Sunday, February 05, 2006

Attack of the Clones

For this first blog I decided to listen to the soundtrack for Star Wars Episode II- Attack of the Clones. I really like John Williams’ music for its intense emotional connections to the action in the movie itself. This soundtrack has, of course, the star wars theme that everyone can recognize with its glorious brass fanfare. Also in the first track there is foreshadowing of Anakin’s eventual transformation into the evil Darth Vader. The second track, the love theme, has beautifully melodic solos by the oboe, harp, and English horn over a triplet string accompaniment. Delicate and soaring, these solos really portray Anakin’s and Padme’s love. The melody is eventually picked up by the entire orchestra, in a heart-wrenching climax. Tension in the relationship is also revealed with an unstable section. This track, I think, would be fun to drive to.

The next track accompanies the attempted assassination of Padme and the chase of the assassination. Highly percussive, this work has many short, harsh passages and is very tense, keeping the listener on the edge of his seat. The following track changes character, giving a musical backdrop to Yoda and his young trainees. The melodic line is simple, beginning in the winds. Strings join in to fill out the texture. A return of the love theme occurs in this track, providing a bridge between parts of the movie. The first vocal lines are present in this track, a notable change of color. The next track has themes of Coruscant and small billows orchestral dynamics. Themes from the first released Star Wars movie, A New Hope, are stated in this track.

The next track is set behind Padme and Anakin as well. With a low flute solo at the exposition and a return of the love theme in vibraphone, this music seems to reflect a true relationship between people, not just a passionate fling. Another abrupt shift brings me to “Jangos’ Escape”. Jango Fett, the bounty hunter, escapes from Jedi Obi-Wan in a flury of woodwinds and brass. Returning to Padme and Anakin, another track accompanies an afternoon picnic in a field. It retains the now familiar musical themes between the two lovers.

Going back to tracking Jango, a chase scene in outer space is colored musically by similar phenomena as the last track: intense brass answers to frantic scalar wind and string passages. The music is loud and jarring at some points, while quiet and mischievous at others. The following track, “Return to Tatooine”, is one describing Anakin’s curiosity of the state of his mother. Coloring a different kind of space ride, this piece is smooth and fluid.

The penultimate track, “The Tusken Camp and the Homestead”, is the soundtrack for the scene where Anakin slaughters a group of Tusken Raiders, avenging the death of his tortured mother. The track begins with claves and muted brass moving to strings and then somewhat spastic string and wind entrances. Clearly this track reflects the madness and loss of control experienced by Anakin. The final track is called “The Love Pledge and the Arena”. As one might expect, the love theme returns, in a delicate string setting with the oboe over is again. Cellos take the second phrase after the oboe, moving into violins. Flute begins the second period of the theme, with strings joining in to enhance the texture and dynamics.

The music becomes more intense, leading to the arena where young Skywalker, Amidala, and Obi-Wan will fight for their lives against three different monstrous creatures. Finality is given to the music by a steady snare drum and low brass.

Well, I think that wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. On to other homework!

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