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Friday, 2 May 2014

Musical Friday: John Williams Conducting The Dual Of The Fates

Dear friends,

In case you did not know, Star Wars fans WorldWide celebrate each year of May 4th the Star Wars Day and greet eachother with greetings like "May the 4th be with you" (a trick on the famous line "May the Force be with you"). So I think it is more than appropriate to get ready this Friday with a song from the Star Wars soundtrack. "Duel of the Fates" is a musical theme recurring in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and the Expanded Universe. It was composed by John Williams and recorded for the film soundtrack by the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and the London Voices. This symphonic piece is played with both a full orchestra and a choir. With the music video for this theme, the LSO became the only classical group to ever have a video debut on Total Request Live. "Duel of the Fates" lasted 11 days on the countdown.The lyrics are based on a fragment of an archaic Welsh poem Cad Goddeu (Battle of the Trees), and sung in Sanskrit.
The music had its debut during the final lightsaber duel between Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (although Williams conducted "Duel of the Fates" to appear as a concert suite in the end credits, rather than the film, Williams did record similar cues using the ostinato motif, and in one instance, a 'cut down' version, labelled the "Great Duel"). John Williams stated the chorus was introduced to give a religious, temple-like feel to the epic lightsaber duel. Williams compared the setting of the battle to a pagan altar, and that the duel itself "seems like a dance or a ballet, a religious ceremony of some kind, probably ending in the death of one of the combatants". For Episode I, John Williams recorded a choirless version of "Duel of the Fates", then recorded the choir performing on its own, then layered the vocals over the choirless recordings.
An abridged version is played during Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones during Anakin's speederbike search for his mother.
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The piece "Battle of the Heroes" that was played in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, during the battle sequence between the Jedi Master Yoda, and Emperor Palpatine, the Dark Lord of the Sith, in the senate chamber on Coruscant, and the simultaneous battle between Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) and Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar, was inspired by Duel of the Fates but rewritten in a tragic mode. Lucas had expressed in a documentary of The Phantom Menace that he wanted to use Duel of the Fates in his Part III liking how it portrayed the feeling of the doom of the dark side. But he decided not to use it mainly because it did not match the tragic mood of the duel between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, Duel of the Fates does make an appearance during the Yoda/Darth Sidious fight scene. For this instance, John Williams re-recorded the choir and layered it over the vocal-less recording from Episode I.
John Williams Conducting The Dual Of The Fates - Star Wars
"Duel of the Fates" can be heard in a number of Star Wars video games, including Star Wars Episode I: Racer, The Clone Wars, Lego Star Wars, Revenge of the Sith video game, Star Wars: Empire at War, Star Wars Battlefront II, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and Angry Birds Star Wars II. The theme also plays during Soulcalibur IV whenever The Apprentice fights within either of the game's two Star Wars-themed stages, as well as during his extended ending. "Duel of the Fates" also plays when Darth Maul appears during the Jedi Training Academy show featured at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland.
A special of Lego Star Wars called "The Empire Strikes Out" features a short section of Duel of the Fates. Darth Maul was humming along with the music while declaring how "awesome" he was.
Another Lego Star Wars special, entitled The Yoda Chronicles: Menace of the Sith, also featured Duel of the Fates. Count Dooku plays the music on a radio during a demonstration of the Sith clone Jek-14's power. Darth Maul complains of how Duel of the Fates is his theme song, to which Asajj Ventress replies "Can somebody say diva?".

Yours truly,
A Star Wars Fan Waiting For May 4th :)