5 Star Wars Musical Moments with Conductor Nicholas Buc

'Star Wars: Return of The Jedi' 'Star Wars: Return of The Jedi'

The West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) are set to present the epic 'Star Wars: Return of The Jedi In Concert' in just over a week.

Live at Riverside Theatre, Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, the orchestra will perform Oscar-winning composer John Williams’ musical score as the film plays overhead on a giant screen.

The film, released in 1983, sees Luke Skywalker attempting to bring his father back to the light side of the Force, while the rebels hatch a plan to destroy the second Death Star. It stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.

Ahead of the WASO concerts, conductor Nicholas Buc shares his five favourite musical moments from the iconic film.

Nicholas Buc Head Shot
Nicholas Buc


Battle On The Sail Barge. One of the many action set-pieces in the film, this battle above the dune seas of Tatooine aboard Jabba’s sail barge is the first moment of pure, straight-up heroism. We finally get to see Luke’s shiny new green lightsaber and John Williams accompanies the moment with a barrage of brass, leading into a wonderful medley of themes from the original film and ending in an uplifting new motif as our heroes escape and fly off into space.


Storytime With C-3PO. As C-3PO tells a bedtime story of good versus evil to the cute little Ewoks, they are accompanied by primitive versions of a few classic Star Wars themes. Luke’s theme is played on the piccolo meant to imitate a wooden flute, while Darth Vader’s famous 'Imperial March' is completely transformed by log drums and boobams (yes, that’s a real instrument!).


One Angry Skywalker. When Darth Vader taunts Luke about luring his (newly discovered) sister Leia over to the dark side, we get to see a new side of our young hero we’ve not witnessed before. Luke’s aggressive attack on his dad is accompanied by a full throated male chorus, ooh-ing in menacing ways as he pummels the Sith Lord with swipe after swipe, quite literally cutting him off at the wrist. Payback perhaps?


Electric Emperor. The terrifying sight of Emperor Palpatine shooting bolts of electricity from his spindly fingertips is made even more powerful by Williams’ music. An almost operatic sense of drama is reached through the combination of layered brass, tremolo strings and male singers all at the very top of their range. Electrifying stuff.


Death of Vader. Here’s a fun trivia question for your next house party – which instrument plays the theme during Darth Vader’s death? If you said an incredibly delicate and lonely sounding harp, you would of course be 100 per cent correct! Williams knows all too well how to eke out every ounce of sentiment from the story on screen, and his choice of instrument here is both inspired and totally right. Vader is redeemed in his final moments and this sensitive musical treatment is spot on… “R.I.P. Darth.”

The West Australian Symphony Orchestra perform 'Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi In Concert' on 8-9 October at Riverside Theatre, Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. Tickets available via the WASO website.



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