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Star Wars: Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi



Star Wars: Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi (1983)

John Williams 

Released in:

The ending of something spectacular, with the culmination of every theme
Thomas Glorieux (January 15, 2007)
The final chapter in the most successful trilogy ever is dedicated to several things that will remain classic. First of all, the cast that once more created this perfect environment to breath in, secondly the climax of the story and movie as it exploded with awesome space battles and the turn to the good side of Darth Vader, and last but not least the wonderful score of John Williams. While many people consider the second especially to be the best (something I can hardly disagree with), I still seem to state that this score contains the most highlights of all the Star Wars scores that are released and obtained by millions of people. Perhaps a way to state that the score to Return to the Jedi is filled with the trademark fanfares and action based adventurous music that made Williams so hot in the '80. But simply, because we seem to get the climax in both movie and its initial music, something a fan can hardly resist. It is then also with great pride that the score to Return of the Jedi also received its special edition, with another amazing booklet, a selection of widely ranging unreleased tracks and the longest pair of track times, all here one way or another to deliver you the force as you can taste it coming of the screen.

As we have come to expect and get tired of it, the main theme will always start the Star Wars scores, even in a galaxy far far away. It nevertheless moves further with the Imperial march, and even later with a brief version of Luke's theme, all in 'Main Title / Approaching the Death Star / Tatooine Rendezvous'. 'Luke Confronts Jabba / Den of the Rancor / Sarlacc Sentence' is the first of many action pieces and is a rousing display, mostly covering the Luke theme in wonderful fashion. Another amazing piece which surprises me each time is 'The Pit of Carkoon / Sail Barge Assault', covering an immense usage of brass and an adventurous mood all the way through. A track that perfectly portrays that Williams has written an abundance of themes is 'The Emperor Arrives / The Death of Yoda / Obi - Wan's Revelation', covering in order the Imperial march, Emperor's theme (with menacing choir), Yoda's theme, Luke's theme, back to Yoda's theme and then my favorite, the mournful music when Yoda's body disappears when he dies, ending nonetheless later with Leia's theme. Altogether a track that shows what Star Wars contains of themes, and not that it is far from over. A track that doesn't really fly but I still find it excellent is 'Shuttle Tydirium Approaches Endor', with the use of foreboding themes and the Imperial march, just like clockwork. Later the Ewok music is heard in track 11 (so don't expect action music) and of source material, an alternate track is placed along with Jabba's cantina music, especially track 14 is interesting to digest. This would have been an enjoyable song if it didn't contain either wannabe and obviously imitating a drunk and shrunken Tina Turner, and especially not containing the cookie monster making his growling appearance once and a while.

The second disc is obviously holding the material that finishes off the trilogy in style. From here on you start to get track times up the wazoo and more of concert suites to send you straight to heaven. Two of them are already heard in the begin, 'Parade of the Ewoks' is the enjoyable march covering the Ewok theme and another love theme appears in 'Luke and Leia', being as noble as the brother and sister are. Tracks 3 and 4 cover more the sinister music, especially in 4 being as full of the menacing use of the Emperor's theme as it can. And at last, the frenzy explodes with always with my favorite music, when they find out its a trap, the music simply explodes onto the screen. 'The Battle of Endor I' continues further with the forest attack music, covering both the playful heroic music of the Ewoks (covering some pizzicato strings) as the sad music covering several Ewoks dying. 'The Lightsaber / The Ewok Battle' is more of the playful Ewok music and 'The Battle of Endor II' is probably containing of one of the best music portions ever, when Darth Vader is revealing that Leia will be lured to the dark side and Luke jumps out of the dark, fighting with full anger, the music captured by mostly strings is simply breathless, supported with choir. The Force theme in full heroic fashion closes it. 'The Battle of Endor III' uses bits from the original Star Wars score as some of Return to the Jedi such as track 'Sail Barge Assault' from CD1. Still the track is immensely special since it covers the music covering Darth Vader's Death, containing a very soft version of the Imperial march and later more adventurous music covering the destruction of the Death Star.

It is not over! Further we have 'Leia's News / Light of the Force' where the powerful Force music is heard of Darth Vader's funeral, covering both versions used in the old and special edition, quite impressive. And the new music in 'Victory Celebration / End Title', which I think is far more impressive when finally (first children, later adult) choir is heard, giving you the most relaxing music, before each theme receives its time in the initial end credits. Additional music comes from the Ewoks and an orchestral suite of 'The Forest Battle'. Together this second disc alone is simply a breathtaking spectacle of each side you can expect from a Star Wars score, whether it is rip-roaring music or heartfelt themes or even the necessity of concert suites. The first disc along with it is just more of the goods. Return of the Jedi is the last of the trilogy scores and also the last of the most impressive Star Wars music ever written. Of course we haven't heard what the last score of the new trilogy is, but still these 3 double releases bring out classic film music, each time I hear them playing over my speakers. Return to the Jedi is definitely the most pleasing listening experience of all five Star Wars scores, simply because it contains in my book the biggest asset of highlights (such as the string music covering the rage of Luke). But still, it is nothing worth if you don't have the first in your collection. Because the first gave you the basis, the next the darker side and the final one the climax between good and evil. Just as I said about the movie, it is a hell of a feast.

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