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Friday, April 11, 2014

John Williams -- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (Orignal Motion Picture Soundtrack (Special Edition Re-Issue)

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At the time of this writing, it has been two months since I have written a music review. That might alter the tone of this writing, but I'm not sure it matters here--I am reviewing music that has been in my head for over three decades.
At the start of 1997, when this soundtrack was re-issued, Star Wars was referred to by some as the "Holy Trilogy." Star Wars was a series of films beloved by hundreds of millions. Its universe had recently been expanded by an excellent trilogy of follow-up books by Timothy Zahn (among others), and fan goodwill was at an all-time high. Then, suddenly, Han didn't shoot first. Then the prequels disappointed. Then a CGI movie and ensuing mini-series clouded and overexposed the Star Wars world even more. The once-beloved franchise's fanbase, myself included, became ambivalent. None of any of that crap matters when one listens to Star Wars: A New Hope (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).
If you want the magic back, just listen to the John Williams' Star Wars Soundtrack Re-Issues. They are the one thing about Star Wars that (with two minor exceptions) hasn't changed. These re-issues were lovingly compiled and feature a ton of music that, before 1997, had never been released. A New know what, screw that, this movie isn't called Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. When I was a kid, it was just called Star Wars. Anyway, Star Wars' soundtrack is brassier and a bit wilder than that of the films to follow. While it may lack the more sophisticated, deeper tones of The Empire Strikes Back's score, it is more fun(I didn't say "better." I said "more fun."). Star Wars' soundtrack is also more a product of its time than any of the other original films' soundtracks, but the late seventies vibes do nothing to detract from its timelessness. John Williams work evokes classic film music, the Saturday morning serials that inspired Star Wars in the first place, and yet creates an entirely new cinematic language.
So no more complaining about who shot first. On the soundtrack, Han always shoots first.

1977, 1997 Sony Classical
Disc One
1. 20th Century Fox Fanfare (Alfred Newman (1954)) 0:22
2. Main Title/Rebel Blockade Runner (Medley) 2:14
3. Imperial Attack 6:42
4. The Dune Sea of Tatooine/Jawa Sandcrawler (Medley) 5:01
5. The Moisture Farm 2:25
6. The Hologram/Binary Sunset (Medley) 4:08
7. Landspeeder Search/Attack of the Sand People (Medley) 3:20
8. Tales of a Jedi Knight/Learn About the Force (Medley) 4:28
9. Burning Homestead 2:50
10. Mos Eisley Spaceport 2:16
11. Cantina Band 2:46
12. Cantina Band #2 3:54
13. Binary Sunset (Medley) [Alternate Take](contains hidden track "Star Wars Main Title" (complete recording session version)) 16:59

Disc Two
1. Princess Leia's Theme 4:27
2. The Millennium Falcon/Imperial Cruiser Pursuit (Medley) 3:51
3. Destruction of Alderaan 1:32
4. The Death Star/The Stormtroopers (Medley) 3:35
5. Wookiee Prisoner/Detention Block Ambush (Medley) 4:01
6. Shootout in the Cell Bay/Dianoga (Medley) 3:48
7. The Trash Compactor 3:06
8. The Tractor Beam/Chasm Crossfire (Medley) 5:18
9. Ben Kenobi's Death/Tie Fighter Attack (Medley) 3:51
10. The Battle of Yavin 9:06
11. The Throne Room/End Title (Medley) 5:37

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