Today, we are celebrating. We are celebrating the winning of battles. And so from Giuseppe Verdi to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to Ludwig van Beethoven and then to John Williams, we commemorate great events in history or fantasy.
Many composers have written a triumphal march, with maybe the best-known one being by Italian opera composer, Giuseppe Verdi for his 1871 grand opera, Aida, where, in the second act, Radames leads the Egyptian army on its return following their victory over the Ethiopians. The triumphal scene gives directors the opportunity for elaborate spectacle typical of the grand opera of the period in the nineteenth century.
When I was basking in my premature and shortlived broadcasting experience with Radio Nigeria, way back in 1983, the main theme from Star Wars gave me that ‘umph’ and pride. It served as the signature tune of my programme, Young Generation. Mind you, at this time I was just 18. I tripped with it because it showed I was classy enough to be a Star Wars fan. Today, it doesn’t matter. As they say, who cares?
Few pieces of music are invoked as frequently in sports arenas as John Williams’s score for the movie Star Wars. Visiting teams are often greeted with the nefarious “Imperial March,” and the winning side is often honoured with this final theme from the end of the first Star Wars movie, when Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca are honoured for blowing up the Empire’s Death Star. Williams’s regal tune, referencing Wagner, Strauss, Holst and other Romantic composers, has accompanied many other champions as they collect their prizes.