November 9, 2019 | Michigan Theater
BEHIND THE MUSIC
The stage is set for the ninth and final episode of Star Wars to hit the big screen in December of 2019. Your Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra relives the epic soundtrack crafted by John Williams just in time for this historic release. The unmistakable brass fanfare of the main theme rings out before the suns of Tatooine sink into the horizon to “The Force Theme.” Darth Vader’s dark and menacing theme music underscores the evil of the Dark Side as the Republic is lifted by Williams’s battle themes and The Force.
Piecing It Together
One of the most iconic scenes in all the Star Wars movies is the Duel of the Fates at the end of The Phantom Menace. The music of this scene has become an inseparable addition to the epic size and importance of the scene. The last thing that might come to mind while watching this, however, would be Celtic poetry. John Williams was fond of a poem by Robert Graves while scoring this film. The poem tells the tale of two trees pitted against each other in battle by a druidic priest. Williams took this poem to friends at Harvard University where it was translated into many languages. Williams was drawn most to the poem in Sanskrit with the long vowel sounds it produced. The Sanskrit translation can be heard throughout the Duel of the Fates.
Cloud City becomes an integral and dangerous stop of the heroes of The Empire Strikes Back. As the Millennium Falcon approaches the city its beauty is captivating. Han Solo mistakenly trusts his friend, Lando Calrissian, but John Williams gives the audience a subtle clue to warn them of the danger that awaits in this city. The Falcon approaches the city accompanied by a score of only vocals. This can be heard as a Siren song, such as those from Greek mythology and Homer’s Odessy that lured sailors into a dangerous island with their high-pitched beauty.