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.