Battle of the Heroes

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"Battle of the Heroes" is a musical theme from the movie Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. It was written by John Williams for the duel between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi on the volcanic planet Mustafar. Williams wrote the piece upon the request of George Lucas.[1] Lucas wanted a piece that would function as a "tragedy Duel of the Fates" in the film's final fight scenes.

The concert suite begins with a soft and tense ostinato by the violas in tremolo. Stopped horns join in to present an initial statement of the theme, immediately followed by pulsing beats with mezzopiano double basses and cellos. The ostinato builds as the harp and trombones make their entrance. Suddenly, the horns, 1st violins, and choir play the theme at a louder dynamic level. The ostinato still plays beneath it all. Twice, the theme is interrupted by brief flurries of chaotic "action music". At a key moment, the "Force Theme" makes a forceful entrance in a minor key. After the piece's main theme is heard several more times, "Battle of the Heroes" culminates in a fortissimo tutti of repeated D minor chords. This false ending is followed by the viola ostinato again. Solo flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, and horn in unison deliver a melancholic interpretation of the theme's third over the ostinato, which slowly dies away before landing on the tonic. The timpani rumble as the entire orchestra crescendos into a final D minor chord.

The theme is played during the climactic duel between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. At the beginning of the battle, a cue titled "Heroes Collide" ("Anakin vs. Obi-Wan" on the original soundtrack) is heard. This cue juxtaposes fast-paced variations of "Battle of the Heroes" with the "Clash of Lightsabers" cue from The Empire Strikes Back. Later in the duel, fragments of the theme return twice in a cue titled "The Boys Continue." (This cue is not heard on the original soundtrack, although both of its "Battle of the Heroes" variations can be heard in various video games.) After "The Boys Continue" (and a short, quiet cue titled "Rev. Yoda to Exile"), a cue simply titled "Revenge of the Sith" plays as Anakin and Obi-Wan exchange blows on a river of lava. This is basically a re-recording of the concert suite on the soundtrack album, but without the extended opening and ending. There are also a few minor differences in the orchestration, and the rhythm of the final tutti chords is different.

The music video A Hero Falls has been featured on two DVDs and starwars.com. Set to "Battle of the Heroes," it contains video clips from the new film (with dialogue and sound effects). The music video can be found on the Star Wars: A Musical Journey DVD, included with the Episode III soundtrack album, as well as on the Revenge of the Sith DVD.

In the UK, Battle of the Heroes was put on general release as a CD-single and reached no.25 on the UK singles chart in June 2005.

References[edit]

  1. ^ DVD featurette "Within a Minute"