November 7, 2020

George Shaw Releases STAR WARS LULLABIES

– Randall D. Larson

After 5 years of working on Lullabies for Younglings: A Star Wars Lullaby Album, composer George Shaw is excited to share his arrangements of relaxing renditions of STAR WARS tunes from across all nine films of the Skywalker Saga, composed by John Williams. “It’s an album worthy of all younglings, padawans, and even Jedi masters to sit back, clear your mind, and feel the force flow through you,” the composer shared.

“I was initially inspired by my friend Jennifer Landa, a fellow STAR WARS fan who played the part of Princess Jasmine in my Star Wars Musical. She posted an adorable photo of her newborn daughter in a shirt that read, ‘I am a Jedi like my mother before me,’” wrote Shaw in a blog on his website. “So for fun, I created a lullaby arrangement of Princess Leia’s theme and sent it over to her. Thus began this album that I slowly worked on whenever I had time between projects.

“Most lullaby albums are created with cheap sounding bell and synth sounds aimed at babies, which doesn’t make for an interesting listen to an older and more discerning audience. I wanted to create versions of my favorite STAR WARS music that I could listen and relax to. I wanted to keep the integrity of the compositions by John Williams, finding ways to translate the complex textures and countermelodies in the original orchestrations, while taming the big climactic swells in the music to create an even and calming listening experience.”

“I based most of the arrangements off the orchestral scores that I had available,” George told musiquefantastique, “and in other cases off of the published piano sheet music (like RISE OF SKYWALKER which hadn’t been released as a published orchestral score when I arranged it earlier this year). So I was able to include as many counterlines and background textures as possible, translating them from orchestral sounds into keyboard and synth textures. I also programmed all of the electronic/synth and sampled parts of the recordings.”

The STAR WARS Lullaby Players (l-to-r:) Julee Kim Walker (flute), Eru Matsumoto (cello), Albert Chang (violin), George Shaw (arranger/producer, clarinet & synths)

Shaw says his biggest challenge was to make lullabies out of “Duel of the Fates” and “Battle of the Heroes,” which he hadn’t initially considered turning into lullabies. “The original orchestrations from some of STAR WARS’ most epic lightsaber scenes are full of rhythmic drive—how do you turn that into a calming piece of music?” he wrote. “I knew I wanted to have a theme from each of the nine films in the Skywalker Saga, so I decided to accept the challenge. Eventually I found an approach that involved slowing the tempo, and transposing low menacing melodies into the high tinkly range of piano and bells.”

Shaw adds that working on this music during the anxiety ridden Covid-19 pandemic was a particular blessing. “It kept me grounded and brought me much needed joy and calm as I put on the finishing touches during such a tough year as 2020,” he said.

Stream or purchase Lullabies for Younglings: A Star Wars Lullaby Album at these links.

For more information about George Shaw see his website here.

Watch a video of Shaw’s rendition of “Han Solo and the Princess:”

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