Arts

John Williams’s Gentler Themes Reveal More To ‘Star Wars’

Lois Reitzes and Scott Stewart listened to the lyrical and lush leitmotifs assigned to Princess Leia Organa and the iterations of Han and Leia's theme, among other soundtrack cues.
Lois Reitzes and Scott Stewart listened to the lyrical and lush leitmotifs assigned to Princess Leia Organa and the iterations of Han and Leia's theme, among other soundtrack cues.
Credit / TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd./EPK.TV

 

With less than a month remaining before the Dec. 14 release of “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens,” fan anticipation has reached fever pitch. You can count WABE film music contributor Dr. Scott Stewart among those eager fans — though it’s John Williams’ soundtrack he’ll be standing in line for.

Stewart joined Lois Reitzes for their continuing conversation on Williams and his compositional approach, especially in the “Star Wars” films, ahead of next month’s release. Williams is most famous for his epic themes like “The Imperial March,” but that’s only half the story.

Reitzes and Stewart listened to and parsed the lyrical and lush leitmotifs assigned to Princess Leia Organa and the iterations of Han and Leia’s theme, among other soundtrack cues. With five Academy Awards and 49 nominations to his name — among many other awards and honors — composer John Williams’ success is inarguable.

“One reason John Williams succeeds,” says Stewart, “is that his storytelling follows both the rules of the plot and the conventions of symphonic structure. His music tells the story on screen, but also tells its own story, and is a great listen even if you’re not watching the movie.”