New York Philharmonic dives into “Star Wars”—and John Williams

Posted on: September 18, 2017

“ ‘Star Wars’ is omnivorous in its inspiration,” writes Joshua Barone in Friday’s (9/15) New York Times. “The saga, which continues in December with ‘Episode VIII: The Last Jedi,’ nods to classical mythology, Arthurian legend and even Wagner’s ‘Ring’ cycle. John Williams’s music for the series—which the New York Philharmonic will perform live, from Sept. 15 through Oct. 7, alongside screenings of the original trilogy and ‘Episode VII: The Force Awakens’—contain some of the most memorable themes in film history…. The score is rooted in the classics … Stravinsky, Mozart and, in one instance, a quotation from the Gregorian ‘Dies irae’ chant used repeatedly by composers. Mr. Williams also associates brief themes with certain characters and ideas, a strategy Wagner developed with the leitmotifs of the ‘Ring.’ ‘There are dozens of leitmotifs that are used in these films,’ David Newman, who will conduct the Philharmonic concerts, said…. Mr. Newman said … the closing moments of ‘The Force Awakens,’ in which Luke Skywalker is handed his long-lost lightsaber, has the feel of Siegmund pulling the sword Nothung from the tree in ‘Die Walküre.’ ” Included are five videos comparing classical compositions with Star Wars segments.

Posted September 18, 2017