City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

The Science Fiction Album, Vol. 1

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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

Silva America Records shadows the opening of Star Wars: Episode 2 -- Attack of the Clones nine days later by releasing this two-CD set of film music drawn from previous science-fiction movies. Typically, the label plays down the actual musical performer, which is as usual the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, not crediting the group on either the front or back cover, as if the album consisted of original soundtrack recordings instead of the new versions it does contain. The selection serves to emphasize the influence of composer John Williams, who scored Star Wars: Episode 2: Attack of the Clones as well as the previous four Star Wars films, and many others besides, especially those directed by George Lucas or Steven Spielberg. In fact, Williams' work is heard in 11 of the 34 tracks here, far more than that of any other composer, and you can hear his influence on other scores as well. Listen to Bruce Broughton's end titles from Lost in Space and David Arnold's for Independence Day, which use similar big themes and flourishes. (The liner notes rightly point out that Williams himself owes much of his approach to Holst's The Planets and predecessors like Erich Wolfgang Korngold.) There are performances here of music that was not actually heard in the films for which it was written. Jerry Goldsmith's end titles for Alien were replaced, and the version of the main title from the comic Mars Attacks on the disc is actually an early draft. Some composers are better than others at the genre. Henry Mancini sounds like he could be scoring a swashbuckler in his music for Lifeforce, and John Barry's overture for The Black Hole is attractive but doesn't sound like space music. Much of what is here does, though, and it serves to remind listeners of how thrilling space operas can be.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zoroaster), tone poem for orchestra, Op. 30 (TrV 176)
1 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 01:50 Amazon
Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, film score
2 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 05:23 Amazon
Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, film score
3 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 04:08 Amazon
4 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 03:09 Amazon
Star Wars, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, film score
5 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 03:51 Amazon
Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace, film score
6 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 03:18 Amazon
7 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 02:51 Amazon
8 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 03:26 Amazon
9 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 04:08 Amazon
Sound Effects
10 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 00:52 Amazon
Apollo 13, film score
11 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 02:59 Amazon
Capricorn One, film score
12 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 03:17 Amazon
The Right Stuff, film score
13 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 04:40 Amazon
Battlestar Galactica, television score
14 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 05:09 Amazon
Sound Effects
15 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 01:01 Amazon
Alien, film score
16 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 03:49 Amazon
Independence Day, film score
17 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 09:03 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Aliens, film score
1 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 04:51 Amazon
Mars Attacks, film score
2 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 04:02 Amazon
The Thing (from Another World), film score
3 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 02:05 Amazon
War of the Worlds, film score
4 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 04:13 Amazon
When Worlds Collide, film score
5 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 04:18 Amazon
Armageddon, film score
6 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 05:07 Amazon
Sound Effects
7 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 00:47 Amazon
Lost in Space, film score
8 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 03:26 Amazon
Back To the Future, film score
9 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 03:26 Amazon
Black Hole, film score
10 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 04:56 Amazon
A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), film score
11 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 03:46 Amazon
Lifeforce, film score
12 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 04:01 Amazon
Predator, film score
13 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 03:56 Amazon
Sound Effects
14 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 01:29 Amazon
Starship Troopers, film score
15 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 05:03 Amazon
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, film score
16 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 03:32 Amazon
Close Encounters of the Third Kind, film score
17 City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra 08:15 Amazon
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