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Comments about the soundtrack for Star Wars: A New Hope (John Williams)

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Re: 2004 Sony Classical set
• Posted by: Bren   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Thursday, July 13, 2006, at 3:44 a.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: 2004 Sony Classical set (Rolan)


Mainly because of the comprehensive liner notes notes that accompany the 1997 RCA set. No one will disagree that the primary point of buying the CDs is to listen to the music. The more familiar the listener is with the trilogy itself, the more apparent the job the score does of driving the narative whilst listening to it. The packaging and liner notes will not aid your enjoyment and response as a listener to the music itself, anymore than an explanation of joke will help you laugh.

Where the liner notes and packaging of the 1997 RCA version do come into their own is aiding your *understanding* of the score, how it came to be composed and recorded, the musical techniques used in it etc.

Ie, the notes for ANH contain the following:

A brief history of JWs film scoring career, a description of the leitmotif style/technique and the circumstances surrounding the original recording of the score and impact on film scores post ANH.

A brief section on the extensions and alterations to the score for the 1997 SE rerelease of the films.

What then follows is a track by track "companion" to the score. The author comments on musical aspects (leitmotif, key, pace) and how these map onto/underscore what it seen on screen, how the various character themes re-enforce the mythic archetypes that Lucas based the characters themselves on (ie the eager youth, the advisory wizard etc) and so on.

Also included is a list of recording dates, the number of takes and the take used in the final version in the film.

Is all of this neccessary to enjoy the music? No, not in the slightest. However if you are at all interested in understanding the music, which may or may not help you to enjoy it more, the 1997 RCA versions are the way to go.

Oh, and the slipcased, hardback book versions of the 1997 RCA issues are incredibly collectable!

Short answer:

Just want the music, not interested in the notes, photos etc? 2004 Sony version are for you. Easily obtained, as you mention.

Want the notes, photos, classier packaging (in my humble opinion) as well as the music? 1997 RCA. Can still be tracked down on eBay etc, but will take some effort & money.

Consider it to be the difference between a first edition/special edition hardback of a favourite book and the common paperback. Same story and text, just a little extra that makes you feel like you have something special in the hardback.

Either way, enjoy the score - whichever set you buy to listen to it.


> I've always wondered why do the reviewers consider the 2004 Sony Classical
> set to be inferior to the 1997 RCA set because of packaging. I have the
> 2004 set, and to be honest I don't give a damn about the packaging because
> I prefer to listen to the music (actually the packaging is not bad at all;
> it's functional and serves its purpose.) As I understand, both sets are
> identical in music. But the point is that this 1997 RCA set is rather
> elusive and difficult to find in stores. At least the 2004 set is
> available.

Comments in this Thread:     Expand >>
  • 2004 Sony Classical set  (4159 views)
       Rolan - Friday, June 30, 2006, at 6:47 p.m.
    •      Re: 2004 Sony Classical set  (3854 views)    We're Here
         Bren - Thursday, July 13, 2006, at 3:44 a.m.

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