Obi-Wan Kenobi (Original Soundtrack)

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Original Soundtrack)

John Williams is a living legend whose scores have, time and again, brought a human touch to Star Wars’ fantastical worlds, beginning with his majestic music for 1977’s Oscar-winning Star Wars (subsequently designated Episode IV – A New Hope). Since then, his extraordinary work on the franchise has become a mainstay of pop culture, from the brooding “Force Theme” and the tenderness of his theme for Yoda, to the terrifying “Imperial March,” undoubtedly inspired by Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet. Incredibly, Williams has scored the music for every one of the nine Star Wars films in the series. The celebrated composer has stepped, once again, into the Star Wars realm, this time with music for the 2022 TV series Obi-Wan Kenobi, set between the events of Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV. His dramatic theme for Obi-Wan marks his first score for the small screen since 2009. It’s thought that Williams was drawn to the project because Obi-Wan was the only character for whom he hadn’t composed a theme, and he has clearly harnessed all his musical powers for the Jedi Master. The four-minute theme strikes a solitary mood with a lone, Wagnerian French horn before the luscious, Romantic string scoring we’ve come to know and love from Williams. It’s one of his best works and amply demonstrates a masterful grasp of character, breathing life into the ageing, jaded Kenobi as he wanders from the Jedi path into the crosshairs of Darth Vader. The series’ principal composer, however, is Natalie Holt, who recently earned acclaim for her eclectic music for Marvel’s Loki. Holt’s contribution pivots around a more textural blend, with her use of samples, electronics, and percussion mirroring Ludwig Göransson’s work on earlier Star Wars series The Mandalorian. Holt has a gift for melody, too, with some beautifully elegiac writing (“Young Leia” and “Days of Alderaan”). And the task of incorporating Williams’ theme into the remainder of the score falls to his regular collaborator William Ross, whose own use of horn coupled with propulsive, ostinato rhythms, particularly in the Kenobi/Vader standoff sequences, carries the Williams baton with natural ease. His material also sits effectively alongside Holt’s contributions to give a sense of a blend of old and new. And so, as the Star Wars universe evolves, so does the music, even as Holt and Ross preserve the essence of Williams’ style within their innovative sonic textures. There’s no doubt that Williams’ Star Wars legacy will endure, like the Force, through every subsequent composer who steps into the saga.

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