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Star Wars Music Minute

Aug 20, 2021

With a final swell of the Force theme, the orchestra pulls us into the credits. Today, I am pleased to speak with Lorenz Gamma, violinist on The Last Jedi score. We talk nitty gritty details -- including what it was like working with John Williams, what the orchestra spent the most time rehearsing, the importance of inaccuracies, and how The Last Jedi score is like "a rich wine that goes with a rich meal."


00:00 - intros
01:43 - Lorenz's history with Star Wars
04:41 - What's the difference working for John Williams versus other Hollywood composers?
07:00 - craft, intricacy, painting
11:18 - orchestration, synthesizers, nitty gritty details in string writing
16:49 - dynamics: are they performed live or mixed later?
20:43 - touching quotes from John Williams about the Los Angeles recording orchestra
26:20 - no click track
29:10 - descending bass line + ascending melody
33:57 - difficulty of John Williams music (to play)
35:10 - funny anecdote about the Harry Potter score
36:35 - "wash of sound," how inaccuracies are part of a desired effect, patina
42:33 - advice to young composers
43:08 - how Star Wars is like a Wagner opera
45:00 - delaying the perfect authentic cadence
48:46 - classical music recommendations for listeners who like Star Wars scores
51:18 - Richard Strauss, programmatic music, Alpine Symphony
56:37 - rundown of the motifs from these 5 minutes, where we are in the soundtrack

Musical Themes/Motifs (in order of appearance, using Frank Lehman's names):

  • 3. Force with descending lament bassline
  • 41a. Kylo Ren 1 (Aggressive) with march snares as Kylo is walking out, overhead shot  
  • 42. Kylo Ren 2 (Hesitant) after Rey shuts the door on him and the dice disappear
  • 50. Poe when Rey and Poe meet
  • 45a. Rey 1 (Theme) mixed with 3. Force
  • 2. Rebel Fanfare
  • 1a. Main Theme (A Section) on celeste
  • 3. Force when broom boy looks up at stars
  • 1a. Main Theme (A Section) in credits
  • 55a. Rose (A Section)

Soundtrack: "Peace and Purpose" and "Finale"

Other episodes with musicians from The Last Jedi soundtrack:

Additional References:

Lorenz Gamma is a violin soloist, chamber musician, faculty member, Artistic Director of the Borromeo Music Festival in Switzerland, and Hollywood recording veteran who played on The Last Jedi score, as well as The Rise of Skywalker, Solo, Rogue One, and 70+ other films.

Star Wars Music Minute:

Chrysanthe Tan (Xanthe):