John Williams

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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The 1977 release of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope exponentially changed the face of pop culture. Not since the mainland arrival of the Beatles had such an intense level of fanaticism possessed the American people. The film's rousing title sequence is as recognizable -- if not more so -- than the national anthem, and composer John Williams' Oscar-winning score is a marvel of pulp tension, Holst grandeur, and Wagner-inspired motifs. Never before had the general public been given such memorable, accessible, and instantly identifiable character themes. Williams develops these ideas masterfully at the soundtrack's beginning, allowing the lonely horn-driven "Jedi" theme, like Luke Skywalker himself, the time to grow, waiting patiently before unleashing it in full with the bombastic and ceremonial end piece "The Throne Room." Shadows of the composer's finest contribution, "Imperial March," can be heard brewing beneath the ominous cello section during "Imperial Attack." This is perhaps the most important thread on A New Hope, and charting its growth through to its full-blown Empire Strikes Back glory is fascinating. Williams is a true student of cinema, and his love for the works of Henry Mancini -- "Cantina Band," anyone? -- Miklos Rosa, and Bernard Herrmann are in full effect, but like George Lucas, who based his entire concept on old radio and television serials, the results are reverent without having been recycled. A New Hope was the beginning of a grand love affair with science fiction and mythology, and the world embraced every aspect of its astronomical rise to legend, but without Williams' exceptional contributions that affair may have been very short-lived. [In 2004 Sony Classical released double-disc collector's editions of episodes four through six in anticipation of the films' release on DVD. Remastered and sporting 3-D covers, each soundtrack includes the score in its entirety, a poster foldout, and screen savers depicting rare Japanese book covers. In some cases, alternate tracks and extended versions are included. For Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, the archival bonus track "Binary Sunset" is featured.]

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