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 Posted:   Jun 12, 2021 - 8:03 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

I can't wait to get ten to fifteen years out, when it's no longer hip to shit on the sequels, and see how people really feel. That certainly seems to be what happened with the prequel trilogy.

It will always be hip to shit on the sequels and prequels.
And fans wanting George back in charge?
In Cinema Sin's voice, "Hahahahaha!!!!"

 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2021 - 8:07 AM   
 By:   EdG   (Member)

I agree with this 100 percent. It's follow the leader hating. I actually prefer the prequel trilogy film scores over the rest of the series. Just my personal tastes of course but I thought the darkness of a collapsing Republic, the tragedy, and the heartbreak were so beautifully showcased by John Williams. His music also enhanced the new and exciting worlds the prequel trilogy was allowed to explore due to major updates in movie making technology.

Good points.

"Anakin's Dream" is a highlight - as wistful and lovely as the series ever got. "The Immolation Scene" is another standout cue for the whole saga.

 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2021 - 9:02 AM   
 By:   Tom Servo   (Member)

I feel like this topic of one of those perennial recycled topics and so I've probably added my thoughts many times over. To start, I'm an OG Star Wars fan. I was a kid when I saw the original in the theaters in 1977, so it's fair to say that both the movies and its music shaped me profoundly. Let me now I also add that I am one of those OG Star Wars fans who not only loves the original trilogy but also the prequels, the Clone Wars TV series, the books and comic books and most recently, most of the sequel trilogy (still trying to figure out my feelings on ROS). So yes, I unashamedly connect with most of Star Wars and before you make assumptions about me as a person, I'm a fully independent adult with a successful career, been married, been a homeowner and have never, ever lived in a basement.

When it comes to the music, what's been interesting is how infrequently I've listened to the OT scores over the past 10-15 years. They're still amazing scores, I still love them, but I return more often to the PT scores in recent years, and now listen often to the ST as well. It might just be that I'm so familiar with the OT scores that I gravitate towards what's new. And I don't like comparing OT to PT to ST compositionally because Williams wrote them at different stages of his life and career, during which he developed and changed as an artist and I allow for and expect this. So, while I can't choose a favorite trilogy of scores, I can at least what I've listened to more often in the last decade or more.

And boy, how many incarnations of these scores have I purchased throughout the years! From LP to cassette to CD to digital, to more CDs, to re-recordings... SW albums can be their own shelf in my CD case!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2021 - 9:28 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

I've seen only the first of these films and never heard its soundtrack top to bottom. I don't think I've heard any of the other scores.

 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2021 - 4:13 PM   
 By:   darthbrett   (Member)

I've seen only the first of these films and never heard its soundtrack top to bottom. I don't think I've heard any of the other scores.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2021 - 9:17 PM   
 By:   Jurassic T. Park   (Member)

I've seen only the first of these films and never heard its soundtrack top to bottom. I don't think I've heard any of the other scores.

Onya, I highly recommend you check out the films, at least the original three, and see what you think.

It may not be 1970s moody electric piano jazz, but it’s equally creative, energetic and emotionally powerful.

 
 Posted:   Jun 13, 2021 - 8:34 PM   
 By:   Trent B   (Member)

Here is my order for both films and scores.

Original Trilogy
Movie: The Empire Strikes Back
Score: The Empire Strikes Back

Prequel Trilogy
Movie: Revenge Of The Sith
Score: Attack Of The Clones
-I chose AOTC because I've learned to appreciate it a lot more as most of the score leaked in the games. There is definitely material missing but like I said a lot of the various games used music from the sessions for TPM and ROTS. For some reason AOTC uses the film stems for the unreleased material.

Sequel Trilogy:
Movie: The Last Jedi
Score: The Last Jedi
-I don't really care for the sequel movies all that much.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 14, 2021 - 3:35 PM   
 By:   stravinsky   (Member)

I often wonder how the PT and ST scores would have sounded had Herbert Spencer still been around to orchestrate them. Totally different I would imagine. The OT scores have almost a more dry feeling instrumentally than the thicker heavier more glossy orchestrations of both the PT and ST scores. I'm still not even sure who the principle orchestrators actually were for the P or S trilogies.
Obviously the OT scores are my favourites. But I'm ashamed to admit that after so many years I still don't know the PT/ST scores inside out. Phantom Menace was the strongest of the PT scores but on listening to the ROTS score it is certainly completely operatic. Vast orchestral frescoes. I remember attending the Cast & Crew preview of AOTC at the Odeon Leicester Sq with my good friend Richard and we were kind of horrified to hear snippets of the score for Phantom Menace spotted throughout. We came out of the cinema and I remember saying "That just didn't FEEL like a Star Wars movie".
The other problem I have with the PT trilogy scores is that I've never really been crazy about the big set piece themes. Neither Duel of the Fates, Anakins Theme, Across the Stars or Battle of the Heroes do it for me. Sacrilege maybe but they all just seemed too obvious to me. I much more enjoyed lesser themes like the Droid March or the music for Qui Gin Jinn. It was also a thrill to hear both Powell and Giacchino re use the original Empire motif from ANH.
Much of the underscore for AOTC is unmemorable despite having listened to this music countless times. I just don't think Williams was inspired by the orgy of early CGI which sometimes looked dodgy. The whole thing feels and sounds... plastic. The only thing that saved that score was the original music used to underscore the grand army of the Republic towards the end of the movie. This magnificent canvas was replaced with the Imperial March which again felt kind of obvious.
I was really thrilled with Williams' new harmonic pallette for the first two Sequel movies. Again subsidiaries like the Ahch To music and the rebel desperation theme were my favourites. Fantastic themes! I thought it was a real return to form. However I found his score for Rise of Skywalker a real disappointment. The spark just wasn't there and not a single theme impressed me. Again the execrable material Williams had to view may have had something to do with this.
My dream would be for a release of every single cue from every single movie separated. Even down to tiny gorgeous moments like the 2nd Moisture Farm cue (when C-3PO bickers with Artoo as they head downstairs into Lukes workshop). Also for instance I never actually realised (!) that "Imperial Attack" from the 1977 score is actually comprised of two conjoined cues. The 1977 score is really the finest of the lot in my book...there's just a little TOO MUCH repetition of the Imperial March in Empire as much as I love it. It was this kind of obessive repetitive use of the Force Theme in the PT scores which weakened them in my book.
For me the music would seem anew if everything was separated with clean openings and endings but I guess that'll never happen. If they left the PT and ST trilogies out of such a fantasy release I could live with it. Williams material for the OT movies is just spellbindingly superior to anything else he wrote for the rest of the six films which really all just differ in varying levels of stupidity and wretchedness.

 
 Posted:   Jun 14, 2021 - 8:35 PM   
 By:   townerbarry   (Member)

I often wonder how the PT and ST scores would have sounded had Herbert Spencer still been around to orchestrate them. Totally different I would imagine. The OT scores have almost a more dry feeling instrumentally than the thicker heavier more glossy orchestrations of both the PT and ST scores. I'm still not even sure who the principle orchestrators actually were for the P or S trilogies.
Obviously the OT scores are my favourites. But I'm ashamed to admit that after so many years I still don't know the PT/ST scores inside out. Phantom Menace was the strongest of the PT scores but on listening to the ROTS score it is certainly completely operatic. Vast orchestral frescoes. I remember attending the Cast & Crew preview of AOTC at the Odeon Leicester Sq with my good friend Richard and we were kind of horrified to hear snippets of the score for Phantom Menace spotted throughout. We came out of the cinema and I remember saying "That just didn't FEEL like a Star Wars movie".
The other problem I have with the PT trilogy scores is that I've never really been crazy about the big set piece themes. Neither Duel of the Fates, Anakins Theme, Across the Stars or Battle of the Heroes do it for me. Sacrilege maybe but they all just seemed too obvious to me. I much more enjoyed lesser themes like the Droid March or the music for Qui Gin Jinn. It was also a thrill to hear both Powell and Giacchino re use the original Empire motif from ANH.
Much of the underscore for AOTC is unmemorable despite having listened to this music countless times. I just don't think Williams was inspired by the orgy of early CGI which sometimes looked dodgy. The whole thing feels and sounds... plastic. The only thing that saved that score was the original music used to underscore the grand army of the Republic towards the end of the movie. This magnificent canvas was replaced with the Imperial March which again felt kind of obvious.
I was really thrilled with Williams' new harmonic pallette for the first two Sequel movies. Again subsidiaries like the Ahch To music and the rebel desperation theme were my favourites. Fantastic themes! I thought it was a real return to form. However I found his score for Rise of Skywalker a real disappointment. The spark just wasn't there and not a single theme impressed me. Again the execrable material Williams had to view may have had something to do with this.
My dream would be for a release of every single cue from every single movie separated. Even down to tiny gorgeous moments like the 2nd Moisture Farm cue (when C-3PO bickers with Artoo as they head downstairs into Lukes workshop). Also for instance I never actually realised (!) that "Imperial Attack" from the 1977 score is actually comprised of two conjoined cues. The 1977 score is really the finest of the lot in my book...there's just a little TOO MUCH repetition of the Imperial March in Empire as much as I love it. It was this kind of obessive repetitive use of the Force Theme in the PT scores which weakened them in my book.
For me the music would seem anew if everything was separated with clean openings and endings but I guess that'll never happen. If they left the PT and ST trilogies out of such a fantasy release I could live with it. Williams material for the OT movies is just spellbindingly superior to anything else he wrote for the rest of the six films which really all just differ in varying levels of stupidity and wretchedness.


The Phantom Menace Original Score By John Williams was 100% Clucked Up by George Lucas’s Endless Hack Editing of PM..and Leaving John Williams and LSO to repair was Lucas Destroyed with him and his 30 Yes Guys he was surrounded by…in fact Lucas as still Editing PM two weeks before it’s release!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 14, 2021 - 10:13 PM   
 By:   Jurassic T. Park   (Member)

I often wonder how the PT and ST scores would have sounded had Herbert Spencer still been around to orchestrate them. Totally different I would imagine. The OT scores have almost a more dry feeling instrumentally than the thicker heavier more glossy orchestrations of both the PT and ST scores. I'm still not even sure who the principle orchestrators actually were for the P or S trilogies.

That’s an interesting observation.

I haven’t really studied the change much but I think the original Star Wars films had a lot simpler colors in the orchestra. Each film is different (Empire is unusually string-focused and atonal, more than the others) but overall they present pretty clean and uncluttered orchestrations (perhaps what you mean by “dry”).

In contrast, the prequel music has a lot more layers and complexity throughout the action music which I think tends to clutter it. It started a little bit in Last Crusade with this combo synth/chime/woodwind effect which developed further in Jurassic Park and came to dominate all the action in Phantom Menace. It seems like Jurassic Park really expanded that heavy overwhelm of woodwind runs and arpeggios throughout the action music, coupled with xylophone and the aforementioned synth/chime/woodwind combo. Often these were used for accents which just kind of fill the space.

As a consequence I tended to find the action music of the prequels to be slightly anonymous at times when it was “generic” action. Other times when the sequence was more specific (like the Zam Speeder Chase in AOTC) the concept was much more clear musically and there wasn’t a wasted note of filler.

Pretty much most of the atonality of the woodwinds and horns and strings is gone from the prequels which is also a shift.

And I never quite settled on the use of choir - Williams always used it sparsely in the original music but in the prequels it really took center stage. As much as I liked Duel of the Fates, I actually find the parts where the choir is NOT singing to be way more compelling, and I think it introduced this element of epicness that became a bit overbearing at times. Revenge of the Sith’s “Battle of the Heroes” I felt was also not helped by the choir. When it’s so overbearing, it tends to strip away the intimacy of the drama. In contrast, Return of the Jedi’s use of choir during the sequence where Luke cuts off Vader’s hand is a better balance with the orchestra driving the piece and the choir there to support. That tended to work better.

Theme development is also an important aspect you raise. The thematic development in the originals felt a bit more story-based and consequently paced out with the evolution of the story. In the prequels the themes tend to be dropped in just kind of to make an emotional statement rather than expression of story development. And some new themes don’t really get a proper development. Like how cool would it have been if the droid invasion theme had been hinted at more gradually throughout the opening droid hallway fight in The Phantom Menace rather than such a heavy-handed medley of Star Wars theme + Force theme?

To your point (and what I described), I think the prequels just became a lot BUSIER and the action music became a bit more anonymous because the action in the films was anonymous and non-specific (AOTC arena lightsaber fight is a great example of a total mess of an action sequence that was clearly so poorly organized in editing they needed to track in music from The Phantom Menace).

That’s just my analysis of the differences though as the sound evolved from the originals to the prequels. I really do love pretty much all the music from the prequels.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 14, 2021 - 10:32 PM   
 By:   moolik   (Member)

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
A NEW HOPE
RETURN OF THE JEDI

PHANTOM MENACE
ATTACK OF THE CLONES
REVENGE OF THE SITH

REST

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2021 - 3:45 AM   
 By:   stravinsky   (Member)

I often wonder how the PT and ST scores would have sounded had Herbert Spencer still been around to orchestrate them. Totally different I would imagine. The OT scores have almost a more dry feeling instrumentally than the thicker heavier more glossy orchestrations of both the PT and ST scores. I'm still not even sure who the principle orchestrators actually were for the P or S trilogies.

That’s an interesting observation.

I haven’t really studied the change much but I think the original Star Wars films had a lot simpler colors in the orchestra. Each film is different (Empire is unusually string-focused and atonal, more than the others) but overall they present pretty clean and uncluttered orchestrations (perhaps what you mean by “dry”).

In contrast, the prequel music has a lot more layers and complexity throughout the action music which I think tends to clutter it. It started a little bit in Last Crusade with this combo synth/chime/woodwind effect which developed further in Jurassic Park and came to dominate all the action in Phantom Menace. It seems like Jurassic Park really expanded that heavy overwhelm of woodwind runs and arpeggios throughout the action music, coupled with xylophone and the aforementioned synth/chime/woodwind combo. Often these were used for accents which just kind of fill the space.

As a consequence I tended to find the action music of the prequels to be slightly anonymous at times when it was “generic” action. Other times when the sequence was more specific (like the Zam Speeder Chase in AOTC) the concept was much more clear musically and there wasn’t a wasted note of filler.

Pretty much most of the atonality of the woodwinds and horns and strings is gone from the prequels which is also a shift.

And I never quite settled on the use of choir - Williams always used it sparsely in the original music but in the prequels it really took center stage. As much as I liked Duel of the Fates, I actually find the parts where the choir is NOT singing to be way more compelling, and I think it introduced this element of epicness that became a bit overbearing at times. Revenge of the Sith’s “Battle of the Heroes” I felt was also not helped by the choir. When it’s so overbearing, it tends to strip away the intimacy of the drama. In contrast, Return of the Jedi’s use of choir during the sequence where Luke cuts off Vader’s hand is a better balance with the orchestra driving the piece and the choir there to support. That tended to work better.

Theme development is also an important aspect you raise. The thematic development in the originals felt a bit more story-based and consequently paced out with the evolution of the story. In the prequels the themes tend to be dropped in just kind of to make an emotional statement rather than expression of story development. And some new themes don’t really get a proper development. Like how cool would it have been if the droid invasion theme had been hinted at more gradually throughout the opening droid hallway fight in The Phantom Menace rather than such a heavy-handed medley of Star Wars theme + Force theme?

To your point (and what I described), I think the prequels just became a lot BUSIER and the action music became a bit more anonymous because the action in the films was anonymous and non-specific (AOTC arena lightsaber fight is a great example of a total mess of an action sequence that was clearly so poorly organized in editing they needed to track in music from The Phantom Menace).

That’s just my analysis of the differences though as the sound evolved from the originals to the prequels. I really do love pretty much all the music from the prequels.


Yes you've hot the nail on the head esp with the simpler colours thing. I guess Williams style just changed over the course of the nine movies which at the end of the day are all made for children. Or that was the original premise anyway. I shall continue to explore the PT and ST scores further as the years roll on and hope to aprreciate them better.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2021 - 6:05 PM   
 By:   Jurassic T. Park   (Member)

Yes you've hot the nail on the head esp with the simpler colours thing. I guess Williams style just changed over the course of the nine movies which at the end of the day are all made for children. Or that was the original premise anyway. I shall continue to explore the PT and ST scores further as the years roll on and hope to aprreciate them better.

I think the question you posed is really fascinating and it’s something I had noticed but never really thought about “why” until I responded.

One thing that would be helpful is to compare sheet music of an action cue from Jurassic Park or Phantom Menace with a comparable cue from the Original films. That would be pretty insightful in determining what kind of underscore/orchestration changes occurred.

I’m also unclear on the role of orchestrator with John Williams music. I know his sketches are almost complete and he’ll just save a few lines by combining woodwinds and strings onto a few staves and let the orchestrator properly split it out and divide amongst the correct spread of the corresponding instrument group.

But I remember Angela Morley describing how she orchestrated the part of the Death Star Trench Run where you hear the force theme played in a beautiful major key as Luke hears Ben’s voice “Use The Force Luke!” That cue has a very specific orchestration that gives it a nice lift with the glissandi harp, soaring strings, and pulsing woodwinds - it’s certainly something where the orchestration played a key role in defining that moment but I wonder how much of stuff like that was planned out by Williams. Based on everything I hear it seems like it was.

So anyway, I’m not sure how much the orchestrator changed the music or just simply Williams’ composing style changed.

Herbert Spencer was the primary orchestrator working on the original Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Home Alone. Jurassic Park + Star Wars prequels was primarily a mix of John Neufeld and more predominantly Conrad Pope, neither of whom returned for the sequels if I’m not mistaken.

I’m also not sure if the working relationship was as side-by-side for the prequels as it was with Herb Spencer.

One other variable is the engineering / mixing. I have no idea how involved Williams is in this aspect, but Eric Tomlinson engineered for original Star Wars and original Indiana Jones and then Shawn Murphy picked up for the prequels.

Compositionally though, I think the action music changed the most and original Star Wars defined a certain style of action. Then Indiana Jones kind of needed a slightly different approach, which also evolved over time. Other than those films though, there wasn’t a lot of action material for Williams - so by the time Jurassic Park came out, he might have needed to try something a bit different with his action material where he came up with a lot of the woodwind flourishes as filler that we hear a lot of today in his action writing. I feel like Jurassic Park was probably the turning point.

 
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