Category Archives: Star Wars

Soundtrack News: ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Original Soundtrack Available Now

The Obi-Wan Kenobi soundtrack composed by Natalie Holt and John Williams is available now. Obi-Wan Kenobi begins 10 years after the dramatic events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat—the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.

Commenting on the score, Holt had the following to say:

“Like many children, the iconic music of John Williams underscored my childhood in all the classic movies I watched. It was his music in E.T. that first made me realise that film music existed so to have scored a project that has his musical heritage embedded in it is something very special to me. Although when I told John that he was the reason I’d become a film composer, he laughed and said, ‘Oh dear, I’m so sorry about that!’”

“As a violinist with a classically trained background, I wanted to create something on an epic scale which was both an homage to the musical palette of Star Wars, while having a contemporary flavour. Because the story of the show involved heritage characters, in some way one has to show awareness of and respect for the heritage of the music. At the same time, there were new characters and elements that are not so familiar to many people – such as the Inquisitors – and finding an original sound and theme for those was part of the pleasure and challenge of this project. So that process of working with my hero John Williams and also bringing my own voice to the show has been glorious.” 

“There are some Latin influences in the score, some sounds that are more Eastern, and  some dark brooding synthesisers. Ultimately though it’s an emotional score. I watched the original Star Wars trilogy with my dad when I was five years old, and that powerful memory has taken on additional meaning for me in recent times because he is now very ill and losing his own memory. I hope the score is something that he would be proud of, that John Williams feels is harmonic with his own incredible work, and that Star Wars fans across the world embrace the continuing journey of this incredible story world and its rich musical heritage.”

TRACK LIST

  1. Obi-Wan – Theme by John Williams
  2. Order 66
  3. Inquisitor’s Hunt
  4. Young Leia
  5. Days of Alderaan
  6. The Journey Begins
  7. Bail and Leia
  8. Nari’s Shadow
  9. Ready to Go
  10. Daiyu
  11. Cat and Mouse
  12. Spice Den
  13. First Rescue
  14. Mapuzo
  15. The Path
  16. Sensing Vader
  17. Parallel Lines
  18. Some Things Can’t Be Forgotten
  19. Stormtrooper Patrol
  20. Hangar Escape
  21. Hold Hands
  22. Empire Arrival
  23. Dark Side Assault
  24. I Will Do What I Must
  25. Sacrifice
  26. No Further Use
  27. Overcoming the Past
  28. Tatooine Desert Chase
  29. Who You Become
  30. Saying Goodbye
  31. End Credit

Will you be checking out the soundtrack to Obi-Wan Kenobi? It’s got some gorgeous music in it and of course John Williams theme for Obi-Wan is perfection.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi “A New Alliance” (2017)

Three years after it came out, Star Wars: The Last Jedi continues to polarize fans of the galaxy far, far away. While this will likely remain true for many years to come, there’s no denying that The Last Jedi has its fair share of awesome musical moments. One of my favorites comes late in the film when Kylo Ren brings Rey before Supreme Leader Snoke in his throne room on the Supremacy. This piece is called “A New Alliance” and covers a critical part of the story, when Kylo Ren seemingly turns to the light and kills Snoke.

There are some interesting moments in “A New Alliance” and I’ll highlight a few of them. First of all, the piece starts with what sounds like a brief reprise of “Snoke.” This continues as the tension builds in the music until suddenly at 1:07 the music “explodes”, corresponding with the shocking moment when Rey’s lightsaber ignites, cutting Snoke in half.

Another significant moments comes seconds later at 1:17 when we hear a reprise of “the Force” theme, heard when Rey calls the lightsaber to her and she shares a moment with Kylo Ren before they team up to take out Snoke’s Praetorian guards. This is the big moment that gives me goosebumps, since the tone of the piece flips from tension to shock and surprise almost instantly.

The remaining music focuses on Rey and Kylo’s fight with the Praetorian guards. If you listen carefully, around 2:25 you’ll hear a reprise of “Rey’s Theme” fittingly played as the scene focuses on her own fight.

I chose this piece because I wanted to show that good film music can be found in many places. It’s true, you don’t hear a lot of this because there’s a massive lightsaber battle raging at the same time. But despite that, John Williams took the time to craft this theme together, and it is one of my favorite musical moments in all of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Let me know what you think about “A New Alliance” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens “Kylo Ren’s Theme” (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens “Rey’s Theme” (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens “Snoke” (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens “March of the Resistance” (2015)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi “The Spark” (2017)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker “Kylo Ren’s Theme (Redeemed Version)” (2019)

Film Soundtracks A-W

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Soundtrack News: Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ The Final Season (Episodes 9-12) Original Soundtrack is Out Now

The last of three original soundtracks composed by Kevin Kiner for Star Wars: The Clone Wars was released day along with the final episode in the series. All 12 episodes of season 7 (and indeed the entire Clone Wars series) have been scored by Kevin Kiner, an award-winning composer who is one of the most versatile and sought-after composers in Hollywood.

Highlight tracks include the adrenaline-inducing “Ahsoka vs. Maul” which calls back to John Williams’s “Duel of the Fates” from ‘The Phantom Menace’, and the heart-wrenching electronic synths and angelic tones of “Burying the Dead”.

About Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7:

Now it is the end of the historic Clone Wars, as the forces of darkness have amassed great power in their bid to transform the Republic into the Galactic Empire. In the conflict’s final days, clone troopers specialize for the dangerous missions ahead, Ahsoka Tano confronts life outside of the Jedi Order, and a familiar menace returns to wreak havoc.

If you haven’t checked out the soundtrack for Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 before now, I highly recommend checking out the tracks for the last four episodes, as Kevin Kiner takes the music to another level.

See also:

Soundtrack Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars-The Final Season (Episodes 1-4) (2020)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Bad Batch Theme” (2020)

Film Soundtracks A-W

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Soundtrack News: Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire Original Video Game Soundtrack to be Released this August

As part of Star Wars Day (may the 4th be with you) Varèse Sarabande Records has announced the upcoming special release of the Original Video Game Soundtrack for Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire by GRAMMY®-nominated composer Joel McNeely. The soundtrack will be released for the first time on LP and reissued on CD on August 7, 2020, exclusively from Varèse Sarabande Records. Pre-order for LP and CD are available now

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire was developed and published by LucasArts for Nintendo 64 on December 3, 1996, and sold one million copies in its first year. A version for Microsoft Windows followed in 1997, and sold out reissues have kept the game alive amongst the Star Wars fan base since its release over 20 years ago. In the game, which serves as backstory between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, the player controls the mercenary Dash Rendar in his efforts to help Luke Skywalker and rescue Princess Leia from Prince Xizor.

As part of the Shadows of the Empire multimedia project, a full soundtrack was composed by Joel McNeely and recorded with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Samples of the soundtrack were used in both versions of the game, with the Windows version containing many of the full tracks. The album art features the main Star Wars characters and was created by legendary illustrator Drew Struzan (Blade Runner, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future).

TRACK LISTING
Side A:
  1. Main Theme from Star Wars and Leia’s Nightmare (3:41)
  2. The Battle of Gall (7:59)
  3. Imperial City (8:02)
  4. Beggar’s Canyon Chase (2:56)
  5. The Southern Underground (1:48)
Side B:
  1. Xizor’s Theme (4:35)
  2. The Seduction of Princess Leia (3:38)
  3. Night Skies (4:17)
  4. Into the Sewers (2:55)
  5. The Destruction of Xizor’s Palace (10:44)

 

You can pre-order the LP and/or CD of the Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire soundtrack at the links below:

PRE-ORDER

 

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Star Wars: A New Hope “The Empire motif” (1977)

Since it’s introduction in 1980, the “Imperial March” has become so closely associated with Darth Vader and the Empire that it is occasionally forgotten that this theme was written for The Empire Strikes Back and not the original Star Wars film. With that revelation, several people have asked me “Well, what theme did the Empire have before the Imperial March?”

 

The short answer is…it really didn’t. It must be remembered that at the time the original film was made, none of that glorious backstory existed yet.. We’d never met the Empire before, and nobody knew who Darth Vader was. In short, John Williams needed a way to make it clear the Empire was the overall bad guy in the film, a musical starting point as it were that could be built upon in future films (clearly he went in another direction entirely but that’s a conversation for another day).

The “Empire” motif that stands in for the Empire in A New Hope is very simple, consisting of three upward moving chords that sound rather ominous in the way they’re played, usually in sync with a shot of the Death Star or an Imperial Star Destroyer (or both). It’s admittedly a far cry from the “Imperial March” that will come in just a few years, but it does do an admirable job of letting you know when the story is shifting back to the Empire.

Incidentally, this motif does appear in a blink and you’ll miss it moment in Rogue One (when Director Krennic is meeting Tarkin, right before that meeting begins, listen carefully as the Death Star’s dish is being slid into place).

And that’s all I’ve got on the original “Empire” motif in Star Wars: A New Hope. I know it’s hard to imagine a world where the “Imperial March” didn’t represent the Empire, but for a few years that’s what we had.

Let me know what you think of the original “Empire” motif in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Star Wars: A New Hope “The Throne Room” (1977)

Film Soundtracks A-W

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Star Wars: The Phantom Menace “Augie’s Great Municipal Band” (1999)

Star Wars is known for many things, but one of my favorites is the many great musical moments that define each of the films in their own way. In the prequel trilogy, one of my favorite moments comes at the very end of The Phantom Menace when everyone gathers in The (capital of Naboo) to celebrate their victory over the Trade Federation and the new alliance between the Gungans and the people of Naboo.

 

During “Augie’s Great Municipal Band”, the Gungans march up the main boulevard of Theed to the steps of the palace, celebrating all the way, while Queen Amidala waits for them along with a host of important characters (the Jedi council and the newly-elected Chancellor Palpatine among them). “Augie’s Great Municipal Band” has a bouncing melody that appears to perfectly reflect the excitement of the moment. But there’s a secret here, courtesy of John Williams.

Listen to this melody in the video above, listen to it very carefully. Do you hear it? Don’t feel bad if you can’t, I didn’t know this existed until I was told about it. Pay attention to the children’s choir, does it sound at all familiar? In a way it should, they’re actually singing the Emperor’s theme in a major key (it’s usually minor) and at least double the speed. That’s right, John Williams hid the Emperor’s theme in a scene of celebration as an extremely subtle bit of foreshadowing that Palpatine is literally controlling all of this. It’s downright spooky once you make the connection, not to mention it makes you view this “celebration” in a completely different light. Everything is going according to Palpatine’s plan, and the Jedi are already doomed, even though they appear to be stronger than ever.

 

Of all the musical foreshadowing John Williams has done in the Skywalker Saga, this is among the most subtle. Be sure to think about this the next time you watch the conclusion of The Phantom Menace, you’ll never look at that scene in the same way ever again.

Let me know what you think about “Augie’s Great Municipal Band” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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Star Wars: A New Hope “The Throne Room” (1977)

Given the enormous amount of music that John Williams has composed for Star Wars over the decades, it stands to reason that some pieces will be remembered more than others. One piece that might not be remembered as much as it should is “The Throne Room”, the fanfare that concludes Episode IV before the credits begin to roll. To put it in context, the Death Star has been blown up, the surviving heroes have returned in triumph, and now it’s time for our heroes to receive their reward from Princess Leia:

 

It’s a stirring fanfare to be sure. As the heroes stride down the aisle to where Princess Leia and the other Rebel Alliance leaders are waiting, you hear a heroic version of “The Force” theme backed up primarily by the brass (and supported by the strings underneath). This music has all the makings of a climactic ending, and originally that’s what it was supposed to be. Remember, at the time the score was composed, there was no guarantee that there would be any sequel to Star Wars, let along a decades-spanning franchise that shows no sign of slowing down. With that in mind, it’s my understanding that the decision was made to give Star Wars as “final” sounding of an end as possible, just in case this was all she wrote and the film bombed at the box office (an idea that sounds laughable now but was a distinct possibility at the time).

“The Throne Room” is designed to bring the story of Star Wars to a close without the aid of dialogue. It tells us all we need to know: the heroes have done what they needed to do, now they can take a breath and celebrate their victory. And if this had been all there was, anyone could say this piece of music brings Star Wars to a thrilling conclusion. But of course, history tells us this was only the beginning for Star Wars. That being said, it doesn’t change the fact that “The Throne Room” is a beautiful piece of music, one that all fans of film music should take a few minutes and listen to.

Let me know what you think of “The Throne Room” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Star Wars: A New Hope “The Empire motif” (1977)

Film Soundtracks A-W

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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Soundtrack Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars-The Final Season (Episodes 1-4) (2020)

Now that we’re a third of the way through the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Disney has released the official soundtrack for the first four episodes. This covers soundtrack excerpts for “The Bad Batch”, “A Distant Echo”, “On the Wings of Keeradaks”, and “Unfinished Business.”

If you’ve been following the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Disney+ then you know the music has been as brilliant as ever. There have been callbacks to some classic Star Wars motifs, and plenty of action as only composer Kevin Kiner can deliver it.

Kiner said (of this season): “It has been such a fantastic ride scoring ‘Clone Wars’ and working with Dave Filoni and George Lucas was a dream come true. I feel like season seven is everything we all wanted ‘Clone Wars’ to be, top to bottom.  From the music to the animation to the story lines to the directing, this is the show I always wanted to be a part of!”

The release dates for the remaining soundtrack releases are as follows (hopefully the coronavirus will not delay them):

4/10: Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Final Season (Episodes 5-8)
5/4: Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Final Season (Episodes 9-12)

 

Tracklist

  1. Star Wars Main Title & A Galaxy Divided
  2. Misplaced Hope
  3. Droids Approaching
  4. Clones Retreat
  5. Anakin and Padmé
  6. Chase in the Sky
  7. Poltechs
  8. Search Party
  9. Escape Route
  10. Walkers Battle
  11. Mission Begins
  12. Ticking Time Bomb
  13. Bad Batch Heroics
  14. Finest Troopers

Enjoy the new soundtrack release for Star Wars: The Clone Wars and have a great day!

See also:

Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Bad Batch Theme” (2020)

Film Soundtracks A-W

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens “March of the Resistance” (2015)

When Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrived at theaters in 2015, John Williams proved that he hadn’t missed a step by filling the film with all kinds of musical themes. Heroes and villains alike were given their own memorable themes. “March of the Resistance” is one of the heroic themes and was written for the Resistance as a whole, though I feel it could also be applied to certain characters. Check out “March of the Resistance” below:

This theme arrives for the first time in the midst of the Battle of Takodana, just as our heroes have been taken captive by the First Order. It starts as the camera turns and reveals Resistance X-Wings are racing towards the ruins of Maz’s Castle led by Poe Dameron.

“March of the Resistance” is one of the more “classic” Star Wars themes that John Williams created for The Force Awakens. By “classic” I mean that this theme could easily fit into the original trilogy with its jaunty bass tones and upbeat rhythms. Think about it, doesn’t this theme feel like it could apply to the Rebellion just as much as the Resistance? Not only that, but I really feel this theme could apply to Poe Dameron as his own personal theme. It fits Poe perfectly: it’s brash, it’s loud, and it just oozes confidence, all qualities that the future Resistance general definitely possesses. I’m not sure if Poe has his own theme or motif, but if he doesn’t, I’m probably just going to apply this theme to him from now on because it is just too perfect for him.

This theme recurs at several points in the sequel trilogy after debuting here, most notably in The Rise of Skywalker when the Resistance is departing to bring the fight to the Final Order. It’s a very versatile theme, good for playing over sections of the film that show the Resistance in action. It’s also quite memorable, as its one theme from the sequel trilogy that I’ve found myself humming from time to time.

I hope you enjoyed listening to “March of the Resistance” from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Let me know what you think about this theme in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens “Kylo Ren’s Theme” (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens “Rey’s Theme” (2015)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi “The Spark” (2017)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker “Kylo Ren’s Theme (Redeemed Version)” (2019)

Film Soundtracks A-W

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Star Wars: The Force Awakens “Rey’s Theme” (2015)

This is my honest opinion: if you try to tell me there are no great musical themes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, then you haven’t been paying attention, because John Williams introduces a beautiful, original theme relatively early in the film. This is “Rey’s Theme” and it comes when, you guessed it, we first meet Rey living as a scavenger on Jakku.

 

The theme starts as Rey is leaving the ruins of the crashed Star Destroyer, having finished her work for the day. It starts off with a bit of whimsy, a soft chiming melody that soon grows into a flowing theme with the strings and woodwinds. This melody tells us several things: that Rey is young and idealistic (much as Luke Skywalker was many years ago), but also that she has her own inner strength even before she starts to use the Force. The former is heard in the opening part of the theme, and the inner strength is revealed when the strings come in, pushing the theme to new heights.

This original version of “Rey’s Theme” lays the foundation for several melodies to come in the sequel trilogy, particularly in The Rise of Skywalker. Williams will put this melody through several variations, altering it to meet Rey’s changing circumstances as the story progresses.

As a musical introduction to one of the most pivotal characters of the sequel trilogy, “Rey’s Theme” performs its purpose beautifully. This theme deserves to be remembered just as much as “The Force Theme”, “The Imperial March”, “Duel of the Fates” and any other classic Star Wars theme. For me, this theme is clear proof that John Williams is just as talented as ever when it comes to creating memorable film music themes.

I hope you enjoy listening to “Rey’s Theme” as originally heard in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, let me know what you think about it in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens “Kylo Ren’s Theme” (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens “March of the Resistance” (2015)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi “The Spark” (2017)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker “Kylo Ren’s Theme (Redeemed Version)” (2019)

Film Soundtracks A-W

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂