The Star Wars saga continues and sadly they say it reaches its climax and end with the latest instalment THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. No matter what has happened in this glorious saga the coming and going of characters, the deaths of heroes and the emergence of new villains, there is one thing that has remained a constant throughout and that is the symphonic supremely inspiring music of composer John Williams. Who is on board for this the last episode and it also marks his final time writing the score for a STAR WARS film even any so-called spin offs that will inevitably pop up in the future? THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is for me probably the most energetic STAR WARS score of them all, there is so much pace to it and every track seems to step up to the mark to create thrilling and exuberant flourishes, Williams has fashioned a score that successfully encompasses music from the entire saga, the composer referring to old established favourites and intertwining these with new and fresh sounding leitmotivs that build into full blown thematic majesty, that is rich vibrant and lush intis style and sound, Williams is a master of the theme or leitmotif, each character having their own theme or maybe a reference to a theme used in the past that is arranged differently. The score opens with the traditional STAR WARS theme, the brass flourishes inspired by Korngold’s KONGS ROW once again heralding another chapter in the STAR WARS adventure. FANFARE AND PROLOGUE, is an inspiring piece that contains what we have come to expect from John Williams, the fanfares being followed by a tensely urgent and atmospheric piece, that is both apprehensive and foreboding and is an introduction to the remainder of the score. This dark and powerful cue sets the scene for much of what is to follow. THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is filled to overflowing with the now familiar musical trade marks of Williams, the fly away woods, swirling strings, that turn into wistful and yet wildly romantic passages at the blink of an eye, booming percussion and those rasping and raw sounding brass lines, all of these components are present and the composer fuses them together with ease to fashion yet another imposing and commanding set of themes. One of the highlights for me personally is the cue THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, this is again typical of Williams in a more romantic mood, with rich and lavish strings creating a beautifully surging and affecting theme that Max Steiner would have been proud of, in fact the entire score is like a salute, a tribute or a homage, and not just to the entire STAR WARS saga musically, but also a nod in the direction of composers such as Steiner, Newman, Waxman and of course the Master himself Erich Wolfgang Korngold.
THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (Track number 3) is a sublime and engrossing piece, its emotive and inspiring qualities bursting through. I also felt that maybe there was a sound and style that we associate with the likes of Walton present here, because the track is filled to brimming with a proud and even patriotic air. THE OLD DEATH STAR (track number 4) is certainly a step back into the realms of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, with Darth Vader’s theme being present and bolstered by increased use of pounding percussion, the low driving strings raise their heads mid-way through the composition and are supported by bellowing but melodic horns that add a sense of dread to the proceedings. Track number 5, THE SPEEDER CHASE is full throttle and a piece that has at its core brass and strings which seem to be themselves racing against each other, the strings climb with the brass underlining and stabbing at the strings, this is Williams in super action mode. DESTINY OF THE JEDI (Track number 6).begins in a mysterious fashion, with strings opening the cue, we then get a brief glimpse of REYS THEME but this is just fleeting and slightly watered down, before the piece starts to become more melodic, building to a crescendo of sorts before dipping back down into a more subdued persona, but although it is not booming or racing, the cue still has to it a certain aura of fearfulness.
The STAR WARS theme is also brought into play but this time a more romantic arrangement with strings elevating it to new heights and brass flourishes supporting. ANTHEM OF EVIL is an interesting cue, (track number 7). Shades here of the Emperors theme, a choral work, which is most definitely sinister because of its low key sound initially, the composer adding strings and those proud sounding horns he does so well fused with additional striking brass and rumbles of percussion to purvey a sense of virulence and urgency. I think I am going to stop here, because this is a score that you should savour for your self and make up your mind if it is excellent, sublime or awesome. This is a soundtrack for heroes, villains and some who are not too sure about if they are either, its sweeping, commanding and entertaining Recommended.