In my last blog, I wrote about some of the more popular themes and songs from the Original Trilogy soundtracks. However, maligned as the Prequel Trilogy is, there are some pieces that stand apart from the crowd, some may even stand alongside the Original Trilogy. These are the pieces that I enjoy the most. I’ve included my thoughts on the individual pieces as well as the pieces themselves. So, once again, turn up the volume and get your headphones ready, it’s time for a musical journey.
Duel Of The Fates
If there is one piece from The Phantom Menace that everybody recognizes, this is it. This piece plays alongside the first part of the duel between Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul. In the duel, we see what it was like to be a Jedi and Sith before the Empire took control. In this piece, we also hear something that we didn’t hear during the OT, and that is the sound of a choir. This song still features the brass section, but it is the choir that takes control of the song. This song is a treat for the ear, and it’s one of my favorite songs of the entire saga.
Across the Stars (Love Theme from Attack of the Clones)
This is one of the few good things to come from Attack of the Clones, even though the on-screen love story was horrible. The song opens with a solo oboe (I think.) The musical theme is then repeated by a string section and builds to eventually include the entire orchestra and the them is repeated, each time played by different parts of the orchestra. The solo harp is a great way to end this song. You can’t help but visualize the chat beside the fire. Personally, I like the peacefulness of the solo and the opening, but the song is still a good song.
These next few pieces are from my favorite movie of the saga, Revenge of the Sith. I talked a little about them when I talked about the movie. You can read that blog entry here. Now, back to the music! Also, at the end of the videos, there are a few minutes of silence so you can just go to the next video.
The Immolation Scene
This song is from one of the most heartbreaking scenes of the entire Prequel Trilogy, and one of my favorite scenes. This is after Obi-Wan cut off Anakin’s remaining limbs and he is saying he loved Anakin, while Anakin is snarling his hatred for him. The majority of the song is played primarily by the string section, which is a departure from the norm. The end of the song has a little bit of horns added to the string section.
The beginning of this song is just eerie, and very different from anything else on this soundtrack and the other soundtracks from the saga. I’m not even sure what instrument is played in this, although there is a singer that is singing something that is similar to a song from the Middle East. The song takes place when Padme and Anakin are staring at each other across the Coruscant skyline. This is also when Anakin has Palpatine speaking to him in his mind and he decides to disobey Mace and go to Palpatine’s office. Despite the eeriness of the beginning, this song fits well with the scene.
Battle Of The Heroes
This song takes place during the battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan. This song marries well with the tone of the scene as these two friends battle each other to the death. This is another piece where the choir and the orchestra are perfectly blended together to provide the backdrop for a ferocious battle, even the quieter parts of the piece match with the pauses in the battle. This piece features a lot of different types of instruments, although the brass section is probably the featured section. This battle is probably my favorite in the saga, and the music definitely contributes to that sentiment.
Anakin’s Dark Deeds
This piece signifies the final transformation from a gifted Jedi to the ruthless Sith. The piece starts with the choir singing softly for a few measures before the volume is ratcheted up a few levels and continues throughout the piece. The whole piece provides the backdrop for, Anakin’s betrayal at the Temple and him killing the Separatist leadership. The piece ends with Anakin looking over the lava river on Mustafar.
Those are my thoughts on the soundtracks for the Prequel Trilogy. There are many other pieces that I could have included, especially from the ROTS soundtrack, but these are a good sampling. I would encourage you to sit back and listen to the soundtracks and try and pick out the various themes and subtleties of John Williams fantastic talent.
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