John Williams

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] [The Ultimate Edition]

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As opposed to the original official "Soundtrack" release, a single disc with the soundtrack elements edited and arranged into concert movements, this two-disc set has every note composed for The Phantom Menace, including a cue that was cut from the film. Buffs can readily hear how Williams introduces embryonic forms of familiar themes from the earlier films. For instance, the innocent lullaby for little Anakin Skywalker ends in a nine-note pattern that is the theme of the future Darth Vader's Imperial March. And Williams subtly uses harmonies to mark the character who is secretly plotting to become Emperor. However, in this form the music is totally subordinated to the film's dramatic form, rather than musical logic.

This score is not so successful as coherent music, as the earlier films' scores were, as released in their final versions on RCA Victor. The cause is the same dramatic flaw that made the movie unexpectedly unsatisfying: it was really an extended set-up for a larger-scale story, without a central mythic hero who faces a defining ordeal. The score resultingly lacks a unifying focus, as well.

Still, this release is a better portrayal of the music than the original soundtrack album, which threw away the concluding fight music, The Duel of the Fates, by making it track two. It is worth the extra cost for film score and Star Wars buffs, and includes some remarkable "desert music" not included in the original disc. It is very well played by Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra with the New London Children's Chorus and the London Voices, all stunningly produced by Williams and recorded by Shawn Murphy. It comes in a lavish package, with over sixty color shots from the movie in a bound-in presentation booklet, clearly aimed at fans and collectors.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 0:23 Amazon
Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace, film score
2 1:24 Amazon
3 2:31 Amazon
4 1:18 Amazon
5 1:44 Amazon
6 2:23 Amazon
7 1:00 Amazon
8 0:56 Amazon
9 3:05 Amazon
10 1:37 Amazon
11 1:04 Amazon
12 1:18 Amazon
13 2:09 Amazon
14 1:42 Amazon
15 2:04 Amazon
16 1:07 Amazon
17 2:28 Amazon
18 1:17 Amazon
19 1:12 Amazon
20 1:28 Amazon
21 1:18 Amazon
22 2:42 Amazon
23 1:12 Amazon
24 2:59 Amazon
25 2:24 Amazon
26 1:38 Amazon
27 1:24 Amazon
28 1:00 Amazon
29 0:53 Amazon
30 1:59 Amazon
31 1:14 Amazon
32 1:37 Amazon
33 2:17 Amazon
34 1:13 Amazon
35 1:13 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace, film score
1 5:04
2 1:48
3 4:11
4 0:41
5 2:37
6 1:12
7 3:41
8 3:47
9 0:29
10 2:19
11 2:25
12 2:31
13 0:25
14 0:57
15 0:18
16 0:24
17 1:26
18 0:44
19 0:24
20 0:51
21 0:47
22 0:59
23 1:59
24 1:22
25 0:14
26 2:18
27 2:28
28 3:24
29 1:47
30 1:18
31 1:24
32 8:14
33 4:21
blue highlight denotes track pick