Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Prologue: A Long Time Ago...

We've dreamed of these episodes since ever conceiving the podcast... Today we want to offer our thanks for your patience, attention and support by turning to a subject so many of us love like no other: John Williams' score to STAR WARS (1977). Now more than ever we want to remember the original cinematic phenomenon that defied the odds and seemed to unite a jaded, world-weary nation. Now we turn back the clock more than 40 years, to a time when Princess Leia & Luke Skywalker were little more than ideas in the mind of a young & visionary George Lucas; to a decade where a seasoned & sophisticated composer was presented the opportunity of a lifetime. Unbeknownst to either of them, together these two collaborators would create a work that would enrapture their public, transform their industry, and undeniably change the popular culture of their planet. We begin our 5-part series on STAR WARS with a special prologue examining all that happened before John Williams put pencil to paper. We've got so many questions we're dying to ask: What was the state of film music in the late 1970's? What did George Lucas envision musically for his space fantasy? How was Williams uniquely poised to deliver what is arguably the most essential film score of all time? What was the temp score to STAR WARS and who was its author? What of these occasional allegations of copying/borrowing/plagiarism? ... Today we attempt to answer each of these questions and prepare as best as we can for the episodes ahead. We hope to make this series as special & content-rich as possible - we can't wait to share what's in store. May the force be with you!

Rinzler, J.W. The Making of Star Wars New York, NY, Ballantine Books, 2007 

Star Wars, Lucas, and Williams: An Introduction

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  1. Fantastic podcast! Minor quibble about Dvorak Sym 9 - while it's true and perhaps obvious that the Slavic quality is present in that big melody, it's a bit of an omission to not mention Dvorak's interest in the folk music of African Americans and Indigenous Americans as e.g. "the future music of this country." Seems a meaningful point given a discussion of influences (culturally correct or not in Dvorak's approach) and of John Williams "the American composer." I hear so much African American influence in Williams' rhythmic structures - he is certainly funkier than the strictly European or European American composers he pays homage to, and not just in Cantina Band.

    1. That's such a great point, and certainly not to be overlooked! The African & African American influence on Williams (and other American film composers) is an extremely rich, deep subject for conversation & we look forward to discussing it much further throughout the podcast. Thanks for the feedback & for listening!

    2. You wrote:
      ".... is certainly funkier than the strictly European or European American composers he pays homage to, and not just in Cantina Band."

      The fact he was/is a great jazz pianist and started that way must explain William's 'funkier' qualities.

    3. Here's some of his jazz arranging from 1964.

  2. I'm just going back and hearing your Raiders and E.T. episodes now, and you're covering the jazz roots in the harmony/rhythm of Williams... great stuff.

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  4. I LOVE your podcast.Thank YOU so much... I am learning tons!
    At 49:18...
    One quick question are you SURE about the 3 note cue from Psycho? The Herrman motif is
    F (not Eb as you said)
    leap up a 7th to
    leap down an b9 to

    At any rate... keep up the stellar work.
    Thanks for everything.
    Mark Eisenman