Monday, December 14, 2015

Star Wars - Original Motion Picture Soundtracks by John Williams

Star Wars – Original Motion Picture Soundtracks
composed by John Williams [Compact Disc 782.14 Sta]

I grew up on the original trilogy of Star Wars films — they premiered, respectively, when I was 14, 17 and 20 years old. John Williams was one of the first composers whose soundtrack work I fell in love with, and whose soundtracks I would go on to collect in the intervening years. In the days before Compact Discs, I bought all three of the LP albums (each was two discs) for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi, and listened to them over and over and over. In fact, I probably wore out the grooves on my copy of The Empire Strikes Back, I played it so much. One of my favorite elements of my CD collection is my mid-1990s Star Wars: The Original Soundtrack Anthology — a longbox containing four discs and a marvelous book of liner notes for how the music was created for all three of the original films in the trilogy

In the years since those three films originally came out, those soundtracks have been re-released and repackaged several times, including a Sony Music re-release of all the Star Wars film soundtracks in 2004 that added considerable previously-unreleased music. It is these 2004 soundtracks that the library has, for each of the original trilogy of Star Wars films, and also for some of the “prequel trilogy” as well. The sound quality has been sharpened for all of these 2004 releases, and although the liner notes are not as extensive as for some of the other releases, if you simply want to relive the film experience by re-listening to the orchestral scores, you can’t go wrong with these copies. The only thing missing from the 2004 releases are the final two tracks from the original Return of the Jedi soundtrack — those two tracks were replaced with all-new music in “Special Edition” re-edited re-releases of the films, and the 2004 soundtracks opt to only include the newer tracks.

Williams’ music is just as iconic as the films have become. “The Imperial March” (a.k.a. “Darth Vader’s Theme”) is one of the most recognizable musical riffs for dramatic menace that exists — you hear it at sporting events and numerous other social environments, and how many of us use it as a cellphone ringtone for somebody? “Princess Leia’s Theme”, “The Death of Ben Kenobi”, “Yoda’s Theme”, “Cantina Band” and the unforgettable “Star Wars Main Theme” are embedded in the popular consciousness. As Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens opens this month, John Williams returns to provide yet another Star Wars score. Take this opportunity to revisit some of his most iconic music from the past!

[ Wikipedia page for The Music of Star Wars ] | [ Wikipedia page for John Williams ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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