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The Official Star Wars Music Discussion Thread


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31 replies to this topic

#1 of 32 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted August 07 2010 - 06:31 AM

The music of Star Wars spans decades and presents one of the richest and most complete collection of grand themes, lush romantic cues, and bombastic action peices ever put to film. I was recently looking through my soundtrack collection at the various versions and editions of scores from the six Star Wars films, and was surprised by how varied and different they were. In all, I own 16 Star Wars CDs, including three variations of the Return of the Jedi score, an excellent cd released by Sony Classical featuring tracks from the original trilogy, and the superb 2-disc The Phantom Menance Ultimate Edition (which sadly was the only prequel score to receive such treatment.


I'm hoping other Star Wars music fans will join me in celebrating, discussing, and enjoying the legacy of Star Wars music in film score history, and sharing favorite CD releases, tracks, or moments.


One of the best single cues, though not my favorite, is from The Empire Strikes Back called 'The Asteroid Field' - a simply superb and energetic track, featuring the Darth Vader's theme, and some of the most exciting orchestral writing I can recall. My favorite single peice of music from the entire six movie collection (and the Shadows of the Empire and Clone Wars CD releases) is again from The Empire Strikes Back is called Betrayal at Bespin, and features the Han and Leia theme to great effect.


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#2 of 32 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted August 07 2010 - 07:55 AM

I've got a lot Star Wars CDs. I have the 1992 or 1993 four disc box set of the original trilogy music, the Shadows Of The Empire 'score', the 2 disc sets of the Special Editions and The Phantom Menace, the single disc releases of the 3 prequels, The Clone Wars movie soundtrack and the 3 CD singles of the Cantina Band/Cantina Band #2, The Imperial March and Jedi Rocks from 1997.


Also, I've got the Lapti Nek (the original song from Jabba's palace in Return Of The Jedi) record that I found in a comic book shop a few years ago. And in a similar vein, I've got the 15 disc Star Wars Radio Drama set.



#3 of 32 OFFLINE   Will_B

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Posted August 07 2010 - 04:57 PM

There's a breakdown of what set included what, over here:


http://theseconddisc...r-wars-trilogy/


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#4 of 32 OFFLINE   Brian Borst

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Posted August 08 2010 - 07:08 AM

I love the Star Wars music, of all six episodes. I own the Special Editions of the original trilogy, the Ultimate Edition of Episode I, and the regular editions of the other two. I just wish that Episodes II and III would be released in Ultimate Editions too. Since it's Star Wars, it's sure to sell, and the music is great. The original trilogy soundtracks could be re-issued as well. To me they sound fine, but thirteen years worth of improvement could make it sound better a lot. But either Lucas or John Williams are against it, apparently.


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#5 of 32 OFFLINE   Mark_TB

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Posted August 08 2010 - 07:14 AM

I've had all of the official soundtrack releases going back to the original 2-disc LP in 1977.  The LPs and cassettes are long gone, but I now have all of the various CD incarnations.  I also have the Charles Gerhardt re-recordings.  If you don't have his version of The Empire Strikes Back, find it now!  It is an incredibly dynamic recording and features a very lively performance.  It's on the Varese Sarabande label and I can't recommend it highly enough.


- Mark



#6 of 32 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted August 08 2010 - 09:25 AM


I have his version of Return of the Jedi, which I enjoy for its subtle variation from the original recording, and a slower, more explorative version of the Finale track (with the original ewok song, of course). I'll have to look out for the ESB version from him!!



Originally Posted by Mark_TB 

I've had all of the official soundtrack releases going back to the original 2-disc LP in 1977.  The LPs and cassettes are long gone, but I now have all of the various CD incarnations.  I also have the Charles Gerhardt re-recordings.  If you don't have his version of The Empire Strikes Back, find it now!  It is an incredibly dynamic recording and features a very lively performance.  It's on the Varese Sarabande label and I can't recommend it highly enough.


- Mark




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#7 of 32 OFFLINE   Mark_TB

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Posted August 08 2010 - 11:59 AM

You won't be disappointed, Neil.  I'd also like to see a release of Kevin Kiner's music for The Clone Wars TV series.  I thought his music for the Clone Wars movie was underrated, probably because he wasn't aping the familiar John Williams themes.  As the series has progressed, however, his scores have grown more and more symphonic, with traces of the John Williams' "sound" finding its way in there.


If forced to pick a single cue as my favorite, I'd probably have to go with "The Battle in the Snow" from Empire.


- Mark



#8 of 32 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted August 11 2010 - 05:13 AM




At Comic-Con the Star Wars station was heavily promoting the Star Wars Symphony - something that I would absolutely love to go to.


I found this video performance of The Phantom Menace - just beautiful!


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#9 of 32 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted August 15 2010 - 10:02 AM


Ok, Mark - I ordered a copy of Gerhardt's Empire Strikes Back from a vendor through Amazon.com - I am looking forward to checking it out! Cheers for the recommendation!

 

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Originally Posted by Mark_TB 

I've had all of the official soundtrack releases going back to the original 2-disc LP in 1977.  The LPs and cassettes are long gone, but I now have all of the various CD incarnations.  I also have the Charles Gerhardt re-recordings.  If you don't have his version of The Empire Strikes Back, find it now!  It is an incredibly dynamic recording and features a very lively performance.  It's on the Varese Sarabande label and I can't recommend it highly enough.

 

- Mark




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#10 of 32 OFFLINE   Mark_TB

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Posted August 18 2010 - 05:06 AM

I sincerely doubt you'll be disappointed, Neil.  Please post your thoughts once you've had the chance to listen to it.

 

- Mark



#11 of 32 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted August 23 2010 - 02:26 PM

This arrived and after my first listen, I am genuinely impressed. Despite the track listing from the back cover being off by one (it lists the fox fanfare and the opening track as track 1, rather than two seperate tracks), the entire listening experience is a joy.

 

As with my Return of the Jedi CD also orchestrated by Charles Gerhardt, the pacing is just a hair slower than the original CD recordings, which allows for appreciation for the superb score, and the way these peices have weaved together Episode V's best tracks, is terrific. One of the peices that I have always loved is The Asteroid Field, and while the initial listens had me noticing the differences more than perhaps the other tracks, I still enjoyed how the peice was delivered.

 

I am REALLY glad I picked this up. Now I just need to get myself a copy of Gerhardt's Star Wars/Close Encounters CD!

 


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#12 of 32 OFFLINE   Mark_TB

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Posted September 01 2010 - 04:44 PM

I'm relieved to hear that you like it, Neil.  I have the other Gerhardt Star Wars recordings, but this is the only one that still gets play on a regular basis.  I don't normally go for re-recordings (the Gerhardt and Erich Kunzel collections are about the only exceptions) since I consider the original soundtracks the "definitive" versions.

 

Back in '77, it seemed like there were dozens of re-recordings of the Star Wars score, and since I was an impressionable 15 year-old just discovering the world of film scores, I bought every one I could afford.  Even one by "The Electric Moog Orchestra," which was just as bad as you would think.  The better ones were by Zubin Mehta conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic and, of course, Charles Gerhardt.  Both discs also included CE3K.  There are only so many ways to interpret the same four or five themes though, so in the end I still preferred the original soundtrack.

 

That didn't stop me from buying the various interpretations of the Empire score when 1980 rolled around, however.  There were even some "official" takes licensed by Lucasfilm on the RSO label, like the ones by Boris Midney (electronic dance), Meco, and the Ron Carter produced Empire Jazz (which is better than it sounds).  I still think the Meco EP is great and wish it would get a CD release in its entirety.  But the Gerhardt album was the real treat.  It was one of the earliest digital recordings, produced with John Williams's cooperation, and featured an energetic performance and sonics that gave a real snap to the percussion (check out "Battle in the Snow").

 

I also bought the various releases for Return of the Jedi, mostly to pick up the extra cue here and there that wasn't included on the single (!) LP edition of the original soundtrack.  But of the three, this is the score I revisit least often.

 

So I guess I've had a long history with Star Wars and its various musical incarnations, but outside of the original soundtracks, the Gerhardt Empire is the one closest to my heart.  I'm glad I could pass on my enjoyment to someone else.

 

- Mark



#13 of 32 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming

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Posted September 06 2010 - 05:50 PM

I have the three OT special editions with the holographic discs, the three PT single-disc releases (strictly speaking, RotS includes a bonus DVD retrospective), as well as TPM's Ultimate Edn (which unfortunately has succumbed to disc rot or something and is now completely unplayable), and the four-disc box set.  I think I used to have a casette of a Gerhardt recording, probably Jedi but can't remember which for sure and no longer have it anyway.

 

Favourite is still ESB, which always gets heavy rotation on long-haul flights especially.


#14 of 32 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted September 09 2010 - 01:57 PM

Mark, I'll admit, I am more than a little curious to hear how The Electric Moog Orchestra doing Star Wars would sound /img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif


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#15 of 32 OFFLINE   JimmyT

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Posted October 11 2010 - 02:22 AM

I still think the Meco EP is great and wish it would get a CD release in its entirety.


The Meco release "Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk" was released on CD by Hip-O in 1999.  It also includes 2 bonus tracks - the 7" edit and 12" Disco Mix of Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band.



Now you guys have me looking through my Star Wars CD's.  Here's what I own (not including the original soundtrack LP's and Story Of Star Wars release on LP and also on Picture Disc)


Original Soundtrack Anthology 4 CD Box


Star Wars - Trilogy Special Edition (2 CD)

Empire Strikes Back - Trilogy Special Edition (2 CD)

Return Of the Jedi - Trilogy Special Edition (2 CD)



Star Wars - 2 CD w/ 3-D cover

Empire Strikes Back- 2 CD w/ 3-D cover

Return Of the Jedi- 2 CD w/ 3-D cover



Phantom Menace - The Ultimate Edition 2 CD

Phantom Menace - 1 CD

Attack Of The Clones - 1 CD

Revenge Of The Sith  1 CD / 1 DVD


Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes - Cantina Band shaped CD single

The Imperial March shaped CD single

The Max Rebo Band - Jedi Rocks shaped CD single


Meco - Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk



#16 of 32 OFFLINE   Mark_TB

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Posted October 11 2010 - 05:50 AM

Nice collection, Jimmy!  By the way, I was talking about the EP Meco put out back in 1980 containing themes from The Empire Strikes Back.  I would love to see that on CD in its entirety.  I do, fortunately, have Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk on CD, as well as The Best of Meco.  I'd also like to get his Christmas in the Stars on CD (I had it on cassette originally), but it's out-of-print and goes for ridiculous prices these days.


Actually, I'd like to see the entire Meco back catalog on CD.


- Mark



#17 of 32 OFFLINE   JimmyT

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Posted October 11 2010 - 07:05 AM

Sorry, Mark.  The Meco / Empire Strikes Back EP slipped my mind.

I may have an extra copy of Christmas With the Stars on CD that I could give you.  I'd just have to find it.



#18 of 32 OFFLINE   Mark_TB

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Posted October 11 2010 - 05:04 PM



Originally Posted by JimmyT 

I may have an extra copy of Christmas With the Stars on CD that I could give you.  I'd just have to find it.



 Jimmy, you have no idea how happy that would make me.  Please let me know if and when you find it.  Posted Image


- Mark



#19 of 32 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted October 12 2010 - 12:54 AM

That Christmas album has "What Can You Get A Wookiee For Christmas (When He Already Owns A Comb)?" which is probably the best title of any song in history. Plus, a teenage Jon Bon Jovi plays on it.



#20 of 32 OFFLINE   MielR

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Posted May 24 2013 - 10:11 PM

Probably my favorite of the scores is Return of the Jedi. I think the "Luke and Leia" theme is the best thing John Williams has ever written for any film.

I have the original 3 soundtracks on LP, the 4-disc CD Anthology, the three 1997 two-disc OT-SE remasters (in the "book" packaging) and "The Star Wars Trilogy" LP & CD (on the Varese Sarabande label) a 1983 digital recording by the Utah Symphony Orchestra, which I think has the best version of the then-unreleased "Jabba the Hutt" theme, which I think was only recorded for one other CD compilation, which I didn't like (that mid-90s Sony release of re-records by the Hollywood Symphony or whatever, conducted by John Williams. I thought it was awful & I returned it to the store).

That Utah Symphony recording is a must-own, IMO. It was also the 1st Star Wars release to include the Fox Fanfare.
http://www.varesesar...ogy,-The/Detail

I also have the ROTS CD with the bonus "music video" disc, a cassette of the SW Christmas album, a "best of" MECO CD, a MECO "ewok" 45 and the book & record LPs for the OT (ROTJ is a picture disc).
;)

Edited by MielR, May 25 2013 - 02:54 PM.

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