Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Artist Credits

Tracks

74 minutes total
  1. Star Wars Main Title & The Arrival at Naboo
  2. Duel of the Fates
  3. Anakin's Theme
  4. Jar Jar's Introduction & The Swim to Otoh Gunga
  5. The Sith Spacecraft & The Droid Battle
  6. The Trip to the Naboo Temple & The Audience with Boss Nass
  7. The Arrival at Tatooine & The Flag Parade
  8. He Is The Chosen One
  9. Anakin Defeats Sebulba
  10. Passage Through the Planet Core
  11. Watto's Deal & Kids at Play
  12. Panaka and the Queen's Protectors
  13. Queen Amidala & The Naboo Palace
  14. The Droid Invasion & The Appearance of Darth Maul
  15. Qui-Gon's Noble End
  16. The High Council Meeting & Qui-Gon's Funeral
  17. Augie's Great Municipal Band & End Credits
  • Released May 11, 1999 by Sony Classical (catalog no. SK-61816, retail $19).

Reviews

Everything one could hope for in a new Star Wars score.

Editor's review by Adam Corn

Many soundtrack fans have anticipated the score for "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" about as much as Star Wars fans have anticipated the film itself. I, at least, had a few doubts as to whether John Williams could match his output from the initial trilogy. Fans can rest assured - Williams has very much recreated the musical magic from the earlier SW films.

The presence of existing SW themes is made clear from the start, as the score begins, of course, with "Star Wars Main Title". As with the initial trilogy, after beginning with the same title fanfare, the music then moves on into new territory to begin the story action (this time to accompany "The Arrival at Naboo").

Other familiar Star Wars themes include the standard main title reprise in "End Credits" (which again eventually shifts into new material). In most of the other instances where familiar themes are used, they are substantially modified to meld with the new material. The most notable example is Darth Vader's theme. The arrangement of the normally militaristic and powerful Imperial March theme into tender, innocent form for the child Anakin is quite moving and certainly interesting. Star Wars fans will be pleased to hear a couple other major SW themes appear briefly but significantly.

The new material is quite substantial and a joy to hear. Some is more along the lines of event music that probably won't appear much in the next two films. "The Flag Parade" is one example, a loud piece with prominent brass that accompanies the preparatory ceremonies for the pod speeder race, successfully building tension and excitement. "The Swim to Otoh Gunda" and "Passage Through the Planet Core" explore new territory for the series, as they augment underwater scenes with the staple choral "ah-ahh"s and spooky strings.

As mentioned, the new themes in Episode I very much emit the classic Star Wars style. "The Sith Spacecraft" is one example, in that the tone resembles the classic Imperial March in ways. However, the pacing is enormously different and it is melded with new Episode I themes, so the final product is familiar yet unique.

Lastly, there are those new themes that accompany major story events and will forever stay etched in the minds of fans. The most well-known of these is the new villain/duel theme featured in "Duel of the Fates". (This track and "Anakin's Theme" are not straight from the film, but instead are "symphonic suite" style arrangements.) Again we hear music in a new direction for the series - the familiar orchestral action is augmented by an in-your-face, blow-your-ears-out choir. One of my personal favorites is the finale music, "Augie's Great Municipal Band". This piece continues the Star Wars trend of having a unique style of finale music for each episode. In this case, we get a celebratory march with triumphant orchestral fanfare, upbeat stomp-like percussion, gleeful children's chanting, and marching band style whistles offsetting it all. It's enormously entertaining and energetic, building excitement perfectly for the onset of "End Credits".

Really, there are few flaws to speak of in this soundtrack. The performance as always is by the London Symphony Orchestra, so there's little to worry about in that regard. The largest qualm of my own is that I feel the "Duel of the Fates" theme is featured too long in the ending credits and a bit overplayed in general, but that is a rather minor point.

Anyone who enjoyed the scores for the initial Star Wars trilogy should be more than pleased with this new installment. I am not an obsessed fan of the new film, but I am an obsessed fan of this new score. It's everything a Star Wars fan could hope for.

Williams achieves what Lucas could not.

Reader review by Roko Zaper

The proposal that Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace is one of William's finest efforts to date has almost become an accepted fact, but having heard William's work extensively I would even go as far as saying that is undoubtedly his greatest effort. Episode 1 was never going surpass the original movies in originality, but somehow Williams has combined the past and future of Star Wars into one lavish, rich, exciting and moving musical experience.

With this score Williams is forced to visit new territory while being expected to achieve something he has not done since the original Star Wars - to create a bold score that is not limited by pragmatism. Without question Williams has proved himself capable of producing pure magic under these nearly impossible conditions. People have been constantly saying how Williams never quite reproduced the magical score that was Star Wars, it is then ironic that Williams waited until the arrival of Episode 1 to again let loose with his imagination.

There are two elements which work best in this score. First there is the fantasy element, which has not been heard in a Williams score to this extent since "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". This fantasy element is backed by vocals and the diversity of instruments used in the score itself. This is the original, new and refreshing part of the score and I believe it represents Williams' greatest achievement to date. It is most celebrated in "Duel of the Fates", in my opinion the boldest, most effective piece of music Williams has ever written.

The second element can be described best as nostalgia; Williams uses past themes to an amazing effect, making you believe this is really the score from which familiar Star Wars themes were "born" from. Just listen to the end of "Anakin's Theme" carefully, one of the more fascinating parts of the score. No music before has made me feel so much for a character's unavoidable fate.

Williams combines these two powerful elements and achieves something that Lucas could not. It seems that a double lightsaber is better then a single one after all.

As a quick side note, the track title "Star Wars Main Title and The Arrival at Naboo" is misleading, as that track's music is really used for the arrival at Coruscant in the actual movie.

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