ROGUE ONE-A STAR WARS STORY opened in cinemas this weekend in the UK, the film has never been out of the news or so it seems. It is they say the first STAR WARS movie that is basically a spin off from the main films in the series, but there were of course a couple of other spin off pictures when the Ewoks were given their own stories in THE BATTLE OF ENDOR and THE CARAVAN OF COURAGE. Which I must say I quite enjoyed and I still have the videos and the soundtrack LP music courtesy of Peter Bernstein. ROGUE ONE of course is a little more sophisticated than the Ewok adventures and I suspect it had a larger budget than both of the aforementioned combined. The music for ROGUE ONE has also not been out of the news as far as film music collectors are concerned. Composer Alexandre Desplat was originally named for the project but this altered recently and American composer Michael Giacchino was announced as the man for the job. In a very short period of time the composer completed the score and I have to say has managed to create a score that is not only in keeping with the John Williams style (after all Star Wars film without this type of music would not be Star Wars, would it?) but it also has to it a style and sound that is for the most part original or at least has certain musical trademarks and quirks of orchestration that is now something that we as collectors associate with Michael Giacchino. Like his score for JURRASIC WORLD the composer has built his themes around the ever-familiar foundation of motifs created by John Williams, i.e. THE IMPERIAL MARCH, DARTH VADER’S THEME and THE CENTRAL THEME etc. This a powerful and high octane work filled to bursting with adventurous and pulsating thematic material and has more twists, turns and gut wrenching moments than the most volatile rollercoaster ride. Plus, it has its fair share of emotive and romantic sounding pieces, lush and sweeping strings creating lavish and opulent sounding passages, thundering percussion underlining the urgency and action, commanding and threatening brass demanding you listen to it and then there is the wistful and flyaway sounding woodwinds that dart here there and everywhere bringing a certain magical or delicate layer to the score. These elements and more combine to create a sound and purvey a score that is robust, entertaining, and highly exhilarating. The score opens with HE’S HERE FOR US, the style of John Williams shines through here more or less straight away, but as I have already said Giacchino fashions the music to incorporate this style and then kind of turns it around and integrates his own musical character and sound to bring us a piece that is exciting and filled with an up-tempo urgency, yet at the same time oozes with apprehension, and foreboding. At times one can hear little snippets of his Star Trek action music or at least the action pieces within ROGUE ONE do resemble the full-on cues that we heard earlier this year in BEYOND. Does this make ROGUE less enjoyable, No, certainly not.

I think that one of the more prominent tracks within the score is also one of the shortest, HOPE (track number 16) has a duration of less than two minutes, but it very quickly establishes itself and sets the scene for the remainder of the cue, swirling strings and choir combine to make a grand opening statement, these elements are supported by the brass section, the initial opening collaboration soon fades and the brass section intervene with a short lived but strong fanfare of sorts which has the beginnings of THE IMPERIAL MARCH, again brief but affecting. Frome the one of the shortest cues to one of the lengthiest which is track number 9, CONFRONTATION ON EADU. This is pure action and classic Star Wars material, Giacchino bringing into play rasping and growling brass, dramatic and driving strings, with booming percussion and woods to add a touch of intensity. However, after the powerful and tense atmosphere there is a calm and melodic interlude as the composer introduces a wonderfully lyrical but tragic sounding theme which is performed by heartfelt strings and powerful horns that complement and embellish perfectly the string section. Another highlight is THE IMPERIAL SUITE, this is magnificent, timpani backed brass lead the proceedings and are joined by strings which punctuate and augment the central thematic material of the piece, this is Giacchino’s IMPERIAL MARCH or at least his take on it and I must say he does a good job. ROGUE ONE is in my opinion a good score, and any STAR WARS fan will not be disappointed. It is tense, fast paced, action led, romantic and has themes new and old which Giacchino masterfully fuses. Recommended.




1. He’s Here For Us
  2. A Long Ride Ahead
  3. Wobani Imperial Labor Camp
  4. Trust Goes Both Ways
  5. When Has Become Now
  6. Jedha Arrival
  7. Jedha City Ambush
  8. Star-Dust
  9. Confrontation on Eadu
  10. Krennic’s Aspirations
  11. Rebellions Are Built on Hope
  12. Rogue One
  13. Cargo Shuttle SW-0608
  14. Scrambling the Rebel Fleet
  15. AT-ACT Assault
  16. The Master Switch
  17. Your Father Would Be Proud
  18. Hope
  19. Jyn Erso & Hope Suite
  20. The Imperial Suite
  21. Guardians of the Whills Suite

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