Thursday, January 14, 2016

CD (Fan) Review – Star Wars: The Force Awakens, by John Williams

It wouldn’t be a Star Wars episode without the music of John Williams to underscore the cosmic feats of intergalactic derring-do unfolding on the big screen. The 83-year-old maestro returns with what is one of his finest scores for the legendary franchise – in fact, probably his best since Return of the Jedi.

Just like the box-office-busting seventh episode it accompanies, Williams’ new soundtrack is a brilliant blend of old and new that reacquaints us with familiar themes while taking us to new heights of thrilling adventure and emotional poignancy.

Of course, there is the classic fanfare that blasts the Star Wars logo onto the screen and into the farthest reaches of space while the famous main theme accompanies the latest text crawl, before segueing with original music into the newest installment.

As with Williams’ previous Star Wars scores, much of the incidental music is, well, exactly that, incidental. But it is much more melodic and tuneful than before, as opposed to being just abrupt and atonal, especially during scenes of action and suspense.

Highlights include musical callbacks to old friends and iconic spaceships, plus a spectacular and majestic new hero motif, which brilliantly inverts Luke’s binary sunset/Force theme from the original trilogy before soaring to a lofty new crescendo of hope, promise, and triumph.

Since Williams’ Star Wars end title music usually encapsulates the themes of the just concluded film, his closing music here is joyously exhilarating, making it the most memorable and resounding finale since Return of the Jedi.

This is one of the very few exemplary soundtracks of at least the last decade and a fine return to form for both Williams and Star Wars.

--Raj Manoharan

No comments:

Post a Comment