I’m not sure whether it has always been true that the music in Star Wars is something that I notice only on a second viewing, or after hearing the soundtrack separately, or whether J. J. Abrams has the music feature less prominently than George Lucas did at key moments. But there is some truly wonderful music in the new film. Here are some of my favorites:
Kylo Ren Arrives at the Battle:
The theme for Snoke is striking in its simplicity – it is deep choral voices staying on one note for long periods of time. It conveys the same menace as the themes used for the Emperor in the original trilogy, as well as in Duel of the Fates, but also gives the impression of something even older and more sinister, but at the same time more tired and weary. It is very intriguing, as we speculate about where and how Snoke may have been waiting in the shadows while the events of episodes I-VI played out. And indeed, it seems that someone has spotted an important fact – that the very same music is used in Episode III when Palpatine tells the story of Darth Plagueis!
If you have listened to all the above and still want more, here are “On the Inside” and “The Ways of the Force,” which illustrate the use of old themes, new music, and music which is new but still has the feel of the previous films:
Music from the film is already starting to make it into live performances. This track is a tongue-in-cheek echo of an earlier piece by Williams, the “Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra” from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
And finally, let me bid you Farewell (and the Trip):