It has been over 40 years since we first heard about the saga of a galaxy far far away and their struggle for freedom from tyranny.
Since that time, fans of the “Star Wars” saga have locked to theatres for each new episode, patterned their lives after favourite characters, and renamed dates on the calendar.
On May 4 and 5, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra celebrated the music of the “Star Wars” franchise with performances from the films.
Prior to the performance of “May the Fourth Be With You: The Music of Star Wars”, concert goers – some of whom were dressed as “Star Wars” characters – could meet and have their photos taken with Chewbacca, Han Solo, Storm Troopers, and Jedi Knights.
For this performance the BPO was led by guest conductggor Stuart Chafeta who is quite a character himself. An energetic and charismatic conductor, Chafetz gave some good impressions of Chewbacca and Ewoks. He renamed the day “Revenge of the Fifth”.
After opening the program with the “Twentieth Century Fox Fanfare” and the theme from the original “Star Wars” film, the BPO played a couple of pieces from each of the films in the saga.
From “A New Hope” they performed “Princess Leia’s Theme” and the ever popular “Cantina Band”.
From “The Empire Strikes Back” they played “Yoda’s Theme” and the “Imperial March”.
From “Return of the Jedi” was “Parade of the Ewoks” and “The Forest Battle”.
And from “The Phantom Menace”, the BPO played “Anakin’s Theme”, “The Adventures of JarJar”, and “Duel of the Fates”.
After the intermission, the second half of the program opened with the theme song from another space fantasy with the theme for “2001: A Space Odyssey” including conductor Stuart Chafetz jumping off the podium to play the timpani parts…twice. Noting that “2001” had HAL, Chafetz said that while we don’t have HAL, we do have Siri and proceeded with a short skit with Siri misunderstanding his words – and who hasn’t dealt with that?
The program continues with “Across the Stars” from “Attack of the Clones” and “Battle of the Heroes” from “Revenge of the Sith”.
From the highly anticipated film “The Force Awakens” the BPO played the “March of the Resistance”, “Rey’s Theme”, and “Scherzo for X-Wings”.
Noting that the music for “Rogue One” was the only film score in the saga not composed by John Williams, Chafetz said that Michael Giacchino’s credits include the music from the last three “Star Trek” films, the television series “Lost”, and “THe Incredibles”. The BPO performed “The Imperial Suite” from “Rogue One” by Michael Giacchino.
From the most recent film “The Last Jedi” the BPO played “The Rebellion is Born” before taking it back to where it all began with the award ceremony and end credits music from “Star Wars: A New Hope”.
In December, the saga will come to an end with the final episode.