**OFFICIAL** Shadows of the Empire Soundtrack Discussion

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by Mastadge, Feb 7, 2001.

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  1. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    No more failed causes in the Lit forum! SotE soundtrack discussion now has its home!

    Pay homage to some of the best Star Wars music ever! Some say it's better than Williams' work, some that it can't compare. Listen and judge for yourself. I think it's awesome. This thread is to discuss Joel McNeely's masterpiece -- Shadows of the Empire.
  2. Sithman Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 1999
    star 7
    Well, I can say that I like it, and that it is reminiscent of JW, but it's not the same. My faves of his are probably "Beggar's Canyon Chase" and the one from the SOTE game when you're in Xizor's palace.
    But, IMO, nothing compares to JW and in a SW/JW forum... THIS IS TREASON! ;-) ;-)

    ~Sithman~
  3. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Treason? What are you saying. I didn't say "He's better than Williams" I said, Let's discuss Star Wars music other than Williams. This is a Star Wars Music forum, not a John Williams forum.

    And he wasn't trying for John Williams' style but for his own.
  4. Sithman Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 1999
    star 7
    Oh brother! Did you see the see the winks? I'M KIDDING! BTW, didn't you say that I like him, but JW *is* better?

    ~Sithman~
  5. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    I did see the winks.

    I didn't say JW is better. I said some (including myself) think JM is better, while others think he's not.
  6. Cindé of Naboo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 19, 2000
    star 4
    John Williams is better. ;)



    Actually, I just can't bring myself to listen to the SOTE soundtrack, so I can't make a fair comparison. I'm sure it's very nice. ;)
  7. Bubba Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2000
    star 5
    Why use "Duel of the Fates" when you can use "The Destruction of Xizor's Palace?"

    Sure, DotF is great, but so is the choir in TDoXP!
  8. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    That's the thing. As Cindé so sarcastically pointed out, there's a lot of people, in my experience, who judge SotE to be not as good before even listening to it.

    Most of Joel's soundtracks aren't that great, but Shadows of the Empire is one of his earliest works, and it's simply outstanding. Even if you end up not liking it as much as John Williams, try it out. There's some amazingly good stuff in there. And yeah, Joel was the guy who brought the choir to Star Wars music...
  9. halibut Ex-Mod

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2000
    star 8
    The Soundtrack to Iron Will (McNeely) is fab
  10. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    I thought Iron Will's music was so/so, but I haven't listened to the soundtrack, just seen the movie.
  11. Cindé of Naboo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 19, 2000
    star 4
    It's not the music, it's the book. ;) I'm prejudiced, I know. I'll probably get around to listening to it someday.
  12. jamesdrax Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2000
    star 6
    Unfortunately, I haven't been able to track down a copy of that.

    :(
  13. Mr. K Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    It's a pretty good album. It seems a little out of place with the existing SW themes, but that's too be expected with a different composer. I thought the choral pieces were brilliant, especially the track with the Force Theme w/choir and the Destruction of Xizor's Palace. Some of the battle selections were a little too campy and cheesy for SW, but they were good listening. Overall, I'd recommend this album for SW music purists. It's content might confuse the average soundtrack listener though.
  14. jamesdrax Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2000
    star 6
    I can understand the confusion.

    When I listened to certain rough Real Player versions of it at Amazon.com, much did seem to be "not Star Warsy" but pretty good.
  15. Mr. P FanFic Archive Editor, Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2000
    star 5
    I've never listened to it; is it any good?

    --Mr. P
  16. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    'tis awesome.
    The only problem is that it's not long enough. Dash's theme gets played once for about ten seconds, and McNeely didn't have enough space on one CD to cover every major event in the book. But the CD still is awesome. I go now to listen to it again.
  17. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
  18. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    I shall now post my review. Bare in mind I don't know musical terminology or anything.

    First, an intro from Joel McNeely:
    "Star Wars, George Lucas' landmark space opera, has contributed many elements that are now a part of our cultural lexicon. The significant contributions of John Williams' brilliant scores have affected nearly everyone who has experienced these films. For a composer of film music to enter into this domain is to tread on hallowed ground. Therefore, rather than tread lightly, I have wandered elsewhere. I have attempted to illuminate a story through music, composing various movements using stylistic material that brought the scene to my mind. The piece is by design, eclectic. By nature this is also a highly programmatic work, much the same as a film score. But it is not a film score. Unlike with film music, I have been allowed to let my imagination run free with the images, characters and events from this story. I have also had the luxury to loiter as long as I like with a character or scene. Every passage represents some person, place or event in this story. I created the shape of the piece by setting up the whole structure of the scene in my mind, visualizing the people and places and then scoring it, exactly as I would a film. Furthermore, in addition to writing the score, on this one occasion I finally got to fulfill every composer?s fantasy and assume the role of director, cinematographer, actor and editor!

    ?Ben Burtt?s brilliant transcript of the text to Dha Werda Verda helped to shape its form. The epic poem?s violent and sometimes romantic images fit perfectly with the musical structure of this piece. I utilized the text in sections, applying the portion most applicable to the scene being scored. However, my translation were quite vague, so sometimes the meaning may have gotten a bit skewed.?
    -- Joel McNeely

    First of all, I would like to say that this is a really really good CD full of really really good music. With the exception of three tracks, these are all very memorable and I often find myself humming any one of them. Also, I recoammend not listening to this CD in your car but at home on a higher-quality stereo system if you have it. There?re a lot of really subtle sounds in here, so at least once listen to it turned up really loud.

    1. Main Theme from Star Wars and Leia?s Nightmare (3:47)
    This CD of course begins with the Star Wars main theme by John Williams, but then it gets quiet and introspective, and is very reminiscent of John Williams? style.

    2. The Battle of Gall (8:03)
    This starts out kind of low and slow with the planning before the battle, and then there?s a lot of really good, catchy fast-paced music. Basically, it alternates between the dogfight music and the music of Lando and Dash's treetop maneuvering. It?s a really good, fun song.

    3. Imperial City (8:08)
    Imperial City is not as fast, but it?s really a theme for the whole planet Coruscant. As the manual explains, it starts as if viewing the planet from space, quietly, and then moves in. There are two or three big segments, the themes of Monument Plaza, and I guess Imperial Palace, separated by quieter segments. Think, ?Pictures at an Exhibition.?

    4. Beggar?s Canyon Chase (3:01)
    This is the swoop chase. Really fast and fun, but somewhat short. Unfortunately, for some reason almost this entire song is practically scratched off my copy of the CD. That heroic fanfare at the end is Dash?s theme.

    5. The Southern Underground (1:52)
    This is the most forgettable track on the CD. Nothing wrong with it, it just can?t compare to the others. If you remember, the Southern Underground is the slum area on Coruscant.

    6. Xizor?s Theme (4:40)
    Excellent, excellent. An amazing theme. It alternately shows the crazy, the sinister and the evil parts of Xizor in a unique type of song, and then moves on to show his POWER. ?While Xizor is a criminal with few peers, he has cultivated a taste of fine art and classic beauty. This is suggested by wild, ugly motifs from the orchestra follow
  19. Cindé of Naboo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 19, 2000
    star 4
    Joel McNeely sounds like a pretty cool guy. What else has he composed?
  20. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    All Forgotten (2000)
    ... aka Lover's Prayer (2000) (USA)
    Santa Who? (2000) (TV)
    "Dark Angel" (2000) TV Series
    ... aka "James Cameron's Dark Angel" (2000) (USA)
    Sally Hemings: An American Scandal (2000) (TV)


    Road Rage (1999) (TV)
    Virus (1999)
    ... aka Virus (1999) (France)
    Soldier (1998)
    Zack and Reba (1998)
    "Buddy Faro" (1998) TV Series
    Avengers, The (1998)
    Buffalo Soldiers (1997) (TV)
    Air Force One (1997) (additional music)
    ... aka AFO (1997)
    Wild America (1997)
    Vegas Vacation (1997)
    ... aka National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation (1997)
    Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (1996) (VG)
    Flipper (1996)
    Young Indiana Jones and the Attack of the Hawkmen (1995) (TV)
    Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain (1995)
    Iron Will (1994)
    Squanto: A Warrior's Tale (1994)
    ... aka Last Great Warrior, The (1994) (International: English title)
    Radioland Murders (1994)
    Terminal Velocity (1994)
    Jing cha gu shi III: Chao ji jing cha (1992) (US version only)
    ... aka Police Story 3 (1992) (UK)
    ... aka Police Story III: Supercop (1992)
    ... aka Supercop (1996) (USA: US version)
    "Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, The" (1992) TV Series (9 episodes)
    Samantha (1991)
    Frankenstein: The College Years (1991) (TV)
    "Tiny Toon Adventures" (1990) TV Series
    Polly: Comin' Home! (1990) (TV)


    Parent Trap Hawaiian Honeymoon (1989) (TV)
    ... aka Parent Trap IV: Hawaiian Honeymoon (1989) (TV)
    Parent Trap III (1989) (TV)
    Splash, Too (1988) (TV)
    You Talkin' to Me? (1987)

    from IMDB
  21. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Um...JW used choirs in SW for the Emperor's Theme, parts of the arrival at Cloud City for Empire, and The Dark Side Beckons..well before McNeely used one for SoTE
  22. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    John Williams used choirs in small pieces and even then reservedly. He only finally came out full force with DotF.
  23. Kesel Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 11, 1999
    star 4
    I really like this soundtrack. If you know the story it's easy to see images in your head to corespond with the music. For instance, in "The Seduction of Princess Leia" the waltz like music represents the seduction. Xizor is pumping out pherphomes in order to make Leia want him. They finally end in a kiss (the music's peak), but then Leia thinks of Han (music from ESB) and she breaks away from Xizor. The music then fades away as Xizor is left alone.
  24. yodaman Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 26, 1999
    star 5
    Well I just downloaded this off Napster and it sounds pretty good. The "Xizor" theme sounds like some requiem. There was some other one called "Battle" that sounded very much like Williams. Overall it wasn't bad at all.
  25. wedge 45 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 1999
    star 3
    I recommend that everyone should watch the Verdun episode of Young Indy. Not only does it exhibit exceptionally powerful story-telling from Lucas but McNeely uses Germanic choirs to full and brilliant effect.
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