Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

  • Mood:
  • Music:

Da daaa dump! Da daaa dump! Again.

Why, just two weeks ago I had finished off my redux edition of my original trilogy mix, where I said I probably would be returning to my prequel trilogy mix as well. And I listened to the prequel trilogy mix, this time with an ear for what I could do better. I decided that there were a few things I wanted to change. The first was that I wasn't so pleased with the programming on the original version, where I did Anakin's journey first and then led up to an exciting climax. While I like the idea of having the exciting climax, the structure of this album would have to be almost the exact opposite of that for my original trilogy, which leads to a triumphant conclusion. I decided that I wanted to restructure the album to lead into the more serious material. The second was that I wanted to showcase Anakin's theme and the "Across the Stars" love theme better.

While I am still not sure whether or not I improved on my original Star Wars trilogy mix or if I just made it different, I feel that this is definitely a stronger presentation of the music from the prequel trilogy than my original version. I pretty much still have all of the best parts, but the disc is a bit more polished. Since I found myself working with very edited and consequently shorter tracks, my practice of bridging similar tracks together (allowing for passages in the album) came in extremely handy. I also found myself putting together a lot more suites this time around than in my first attempt, so in many ways this disc could be seen as a window into what I am planning for my 2 disc Lord of the Rings compilation when the complete recordings of The Two Towers and Return of the King come out. I actually had a lot of editing freedom with this disc than I have had recently as the sonic properties of all of the source CDs are much more uniform than anything I'd been working with recently (each of the original trilogy scores sound very different from one another, and I don't even want to get into the Alien Quartet).

While I rank seeing The Phantom Menace opening night at the Ziegfield one of the greatest movie-going experiences of my life, I have to say that the toylike aspect of that film has since been surpassed by films that have been no less visually stunning, but were written and realized with more substance. Attack of the Clones had a lot of things I really liked (Ewan MacGregor doing Obi-Wan as James Bond) and a lot of things I really didn't, and by the time Revenge of the Sith came out, I'd had it. I make no bones about how important the original trilogy was to me growing up, and while I can see its limitations today, I still feel that Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back really do hold up as excellent entertainment. However, while my fervor for Star Wars has diminished through a combination of dissillusionment and maturity, I found the music scores John Williams composed for them to be splendid.

EDIT: This disc was revamped on May 25, 2007 in honor of the 30th anniversary of the original Star Wars. The new cut of the album is identical to the the previous edition with some extremely minor nips and tucks and a small addition to the end. The notes have been altered to reflect the new changes.

I've often said that I feel that while Williams is one of my favorite film composers, he is one of my least favorite album producers, and the original soundtrack album for The Phantom Menace was a perfect example. That record is a complete mess, a complete mishmash of stuff from all over the movie put together with no shape or direction. This was partially rectified by the release of the "Ultimate Edition," a 2 disc set that presents the score as it appeared in the film, but unfortunately it includes all of the edits and tinkering that sullied the music track in the film. This renders the release unlistenable without some serious reprogramming. Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith were both much better served by their albums; yes, there is some music that I would like to have from the former film that I don't (the boots floating around are all DVD rips, which I dislike intensely), but they are overall rather decent presentations of those scores. I did come across a complete Revenge of the Sith and felt that the album (if reprogrammed) represented the score quite well, but there was a moment from the climax that I felt would work extremely well at the conclusion of this album, and so it has been included in the newer edit.

Musically, the prequel trilogy is a very different animal from the original trilogy. So much so that I never considered combining music from the two series into a single volume. The original trilogy is primary thematically driven, but the prequels begin very texturally, gradually building the familiar themes from the original trilogy. The Force theme, Palpatine's theme from Return of the Jedi and Yoda's theme are the only two that appear in The Phantom Menace fully formed, but elements of the "Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme)" can be found everywhere. My original version of this disc was designed to lead up to the final statement of the Imperial March at the end of Attack of the Clones, and this is something I retained in this version. While I eschewed the use of concert arrangements in the original trilogy mix, I decided I would employ "Duel of the Fates" (most of which appears in the movie anyway) and "Battle of the Heroes" (which is a close adaptation of a primary cue from Revenge of the Sith, not too different from an alternate version). As with the mixes for the original trilogy, I also do attempt to contrast the Force theme with the Imperial March, although they play very different roles in the new trilogy than they did in the old. When it appears in its final form, the Imperial March is often associated not necessarily with Anakin himself, but the ascent of the police state.

The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith have very clearly defined musical identities that are very different from one another; Attack of the Clones seemed somewhat nondescript when I first head it, but in context of Revenge of the Sith, I realized that the musicscape for that film was transitional from the ambiences and flourishes of The Phantom Menace to the martial Revenge of the Sith, which in turn brings the musicscape full circle to be consonant with the sound of the original Star Wars, both in very obvious ways (the use of more familiar thematic material from Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back) and in some subtle ways (the orchestration for Revenge of the Sith at times has the cello and bass lines that are similar in many ways to those for Star Wars)... and yet despite all these things that set the scores apart, I found it rather easy to blend them into a seamless whole.


1. </small>Twentieth Century Fox Fanfare with CinemaScope Extension 0:21
(Alfred Newman; 1933/1954)

Main Title and Arrival at Naboo 2:10
The Phantom Menace

The Meadow Picnic 1:57
Attack of the Clones

Anakin's Dream 1:45
Revenge of the Sith

The Naboo Temple 0:48
The Phantom Menace

Bounty Hunter's Pursuit 0:47
Attack of the Clones

General Grievous 2:37
Revenge of the Sith

The Slave Boy 3:27
The Phantom Menace

Forbidden Longings 1:29
Attack of the Clones

The Federation Occupation 3:58
The Phantom Menace

Enter, Lord Vader 1:11
Revenge of the Sith

Duel of the Fates 4:09
The Phantom Menace

Battle of the Heroes 3:04
Revenge of the Sith

Coruscant 0:59
The Phantom Menace

Kamino 1:59
Attack of the Clones

Departure from Tatooine 6:44
The Phantom Menace

Anakin's Betrayal 3:48
Revenge of the Sith

The Hunt 7:51
Attack of the Clones

Anakin's Dark Deeds 3:54
Revenge of the Sith

Love Pledge and The Arena 7:13
Attack of the Clones

The Battle for Naboo 4:17
A Phantom Menace

The Power of the Sith 4:36
Revenge of the Sith

The Funeral of Qui-Gon 1:40
The Phantom Menace

The Immolation Scene 2:22
Revenge of the Sith

Finale 7:55
Attack of the Clones

Produced by John Williams
Orchestrators: John Nuefeld, Eddie Karam, Conrad Pope, Alexander Courage - Recording and Mixing Engineer: Shawn Murphy - Music Editor: Kenneth Wannberg
Recorded and mixed at Abbey Road Studios

Twentieth Century Fox Fanfare with Cinemascope Extension (Alfred Newman)
Of course. There is a balance problem on the "Ultimate Edition" of this track, which I corrected for inclusion here.

Main Title and Arrival at Naboo (The Phantom Menace)
The album opens pretty much the same way as my previous version did, with the Star Wars main title as recorded for The Phantom Menace (which was, in fact, the same recording that was used for all of the prequel trilogy). On the original CD, this cue was bridged with "Arrival at Coruscant" (track 14). I would have liked to hear the alternative, darker version of the main title that Williams originally composed for the prequels, as Luke Skywalker's theme isn't really a major element of the prequel trilogy as he isn't born until the last few minutes of Revenge of the Sith. Luke's theme appears fragmentarily in The Phantom Menace as part of the action music, but the opening and end credit intros for each film, which also features the Rebel fanfare, which also is also barely heard in the prequels at all, sometimes sound a little vestigial.

The Meadow Picnic (Attack of the Clones)
This idyllic cue introduces the most carefree version of "Across the Stars," the love theme for Anakin and Padmé. This is a slightly tighter edit of than appeared on the original disc.

Anakin's Dream (Revenge of the Sith)
We then hear the love theme in a much more melancholy setting as that love begins to draw Anakin closer to the Dark Side of the Force. I chose to to have a slower build-up to the adventure elements of the album because I felt structurally it would work very well as a companion piece the original trilogy mix, if listened to in succession.

The Naboo Temple (The Phantom Menace)
This busy cue from The Phantom Menace is heard as the Naboo and the Gungans collaborate, a short connecting piece to bring us into an action sequence that begins with...

Bounty Hunter's Pursuit (Attack of the Clones)
Obi-Wan tracks the Slave 1 to Geonosis, Jango Fett ambushes him in the planet's rings. This is a splashy action sequence reminiscent of "Attack Position" from The Empire Strikes Back.

General Grievous (Revenge of the Sith)
A breathless action cue heard during Obi-Wan's fight with General Grievous on Utapau. It is some of the most frenzied music in the entire Star Wars saga, but it is also very disciplined. This was originally heard on my original mix, although I trimmed the beginning, which scored Obi-Wan riding the varactyl.

The Slave Boy (The Phantom Menace)
This is pretty much an Anakin suite; it opens with Anakin meeting Padmé and seques to the dinner conversation in which Anakin pledges to win the pod race. Qui-Gon's discussion about Anakin (in which the Force theme is heard in full form) is followed by the "it's working" moment that also graced my Flight compilation. The track closes with Anakin's theme as heard after the pod race, where certain elements of the Imperial March come to the forefront.

Forbidden Longings (Revenge of the Sith)
A plaintive version of the love theme is heard again, followed by Yoda's theme and a powerful statement of the Force theme; the love theme returns as Anakin and Padmé take off from Coruscant. This is actually an abridged version of the CD track "Yoda and the Younglings," but I retitled it as the emphasis is less on that material than on Anakin and Padmé in this edit.

The Federation Occupation (The Phantom Menace)
The militaristic Trade Federation theme is heard as they invade Naboo, then occupy Theed. As Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan rescue the Queen, I restored the original version of this cue from the CD (it was part of "Panaka and the Queen's Protectors") from the film edit (which is what appeared on the "Ultimate Edition" and the original version of this album) but bridged it with the take-off cue as it appears in the film.

Enter, Lord Vader (Revenge of the Sith)
Syncopated and intense figures lead to a bold statement of the Imperial March for the first time in its original form on this album. The themes for Palpatine and the Force are heard briefly before a crescendo which leads us into the pair of concert recordings included on this disc.

Duel of the Fates (The Phantom Menace)
This hellish choir and the repeating five note figure are one of the most recognizable pieces of music from the prequel trilogy is this concert recording that Lucas and Ben Burtt fell in love with so much they oafishly cut it into the finales of both The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith regardless of how well it fit with anything else in the musicscape. Because of its inclusion in the film, I felt justified in using it here. I tracked in the horn statements of the theme heard when Darth Maul first appears on Naboo and synched them up to the choral statement in order to make the transition from the previous track to this one smoother. The lyrics are from an old Celtic poem "Gad Goddue" ("The Battle of the Trees") and sung in Sanskrit.
Under the tongue root a fight most dread,
And another raging behind,
In the head...

Sanskrit (transliteration)
Korah Matah Korah Rahtahmah
Korah Rahtamah Yoodhah Korah
Korah Syahdho Rahtahmah Daanyah
Korah Keelah Daanyah
Nyohah Keelah Korah Rahtahmah
Syadho Keelah Korah Rahtahmah
Korah Daanyah Korah Rahtahmah
Korah Daanyah Korah Rahtahmah
Nyohah Keelah Korah Rahtahmah
Syadho Keelah Korah Rahtahmah
Korah Matah Korah Rahtahmah
Korah Daanyan Korah Rahtahmah
Nyohaha Keelah Korah Rahtahmah
Syadho Keelah Korah Rahtahmah
Battle of the Heroes (Revenge of the Sith)
The same elements that make up "Duel of the Fates" are taken to apocalyptic extremes in this track, which is a concert version of the theme heard in "Anakin vs. Obi-Wan," which is now part of "The Power of the Dark Side" (track 22).

Coruscant (The Phantom Menace)
This is another suite, in this case comprising the grand music for Coruscant, first heard as we are introduced to it for the first time for a conversation between Darth Sidious and Darth Maul, then during a transition after Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon converse, then the "Arrival at Naboo" track (that, due to a programming glitch was heard twice on the original soundtrack album).

Kamino (Attack of the Clones)
Another suite, this time regarding Obi-Wan's excursion to Kamino, which is given its own restless motif. There is also a deep "mystery" theme (similar to analagous moments in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets released the same year). The Trade Federation theme is heard once again as Obi-Wan observes the clone army. While the latter quote was heard on the original disc, it was by itself; here it has been integrated into this musical sequence.

Departure from Tatooine (The Phantom Menace)
Qui-Gon's theme (which is barely heard on the original CD) introduces this track which primarily focuses on Anakin's theme as he is told that he is free. The scene becomes much more dramatic as he realizes that he must leave his mother behind; Williams created an intimate theme for Shmi that is heard here and will be reprised again "The Hunt," and a powerful reading of the Force theme accompanies this moment. Qui-Gon's theme is then heard in an exciting action mode as he duels with Darth Maul. A brief quote of Anakin's theme from the scene between him and Padmé on the trip to Coruscant closes out this track, leading us into...

Anakin's Betrayal. (Revenge of the Sith)
The music for the montage depicting the execution of the Jedi around the galaxy was a moment greater than just his betrayal. It evokes the end of an era, a cloud of darkness falling over this universe through creating a musical work that is based on elements of Anakin's theme, the Force theme and "Across the Stars" and brings them together in a deconstructive manner. It doesn't really create its own theme, but rather is a collapse of this thematic material.

The Hunt (Attack of the Clones)
Although much of the music contained in this track was on my original mix, it was on two separate tracks. I put them together here as another suite, this time about Anakin on Tatooine to find his mother and losing her. A seven-note motif repeats over rising and falling accompaniment, then the Force theme is heard as Anakin gets on a speeder, which leads into a dramatic reprise of "Duel of the Fates" as he tracks the Tusken Raiders that kidnapped her. A delicate version of Shmi's theme introduced in "Departure from Tatooine (track 16) is heard as she dies in Anakin's arms. Anakin's horror and uncontrollable rage are conveyed by jagged textures, which eventually settle... into a chillingly unstable quote of the Imperial March. This is one of the moments that best demonstrates how the prequel trilogy is "assembling" thematic material that would be heard in the original trilogy. This sequence is made up of in two parts; the first is an excerpt from the original CD's "Bounty Hunter's Pursuit" (the opening of which can be heard as track 6) (on my original disc, this was titled "Anakin Hunts") while the rest of the track is "The Tusken Camp and the Homestead." The version of "Duel of the Fates" heard here has the same lyrics as the corresponding passage in track 12, but closes with the Sanskrit word "Nina," which means "loss."

Anakin's Dark Deeds (Revenge of the Sith)
As Anakin falls deeper in the thrall of the Dark Side, he carries out the murderous will of his new master, Darth Sidious, while Padmé wrestles with the horror of what Anakin has become. This is a dark and operatic cue that touches on thematic material, but is built to be apart from them at once. It would be nice if the dialogue and performances were as a third of how moving the music is.

Love Pledge and the Arena (Attack of the Clones)
"Across the Stars" is heard as Padmé tells Anakin that she loves him as they are led out into a colosseum on Geonosis for execution. A new, martial theme, similar to that of the Trade Federation, is heard as Anakin, Padmé and Obi-Wan face cartoon CGI monsters and whips and chains and stuff. Bursts of "Across the Stars" are heard occasionally, one of the first instances of genuine thematic mickey-mousing in the prequel trilogy, an element that it works to bring the more diffuse style of The Phantom Menace into the very thematically oriented original trilogy.

The Battle for Naboo (The Phantom Menace)
The Trade Federation's theme is heard as the 'droid troops are deployed. "The Droid Battle" from the original CD is then heard which is the cue as it was intended (in the film it is cut to shreds to accomodate dropping in parts of "Duel of the Fates"). The surrender of the Gungans is followed by "The Tide Turns," built on a 10-note percussive figure that leads to "Duel of the Fates" is set dramatically against the Force theme, with shades of "Mars" from Holst's The Planets. The crossfade from "The Arena" to "Activate the Troops" in no way implies an endorsement of how butchered the music from the Attack of the Clones climax is.

The Power of the Dark Side (Revenge of the Sith)
"Anakin vs. Obi-Wan" brings us back to the material heard in "Battle of the Heroes," only now it is interspersed with quotations of the Imperial March in its final form as Palpatine kicks Yoda's ass into the next generation. These statements of the theme are similar to those heard in "The Duel" (original trilogy CD, track 18), a deliberate evokation of The Empire Strikes Back. The music leads to a crescendo that wasn't included in the original soundtrack album, and is the climax of this disc.

The Funeral of Qui-Gon (The Phantom Menace)
A quiet quote of the Imperial March is heard as Yoda warns Obi-Wan about Anakin's potential. A dark choral piece is heard incorporating the Force theme for the funeral of Qui-Gon; this piece again be heard for the funeral of Padmé in Revenge of the Sith.

The Immolation Scene (Revenge of the Sith)
Anakin Skywalker is no more; lying defeated at Obi-Wan's feet is Darth Vader. Wrenching strings are heard as Obi-Wan asks Anakin why, and is only told that he is hated. Williams' music is bathed in pathos; this is Anakin's theme, flattened and tragic. The music then picks up in tempo leading us to...

Finale (Attack of the Clones)
...the first appearance of the full on, fully developed Imperial March as Palpatine overlooks the Clone Army. This is ultimately the conclusion of this album, and is analagous to the appearance of the aggressive "The Executor" as the introduction of the Imperial March on my original trilogy mix (track 4). "Across the Stars" takes over as we wipe to Naboo and Anakin and Padmé's wedding. This leads us into the familiar end title introduction with Luke Skywalker's theme and the Rebel fanfare. A shortened version of the reprise of Luke's theme leads into concert arrangements of themes. The original version of this followed this track with "Anakin's Theme," but because I had covered that material more extensively over the course of the album, I felt that letting this piece play out, with "Across the Stars," but with a quotation of Anakin's theme and a haunting variation on the Imperial March to close it out. This was not actually used in the film, but I thought that was a shame because it is very effective, but it was the perfect way to close out this album. It is also the only end title sequence that Williams actually penned for the prequels; The Phantom Menace's end credits consisted of "Duel of the Fates" and "Anakin's Theme," while those for Revenge of the Sith were accompanied by an adaptation of the original end title and subsequent concert arrangement of the Star Wars "Throne Room and End Title" with "Battle of the Heroes" tracked in. It is also the only Star Wars end title to concentrate almost exclusively on one theme. Part of the reasons I wanted to include more of "Across the Stars" earlier in the album was to justify the CD closing with this arresting track.

So there it is.
Tags: film music, john williams, my mixes, star wars

  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded