Artists and Parallel Universes…

KYLO REN Ross-A-Field-Guide-to-Star-Wars-Musical-Themes

It was only a matter of time that the brilliant music writer of the New Yorker magazine, Alex Ross, would address the  musical treatment of leitmotifs in John Williams’ music for the Star Wars movies. Perhaps there is more than just a musical homage of a living composer to the grand master of the Gesamtkünstwerk; it  may reveal Star Wars as a “total work of art”, collectively created under the vision of George Lucas. Just like Wagner’s serialized mythology in his  Ring operas (first performed as a cycle in 1876)Star Wars brings its own brand of myth to our time. Star Wars has come to be called a “space opera”, rather than just a film series. The fact that composer John Williams can paint such a broad narrative with leitmotifs is a sign of the possible parallelism between the two cultural phenomena, separated by barely a century (the first movie in the Star Wars series premiered in 1977). Commentators have addressed this parallelisms over the years, perhaps with an all-too-careful differentiation between “high-brow” (The Ring cycle) and “low-brow” (Star Wars) art. Still, given the evidence, it is interesting to observe the power of the interdisciplinary artist,  seeking the  Gesamtkünstwerk, (Wagner, George Lucas) to  create a parallel universe, and how much this universe can be inhabited by its own spirituality, ritual and acolytes. How “low-brow” can that ever be?

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