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 00:23 Amazon
Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace, film score
2 01:24 Amazon
3 02:31 Amazon
4 01:18 Amazon
5 01:44 Amazon
6 02:23 Amazon
7 01:00 Amazon
8 00:56 Amazon
9 03:05 Amazon
10 01:37 Amazon
11 01:04 Amazon
12 01:18 Amazon
13 02:09 Amazon
14 01:42 Amazon
15 02:04 Amazon
16 01:07 Amazon
17 02:28 Amazon
18 01:17 Amazon
19 01:12 Amazon
20 01:28 Amazon
21 01:18 Amazon
22 02:42 Amazon
23 01:12 Amazon
24 02:59 Amazon
25 02:24 Amazon
26 01:38 Amazon
27 01:24 Amazon
28 01:00 Amazon
29 00:53 Amazon
30 01:59 Amazon
31 01:14 Amazon
32 01:37 Amazon
33 02:17 Amazon
34 01:13 Amazon
35 01:13 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace, film score
1 05:04
2 01:48
3 04:11
4 00:41
5 02:37
6 01:12
7 03:41
8 03:47
9 00:29
10 02:19
11 02:25
12 02:31
13 00:25
14 00:57
15 00:18
16 00:24
17 01:26
18 00:44
19 00:24
20 00:51
21 00:47
22 00:59
23 01:59
24 01:22
25 00:14
26 02:18
27 02:28
28 03:24
29 01:47
30 01:18
31 01:24
32 08:14
33 04:21
blue highlight denotes track pick