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What are your thoughts on John Williams' new theme for Obi-Wan?


Sam Bova
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53 minutes ago, King Mark said:

Williams original version has a lot more impact. Same can be said of the Solo theme

I actually prefer the end credits version.  It's much punchier and has a wetter recording 

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2 hours ago, publicist said:


Forget it Jake, it’s Fanboytown.

Oh yeah, that's the typical killer argument. You don't like it so everybody who likes it can only be a "fanboy" Why are you always so grumpy? Let people enjoy the music. And by the way, this ist actually called "Williams Fan Network" ;)

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I like the melody, it does the job. But the arrangement is a huge letdown. Normally, JW has some interesting stuff going on.

 

Where are the (solo) woodwind(s) (runs)? Where is the percussion section (Marimba/Vibraphone/Xylophone)? Where is some prominent, interesting counterpoint? Why no StarWars-y trumpet flourishes? Not even prominent timpani like in Rise of Skywalker. I'm missing a lot of texture and variation in melody and orchestration/instrumentation. All there is is harmony accompaniment in the first section, then this ostinato with the same melody in trumpets. At 1:45 it starts to get a little interesting, only to die off around 2:10 again. What follows is as depressing as 'Anakin's Betrayal'. 

 

Looks to me that JW simply had no time to flesh it out into a concert piece, which is totally fine with me, giving his schedule this year. I was excited as everyone else seeing him perfom it live at SW Celebration.

 

But this piece just does not work for me as stand-alone piece, as it is, and I'd be surprised if this was ever been performed live again by JW. I prefer Galaxy's Edge and Adventures of Han over this. Both are much more interesting and exciting to listen to. Again, it works as nice add-on theme to the SW catalogue but that's it. Which leads me to the score of the first two episodes:

 

Having watched the first two episodes, I was a little astounded why the theme appears so often with the same orchestration. Like all that was done seemed to be copy-pasting it every time Obi-Wan is on screen. Why did Holt not do anything interesting with this theme? Time issues? They could've done more.

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I agree the arrangement is structurally boring. It reminds me of Anthem of Evil and other secondary JW themes that kinda of just run their main idea through a few motions and that's it. 

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14 hours ago, publicist said:

Why Williams bothers with this is beyond me. It’s a rather undistinguished piece of work and this time he can’t even make it work in a larger context because he’s obviously not scoring the series. Just let it go, man!

 

My same thoughts. I wish he was employing his time doing something more interesting. Writing a single piece for a movie or a series does not give him the possibility to immerse himself in the story and develop well-crafted theme(s) of some musical relevance. I felt similarly about the Solo theme (Powell could have written the whole score by himself, he surely did not need a "guiding hand" for the main theme).  

 

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8 minutes ago, Remco said:

JW at 90 years old decides to use 2 weeks of his time to write a Star Wars theme and people at JWfan wish he’d spent his time differently.

 

Based on the result, yes. I would not say so if he had provided a new theme at the same level of musical importance as the themes that he wrote for the film scores. 

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9 minutes ago, Remco said:

 

I think JW should do whatever he wants and the idea of fans deciding on how he should spent his time quite preposterous.

 

In fact, I did not decide anything. Since this thread is about our opinion on the Obi-Wan theme, my opinion is that it is rather unimportant (as a piece of music) and, since I thought the same of the Solo theme, I'd rather see him composing something else than single themes for Star Wars spin-offs, because I believe these don't give him the possibility to shine. If you think the Obi-Wan theme is as good as, say, Princess Leia's theme, enjoy! 

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7 minutes ago, Score said:

 

In fact, I did not decide anything. Since this thread is about our opinion on the Obi-Wan theme, my opinion is that it is rather unimportant (as a piece of music) and, since I thought the same of the Solo theme, I'd rather see him composing something else than single themes for Star Wars spin-offs, because I believe these don't give him the possibility to shine. If you think the Obi-Wan theme is as good as, say, Princess Leia's theme, enjoy! 


Your opinion is all fine, it’s the part about JW’s time that I do not understand. Especially considering he’s got 2 new scores coming up, there’s the recent Yo-Yo Ma and upcoming Mutter album, his plans of writing a piano concerto… it’s not like this had any impact on his other activities. We got this theme, the other option would have been a theme by Holt. I’m just surprised to read on a JW forum that people would rather have that option.

 

(Btw, no I do not think it’s as good as Leia’s theme, but I do enjoy it a lot and I don’t think it’s as one-dimensional as some claim here.)

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well perhaps some people will appreciate this music and some of his other so called lesser works when he's dead. Until then I'm personally going to enjoy and appreciate his music.  There is nothing that I hate  or cant listen too .

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18 minutes ago, Remco said:


Your opinion is all fine, it’s the part about JW’s time that I do not understand. Especially considering he’s got 2 new scores coming up, there’s the recent Yo-Yo Ma and upcoming Mutter album, his plans of writing a piano concerto… it’s not like this had any impact on his other activities. We got this theme, the other option would have been a theme by Holt. I’m just surprised to read on a JW forum that people would rather have that option.

 

(Btw, no I do not think it’s as good as Leia’s theme, but I do enjoy it a lot and I don’t think it’s as one-dimensional as some claim here.)

 

Ok, I just meant that, since I don't like very much the result for the Obi-Wan theme, I would have preferred him to work on something else in that time, nothing more. I know, of course, that we are going to get two scores and I cross my fingers for the piano concerto, and it's true that this 2-week assignment likely did not distract him too much from the rest. But - having seen the results - I don't like this operation of letting JW sign the main theme of a SW spinoff and then let another composer write the rest of the score, as if anyone else were unable of writing a main theme for a SW show. I don't know anything about Holt, so I cannot say for sure in her case, but in the case of Solo, I am sure that Powell could have written a comparable or, possibly, a better theme. The musical writing in both themes (Solo and Obi-Wan) is not out of reach of any other competent film composer. My opinion is based purely on musical aspects of the two compositions (melody, harmony, and so on). The originality and mastery displayed in the themes of the 9 main movies, especially those for the original trilogy and the prequels, is of a totally different level.

 

However, I see that many people genuinely enjoy this piece, and I'm happy for them. I have no reason nor desire to attempt to change that. 

 

  

 

 

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1 hour ago, Darth Mulder said:

I'll send to JW a letter. It's my duty as a former fanboy. It's time to end, old man!

 

Tell me Darth... Who's your Master... who's your Daddy?

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2 hours ago, Darth Mulder said:

I'll send to JW a letter. It's my duty as a former fanboy. It's time to end, old man!

Because you think, that he just does what he does for you only. So, as you don't like it anymore, He can stop.

 

You are weird.

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2 hours ago, Score said:

Since this thread is about our opinion on the Obi-Wan theme, my opinion is that it is rather unimportant (as a piece of music) and, since I thought the same of the Solo theme

 

He should collect these pieces in an Unimportant Suite.

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9 hours ago, Steve said:

Oh yeah, that's the typical killer argument. You don't like it so everybody who likes it can only be a "fanboy" Why are you always so grumpy? Let people enjoy the music. And by the way, this ist actually called "Williams Fan Network" ;)

 

Last time i checked i didn't give a fuck who likes it but stated my opinion and got the expected #angry #hurt reactions by those who accept every opinion, provided that it coincides with their own. So please let's get that straight first.

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20 hours ago, publicist said:

Why Williams bothers with this is beyond me. It’s a rather undistinguished piece of work and this time he can’t even make it work in a larger context because he’s obviously not scoring the series. Just let it go, man!

 

He should stop practicing the guitar and focus more on composing.

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1 hour ago, King Mark said:

You all realise he's freaking 90 right. We're all happy he's working on Indy 5 right now , but we could also visit this site tomorrow and find out he passed away.

 

See, that's the point. I don't care for Indy V, which will be more of the same for another dead franchise, but remain happy he's done with the Spielberg movie which looks more personal and hope he does more of these concerts in Europe (which seem to be a fountain of youth and joy for him) and maybe a few other things that hopefully are not franchise-related. 

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after a few listens, it's alright.  i mean it's never bad with JW.

 

will it be something I revisit a lot? nope.  but i will toss it on any and all Star Wars playlists that may require it. i like doing that stuff.

 

also, i don't care for anything Star Wars outside of 1-6 these days, and don't watch any of these new shows, so maybe that also influences my opinion.

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Shark said, it's derived from the Force Theme. I said, to me it sounds like derived from the Battle of Heroes. Probably we are both right. It starts off from a melancholy melody that sounds like the ruins of the Battle of Heroes and then sounds like it moves up and tries to leap into the Force Theme and then falls back again. Not sure if that is a valid interpretation. But it makes sense to me and at least I can hear it that way.

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Isn't BOTH a tragic battle between Force and Vader themes anyway?

 

Karol

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This far down in Williams' compositional history with Star Wars, its inevitable (and very much desireable) that we should hear a lot of previous themes resonate in anything new that Williams writes.

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It's a perfect piece.

 

I would have loved to have heard this performed by the Vienna Philharmonic.

 

It's also a bit sad and sounds like a farewell theme.

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2 hours ago, crocodile said:

When I first tried to hum it I ended up with The Lost World theme. 🤣

 

Karol

 

Me too!!

On 28/05/2022 at 1:24 PM, Andy said:

I love it.  It’s probably just me, but after humming it for a while, it somehow morphs into the theme for The Lost World in my brain. 

 

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I have to say, I actually got this theme stuck in my head a lot quicker than the Solo theme. The Galaxy's Edge theme I actually always have a hard time remembering at all. I'd say out of the three, that one is the weakest, at least for me.

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34 minutes ago, Docteur Qui said:

 

 

Agreed, and it's a perspective that also disregards the fact that JW is the best at what he does because he's able to write staggeringly high quality music in a short amount of time. You don't get into film scoring if you're a slow writer, or you'd never get a gig. He famously completed Empire Strikes Back in less than two months if memory serves (others here will be able to correct that); and that was over 100 minutes of directly scored music (i.e. synced to the action of the film), as opposed to a four-minute theme and variation like we get here. Williams could write these kinds of suites in a day if he had to, but knowing that it was two weeks means that he probably gave it more thought than the majority of our favourite movie themes.

 

I think this speaks to a broader issue of the perception of value of a skill relative to time. The more I study Williams and his scores the more I realise that so much of my favourite music of his is a happy accident, more a result of his creative problem-solving than some kind of tortured and inspired writing process. Take Prisoner of Azkaban for examplewhich is a revelation to me. If you listen to the score now you'd be forgiven for thinking that his "Window to the Past" theme was one of the first ideas he came up with. But following the trail of breadcrumbs it's more likely that it was a last-minute addition that was retroactively applied to the rest of the score; the vast majority of scenes it appears in had very different music initially, including the infamous "Remembering Mother" cue. It's likely he had already recorded a lot of the music before writing that theme and incorporating it into the fabric of the score.

 

A similar thing can be inferred from The Force Awakens; there's compelling evidence implying he wrote "Rey's Theme" (as we know it) well into the scoring process. 

 

This knowledge does nothing to devalue the music as it ultimately appears, and if anything just makes me admire him even more.

Wasn't the Schindler's List theme even written that way? (only for the last scene)

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I wasn't aware of that, but I don't know much about that score. I wouldn't be surprised if a good number of his best themes were written late in the process, I only mentioned the ones I have evidence for to back up my claim.

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Another thought, which probably I take for granted at Williams music but which is not self-evident at all. As often he wrote a theme that is completely recognizable apart from the harmonic accompaniment. I don't really know any other living film composer who still does that. That is unfortunately a musical quality that is getting lost (or is lost already). If only for that I am happy to have another piece of film music with that quality.

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4 hours ago, King Mark said:

It has a sweeping melodic string passage starting at .40, then a cool secondary motif in the middle , then a beautiful horn section at 2.50 and then a kick ass epic full brass finale.

What more do you want in 4 minutes

 

On the face of it, yes, true. But it depends on whether the theme resonates to you individually.

 

I largely agree on the analyses of the structure and how it relates to Obi-Wan's journey, but the theme.... it's okay. I can hum the first bit, and  like how it relates to the 'main' theme, but it's somehow not quite clicking for me as a classic JW long-lined melody, at least not yet. (bear in mind, I haven't seen the show, so I'm lacking any context). The bit from 1:20 is a bit more interesting to me, but it feels oddly somewhere between a hero/villain theme.

 

I'll like it more as I listen more, but I just think it doesn't quite have that instant 'click' quality in some regards.

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