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Raiders of the Lost Ark
1985 Polydor

1995 Limited DCC

1995 Regular DCC

2008 Expanded Set

Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
John Williams

Performed by:
The London Symphony Orchestra

Orchestrated by:
Herbert Spencer

1995 Albums Produced by:
Nick Redman

2008 Album Produced by:
Laurent Bouzereau

Labels and Dates:
Polydor (International)

DCC Compact Classics (CDs and LPs)
(November 29th, 1995)

Silva Screen (CD only)
(November 29th, 1995)

Concord Records (Set)
(November 11th, 2008)

Also See:
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
The Empire Strikes Back
Close Encounters

Audio Clips:
1995 DCC Album:

7. To Cairo (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

9. The Map Room: Dawn (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (243K)
Real Audio (151K)

15. To the Nazi Hideout (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

16. Ark Trek (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

The 1985 Polydor albums were commercial products pressed (with idenitical contents and cover art) in several countries. Due to poor distribution in the U.S., many Americans ended up with the West German or Japanese pressings. This album sold for as much as $50 in the early 1990's after it fell out of print, but was devalued by the 1995 releases.

The regular commercial releases of 1995 featuring the white cover were pressed by DCC Compact Classics in America and Silva Screen in Great Britain. The first pressing of the DCC product in America came in a tan slip case, though the product underneath it was exactly the same. DCC also released the double-LP on 180 "virgin vinyl" at the same time. All of these 1995 products eventually fell out of print as well.

The 2008 set (called "The Soundtrack Collection") is a regular commercial product with a retail price of $60 but initally sold for $43 to $45 at primarily major online outlets.

  Winner of a Grammy Award. Nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award.

Raiders of the Lost Ark
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Buy it... if you're looking to start a collection of John Williams' classic scores from the height of the Bronze Age, for Raiders of the Lost Ark is among both the best and most influential adventure works from that era.

Avoid it... on the 1995 CD album if you absolutely require more complete releases of the score, which just happen to exist on the concurrent double-LP set or the 2008 franchise CD set.

Raiders of the Lost Ark: (John Williams) Director Steven Spielberg confessed to actor Roger Moore in the late 1970's that he had significant interest in helming a future James Bond entry. Unfortunately, due to the rule that no director in the 007 franchise would receive a cut of the profits, a Spielberg necessity, the pairing was never destined to be realized. Instead, Spielberg met up with George Lucas in late 1977, after both had achieved massive success in the mainstream, and decided that the two would have to collaborate on a serial-like adventure at some point in the following years. That partnership would manifest itself in Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, with the James Bond character mutated into a rough but tough professor and archeologist, Indiana Jones. The dusty world of the late 1930's is the playground for stark contrasts between good and evil in the early years of the Indiana Jones franchise, and despite the impressive box office returns of all four films in that series, Raiders of the Lost Ark remains as the critical and popular favorite. Regardless of Paramount's attempts in the 2000's to change the name of this film to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, don't let shameless marketing manipulation tarnish one of the greatest titles ever to bestow an adventure film. The production had everything you could ask for: the likable and believable hero, strong romantic chemistry, interesting secondary characters, an awesome combination of stunts and special effects, a touch of ancient history, the wrath of God, several hair-raising escapes from impossible situations, a genuine sense of humor, and, without a doubt, a classic score by John Williams. The composer was at the pinnacle of his career, enjoying a period from 1977 to 1983 when he could do little wrong, defining the Bronze Age of film music with his thematically memorable orchestral powerhouses for blockbuster movies. Williams' score for Raiders of the Lost Ark was among nine Academy Award nominations for Spielberg's picture, and the fact that Williams' score was not among the film's five Oscar wins remains a great source of frustration (Vangelis, who won for the soon badly dated Chariots of Fire, didn't even attend the ceremony; Raiders of the Lost Ark lost to Chariots of Fire in the major categories as well).

The spirit of Williams' style for Raiders of the Lost Ark is finely tuned to the adventuresome tone of the film's story, matching the exuberance of each of its scenes with the same precision of theme and emotion that would reinvent itself as "magic" in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial the following year. The title march attracts the most obvious attention when the masses recall Raiders of the Lost Ark, but in reality the extremely effective and even catchy subthemes for the score are equally vital to the score's success. Still, it's the title march you hear in stadiums and in trailers for the following entries in the franchise; just as Monty Norman's theme for James Bond and Williams' theme for Darth Vader are engrained in pop culture as the most obvious musical representations of one serial movie character, the march for Indy Jones is worthy of the same distinction. The score is a rare occasion in which the entire package, with only a few small detriments in lesser cues, is better than the brightest moments of almost any other score. Williams so thoroughly nails the pulse of this picture, from the melodramatic awe of the Ark to the gritty rhythms of Jones resilience as he battles a convey of trucks, that Raiders of the Lost Ark is a cinematic experience much greater in both intensity and entertainment value because of Williams' contribution. Three major themes exist in the score, and the purpose of each is so clear that the composer would work all of them into sequels in the franchise. A variety of lesser motifs, including secondary phrases of these major themes, occupy significant roles in the work. There has long been speculation about additional motifs in Raiders of the Lost Ark, though while Williams does definitely conjure auxiliary ideas throughout the score, their direct application (for labeling purposes) remains open for debate. What isn't contested is the harmonic beauty of the score, especially in the themes for Marion Ravenwood and the Ark of the Covenant. Even the film's major action sequences (no less than four of which exist) offer exhilarating tonal structures and readily enjoyable rhythms, producing a consistently fluid experience on album. It was an era during which Williams' writing didn't contain as many complex layers, and the listener is rewarded with a very clean set of constructs not obscured by an excess of distracting orchestrations.

It is often because of this perfect blend of smart thematic ideas and their straightforward rendering that the early 1980's are remembered fondly by Williams fans and movie buffs alike. Unlike the Star Wars prequel scores, the three Harry Potter entries, and other major action and adventure works of the next decades by the maestro, Raiders of the Lost Ark doesn't hide its intentions in flurries of hyperactive secondary lines within the orchestra. It's a score that smacks you across the face with performances that occasionally even lack counterpoint, driving home the point in a particular scene with the same creative and resilient, but ultimately simplistic mentality of Dr. Jones himself (Williams ironically labored on the theme to great lengths, though). Some listeners might consider the title march to be rather sparse in performance for these exact reasons, but since Indy isn't a complicated fellow, the catchy brass theme is his most valuable sidekick. At the time of the film's debut, the lack of an overture performance of this theme meant that audiences didn't hear this identity until the finale of the film's first remarkable chase sequence. Only in the rolling of the "End Credits" did audiences hear the theme in the concert version so famous today because of its album releases in original and re-recorded form. After several redemptive renditions of theme starting at the one-minute mark in "Flight from Peru," the theme returns in significant parts of "Airplane Fight," "Desert Chase," "The German Sub," not to mention more subtle applications such as those in "Ark Trek" and the end of "To the Nazi Hideout." Perhaps the most effective uses of the theme come during the map sequences of the film, showing Jones' movements on plane and ship around the world. In "Journey to Nepal," "To Cairo," "To the Nazi Hideout," as well as similar map sequences extending all the way to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, spirited fragments of both the title theme and others during these scenes are moments for Williams' music to shine, and it's also during these cues that the composer often inserts gong hits and other creative elements to suggest a culture change. The title theme's most glorious performance comes in "The German Sub," during which Williams pays tribute to Erich Wolfgang Korngold's sense of swashbuckling style with a pompous variation of the theme well suited for Jones' cheered submarine ride.

While "The Raiders March" (the title of its short overture translation on album) is the centerpiece of the score, film score fans may tend to find more residual enjoyment in the other two major themes of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The first comes with Marion and the obvious chemistry between her and Indy. Its structure, orchestration, and performance are remarkably similar to the love theme from Superman, and each of its appearances in Raiders of the Lost Ark is equally lovely. The theme is introduced at the very beginning of "Journey to Nepal," as her name is first mentioned, and it flourishes in its first major performance in the "To Cairo" travel cue as Marion and Indy join forces. The most abrasive performance of her theme comes at the end of "The Basket Game," with pulsating brass punctuating Indy's belief that Marion has died in a truck explosion (though a sensitive woodwind performance following helps sooth the lament). The scenes of Marion's imprisoned interactions in "Reunion and the Dig Begins" offer a few bright spots in an otherwise tense cue, and as she and Indy escape aboard ship, their first scene of suggested intimacy is provided with the closest performance to the concert arrangement in "Marion's Theme" (a cue struck short in the film by the burning of the Ark through its wooden box, scored by Williams with the most unpleasant dissonance of the entire work). Aside from the normal interlude to the march in "End Credits," Williams only suggests Marion's theme again on fleeting flute at the end of "The Miracle of the Ark" and in more assuring tones in the first thirty seconds of "The Warehouse," as our favorite duo departs the screen. This theme would return in 2008 during Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, with Marion's re-integration into the plotline served with several hints of her theme before her marriage to Indy in the final scene is served with a flourishing, gorgeous string performance not much unlike that in the "Marion's Theme" cue in Raiders of the Lost Ark. An abbreviated version of the concert arrangement for the theme would conclude the mid-section of the "End Credits" for the fourth film as well. Despite all of the attention afforded to the title march and love themes, however, neither offers the most powerful support of any theme in the film. That distinction develops for the Ark itself.

One of Williams' most brilliant and underrated themes, the music for the mysterious Ark of the Covenant is both attractive in its religious weight and frightening in its ominous, descending structure. Themes of such melodramatic gravity, unforgivingly paced and beautifully oppressive, are a rarity in Williams' career. Only its placement amongst the more famous, comparatively fluffy themes in Raiders of the Lost Ark restrains it from more popular greatness. Williams teases with the primary half of the theme at 0:20 into "Journey to Nepal" (as the Ark is mentioned) before finally unleashing it in one of its two major choral performances in "The Map Room: Dawn." Thereafter, it is a faithful reminder of the coveted artifact in "Reunion and the Dig Begins," mutates into its death march variation in "Ark Trek," and lights up the crowd (literally) with the second monumental choral rendition in "The Miracle of the Ark." Williams even allows it the final chime-banging crescendo of the film, closing out "The Warehouse" in equally ominous but remarkably glorious fashion. There is no doubt that the major performances of this theme in "The Map Room: Dawn" and "The Miracle of the Ark" are the highlights of the score, serving the religious element without any limit in scope. Interestingly, much debate exists about the secondary phrase of the theme for the Ark (and additionally the medallion necessary to help locate its resting place). While some listeners and critics believe that the medallion itself actually has a dedicated theme, it's more likely that the Ark theme, like the title march, simply has a built-in secondary phrase that was coincidentally used in the scene during which Marion first gazes upon the medallion. This makes more sense because while the phrase does appear at the very start of "The Medallion," its most prominent full-ensemble performances exist at 0:40 into "Ark Trek" and explosively at 2:55 into "The Miracle of the Ark." Since the medallion has no role at that point in the film, the music you hear in "The Medallion" is likely representative of some aspect of the Ark itself, whether it's religious, historical, or something else. The theme heard on horn at about 1:00 into "The Medallion" is sometimes confused with being representative of the medallion, but this music is better classified as an extension of the theme for the black-clad Nazi agent Toht, whose mission is to acquire the medallion for himself.

The other themes employed by Williams in Raiders of the Lost Ark aren't quite as obvious, and some contention exists over the composer's intent with a few of those ideas. Unlike the primary three themes, the others tend to be underdeveloped due to the brevity of their on-screen inspirations, and this lack of clarity is often considered one of the score's few weaknesses. The use of secondary phrases within themes has already been discussed in terms of the material for the Ark and medallion. The title theme itself features a secondary phrase that has aged better than the more famous half. Speculation suggests that this phrase represents Jones in motion, but to apply it that specifically is likely going too far. Its first performance is its most attractively elongated in tempo, gracefully accompanying Indy as he panics over a snake in the plane escape from Peru. Two triumphant performances of this phrase exist in "Desert Chase" (at 2:55 and 7:20), and Williams uses it as a bridge to the primary phrase of the title march after the statements of the secondary themes in each of his "End Credits" suites for the franchise. The Nazis, on the other hand, despite claims to the contrary, do have their own distinct theme, though it would not be used by Williams for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It likely fools some listeners because it takes so long for Williams to first state it in full form. Its striking sixteenth notes on high trumpets over rhythmically relentless timpani (first used at 2:05 into "Airplane Fight") are a throwback to Williams' minor theme for the Empire in the first Star Wars film. Translations onto lower brass later in "Airplane Fight" really expose these similarities. The theme receives snare accompaniment at 1:45 and 4:15 in "Desert Chase." These two cues offer Jones in his closest combat with the Nazis, so the application of the most obvious performances of that theme in only these two tracks makes sense. A few hints of the theme exist elsewhere, include one at 1:30 in "The German Sub." An offshoot of the Nazi theme becomes a short announcement of bold, minor-key brass for Agent Toht, and this idea is appropriately alluded to at 1:20 into "Journey to Nepal" before erupting at his entrance at 0:45 into "The Medallion." The theme makes its last contributions in the middle of "Reunion and the Dig Begins." As mentioned before, the faint horn solo after his little fanfare in "The Medallion" likely represents him and not the medallion.

The only other obvious recurring motif in Raiders of the Lost Ark is a sort of "general artifact theme" that Williams uses twice as Indy approaches an answer to a historical conundrum while deep in an underground temple. This rolling bass woodwind and string motif raises anticipation to palpable levels at 2:45 in the cue "In the Idol's Temple" and at 1:00 in "The Map Room: Dawn." The churning of the bassoon early in the performance of this motif during "In the Idol's Temple" is delicious. The remaining thematic ideas that Williams uses throughout Raiders of the Lost Ark are largely singular, ranging from the digging/encampment motif throughout the first half of "The Map Room: Dawn" (which also made a curious appearance in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) to the memorable and spirited motif of comedy in "The Basket Game" (which foreshadowed some of the fluffier material to eventually come from Hook and the Harry Potter scores). Other techniques that Williams uses in Raiders of the Lost Ark, mostly in choice of instrumentation or rhythm, aid the score's superior character. The Jaws-like rhythm on strings during the snake scene in "Flight from Peru" is cute, as is the single chime representing the tolling of a bell upon the arrival to the university setting at the end of that cue. During the map sequences, the gong hit for the arrival in Nepal (an early touch of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) and the slight Arabic progression upon the arrival in Cairo are classy touches. The shooting of the master swordsman in the middle of "The Basket Game" is a classic example of a cue that can tell the story of the scene by itself. As Indy just goes ahead and shoots his fierce opponent (an unscripted change by Ford during filming), Williams unleashes a burst of brass that resembles, quite kiddingly, Jerry Goldsmith's The Wind and the Lion. There is little disagreement that "Desert Chase" is one of the greatest action cues of the Bronze or Digital Ages; Williams' tempo slightly increases as the 8-minute cue progresses, cranking up the intensity as Jones knocks off one Nazi in the convoy after another. The aforementioned dissonant crescendo used for the scene in which the Ark burns a hole through the Nazi crate on the boat is not the same as what was originally recorded by Williams.

In the later cues, the first minute of "The German Sub" offers staggered percussive rhythms and brass that will remind many Williams collectors of the rebel preparation scenes on the snow planet of Hoth at the start of The Empire Strikes Back. The last singular moment of note occurs as the villains melt and explode as they gaze in the Ark. Williams uses struck percussion to accentuate the dissonant strings and aimless brass figures that accompany their deaths, and, after the Ark theme's one final choral expression, Williams allows the its final note to swirl like the wind, fluttering downward to the moment the Ark's lid lands. On the whole, Raiders of the Lost Ark is so full of such remarkable moments that attempting to analyze each one is pointless. The score does have a few weaknesses, however. The development and consistency of the secondary themes is not as tightly organized as it is in other classic Williams scores of the era. Additionally, there are a few cues of a more ambient nature that rely on subtle orchestrations to convey emotions. Normally, this obviously isn't a problem, but in the case of Raiders of the Lost Ark, so much of the score is brazenly obvious and handled by the full ensemble that the quieter moments are easy to dismiss. Foremost in the cues to skip is the lengthy "The Well of the Souls," accompanying the scene in which Indy and Marion are buried alive in the underground room that held the Ark. Turbulent undercurrents, dissonant brass and woodwinds, tingling percussion for the snakes, and the absence of any organized thematic references make the cue largely unremarkable. Also of less interest are "Main Title: South America, 1936" and the first half of "In the Idol's Temple," which, outside of a burst of brass at the end of the first cue, rely on plucked strings and meandering woodwinds to convey the uncertainty and foreign atmosphere of the quest. In the actual chase half of "Flight from Peru," this general idea is heightened to almost comical levels. The shorter concert arrangement of the title theme, entitled "The Raiders March," is largely redundant and, in retrospect, only serves to worsen the fact that the theme is so overplayed (historically) that it has lost some of its initial appeal. Overall, however, such quibbles with Raiders of the Lost Ark are of little consequence. The score remains vastly superior to its sequels, despite each of their individual strengths.

Finding the classic scores of Williams' career from the late 1970's to the early 1980's was a frustrating and often expensive proposition in the early 1990's. Then, in the latter half of the 90's, many of these scores received incredible treatment on expanded CD albums. The first score to be preserved in better form was indeed Raiders of the Lost Ark, which set a trend with its outstanding re-release in 1995. Various labels went on to expand E.T. in 1996, the Star Wars scores in 1997, Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1998, and Superman in 2000, leaving Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as the lone holdout (a disappointment that continued until 2008). A CD adaptation of the original 1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark LP record was pressed in 1985 by Polydor, and just as with Return of the Jedi, both the American and West German pressings of that product went out of print and, by the early 1990's, had become moderate collectibles. That 42-minute album offered all the major cues, but its presentation was heavily edited and out of film order. In 1995, however, these albums' values depreciated upon the expanded, 73-minute releases of Raiders of the Lost Ark by DCC in America and Silva in Great Britain. Three separate expanded re-releases came out of that 1995 bonanza, including both a regular CD (with a white cover), a limited pressing (with a useless, gold slip cover), and, most interestingly, a high quality double-LP version with a white cover and gold border. All of these 1995 products offered at least 30 additional minutes over lengthened tracks and eight major, previously unreleased cues. The 1995 vinyl release was the gem, however, because it features five additional minutes of material in "The Well of the Souls" not available on the CDs (including a notably frenzied performance of the Ark theme near the end). While stretching a CD to 79:20 in length was prohibitive, certainly at least some of that material could have been edited onto the CD pressings. It's a small annoyance, but then again, how many expanded scores of this era were only pressed on vinyl? Both CDs contain the same music (if you hustled to the stores immediately in November of 1995, you got the gold slip cover version), remastered into superior sound and featuring an impressive 24-page booklet with track-by-track analysis and interviews.

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Much anticipation resulted from the announcement in 2008 that Concord Records, the group responsible for the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, had decided to compile a set of all four scores in the franchise and include significant portions of additional, previously unreleased material from the first three scores. There were reports that Raiders of the Lost Ark would be released separately from the set, which would have been beneficial for those not interested in either the sequel scores or potentially doubling up on the commercial release of the fourth score. With that individual album scrapped at the last minute, those interesting in hearing even more unreleased music from Raiders of the Lost Ark only had the option of purchasing the $45 set with a redundant album for the fourth film. The set advertises remastered sound, though the 1995 product's presentation was already vastly improved. Some cues in the 2008 set version seem to feature slightly more reverberation, though this is debatable. Of all four scores in the franchise, Raiders of the Lost Ark needed the least assistance in achieving complete status on album, and the fact that Concord failed to provide the totality of material from this one score is disappointing. It simply leaves the door open for another product in the future to clean up the mess and collect more money from fans. Most of the additional music from "The Well of the Souls" on the 1995 LP is provided in the form of "Uncovering the Ark" on the supplemental, fifth CD of additional music in the set (along with the concert version of "Raiders March"). Of the three additional cues included on the actual first CD of that set, all are about a minute in length and only "Washington Men," with its eerie, choral introduction of the Ark theme, is worth the trouble. Unfortunately, the "Desert Chase" cue has been unnecessarily trimmed down to its 1985 album length, and a couple of other minutes of odds and ends from the score remain unreleased. Unfortunately, what the 2008 set creates is a situation that once again forces fans to make their own compilation of material from the score. It is also very short on analysis about the score in the otherwise bloated packaging. Still, on the whole, there's no reason not to have either of the 1995 or 2008 albums in your collection. The only better sensation would be to find the Ark of the Covenant buried in your back yard. Well, maybe. ***** Price Hunt: CD or Download

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 Track Listings (1985 Polydor Albums): Total Time: 40:14

• 1. Raiders of the Lost Ark (6:05)
• 2. Escape from Peru (2:26)
• 3. The Map Room: Dawn (3:58)
• 4. The Basket Game (4:50)
• 5. The Well of the Souls (5:00)
• 6. Desert Chase (7:44)
• 7. Marion's Theme (3:13)
• 8. The Miracle of the Ark (6:14)
• 9. The Raiders March (2:29)

 Track Listings (1995 DCC/Silva CDs): Total Time: 73:22

• 1. The Raiders March (2:50)
• 2. Main Title: South America, 1936* (4:10)
• 3. In the Idol's Temple** (5:26)
• 4. Flight from Peru (2:20)
• 5. Journey to Nepal* (2:11)
• 6. The Medallion* (2:55)
• 7. To Cairo (1:29)
• 8. The Basket Game** (5:04)
• 9. The Map Room: Dawn (3:52)
• 10. Reunion and the Dig Begins* (4:10)
• 11. The Well of the Souls**/*** (5:28)
• 12. Airplane Fight* (4:37)
• 13. Desert Chase** (8:15)
• 14. Marion's Theme (2:08)
• 15. The German Sub*/To the Nazi Hideout* (4:32)
• 16. Ark Trek* (1:33)
• 17. The Miracle of the Ark (6:05)
• 18. The Warehouse* (0:56)
• 19. End Credits (5:20)

* previously unreleased
** contains previously unreleased material
*** length extended to full 11:27 on 1995 DCC double-LP set

 Track Listings (2008 Concord Set): Total Time: 82:06

CD1: (74:04)

• 1. In the Jungle (4:13)
• 2. The Idol Temple (3:56)
• 3. Escape from the Temple (1:34)
• 4. Flight from Peru (2:24)
• 5. Washington Men/Indy's Home* (1:06)
• 6. A Thought for Marion/To Nepal (2:12)
• 7. The Medallion (2:55)
• 8. Flight to Cairo (1:30)
• 9. The Basket Game (5:02)
• 10. Bad Dates* (1:14)
• 11. The Map Room: Dawn (3:53)
• 12. Reunion in the Tent/Searching for the Well (4:02)
• 13. The Well of the Souls (5:28)
• 14. Indy Rides the Statue* (1:09)
• 15. The Fist Fight/The Flying Wing (4:37)
• 16. Desert Chase (7:33)
• 17. Marion's Theme/The Crate (2:10)
• 18. The German Sub (1:23)
• 19. Ride to the Nazi Hideout (3:20)
• 20. Indy Follows the Ark (1:40)
• 21. The Miracle of the Ark (6:07)
• 22. Washington Ending & Raiders March (6:52)

CD5: (51:46)

• 1. Raiders March (2:30)
• 2. Interviews with John Williams, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas - hosted by Laurent Bouzereau (17:58)
• 3. Uncovering the Ark** (5:32)
(Other nine tracks from The Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade)

* previously unreleased
** previously released only on 1995 LP record

(total time reflects only music from Raiders of the Lost Ark, not the other scores and interview on the set)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The 1985 Polydor albums contain a note from Steven Spielberg (written in April, 1981) about the score. These albums also featured a general note about the film by an unknown author, as well as extensive information explaining what a CD actually is (oh, those lovely days of early CDs).

The 1995 DCC and Silva albums contain a 24-page booklet with the same note from Spielberg, a 1995 interview with Williams about the score (and industry in general), production sketches and photos, and lengthy commentary about each cue by Film Score Monthly editor Lukas Kendall. It has very little information about the assembly and remastering process of the albums.

The 2008 Concord set contains bloated packaging with extensive photography and short notes from the composer and director, but it surprisingly contains no analysis of the music itself.

Williams with Spielberg, 1982

At right is an excerpt from an interview with Spielberg in April, 1981, the second part of which was used in all the albums' notes.
"I really believe that John brought back a lost art which was one of the great achievements of the '30s and '40s. It all finally came to a full stop with the soundtrack of Easy Rider in 1969. That's when the 'needle-drop' soundtrack became popular, collages of old hit songs that made movies sound like top-40 radio stations. The last great old-style score before John was Spartacus in 1960, a film that represented the end of an era in several respects. Elliptical films, vignette films became popular, and the big entertainments that the movies had created to compete with television were over. I had to stop buying movie soundtrack albums because there weren't any I wanted to hear anymore!

Not too long ago, in a country not so far away, adventurer archeologist, Indiana Jones, embarked on an historically significant search for the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Joining him on this supernatural treasure hunt was the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of composer John Williams. Were it not for many crucial bursts of dramatic symphonic accompaniment, Indiana Jones would surely have perished in a forbidding temple in South America or in the oppresive silence of the great Sahara desert. Nevertheless, Jones did not perish but listened carefully to the Raiders of the Lost Ark score. Its sharp rhythms told him when to run. Its slicing strings told him when to duck. Its several integrated themes told adventurer Jones when to kiss the heroine or smash the enemy. All things considered, Jones listened...and lived. John Williams saves yet another life and gives our picture, Raiders of the Lost Ark, a new, refreshing life of its own. Thanks, John."

  All artwork and sound clips from Raiders of the Lost Ark are Copyright © 1995, Polydor (International), DCC Compact Classics (CDs and LPs), Silva Screen (CD only), Concord Records (Set). The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/27/96 and last updated 12/28/08. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1996-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.