Reviews: ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ Live to Projection

STAR WARS Film Concert Series 2017
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – Film Live with Orchestra
September 26, 27 & 28, 2017, New York City, NY
Music by John Williams
Presented by New York Philharmonic
Conducted by David Newman


  • HuffPost – My guest thought the brass section in particular should have been on an elevated platform and in the spotlight. They do yeoman’s work on this film, which is wall to wall action. Star Wars has moments of quiet contemplation, a slow build to the dramatic climax as our hero journeys from a small town to the front lines of battle. Return Of The Jedi has a more playful, family friendly atmosphere, with the action broken by comedy and romance and a joyful finale. But The Empire Strikes Back? It begins with an attack on a rebel base, moves into space and a treacherous asteroid belt, zooms to a cloud city and on and on with not a moment to catch your breath. And every moment seems punctuated by the brass.More than ever, I appreciated here the cue written for the romantic sparks between Princess Leia and that scoundrel Han Solo. How subtly and smartly it allows us to have fun and yet points the audience in the right direction. The music of Williams makes clear the attraction between those two to be inevitable — we don’t quite know how, but the competition between Han and Luke is immediately over, even if Luke doesn’t realize it at first. So the icky realization in Return Of The Jedi that Luke and Leia are siblings (spoiler alert!) is foreshadowed here and softened quite neatly. Williams is letting us know that Luke and Leia might care for each other but its Han that has her heart.- Full review


Report by ‘rpvee’ (original post)

Just saw Empire! Absolutely outstanding, though interestingly, I think the actual power of the live music was stronger during New Hope (for example, those epic clashes at the start of the original Imperial/Death Star theme). Nevertheless, this was an extraordinary experience. The absent light female chorus during the Cloud City approach wasn’t distracting, but like others here, I seriously wonder how they’re going to go about Jedi and TFA. It wouldn’t surprise me if the choir situation is part of why they’re not doing the prequels, popularity aside.

Also, one especially fun treat – for New Hope, the film resumed from intermission by repeating the music from the end of the first half with the screen black, and then the film faded in as the music continued from where it left off. However, for Empire, they actually played a condensed version of the album/concert version of The Imperial March before resuming the film (it picked up at the bounty hunters with Vader scene).


See also:
Star Wars: A New Hope Live to Projection
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Live to Projection

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