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Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Track List:
    Disc 1:

  1. 20TH Century Fox Fanfare
  2. Main Title/The Ice Planet Hoth
  3. The Wampa's Lare/Vision of Obi-Wan/Snowspeeders Take Flight
  4. The Imperial Probe/Aboard the Executor
  5. The Battle of Hoth
  6. The Asteroid Field
  7. Arrival on Dagobah
  8. Luke's Nocturnal Visitor
  9. Han Solo and the Princess
  10. Jedi Master Revealed/Mynock Cave
  11. The Training of a Jedi Knight/The Magic Tree

Total Time: (62:36)


    Disc 2:

  1. The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme)
  2. Yoda's Theme
  3. Attacking a Star Destroyer
  4. Yoda and the Force
  5. Imperial Starfleet Deployed/City in the Clouds
  6. Lando's Palace
  7. Betrayal at Bespin
  8. Deal with the Dark Lord
  9. Carbon Freeze/Darth Vader's Trap/Departure of Boba Fett
  10. The Clash of Lightsabers
  11. Rescue from Cloud City/Hyperspace
  12. The Rebel Fleet/End Title

Total Time: (61:36)

Composition: John Williams

Orchestration: Herbert W. Spencer

Performance: London Symphony Orchestra

There is a reason I consider this one of the absolute best musical works of all time: It's sprinkled with more little memorable moments than any other film score ever. Plus the seemingly countless great themes, great arrangements and orchestrations don't hurt either. TESB is, for all intents and purposes, the most strikingly powerful orchestral work of the twentieth century and I (plus many others) find it to be the epitome of film music.

Opening the same way as the original with the 20TH Century Fox fanfare, newly rerecorded by the legendary London Symphony Orchestra, the score wastes no time in gripping the listener. Who can forget as the Star Destroyer, the "Executor" overshadows the entire imperial fleet? Who can forget when the Falcon outraces the Empire, or the time that it escapes the Mynock cave, or (the *absolute* best) when it busts out of the city in the clouds? These are all moments that have been engrained in the minds of Star Wars fans everywhere, and it is almost completely due to the incredible talent of maestro Williams and his keen sense of adventuresome music. Don't think that my mindless praise for this score is unwaranted, I really can't find any justifiable way to say anything bad about this score at all. It simply could not be any better, and as a cd contained soundtrack, there is no better purchase that you could make than the 1997 rerelease that captures for all time, the power and majesty that is Star Wars.

Adding to the wonderful main themes of the original are Darth Vader's theme, Yoda's theme, Lando's theme and, my personal favorite of the series, the gorgeous love theme for Han and Leia. Unlike the original soundtrack, which utilized Luke's theme and the force theme to the point of overuse, TESB makes the most mature use of the finest themes and motives that the series has to offer, without ever going overboard on any of them. Though to preserve the memorability of the new melodies present, Williams has included concert arrangements of the major themes in "Han Solo and the Princess, The Imperial March, and Yoda's Theme," all of which are reprised with even more power in the end credits, which round out the soundtrack and even throw in one of the most explosive and brassy coda's ever conceived for film.

Nearly every track is lengthy and uncompromisingly bursting at the seams with enthusiastic penmanship. From the battle scenes on the cold and barren landscape of the icy planet Hoth, to the deceptively warm atmosphere of Bespin, Lando Calrissian's city floating in the clouds. Brilliant sections of scoring such as these are what create fans of movie music. The imperial walkers section of "The Battle of Hoth" perfectly balances the personalities of the rebels and imperials while at the same time capturing the scope of the dramatic conflagration. "The Clash of Lightsabers," my personal favorite uses fast strings and incalculable orchestral might to represent the desperate situation and joyous victory when the small band of rebels takes off and leaves the empire in it's wake.

Whether it's a bright day or a rainy depressing day, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back makes a wonderful listen. Its musical prowess is almost unbelievable and what's more, it's extremely easy to find in any CD store. If you're even remotely interested in film music, you *need* this score.


Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is copyright 1980/1997 RCAVICTOR. This review is written by and is the property of Isaac Engelhorn and does not reflect the opinions of Tripod.