've become a big fan of The Rebellion Is Reborn.

 

"Namedropping" - that's perfect! Exactly the right word to describe how so many of the quotes feel in TLJ. (Incidentally, I mostly blame this on the fact that they literally gave JW a temp track of Star Wars music. If the director wants a "greatest hits" score, I suppose that's what you give them.)

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6 hours ago, Datameister said:

Galaxy's Edge and Solo (other than The Adventures of Han) both get the sound I like. The biggest difference is in the brass, the trumpets most of all.

Both have been recorded in London at the Abbey Road Studios.

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2 hours ago, E-Wan said:

Both have been recorded in London at the Abbey Road Studios.

 

Exactly my point. 😁 The difference can be heard within the Solo OST, comparing Williams' LA recording of the theme to Powell's London recordings of the score.

 

Bill Ross has also done a few previous Star Wars recordings with the LSO for Disney parks, I believe: an arrangement he did for Hyperspace Mountain, and the queue loop for Star Tours at Tokyo Disneyland. I've never heard those in pristine quality at home, so they're harder to judge, but I'd bet good money they've got a similar sound.

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21 hours ago, bruce marshall said:

I get confused by all these : terms: ot...sequels....prequels.

 

I prefer first trilogy...second trilogy...third trilogy .

Much simpler.😁


Yeah, but then it’s ambiguous: first trilogy in terms of the chronology of the story (the prequel trilogy), or the first to be released (the original trilogy).

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On 11/16/2020 at 5:05 PM, Holko said:

Seriously? The tempo is a mess, the percussion has no clue what they're doing. It's so bad it actually makes me worried for the care, involvement and even state of mind of the man who recorded take after take and put 100+ performance edits into the album release of the 5 minute Hedwig's Theme, and here he didn't bother conducting properly, doing another take, even just an insert to patch it up, what the hell happened?

Agreed. The Trumpets are quite thin, the trombones are leaving a lot more to be desired. Also really heavy compression on the far/room mics, i think they are trying to make up for a lacking performance. Doesn't even come close to the LSO performances. 

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3 hours ago, aj_vader said:

Agreed. The Trumpets are quite thin, the trombones are leaving a lot more to be desired. Also really heavy compression on the far/room mics, i think they are trying to make up for a lacking performance. Doesn't even come close to the LSO performances. 

 

I think it's a combination of factors. Different trumpets, different writing, different acoustics, different recording setup.

 

The Last Jedi showed that Sony could emulate the sound of the prequels (no idea what they were trying to accomplish with The Force Awakens, that mix is awful). Still, neither compare to the LSO at Abbey Road. There's something intangibly rich, full and wholesome about the brass in those early 2000s scores.

 

Not a single passage of brass in the sequels comes close to matching horn passages like this:

 

The stereo field also feels noticeably narrower and the overall warmth and size of the space is lacking in the sequel recordings. They just leave me cold, even if the writing is still virtuostic.

 

I'll echo @mrbellamy's specific complaint about those sustained brass notes. Those are irritating, unmusical and highlight the difference between trilogies. This one sounds more like a siren than music; you just want to turn the volume down:

 

I haven't forensically compared the trilogies but I don't remember the brass sounding like this in the prequels.

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The sustained brass blaring feels like a throwback to Indiana Jones, in fact there are several moments in all three sequel scores that sound like Williams was recalling those earlier Indy scores - I don't have a problem with that, however. 

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TLJ is of course the best score of them all. 

 

The difference between the trumpet playing/writing or recording... Give me a break. Maybe there was a good second trumpet player in LSO thats it. Lots of BS

 

Wonderful trumpet section in the sequels.

 

And probably the strongest trilogy, musically, love it so much!! 

 

Here 14:00

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, theBT said:

TLJ is of course the best score of them all. 

 

The difference between the trumpet playing/writing or recording... Give me a break. Maybe there was a good second trumpet player in LSO thats it. Lots of BS

 

Wonderful trumpet section in the sequels.

 

And probably the strongest trilogy, musically, love it so much!! 

 

Here 14:00

 

 

 

 

I'm curious - do the trumpets in "The Adventures of Han" sound the same to you as the trumpets in the rest of the Solo OST? If not, do they sound better? Worse? Simply different? I'm not trying to prove a point here; I just think differences between people's perceptions are interesting.

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The Score reflect the films - a little bit schizophrenic and scatterbrained. There aren't many opportunities for flowing lyricism because the scenes are short and always looking to move on to the next thing. If the movies took a moment to breathe, Williams will get a moment to shine.

 

The themes are good albeit short and used in bursts.

 

The new material doesn't quite dominate the films.

 

For example, Ep 5 has Yoda, Love Theme and Vader's theme standing out in an enormous way.

 

Ep 2 has Love theme standing out in an enormous way.

 

You could argue Rey's theme pops in Ep 7, but none of the other several great themes really get a chance to make a lasting imprint on movie history.

 

So the music is as great as it could have been but the very movies pose some limitations to how great the music can be.

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9 hours ago, Datameister said:

 

I'm curious - do the trumpets in "The Adventures of Han" sound the same to you as the trumpets in the rest of the Solo OST? If not, do they sound better? Worse? Simply different? I'm not trying to prove a point here; I just think differences between people's perceptions are interesting.

 

Sorry I just cannot listen to Solo OST. In the Adventures of Han the trumpets sound fantastic. 

 

I have to admit that Galaxy's Edge sounds a little bit cooler/bolder or something than sequel scores but that does't make any difference cause the music itself is so much better in sequel movies. 

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9 hours ago, theBT said:

 

Sorry I just cannot listen to Solo OST. In the Adventures of Han the trumpets sound fantastic. 

 

I have to admit that Galaxy's Edge sounds a little bit cooler/bolder or something than sequel scores but that does't make any difference cause the music itself is so much better in sequel movies. 

 

Hard to be certain, but I'm guessing that "cooler/bolder" feeling is the same difference I feel between Williams' recent recordings in London vs. LA. As you point out, this difference is mostly separate from the writing itself. I happen to like the Galaxy's Edge suite as much as I like the sequel scores, but it's interesting to me that we do both hear the improvement in the sound itself.

 

I'll reiterate that I don't think it's a question of the performance itself*. And it's certainly not just an intangible difference that magically permeates the LA air; Williams does have his fair share of LA recordings that don't exhibit this much of  difference in sound. Jurassic Park comes to mind. To me, that sounds every bit as excellent as an LSO recording.

 

* The exception being some of Maurice Murphy's earlier trumpet performances, such as Star Wars or especially Raiders. In those, he had an enthusiasm that bordered on messiness. I wouldn't necessarily call that better or worse - just an entertaining and interesting difference. His later recordings are still superb, just a little more "controlled."

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43 minutes ago, Falstaft said:

 

100% agree. There's something about the horn playing and recording in AOTC in particular that is just unmatchable. 

 

See, that's interesting to me too. While I think the horns in AOTC are still fantastic, they probably sound the worst to me out of the three PT scores, at least in big unisono passages. There's something rather different about the timbre that I can't quite put my finger on, let alone describe.

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2 hours ago, Datameister said:

 

See, that's interesting to me too. While I think the horns in AOTC are still fantastic, they probably sound the worst to me out of the three PT scores, at least in big unisono passages. There's something rather different about the timbre that I can't quite put my finger on, let alone describe.

 

Hah! I guess it's just a matter of taste. I think it's a really striking & luscious sound. Kind of just encloses you in, it if that makes sense. Not sure what it is about the timbre either, but there is something different about it, even relative to the way horns sound in the other PT recordings.

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5 minutes ago, Falstaft said:

 

Hah! I guess it's just a matter of taste. I think it's a really striking & luscious sound. Kind of just encloses you in, it if that makes sense. Not sure what it is about the timbre either, but there is something different about it, even relative to the way horns sound in the other PT recordings.

 

I definitely think we're talking about the same difference - whether it's an improvement is just a matter of taste, as you say. There are some days when I do like that aspect, and zero days when it bothers me in any deep way.

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I love them all, and being able to follow JW on his work through this forum has been a real joy for me.

 

Also I’m sure many would look differently at them if they were recorded in London, but alas. When I listen through the acoustics of the room I still hear the richness in orchestration that JW is known for.

 

The album presentations are not always ideal as well, but with the FYC and isolated score of TLJ it’s possible to assemble all kinds of exciting listening experiences.

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I think the three trilogies are all quite different but exist within their own sound world.  When PT came out, I thought it lacked so much of the raw edginess of the OT and felt so soft for a Star Wars score.  Sort of the difference of all the practical sets and effects and models used in the OT had a lived in feel and the PT had a CGI feel and apply that to the score...to polished, not raw enough.  Now I think they are just two very different beasts and both excellent.  I would think something similar is the case with Sequel Trilogy that it has the same DNA and fingerprint but feels like well, a different era which it is.  Also one can say the OT was the Herb Spencer/Eric Tomlinson era.  PT was the Pope/Murphy era.  ST was the Mark Graham/multiple mixers era and each team brought their part to the project.  Those who grew up with OT regard that as the authentic SW sound and the others as slight aberrations but each with their own distinct sound.  I do hear era difference but I would describe it a stylistic changing of the guards from the various recording and mixing teams.

 

 

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Something about the Sequel Trilogy scores always came off as rigid and stilted to me, meaning that I vastly prefer the Original trilogy and Prequel trilogy scores. That being said, the new themes he wrote are fantastic, with March of the Resistance in particular being a magnificent spiritual successor to The Imperial March. Very inspired choice to give the Rebellion a march this time around, it's a fun turning of the tables that sadly the narrative did absolutely nothing with.

That rigidity could come from the very dry recordings, and I do have to give props to the mixing of TROS which is by far the best out of the ST and the closest to that Star Wars sound. However, I think compositionally there is definitely more of a 'starkness' and less of a flow, like how other people have pointed out, I also despise that disconnected trumpet blaring that accompanies some of the Sequel trilogy tracks. To add onto that, another thing I'm not fond of is some of the brass triplets that similarly have that disconnected feel, they sound so forced to how I'm used to experiencing them in the past scores, almost like it's going through the motions of being a Star Wars score - like they're an obligatory part of the sound rather than a natural and exciting expression.

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36 minutes ago, DarthDementous said:

Something about the Sequel Trilogy scores always came off as rigid and stilted to me, meaning that I vastly prefer the Original trilogy and Prequel trilogy scores. That being said, the new themes he wrote are fantastic, with March of the Resistance in particular being a magnificent spiritual successor to The Imperial March. Very inspired choice to give the Rebellion a march this time around, it's a fun turning of the tables that sadly the narrative did absolutely nothing with.

That rigidity could come from the very dry recordings, and I do have to give props to the mixing of TROS which is by far the best out of the ST and the closest to that Star Wars sound. However, I think compositionally there is definitely more of a 'starkness' and less of a flow, like how other people have pointed out, I also despise that disconnected trumpet blaring that accompanies some of the Sequel trilogy tracks. To add onto that, another thing I'm not fond of is some of the brass triplets that similarly have that disconnected feel, they sound so forced to how I'm used to experiencing them in the past scores, almost like it's going through the motions of being a Star Wars score - like they're an obligatory part of the sound rather than a natural and exciting expression.

I think what you are responding to is the lack of Lucas involvement and the Disney era of film making by youngerish directors reacting to executives and screenings.  The films are no longer "locked".  There is no long term story telling.  The story changes dramatically based on reshoots and reedits.  JW is now scoring scenes not a film.  He hates that approach as it doesn't allow setting up a scene because a scene you scored to allude to the next cue no longer exists based on screening feedback/executive meddling.  Welcome to Disney.  I can imagine how frustrating this would be to him. 

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