Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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"Klytus, I'm bored. What plaything can you offer me today?"

After receiving my double LP of The Empire Strikes Back and corresponding with a friend who is uploading a 96/24 rip of that original configuration, I realized that I had disposed of my original listening copy of that score a while ago with the intention of making a new one, a project that I had never gotten around to doing.

I just spent a bit of time working on The Empire Strikes Back to make a listening version. The issue with this score is that while the complete version is available on the RCA and Sony "Special Edition" two disc sets, the sound is inferior to that of the Arista box set released a few years earlier. Unfortunately, the Arista box set had a rushed post-production schedule, and some of the tracks on The Empire Strikes Back had reversed stereo channels. I therefore set out to build a new complete version of the score, primarily using the Arista box set, but rounded out with additional tracks from the "Special Edition" version, and I tried to make the transition from one source to the other as seamless as possible (which was mostly just adjusting sound levels).

After I finished that project, I did one for Return of the Jedi, although while this also consisted of expanding music from the much better-sounding Arista set and adding a few additional pieces from the "Special Edition" set, I decided against putting together the complete score. In my opinion, while it has its moments, the score for Return of the Jedi isn't as much fun as Star Wars¹, nor has the intensity or harmonic complexity of The Empire Strikes Back, and so while my version runs a little over two hours, it isn't the whole thing.

I've always felt that the film itself was way too overscored, the wall to wall nature of the music robbing the film of some much-needed sonic dynamic. It hurts the score as heard in the film, as one becomes inured to the music even when it should be grand and transcendental. I therefore concentrated on putting together something that was more representative of the score than what appeared in the Arista set (which, among other things, mostly skips over the dark passages at the beginning during the Jabba's palace sequence, and there isn't any trace of Leia's theme in the third film, save for the most fleeting appearance in "Leia is Wounded"), but wasn't as ponderous as the "Special Edition" (which, due to all of the alternate recordings and concert versions, actually runs longer than the film itself). This was actually an easier task than with The Empire Strikes Back, as that album featured some combined tracks ("The Training of a Jedi Knight," "City in the Clouds," etc.), while the only time that is the case with Return of the Jedi is Williams' concert version of "Jabba the Hutt" that concludes "Han Solo Returns (At the Court of Jabba the Hutt);" otherwise with the exception of "Heroic Ewok/The Fleet Goes Into Hyperspace," all of the music is either in the form it is heard in the movie or a completely different recording.

Speaking of sonic improvements, I just received Intrada's remaster of Rambo III yesterday, and I may be redoing my Rambo trilogy compilation shortly. I originally had only planned to update the original assembly with the remastered cues from Rambo III, but I may start the project over from scratch now. I have been considering building suites out of the scores for the latter two films similar to the ones Jerry Goldsmith put together for the album of the first. The new version may also be shorter than the previous one.

I have been on something of a Jerry Goldsmith kick, so this might fit perfectly. I'm also considering a compilation of his music for Franklin J. Schaffner's films, a no-brainer that I somehow never considered before.

¹ — My playing version of Star Wars is the complete "Special Edition," albeit sans bonus tracks and with cues renamed to reflect the original LP track titles; this is the only one of the "Special Edition" releases to sound better than the what appears in the Arista box set.
Tags: audio, film music, jerry goldsmith, john williams, mix workshop, star wars, vinyl
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