The frustration is almost getting to me. Here in my hands is the soundtrack to a movie I have yet to watch, one of the most anticipated movies of most people in my generation. This is the one where the Jedi goes bad ! The blackest chapter of the ‘Star Wars’ saga. But what about this disc in my hands ? Again John Williams is on board with the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Voices…. But wait. Can you remember when they brought out the soundtrack for ‘The Phantom Menace’ long before the movie played its dazzling lights on the cinema screen ? Yes that’s right, the movie was shrouded in mystery and there blazened on the back cover was the title of one track, ‘The Funeral Of Qui-Gon’. I almost fell to my knees in tears. I had not yet watched and I knew that the master Jedi Qui-Gon was to bite the space dust.
Dare I look this time ?
How can I resisit. What is in front of me is not just a movie soundtrack but the end of an era. This is not a mere cd either, this 2 disc set is a must for any fan. 2 disc set I hear you ask ? That’s right, out there in limited numbers is a 2 disc set, and disc 2 is something worth the price alone. A DVD called ‘Star Wars : A Musical Journey’ (but for more on that see separate review).
15 tracks are here, over 70 minutes of pounding Star Wars glory. The Fox fanfare leads us into ‘Star Wars and the Revenge of the Sith’. Drums and more heavy percussion, almost a military feel, with a huge brass sound give a dark and menacing feel from the offset.
Almost like a lullaby, this leads a lighter tone into track 2, ‘Anakin’s Dream’. This is John Williams at his mellow best and then it changes, heavy string and shrilling brass hint at the nightmares to come.
Track 3 is ‘Battle of the Heroes’ and future cd single (see associated news item for more info). This is just as mighty as the ‘Duel of the Fates’ from chapter I. Large brass sections and swirling harps with a full male choir of the London Voices, set your skin tingling. Monumental in scope, and powerful indeed, this is the stand out track on the disc.
The drums are pounded yet again for a break-neck action packed track with ‘General Grievous’. This gets the juices going and the toes tapping, and May 23rd seems too long away.
Hairs stand on end for the long low toned choir opening of ‘Palpatine’s Teachings’, similar to Buddhist chants, and reference here is enlightenment but not for good. ‘The Imperial March’ is added in here, tying up things neatly with the next three of the saga, as we await the birth of Darth.
Haunting, with a female solo, ‘Padme’s Ruminations’, hints towards eastern styles in its musical approach.
The battle from our darkest dreams is scored on track 9. Loud, bombastic and heart pounding. The darker Anakin is getting the more of ‘The Imperial March’ is woven into the score. More choral work and the tones of the earlier ‘Battle of the Heroes’, is reprised.
‘Anakin’s Dark Deeds’, seems oddly familiar. It has that ‘Lord of the Rings’ feel to it but that is no distraction from the second best track here. Kudos to the London Voices, one can only imagine the marvel of this if performed live.
Track 11, ‘Enter Lord Vader’, heralds the new Lord of the Sith. Lilting between the love themes from ‘Across the Stars’ (Attack of the Clones) to the dark of ‘The Emperor Arrives’ (The Return of the Jedi), this is a battle of wills and the score shows perfectly the two sides of Anakin.
The music is forever changing, and has the darkest tone for all of the ‘Star Wars’ scores. At times giving small hints to the Luke and Leia themes to show that perhaps there is a light at the end of this journey, that hope will rise again. Three decades in the making and worth every moment. For an added little extra, the track listings fold out into a neat little mini poster !
‘Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith soundtrack and bonus DVD’ is out to own now in the UK and available via Amazon UK, with a limited edition sleeve (while stocks last), and available in the US via Amazon.