This blog is all about stories; stories that I love and stories that I love to tell. One way that I’m going to share these stories with you is to talk about the things that I’m listening to, that I’m reading, and that I’m watching. It’ll be a bit like reviews, but I’ll say right off the bat, I’m an amateur critic. I will, however, try to be as discerning as possible when it comes to whether something is objectively good or bad, and I realize that I won’t always be successful. If you disagree with anything here, leave a comment or join the conversation on Facebook! Only please remember to be respectful. We’re here because we all love stories.
That being said…
I am currently working my way through a podcast produced by Rebel Force Radio called Star Wars Oxygen. It’s a program in which leading personalities Jimmy Mac and David W. Collins embark on a thorough exploration of the music of Star Wars composed by maestro John Williams. Beginning with the original trilogy, they work their way over the course of many episodes through each Star Wars film soundtrack chronologically, according to their release dates.
Let me tell you right now, I am floored by the amount of research and insight that Jimmy and especially David (formerly of Lucas Arts) pour into every session. Their passion for the material isn’t just obvious; it’s infectious. I just started Volume 14 (each Volume equals one podcast episode), which is the first episode in which they dive into the prequel trilogy. The previous 13 Volumes, roughly at or slightly exceeding an hour run time per episode, covered the original trilogy: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi. I’m not going to give away any details, because anyone who loves Star Wars, or music, or movies, or the art of storytelling at all really need to take the time to give this podcast a listen.
I will say that what stands out to me most so far is that the music of John Williams carries the narrative of the story in many ways. I don’t mean that the music is a sort of character, but that it is, as the hosts repeatedly declare, the oxygen of the story, adding a layer of atmosphere that is so well executed by the great composer that it has become, not only integral to the films as a whole, but positively iconic to Star Wars fans, movie lovers, and throughout the world.
If you decide to check it out (DO IT!) here are SEVEN things I’ve discovered so far that you can look forward to:
- There is a very specific reason why the Main Theme (or Luke’s Theme) sounds the way it does, and it all has to do with mythology.
- The evolution of Leia’s Theme throughout the films is a masterclass in musical theory.
- Sometimes, less is more. A lot less. Nothing. Sometimes, nothing is more.
- The most frequently occurring musical motif in the original trilogy is not the main theme. Also, there are spreadsheets.
- The LONDON. SYMPHONY. ORCHESTRA.
- The original soundtrack itself defied conventional filmmaking wisdom of the time, and started a kind of film score revolution.
I love this podcast, and once I’m caught up I will continue to tune in as long as they continue putting out new episodes (which they do monthly). If you want to give it a go yourself, you can find Star Wars Oxygen episodes listed under the Rebel Force Radio podcast on iTunes, or at www.rebelforceradio.com/star-wars-oxygen/.
Seriously everyone, give it a listen. I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for the masterful storytelling of Star Wars and the genius of both George Lucas and John Williams. The Force is definitely strong with this one.