Monday, May 2, 2016

Star Wars Ep. III: Revenge of the Sith (Williams, 2005)

Star Wars Ep. I:
The Phantom Menace
Star Wars Ep. II:
Attack of the Clones
Star Wars Ep. III:
Revenge of the Sith

     The final entry of the Star Wars "prequel" trilogy was again scored by John Williams, naturally, and in this film the composer found himself in the historically-unique position of having to sum up themes from two preceding films and also create a bridge to the original trilogy's musical material (and of course providing fresh new themes as well).  Not only that, but since this was to be the "final" Star Wars film (at least with the participation of its original author, George Lucas), Williams had to provide a fitting climax to the entire series.  In any case, Williams delivered once again, with the help of the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Voices choral group (as well as orchestrators Eddie Karam and Conrad Pope).

     In the tradition of Star Wars soundtracks, Williams composed and recorded the score to Revenge of the Sith with the understanding that some cues would be altered or dropped or even repositioned.  Beside the newly composed music, the film also makes use of a few previously-used cues such as "Escape from Naboo", "Duel of the Fates", "The Droid Invasion" (TPM) and "The Arena" (AOTC).  The soundtrack as usual is assembled as suites from various new cues both used and unused in the final film.  The table below describes the intended sequences for each cue used to create the soundtrack suites.

     In Revenge of the Sith, Williams created several new themes and sub-themes, but the two which surface the most are the  "Battle of the Heroes" theme and General Grievous' theme:

  • Battle of the Heroes: tragically-heroic, choral.
  • Grievous theme: martial, motoric and swirling themes.
  • Sith theme: occurs mainly in "Anakin's Dark Deeds" and is derived from Grievous' B string theme.
  • Escape theme: rhythmic motif, used a few times in the 1st act space rescue.
  • Utapau "motoric": rhythm in 7/8, also could be considered a varactyl (giant lizard)-riding theme.

     Beside the new themes, the returning themes include ones for the Force, Darth Vader (Imperial March), the Emperor, the Love theme from "Attack of the Clones", Qui-Gon's funeral theme, and various other brief quotes.  The last track essentially bridges back to Episode IV: A New Hope with Leia's theme and the Throne Room theme especially featured.

Trk Dur Title Film Sequence, Themes
1 7:31 Star Wars and the Revenge of the Sith
  • 0:00: Main title and crawl (fanfare, Luke theme).
  • 1:16: (Unused) Camera pans down to massive ships above Coruscant (fanfares, "mission" brass/snare figures).
  • 1:39: Anakin and Obi-Wan fly Jedi starfighters past a Republic star destroyer and into a thick battle scene (Force theme in a martial variation, mission brass/snare).
  • 2:34: Anakin and Obi-Wan sight General Grievous' capital ship and head towards it (string-driven Escape rhythm/march).  They engage Vulture droids, but clone troopers in S-foil fighters provide cover (brass Force fragments, Escape string march, joined by brass tremoli, mission brass).
  • 3:15: The two Jedi are pursued by missiles (rhythmic strings/taiko drums/brass ornaments).  Anakin dispatches his pursuers with some spinning maneuvers (swirling harp/wind figures, string/taiko rhythm, wind/brass ornaments). 
  • 4:05: Buzz droids board Obi-Wan's starfighter and take out R4 (sinister scalar figures/accents).  Anakin tries to shoot off some of the droids and then maneuvers next to Obi-Wan's ship (brass fanfares/swirling figures/taiko drums).
  • 4:46: (Partially used) Grievous enters the bridge and learns of the Jedi's arrival (Grievous theme in brass, joined by Grievous theme B: a swirling string ostinato).  The Jedi engage Destroyer droids in the launch bay (brass swells/tremoli).
  • 5:21: (Unused) Inside a runaway elevator, Anakin and Obi-Wan work with Artoo to get to Palpatine, while at the same time dealing with Battle droids (rhythmic syncopated strings with brass accents/ornaments, joined by martial snare rolls, rhythmic strings develop in several variations, joined by brass figures/percussion and brief fanfares).
2 4:46 Anakin's Dream
  • 0:00: Anakin admires Padmé on the balcony of her apartment as she discusses their future baby (held strings/harp/poignant violin solo, Love theme ("Across the Stars") with counter melody in violin/strings, strings).
  • 1:14: Anakin has a nightmare of Padmé suffering (dissonant strings/synth/cymbal).  He gets out of bed (harp/winds/strings swelling).  When Padmé joins him he tells her about the dream and that in it she dies in childbirth (tragic/tender strings).
  • 2:26: Skeptical, Padmé is more concerned about their positions in the Senate and the Jedi Order (Love theme in muted brass, tense strings).
  • 2:56: At the Jedi Temple in a dark room, Anakin tells Yoda about his visions (low string figure).  Yoda warns him about the Dark side and not to worry about the loss of loved ones (low brass/high suspense violins with low Force theme wind fragments).
  • 4:13: Anakin catches up with Obi-Wan and gets an update on the progress of the Clone War on the outer rim (low brass fanfare, uneasy strings).
3 3:42 Battle of the Heroes
Concert Suite, partially used in the final battle on the lava river.
  • 0:00: String ostinato (violas?), main theme enters on muted brass/string pulses
  • 0:26: Brass picks up ostinato, theme on choir/strings, theme developed
  • 1:10: Modulating bridge and accents, staccato accents interlude
  • 1:33: Theme on brass/choir with ornamental string/xylophone interludes and brass section solo
  • 1:57: Force theme in brass/choir
"I have failed you, Anakin.  I have failed you."
"I should have known the Jedi were plotting to take over."
"Anakin, Chancellor Palpatine is evil!"
"From my point of view, the Jedi are evil."
"Well, then you are lost!"
  • 2:11: Ostinato/Theme with variations
  • 2:47: Accents, theme in a canon, theme with more accents
"It's over, Anakin. I have the high ground."
"You underestimate my power."
"Don't try it."
  • 3:07: Ostinato in strings with theme development in clarinets, end swell/cadence.
4 4:04 Anakin's Betrayal
  • 0:00: After Palpatine gives Order 66, Obi-Wan is blasted into the water on Utapau.  Jedi around the galaxy are killed by clone troopers (tragic theme on strings/choir/harp, joined by brass figures leading into timpani roll).
  • 1:00: On Kashyyyk, Yoda senses something is wrong.  More Jedi are killed around the galaxy (urgent brass figures join, choir drops out, brass accents/cadences, 4-note string/brass modulating ostinato figure, melancholy falling brass).
  • 2:15: Clone troopers approach Yoda but he kills them (brass fanfare, strings develop, brass swell, brief held texture).
  • 2:52: Padmé is comforted by Threepio (choir rejoins followed by strings/harp).  Senator Bail Organa lands at the Jedi Temple to see what's going on (dramatic choral ending figures with timpani rolls).
5 4:07 General Grievous
  • 0:00: On Utapau, Obi-Wan mounts a lizard-like varactyl and looks towards a higher level where Grievous and the Separatists are having a meeting (Utapau "motoric" low string rhythm with brass fanfares/harp and string cluster ornaments).
  • 0:27: Grievous tells the Separatists that they are to go to Mustafar (muted brass and percussion rhythm).  Obi-Wan moves above the council chamber (motoric rhythm with Force theme fragment/dissonant brass, brass accents).  After the Separatists leave, Obi-Wan eventually jumps down to confront Grievous (hesitant low figures/held textures, falling harp glissando).
  • 1:25: Obi-Wan struggles with Grievous on the wheel bike (motoric rhythm with timpani/tambourine/scalar wind ornaments/brass accents developing).
  • 2:20: Obi-Wan fights hand-to-hand with Grievous on a launch pad (motoric rhythm on brass/percussion, action variations with brass swells/tremoli, wind accents, etc).
  • 3:34: (Repeat of 1:53 to 2:19 with clean ending).
6 5:25 Palpatine's Teachings
  • 0:00: Source music: On Coruscant inside the opera house during a performance, Palpatine tells Anakin that Grievous has been located (low male overtone/throat singing with filtered synth textures).
  • 1:36: At his office, Palpatine reveals to Anakin that he has studied the Dark side of the Force (low falling strings).
  • 2:03: Palpatine offers to teach Anakin about the Dark side to save Padmé.  Anakin realizes that Palpatine is a Sith lord (trumpet joins, followed by organ, high held strings).
  • 2:32: During a Jedi High Council meeting, Anakin becomes annoyed that the Council will not make him a Master, even though he has been appointed to the Council (troubled high textures, Vader theme in low winds, suspense winds).  After hearing war reports, Yoda volunteers to go help the Wookies (Force theme in brass). 
  • 3:14: After the meeting, Obi-Wan asks Anakin to spy on Palpatine for the Council (troubled winds/low strings, harp, rising suspense string ostinato: variation of Dilemma ostinato).
  • 4:12: (Unused) On a transport, Mace Windu, Yoda and Obi-Wan discuss Anakin and Palpatine (ominous low winds with low string accents, swells).  Scene cuts to Padmé's apartment (Coruscant fanfare).
7 3:28 Grievous and
the Droids
  • 0:00: (Unused) During the rescue of Palpatine over Coruscant, Artoo, Obi-Wan and Anakin are all captured (urgent brass/strings).  After a brief cutaway to the ship's exterior (Grievous brass fanfare), they are seen entering the bridge as prisoners (suspense textures with military snare ornaments).  Grievous and the Jedi threaten each other (Luke theme, lurching/scuttling figures). 
  • 1:16: (Unused) Artoo makes a distraction and the Jedi attack the droids on the bridge (rhythmic Escape motif in trumpets with counter accents/rhythms/figures in brass and percussion).
  • 2:05: Obi-Wan and Anakin finish destroying the bridge droids, as Grievous escapes out a window (rapid accents, further development of Escape rhythm and ornaments).  The ship begins to break in half (falling brass figures with drums).
  • 3:01: (Unused) Grievous launches in an escape pod.  Anakin takes control of the ship (Escape theme continues, then subdued with Force theme fragment).
8 3:17 Padmé's Ruminations
  • 0:00: (Alternate mix) After Mace Windu leaves to arrest Palpatine/Sidious, Anakin waits at the Jedi Council chamber and broods.  In her apartment, Padmé looks towards the Jedi Temple and worries about Anakin (low textures with synth and female wailing, subtle high Love theme fragment at 1:15). 
  • 1:36: (Partially alternate) Darth Sidious tells Anakin that the Jedi must die (creeping low string theme).  He orders Anakin to go to the Jedi Temple, kill everyone there, and then go to the Mustafar system to wipe out the Separatists (brass accents, creeping theme on organ with brass accents, dissonant string textures). 
9 3:57 Anakin vs. Obi-Wan
  • 0:00: Obi-Wan and Anakin begin dueling on Mustafar's launch pad (tremolo accents, Battle of the Heroes on brass/low strings).
  • 0:21: Yoda confronts Palpatine and is hit with Force lightning (Vader theme).  The Mustafar battle continues into the control room (Battle of the Heroes).
  • 0:55: Palpatine threatens Yoda, but the Jedi rallies (Vader theme cont'd - based on TESB Luke /Vader duel sequence, swirling rhythmic strings/fanfares).  Palpatine tries to escape, but Yoda blocks him and they begin dueling as well (Vader theme).
  • 2:20: Anakin grabs Obi-Wan by the throat, but Obi-Wan breaks his hold (held suspense texture).  Their duel continues, intercut with Yoda's duel with Palpatine, which moves to the Senate amphitheater (Battle of the Heroes developed).
  • 3:21: Anakin and Obi-Wan's Force powers momentarily lock ("hand-to-hand"), after which Anakin inadvertently destroys the Mustafar lava control panel (Force theme on choir/strings, Battle of the Heroes).
10 4:05 Anakin's
Dark Deeds
  • 0:00: Obi-Wan and Yoda come across Anakin's dark deeds at the Jedi Temple (held choir/string textures with percussion accents).
  • 0:34: Anakin begins killing off the Separatists on Mustafar (choir fanfare with sinister low string/brass/perc. figures).
  • 0:44: In the Senate, Palpatine reveals his disfigurement from fighting the Jedi (sinister Sith theme on strings with brass ornaments).
  • 1:02: Anakin kills the rest of the Separatists on Mustafar, intercut with Palpatine proclaiming himself Emperor of the Galactic Empire (Sith theme developed on brass, choir fanfare, weighty brass interlude, Sith theme resumes on brass with wailing choir and brass accents).
  • 2:14: Obi-Wan tells Padmé that Anakin has turned to the Dark side.  He expresses his sympathy to her (Battle of the Heroes variation, building in brass/strings).
  • 3:31: On Mustafar, Anakin broods and waits (dark brass fanfares).
11 4:14 Enter
Lord Vader
  • 0:00: (Partial alternate) After escaping from the Utapau betrayal, Obi-Wan rendezvous with Bail Organa and Yoda (Grievous fanfare variation).  They decide to return to Coruscant to investigate the Jedi purge (thoughtful strings/winds/harp, horns/strings).
  • 0:50: On Mustafar, Gunray is informed by Darth Sidious that Darth Vader will soon be arriving to "take care of them" (undeveloped Sith theme on sinister brass/snare, subdued suspense strings/winds, falling brass figure).
  • 1:32: Organa's corvette approaches Coruscant.  Yoda and Obi-Wan decide to visit the Jedi Temple (approach fanfare, tense brass/string figures).
  • 2:14: Organa's ship descends to Coruscant (arrival fanfare).  Meanwhile, Anakin lands on Mustafar and begins threatening the Separatists (undeveloped Sith theme on sinister brass/strings/percussion, held strings/low brass rhythm, string rhythm joined by snare/brass, brief held texture, Vader theme in brass).
  • 3:25: At the Jedi Temple, Yoda and Obi-Wan take out the clone troopers (sweeping strings/brass/snare, Force theme fragment).
  • 3:49: Palpatine announces to the Senate that the Jedi rebellion has been foiled (Emperor theme in low strings/brass/timpani, foreboding brass end cadence).
12 2:42 The Immolation Scene
  • 0:00: At the end of the Mustafar duel, a defeated Anakin begins sliding down towards the lava flow (poignant strings).
  • 0:58: Anakin ignites from the heat.  Obi-Wan takes his lightsaber and departs (rising string figures (tremoli swells)).
  • 1:29: Back on the ship, Padmé asks if Anakin is alright (tragic strings/muted brass).  A weary Obi-Wan takes off from Mustafar (low strings/brass, "mission" strings with winds).
13 2:49 Grievous Speaks to
Lord Sidious
  • 0:00: After escaping from the Battle of Coruscant, General Grievous lands on Utapau (Grievous theme B ostinato string figures into Grievous' main theme developed on brass/choir/snare).
  • 0:51: Grievous enters a chamber and contacts Darth Sidious for instructions (held suspense textures).  Scene cuts to Anakin admiring Padmé on the balcony of her apartment (string tremoli, antiphonal brass fanfares).
  • 1:51: After learning of Anakin's betrayal of the Jedi, Padmé boards a ship to fly to Mustafar, with Obi-Wan as a stowaway (poignant strings, Duel of the Fates variation in strings, Battle of the Heroes variation joined by muted brass/harp).
14 3:37 The Birth of
the Twins
Padmé's Destiny
  • 0:00: Obi-Wan and Yoda learn that Padmé is dying and that her unborn twins must be delivered immediately (high strings with celeste/harp, flute, clarinet, flute).
  • 0:20: Anakin is operated on under Palpatine's care (low brass swelling figures).  Luke and Leia are born (celeste/harp arpeggios, strings/clarinet ornaments).  Anakin receives his helmet and is made into Darth Vader (brass swells/harp glissandi/string tremoli). 
  • 1:25: Padmé dies while telling Obi-Wan that there is still good in Anakin (tragic muted brass/strings, funeral theme choral chants/harp/strings/bass pulses, Force theme, rising choir, subdued choir/anvil).  Vader rises, and Palpatine tells him that he accidentally killed Padmé (grim brass figures, chant resumes, Force theme, choir/strings rise, brass end cadence).  
15 13:06 A New Hope and
End Credits
  • 0:00: Senator Bail Organa lands at Alderaan and presents his wife with baby Leia (falling brass/harp, Leia theme in winds).
  • 0:24: On Tatooine, Obi-Wan presents Beru with baby Luke, and then departs (Luke theme in strings, celeste interlude).  Owen and Beru hold Luke as the twin suns set (Force theme on horn, sweeping strings).
  • End credits (alternate).
    • 1:22: Luke theme, Rebel fanfare, Luke theme
    • 2:32: Leia's theme
    • 4:00: Battle of the Heroes (concert suite with Force theme quote)
  • The Throne Room and A New Hope End Title Extended
    • 6:44: Throne room fanfare
    • 7:04: Force theme (brassy, militaristic)
    • 7:38: Throne room fanfare, Luke B theme variations (Leia)
    • 8:08: Luke theme
    • 8:28: Luke B theme variation
    • 8:49: Throne room fanfare reprise, Force theme
    • 9:45: Luke B theme variations
    • 10:14: Throne room fanfare variation, Luke theme
    • 10:55: Luke B theme variation, transition
    • 11:20: Luke theme on brass with climbing strings cadence
    • 11:54: Rebel fanfare and variation on trumpets
    • 12:18: Rebel fanfare and variation on strings
    • 12:33: Throne room fanfare and final cadence

     Williams would again return to Star Wars once again 10 years later in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but even in 2005 with the completion of Revenge of the Sith, he had already made one of the most monumental contributions of all time to the art of film music.

Star Wars Ep. III: Revenge of the Sith Wikia Entry
Battle of the Heroes Wikia
Star Wars Musical Scores Wikia
John Williams Wiki Entry
JWFan Network Star Wars Themes topic
Filmtracks Review
Complete Cue listing

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