Star Wars versus Gustav Holst

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by Darth_Zandalor, Mar 20, 2013.

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  1. Darth_Zandalor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2009
    star 4
    This is probably well known, but I thought it would be fun to show you something neat.


    See how many sections of A New Hope you can find that link up to this song. The easiest one to find is right at the end. I won't say what it is, but if you can't figure it out, you need to hand in your fanboy license.
  2. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    I remember a music professor in college tried to win over a class by demonstrating how John Williams was ripping off Holst. Problem was, he kept playing tracks that didn't really match up that well. The Imperial March sounds kinda like "Mars" if you give it enough license, but not enough to really stir up lay people to. If he'd played the entrance to the Death Star, it might've worked, but all he really did was confuse or irritate everyone.

    I give Williams a pass for his homages to other composers. If you REALLY want to hear music that's patently ripped off of something else, listen to "Decisive Battle" from the "Evangelion" soundtracks, and then the "007" theme in "From Russia With Love". Not that it ruins anything, but it's a better demonstration of one piece of music being closely patterned after another.
    kubricklynch likes this.
  3. Darth_Zandalor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2009
    star 4
    Imperial March reminds me a lot more of Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights. As for Holst, his influence can be seen across a number of differnte places, but in particular it pertains to the Tantiv IV scene as well as the lead up to the trench run.
  4. ezekiel22x Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 5
    I heard this on public radio for the first time several years ago and definitely did a bit of a "wait a sec" thing. If I can get past Horner's lifting and still love the Willow score, though, I can certainly live with the Holst influence in Star Wars.
  5. V-2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    Help an ageing Brit out, please... What does it mean to 'give X/Y/Z a pass'?
  6. Darth_Zandalor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2009
    star 4
    We overlook faults in works because they do something we like, or because something else does it worse, making the first look better.
    Horner has made exactly two film scores that I like: Wrath of Khan and Aliens. Additionally, those make up two of the three film scores the man has ever produced, since he seems content to continually recycle and copy his own music over and over. He's also a bit of an egotistic prick to other composers. Look up the controversy over the original score of the movie Troy and what Horner had to say about Gabriel Yared's work before his score was used instead.
  7. DARTHSHAME Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 2003
    star 4
    I agree the ending is similar. However, I feel Holst was an influence on Williams. He did not rip off his work.
    V-2 likes this.
  8. Darth_Zandalor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2009
    star 4
    I'm not saying that he ripped him off, but his influence is really clear. Hans Zimmer is another composer whose work is greatly inspired by Holst. Listen to the battle music in Gladiator and tell me you don't see the similarities. Also, that movie is about Romans, and the movement is about the Roman God of War, so there's that as well.
  9. V-2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    There's definitely some Maurice Jarre influence in Star Wars too, Lawrence Of Arabia specifically.
  10. Darth_Zandalor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2009
    star 4
    I do hear a lot of Lawrence of Arabia in some of the prequels, especially Phantom Menace.
  11. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    Holst's 'Mars' was used as a temp track for rough cuts of SW/ANH, and was apparently the main theme used in an industry preview of the film. There's no coincidence or 'ripping off' at all, Williams would have composed his own score using the temp track as a bed to begin with. Beyond Holst's 'Mars', I'm not sure of what other temp music GL used.

    Same thing happened with Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey - except that Kubrick fell in love with his temp track and ditched Alex North's officially composed score in favour of the existing music. Good call, despite what film score nerds might say - and North's 2001 score is widely available for those who want to compare.

    (Without wanting to mini-mod, this could all be a great discussion for the Star Wars and Film Music forum)
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Mar 24, 2013
  12. V-2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    Holst's Venus is so similar to the Tatooine sunset theme it must have been a place holder track too....

    The main theme, too. Without wishing to sound like a muso troll, the SW main theme is exactly the same as the Lawrence overture but with the notes in a different order. ;)
    Last edited by V-2, Mar 24, 2013
  13. DARTHSHAME Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 2003
    star 4
    I agree. Mars, the bringer of war is one of my favorite songs. It is so iconic that composers are influenced by it and may not even be aware of it.
  14. Darth_Zandalor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2009
    star 4
    True. I originally started off with the intent of discussing Holst in particular, but it seems thing's have expanded. If you want it moved then go ahead.

    With that in mind, Star Wars isn't the only time that the Lawrence of Arabia track has influenced Williams.


    Tell me that drum beat at the beginning doesn't sound similar.
    Last edited by Darth_Zandalor, Mar 24, 2013
  15. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    No worries, moving to Star Wars & Film Music
    DarthBoba likes this.
  16. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Ahh good, new acquisitions!

    [IMG]

    I'd say it's much less "vs." and more "cross-generational hugs", myself. Nothing wrong with honouring a predecessor at all.
    GunganSlayer and V-2 like this.
  17. GunganSlayer Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2013
    star 2
    In many ways John Williams really revived, especially for films, the concept of extended themes used to illustrate or represent certain characters, locations, or ideas. Obviously, Star Wars has themes that are very well known to SW fans, film lovers, music lovers, and the general public, but the entire series is peppered with motifs all over the place that are well less known (Boba Fett's got one, for example) yet are used to help tell the story being displayed on screen.

    While it is almost impossible to separate the images with the music, one can grab the complete score to any of the SW films and sit down and listen to a story being told. Williams' work certainly does harken back to great classical works and concepts established by earlier composers, such as Wagner. I don't think there is anything malicious with say, Holst's influence in Williams' work. Certainly thematically, Star Wars has much in common with Holst's works, especially his Mars composition. There will come times to that future composers harken back to John Williams, as well.


    As a side note, listening to that Lost World theme really reminded me how much I enjoyed the soundtrack for that film. I haven't heard (or seen the film) in quite a few years.
  18. dolphin Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 1999
    star 4
    The Neptune score is very Star-Warsian. :)
    Last edited by dolphin, May 1, 2013
  19. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 4
    I've often wondered if Williams was inspired by Dvorak's New World Symphony when he was composing SW. Try humming the main theme from the 4th movement, then segue into the Force theme. They go together like chocolate and peanut butter.

    Getting back to Holst, his Jupiter theme might have influenced the SW main theme. But Jupiter reminds me even more of the theme from original BSG.
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