Sign In

Star Wars Scores and Releases - a general discussion thread

Author
Time
 (Edited)

After listening to Hairy_hen’s 5.1 70mm mix and 5.1 ESB mix, I went through my SW scores for the first time in years. Figured I’d start a thread for overall score discussion.

I found that overall, I’m not really happy with any of the official releases that I own. The original 77 double LP is probably the best overall, but that was remixed especially for home playback and places different emphasis and narrows the stereo image. And I understand that John Williams wanted to create a interesting listening experience (and it works with that in mind) but why the heck does the score order have to be so mixed up?

The 97SE releases while really nice looking and fully complete are just absolutely horrible. The sound is over-compressed, limited, remixed and frankly I think this is what turned me off to ever listening to these scores. I’ve had these releases for years and never listened to them more than once.

ABC’s salvage editions of all three scores are well done and provide a nice compromise as the simplest and most complete version. It is a primarily the 1993 Anthology set combined with elements from the 97 scores and then re-equalized by ABC. I need to track down the 1993 Anthology set so I can finally have every official version and have an actual decent sounding official Trilogy.

The transfer of the RSO Star Wars LP confirms that the UK LP is more detailed and warmer than the US 20th Century Fox edition. I need to look for the LPs of ESB and ROTJ to hear their strengths.

I found this article by a member of the Steve Hoffman forums. 52 highly detailed pages on the recording and various editions of the Trilogy scores. Absolutely required reading.

http://www.malonedigital.com/starwars.htm

Of course, this article mentions things about the lack of proper storage and care by Lucasfilm…hmm sound familiar at all?

I never knew that there were so many differences and mixes between the SW scores. Which ones are your favorites? I think The Anthology set, original LPs and ABC’s ESB audiophile edition are probably the closest we’ll ever get to definitive sounding versions.

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.
“George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”-Harrison Ford
YT channel:
https://www.youtube.com/c/DamnFoolIdealisticCrusader

Author
Time

captainsolo said:

ABC's salvage editions of all three scores

I hate to ruin the thread with requests, but I've never even heard of these. I've only ever heard ABC's ESB stuff, which was superb. Any info on how I can get ahold of whatever he did with the other two?

Author
Time
 (Edited)

I never had a problem with the 1997 SE scores when they came out, but after I expanded my music tastes a bit I realized how harsh they sound. It didn't dawn on me how bad they were until I started buying the original LP scores. I had never heard the music sound like that!

Personally, I prefer the LP of Jedi the best, in terms of musical fidelity, even though ESB is my favourite score. The amount of range and clarity is great, and there is very well used bass in it. Particularly in the battle scenes near the end where you have those war drums and a slightly Wagner-cum-Holst-ish sound, it was something I had never appreciated before.

The out-of-order track listing is a common practice in motion picture soundtracks until relatively recently, as far as I know, although there is a slightly chronological progression in that usually the first track is the opening credits and the final track the climax and end credits. It's simply the result of only being able to present a portion of the soundtrack on a record; even though they were double LPs they still only contained maybe 70% of the total score, maybe less. You don't necessarily want entire cues all the time, but instead highlights, and they have to be re-edited so that they flow together; thus it necessitates ordering the music so that it flows in the best aesthetic manner. I mean, if you think about it motion picture scores were never meant to be heard on their own like an album, in any particular order, so the insistance of in-movie chronology is slightly arbitrary. It's mainly psychological associated, because we are so familiar with the movie that we know what should come "next" according to the film.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

Author
Time
 (Edited)

I agree about the ordering. The 77 LP just seemed to zoom all over the place more than I was used to. I will admit my complete surprise at the dynamics and different mixing of my old damaged Fox LP.

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.
“George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”-Harrison Ford
YT channel:
https://www.youtube.com/c/DamnFoolIdealisticCrusader

Author
Time

Although the sequel scores were overall horrible on the SE CD's, I think the Star Wars album was pretty damn good, not perfect but they finally included the complete chronological score with the right takes and alternates. Love that release, if only the sequels were of similar audio quality I would've been happy. Love the LP's as well but I actually prefer the Anthology overall.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

Author
Time

Thanks for the link cap'n!  Interesting reading.

The first CD I ever bought was Return of the Jedi when it first came out, I don't remember when.  I liked it a lot, but thought it was weird that the tracks didn't go in the order that they came in the film.  Also I was a bit disappointed that it seemed quite a few tracks weren't included, but for some reason Lapti Nek was included.

Then I bought the 1993 set and loved it.  Tracks were in the right order, and lots of new tracks were added.  I'm not a discriminating listener, but it all sounded good to my ears.  The substantial booklet was a nice bonus.  Unfortunately, the set got lost or stolen at some point along with half of my CD collection.  By that time the 1997 SE CDs were out, but I didn't bother with those and hunted down the 1993 set and bought it again.  And there was much rejoicing.

I think my favorite tracks might be Imperial March, the Asteroid Field, and The Return of the Jedi.

Author
Time

I bought the three soundtrack LPs in the 1980's, four if you count the Utah Symphony "Trilogy" LP which was the only place to get the full "Jabba The Hutt" theme and "Darth Vader's Death" so those are what I listened to for many years, until the Anthology CD set came out. I was disappointed with all the missing music from the LPs, so I was thrilled with the Anthology, which filled in most of the missing music.

I also purchased the Skywalker Symphony CD in the '90s, but I ended up selling it because I was very disappointed with the recordings.

The RCA SE soundtracks filled in even more missing music, but of course the ROTJ sdtk lacks "Lapti Nek" and "Ewok Celebration." So, I still listen to the anthology for those tracks, and a couple other alternate tracks that didn't make it onto the SE CDs.

With classical-type music, I prefer the silent background of the CDs, in spite of whatever sonic limitations they have, so I still prefer them to the LPs.

For SW and ESB I generally listen to the SE soundtracks because they are the most complete. For ROTJ, I've made my own CDs combining mostly the SE tracks with the OOT Anthology tracks to fill-in, and the "Jabba" track from the Utah Symphony Star Wars Trilogy CD (on the Varese Sarabande label).

Overall, my favorite score is ROTJ, my favorite track from it is "Luke and Leia."


Author
Time

One of the great versions of "Imperial March" is on the Telarc demonstration disc called "Star Tracks".  It has the Cincinnati orchestra directed by Erich Kunzel.  There are some other SW, ST, and Raiders pieces also (including "Luke and Leia").  The sound quality is awesome and the performances true to the originals.  It's probably out of print but easy to find on eBay.

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

Author
Time

Puggo - Jar Jar's Yoda said:

One of the great versions of "Imperial March" is on the Telarc demonstration disc called "Star Tracks".  It has the Cincinnati orchestra directed by Erich Kunzel.  There are some other SW, ST, and Raiders pieces also (including "Luke and Leia").  The sound quality is awesome and the performances true to the originals.  It's probably out of print but easy to find on eBay.

Shame John Williams wouldn't conduct a new set for Telarc. That would be amazing.

 

"The other versions will disappear. Even the 35 million tapes of Star Wars out there won’t last more than 30 or 40 years. A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the DVD version [of the Special Edition], and you’ll be able to project it on a 20’ by 40’ screen with perfect quality. I think it’s the director’s prerogative, not the studio’s to go back and reinvent a movie." - George Lucas

<span> </span>

Author
Time

Actually I've probably listened to Imperial March the most on my "By Request - Best of John Williams and the Boston Pops" CD from 1990.  Love that whole CD, except for Close Encounters.  And gotta love the march from Superman.

I'll have to look into Star Tracks, sounds good.

Author
Time

Is there a good complete release of TPM? You have to have the regular CD and limited 2CD to have most but not all of the tracks.

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.
“George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”-Harrison Ford
YT channel:
https://www.youtube.com/c/DamnFoolIdealisticCrusader

Author
Time
 (Edited)

It appears there will be new mixes for the first six Star Wars film scores available soon?:-
 

Remastering The Score - Relive the Iconic Music As It Was Meant To Be Experienced’ was shown in…

George Lucas and Dave Filoni Talk The Clone Wars, Plus Anthony Daniels Stops By!’ - ‘The Star Wars Show’ episode:-

^ a 2 minute piece… starting from 3m 55s into the video.

The link provided at the end of the segment is - http://disneymusic.co/StarWarsBestOf
 

“The difference is these releases are derived from the original film mixes - not the re-mixed LP versions which have previously been released.” - Shawn Murphy, Scoring Mixer.
 

I love the way the people involved in this offical preservation project / release talk about how important it is to archive and preserve the original content from the vaults - and for people to hear the iconic music as it was meant to be exeprienced!

A shame this is not the case of the films themselves…

50 Cent is just an imposter

Author
Time

I think it’s the same mixes that were released on CD a couple of years ago; they’re just promoting them again because they are now available on streaming services?

Han: Hey Lando! You kept your promise, right? Not a scratch?
Lando: Well, what’s left of her isn’t scratched. All the scratched parts got knocked off along the way.
Han (exasperated): Knocked off?!

Author
Time

Ah! Thanks for that Z6PO, I’m not up on my soundtracks and scores.

I hope they did a good job on them, were they well received?

50 Cent is just an imposter

Author
Time
 (Edited)

V.I.N.Cent said:

Ah! Thanks for that Z6PO, I’m not up on my soundtracks and scores.

I hope they did a good job on them, were they well received?

It seems so going on the amazon reviews for them, VINCent:-

SW - https://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Original-Picture-Soundtrack/dp/B07CMKVX9J
ESB - https://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Strikes-Original-Soundtrack/dp/B07CMLLW2F
ROTJ - https://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Original-Picture-Soundtrack/dp/B07CNBSQSW

(I think those are the same version? It can be hard to tell as times given similarities of artwork used and so many releases over time)

No fate but what we make - apart from force dyads!

Author
Time

This is so confusing. I hadn’t realized Disney did a 2018 reissue with new mixes after Sony did the big LP boxset which was from the album versions. I never got the Sony release and now regret it I suppose.
The video indicates that there’s a new remaster and restoration of the complete film scores…but the 2018 disney cds with the same art have the same old track listings as the LPs and no bonuses. And this video is from this year…

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.
“George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”-Harrison Ford
YT channel:
https://www.youtube.com/c/DamnFoolIdealisticCrusader

Author
Time

captainsolo said:

The video indicates that there’s a new remaster and restoration of the complete film scores…but the 2018 disney cds with the same art have the same old track listings as the LPs and no bonuses. And this video is from this year…

The video is a bit misleading. They didn’t restore the entire score, they just recreated the OST tracks using the original tapes.

Author
Time

As a collector i was thinking of getting the vinyl releases of the sequel trilogy. But not sure if that is worth it or if i should just get the CD issues because they are cheaper.

The score for Force Awakens had a couple of nice tracks and i liked the score for Last Jedi a lot. Rise of Skywalker was very weak in my opinion.

I have 2 copies of the original Fox release for Star Wars, two of the RSO original LP of Empire, and a previously sealed mint Jedi. So i don’t think i need to buy the newer editions which are the same content just reissued.

The prequels i have on CD and since the Vinyl is not expanded i don’t feel compelled to own them.