Reviews: ‘Return of the Jedi’ Live to Projection

STAR WARS Film Concert Series 2017
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – Film Live with Orchestra
October 4 & 5, 2017, New York City, NY
Music by John Williams
Presented by New York Philharmonic
Conducted by David Newman



  • YourClassical – Seeing and hearing the music performed live in front of your eyes always enhances your appreciation of a film score, and such was certainly the case with Jedi. Three films into the series, Williams had already built a musical vocabulary of character and theme motifs, and the wonders he worked with them became remarkably clear under Newman’s carefully-calibrated baton. Having heard the score innumerable times, it was remarkable for me to be able to look over to stage right and see harpist Nancy Allen pluck out the poignant final reprise of the Imperial March as Darth Vader breathed his last.Hearing the score live also served as a reminder that Jedi is set almost entirely off the grid of George Lucas’s Galactic Empire. Williams’s music was integral to evoking first the remote, treacherous palace of Jabba the Hutt and then the bucolic but threatened woodland of the Ewoks. Rustic percussion, meant to suggest the Ewoks’ own instruments (which ultimately include stormtrooper helmets), abounds. Some fudging was necessary to account for the absence of the men’s choir that intones wordlessly during the Emperor’s final scenes, but with the necessity of an expanded orchestra, there would hardly have been room for any more bodies on the stage. – Full review


Report by ‘rpvee’ (original post)

Once again, it was incredible hearing the score live, though some moments weren’t as loud or bombastic as expected (such as Light of the Force/Vader’s pyre). Other moments I thought might be at least partially tracked were done totally live (Victory Celebration, Ewok music in various scenes), which was a nice surprise. The music during C3PO’s story to the Ewoks was also a noteworthy fun moment to hear live. Regarding the choir, I SWEAR it was present via track during the scene when Palpatine tells Vader to move the fleet to the far side of Endor, but that was the only time I heard it.  It sure sounded like it was there, though!

Lastly – I could feel the awkwardness in the room during Jedi Rocks, though people clapped when Ghost Hayden showed up, interestingly enough.


Main Title

The Dark Side Beckons/The Emperor’s Death/Superstructure Chase/Darth Vader’s Death/The Main Reactor

Leia’s News/Light Of The Force/Victory Celebration

See also:
Star Wars: A New Hope Live to Projection
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Live to Projection

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