February 2nd, 2006

Kambei (The Seven Samurai)

And Boston Market has given me that reason...

Yoinked from suitboyskin (of course)

Maybe you could...
You scored 14% Cold and 58% Level-Headed!
In a pinch, you could do it, but you'd need a damn good reason to. And you're not going to be too happy afterward.



My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 2% on Cold
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You scored higher than 40% on Level-Headed
Link: The Can You Kill a Man? Test written by notmarkflynn on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test
  • Current Music
    Composed and Conducted by John Williams
  • Tags
Williams (film composer)

The Holy Trilogy Revisited

THE CURRENT VERSION OF THIS ALBUM CAN BE FOUND HERE.


Jedi Maestro


John Willliams' music for the Star Wars trilogy contains some of the most popular and recognizable film music in history. Much of this is because of the monumental social impact that the film series had, becoming the reigning mythology for an entire generation (and swelling both George Lucas' bank account and ego to Death Star like proportions). The thematic material is well known not just to film music fans, but to the casual man on the street. Luke's theme, the Force theme and the Imperial March are cultural icons unto themselves now,

A few months ago, I took stock of all of the mixes I had made until then. In it, I mentioned that my original Star Wars mix was one of my personal favorites. In terms of what I set out to do and what I accomplished, there are few discs I can point to with this level of satisfaction. I am inclined to like a mix I myself have made because I make them to my taste, of course, but in this case, I think that my intent to approach the trilogy from a mythic point of view also taps into what made these films the social phenomenon that they became.

Furthermore, I have to admit that in many ways, Star Wars represents a starting point in terms of my own film music experience. It was watching these films over and over again growing up (aided by the then-new home video technology) where my interest in both filmmaking and film music began. I will make no bones about it; much of the reason I put this disc together was originally was because it represented not only my own take on the nostalgia I felt thinking back to then, when I was young and felt that epic sweep.

From the outset, I had determined that I would not use any concert arrangements because I wanted to explore the music as it appeared in the scores. I also felt that while many of the concert arrangements were very good that they do not make for a very satisfying album listen. With the exception of Charles Gerhardt's recordings, most of trilogy collections consist only of the concert arrangements and maybe some selected cues. I've followed these scores through several iterations, from their original LPs to the compromised CDs to the glorious Arista box set to the overdone RCA/Sony releases. Varujan Kojian's recording is okay (certainly better than Williams' own rather boring Skywalker Symphony), but ultimately the concert arrangements don't represent Star Wars. As with the previous version of this disc, all selections from Star Wars are taken from the RCA release, but that was the only case where the sound quality of the special edition album was better than that on the Arista set, from which all selections from Empire and Jedi are taken, save for "Revelation and Sullust" which premiered on the RCA set.


Williams conducts the London Symphony Orchestra
in the original 1977 Star Wars recording sessions

"I based this album on two overarching concepts, and I think that is part of what makes it work; the first was the film's representation of good versus evil, in this case - er - 'melodified' by the Force theme in conflict with the Imperial March, while the second is the music's representation of the mythic elements that made the films so successful. I wasn't as familiar with the software I use when I made this disc as I am now, and there are moments that I could concievably make smoother, but as it stands, I think the disc works, and if it ain't broke, I ain't gonna try fixing it."


That's why going back over there and redoing it made me feel so strange. I made this mix once before, and my only purpose for going back over it again was to smooth out some of the rougher editing patches. It ended up becoming a bit more involved than that, however. I replaced "Approaching the Death Star" with "The Emperor Arrives" as my introduction to the Imperial March and I also found that I was able to tighten up a few of the tracks for listening purposes. That left me with a bit more room to play with in order to present more music, including the Imperial attack on the Tantive IV, the first appearance of Han and Leia's love theme and the battle on Endor. I resequenced a few tracks towards the beginning of the album for a more musical flow, but other than those changes, this is essentially the same album as my previous attempt.

Did I improve it? Maybe. I liked the original mix so much that it casts a shadow over this one. As a result, I'm not entirely sure if this is better than the old one or not. It's pretty much the same thing, unlike my original Harry Potter mix I made and the Lumos Musica!, which were very different listening experiences despite their commonalities. In this case the alterations basically amount to tweaks, so I'm in no rush to replace everybody's copy of the previous version the way I was with Lumos Musica!. On the other hand, I think that the trilogy itself may be better represented with this disc.

Does this mean that I plan to redo my Star Wars prequel trilogy disc I made last year? Yeah, probably. That one may end up being very different from the one I already put together though. We'll see. In the meantime...

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