Thursday, June 28, 2012
Various themes or variations of a single theme from a film score are compiled and arranged coherently in a sequence to form what is called a Suite. Compiling a suite in itself is an art and you realize it all the more when you hear a piece like the one John Williams arranged as a tribute to film makers George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg for one of his recent concerts.
Listen to how seamlessly John Williams sails from one theme to another. A composer or the arranger ought to connect the themes seamlessly in the suite, for the performance of it to earn a greater emotional reaction from the audience. The audience’s applause when John Williams dramatically shifts to Star Wars theme was not just because it came when they least expected it but also because John Williams picks a precise moment in Jaws theme to make the transition to the Star Wars theme. It is seamless and yet has an element of surprise. I had goose bumps, when I first heard it.
While listening to the suite for the first time, precisely in a moment, when another theme was still playing, I expected E.T theme to make a surprise entry and voila it did in that very second. John Williams fan, I am. Check if you are also one. While listening to the piece, try to guess the entry point of E.T theme, and if you could guess, pat your back yourself on my behalf. You are a John Williams fan too.
In Hollywood film scores, most of the End Credits music is a Suite of all the themes from the film’s score. In Indian films, rarely we get to hear such score suites in the End credits; mostly one of the songs from the film, or remix of a popular song is played nowadays. Ilaiyaraaja has arranged such score suites for the Opening credits of umpteen films. My most favorite suite arranged by Ilaiyaraaja is not from a feature film, though.
The track India 24 Hours Theme in the India 24 Hours album is actually a suite made of themes from all the other tracks in the album. The seamlessness in transition from one theme to another is quite astonishing in this track. If you listen to this piece without hearing rest of the album, you cannot guess that it is a collection of various themes. It sounds like one coherent piece. That is how a Suite should be.
For my listening pleasure, I always compile themes from films into Suites, many of which I have posted in this site too. But, they were compiled from available audio clips ripped from DVDs, so you can’t expect it to be as coherent as the ones composers compile for the live concert performances.
Some of my favorite suites I put together - How to Name it, Nothing But Wind, Rang De Basanti, Mouna Raagam Mohan Theme, Big Bang Symphony (I have been trying to fit in one more variation of the theme within this Suite, haven't been able to do it yet), Ninaivellam Nithya Love Theme
Now, Greatest of all Suites I have heard is the one John Williams arranged and conducted in Oscar 2002 as a tribute to 75 years of Hollywood Film Music (Jump from 20th Century Fox music to Star Wars, Psycho to Jaws and Godfather to E.T – Several goose bumps in five minutes)