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The score for Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, composed by John Williams, was recorded in 18 sessions at the Anvil Studios and the Abbey Road Studios over three days in December 1979 and a further six days in January 1980 by the London Symphony Orchestra. Between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Williams had also used the London Symphony Orchestra for the film's score of The Fury, Superman and Dracula. The score won another Oscar nomination for Williams.

The soundtrack was first released as a 75-minute double LP five days before the premiere of the film but the first compact disc release ran only half the length of the 2 LP set.

Background[]

Just like with the first film's OST, the album for Empire was assembled by music editor Ken Wannberg under the directions of John Williams. For this OST, Williams personally selected 75 minutes of music, which were edited down and rearranged into a program designed for a "pleasant listening experience". Once again, the cues on this album do not use the film mixes made by Eric Tomlinson, but rather were remixed from the 24-track masters by John Neal. This would be the last Star Wars album where this was done, as Return of the Jedi's OST would utilize the film mixes.[1] Interestingly, the European version of the Empire OST had a different program than the US one. As it was only a single LP, it featured only 40 minutes of score instead of 75, and it was also reordered for unknown reasons.[2] The tracks themselves are all identical in content to the US program, as they came from the same masters.[1]

The European OST program was later released on CD everywhere by Polydor in 1985. Unfortunately, since they used the European program, the Polydor CDs only feature 40 minutes worth of music. This release used the exact same masters as the original LP, so it contains the same edits and the same John Neal mixes.[1] While this release was a nice quality upgrade over the original LP, it was not a direct replacement of it due to the missing music.[3]

The original American OST masters were finally made available in a format other than vinyl in 2016 by Sony Classical, who rereleased them as part of the "Ultimate Digital Collection" which came out soon before they lost the rights. This release was sourced from a new high quality scan of the OST master, so it still featured the John Neal mixes and all the original edits. However, the Ultimate Digital Collection was available from sites like HDTracks in lossless up to 192 kHz/24-bit, where the Polydor CD would've been standard CD quality which is lossless 44.1 kHz/16-bit. Plus, since it featured the American program and not the European one, it has 35 minutes of additional music that were finally available in digital for the first time (at least in their John Neal mixes).[4] The Ultimate Digital Collection is no longer available for sale, and hasn't been ever since Walt Disney Records took over the rights.

Track listing for the American program[]

LP[]

Side One:

  1. Star Wars (Main Theme) – 5:49
    1. 0:00-1:30 : [1m1] Main Title
    2. 1:30-3:30 : [1m2] The Imperial Probe (microedited, missing 280 seconds)
    3. 3:30-end : [6m3] This is Not a Cave (microedited, missing 80 seconds)
  2. Yoda's Theme – 3:24
    1. 0:00-end : Yoda's Theme
  3. The Training of a Jedi Knight – 3:08
    1. 0:00-0:45 : [6m4] Training a Jedi (microedited, missing 55 seconds)
    2. 0:45-end : [5m3] Yoda's Entrance (microedited, missing 10 seconds)
  4. The Heroics of Luke and Han – 6:18
    1. 0:00-2:47 : [1m3-2m1] Luke's Escape (microedited, missing 44 seconds)
    2. 2:47-end : [4m2] The Rebels Escape Again

Side Two:

  1. The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme) – 2:59
    1. 0:00-end : Darth Vader's Theme
  2. Departure of Boba Fett – 3:30
    1. 0:00-3:17 : [10m3] Chewie Chokes Lando (microedited, missing 44 seconds)
    2. 3:17-end : [9m3] Putting Threepio Together (microedited, missing 50 seconds)
  3. Han Solo and the Princess – 3:25
    1. 0:00-end : [5m4-6m1] Solo and the Princess
  4. Hyperspace – 4:02
    1. 0:00-end : [12m2] To Hyper-space
  5. The Battle in the Snow – 3:48
    1. 0:00-end : [3m3] The Snow Battle

Side Three:

  1. The Asteroid Field – 4:10
    1. 0:00-end : [4m3] The Asteroid Field
  2. The City in the Clouds – 6:29
    1. 0:00-2:07 : [6m2] Yoda's Teaching
    2. 2:07-end : [8m2] City in the Clouds (microedited, missing 24 seconds)
  3. Rebels at Bay – 5:23
    1. 0:00-1:37 : [2m3] Luke's Rescue
    2. 1:37-end : [3m4-4m1] Luke's First Crash (microedited, missing 27 seconds)
  4. Yoda and the Force – 4:01
    1. 0:00-end : [7m3] Yoda Raises the Ship

Side Four:

  1. The Duel – 4:07
    1. 0:00-end : [11m1] Through the Window (microedited, missing 5 seconds)
  2. The Magic Tree – 3:32
    1. 0:00-end : [6m5-7m1] The Magic Tree
  3. Lando's Palace – 3:52
    1. 0:00-end : [8m3] Lando's Palace
  4. Finale – 6:28
    1. 0:00-1:57 : [12m3] Finale
    2. 1:57-end : [12m4] End Credits

Total Time: 74:34

Digital[]

  1. Star Wars (Main Theme) – 5:49
    1. 0:00-1:30 : [1m1] Main Title
    2. 1:30-3:30 : [1m2] The Imperial Probe (microedited, missing 280 seconds)
    3. 3:30-end : [6m3] This is Not a Cave (microedited, missing 80 seconds)
  2. Yoda's Theme – 3:24
    1. 0:00-end : Yoda's Theme
  3. The Training of a Jedi Knight – 3:08
    1. 0:00-0:45 : [6m4] Training a Jedi (microedited, missing 55 seconds)
    2. 0:45-end : [5m3] Yoda's Entrance (microedited, missing 10 seconds)
  4. The Heroics of Luke and Han – 6:18
    1. 0:00-2:47 : [1m3-2m1] Luke's Escape (microedited, missing 44 seconds)
    2. 2:47-end : [4m2] The Rebels Escape Again
  5. The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme) – 2:59
    1. 0:00-end : Darth Vader's Theme
  6. Departure of Boba Fett – 3:30
    1. 0:00-3:17 : [10m3] Chewie Chokes Lando (microedited, missing 44 seconds)
    2. 3:17-end : [9m3] Putting Threepio Together (microedited, missing 50 seconds)
  7. Han Solo and the Princess – 3:25
    1. 0:00-end : [5m4-6m1] Solo and the Princess
  8. Hyperspace – 4:02
    1. 0:00-end : [12m2] To Hyper-space
  9. The Battle in the Snow – 3:48
    1. 0:00-end : [3m3] The Snow Battle
  10. The Asteroid Field – 4:10
    1. 0:00-end : [4m3] The Asteroid Field
  11. The City in the Clouds – 6:29
    1. 0:00-2:07 : [6m2] Yoda's Teaching
    2. 2:07-end : [8m2] City in the Clouds (microedited, missing 24 seconds)
  12. Rebels at Bay – 5:23
    1. 0:00-1:37 : [2m3] Luke's Rescue
    2. 1:37-end : [3m4-4m1] Luke's First Crash (microedited, missing 27 seconds)
  13. Yoda and the Force – 4:01
    1. 0:00-end : [7m3] Yoda Raises the Ship
  14. The Duel – 4:07
    1. 0:00-end : [11m1] Through the Window (microedited, missing 5 seconds)
  15. The Magic Tree – 3:32
    1. 0:00-end : [6m5-7m1] The Magic Tree
  16. Lando's Palace – 3:52
    1. 0:00-end : [8m3] Lando's Palace
  17. Finale – 6:28
    1. 0:00-1:57 : [12m3] Finale
    2. 1:57-end : [12m4] End Credits

Total Time: 74:34

Track listing for the European program[]

LP[]

Side One:

  1. The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme) – 3:00
    1. 0:00-end : Darth Vader's Theme
  2. Yoda's Theme – 3:27
    1. 0:00-end : Yoda's Theme
  3. The Asteroid Field – 4:10
    1. 0:00-end : [4m3] The Asteroid Field
  4. Han Solo And The Princess – 3:26
    1. 0:00-end : [5m4-6m1] Solo and the Princess
  5. Finale – 6:25
    1. 0:00-1:57 : [12m3] Finale
    2. 1:57-end : [12m4] End Credits

Side Two:

  1. Star Wars (Main Theme) – 5:48
    1. 0:00-1:30 : [1m1] Main Title
    2. 1:30-3:30 : [1m2] The Imperial Probe (microedited, missing 280 seconds)
    3. 3:30-end : [6m3] This is Not a Cave (microedited, missing 80 seconds)
  2. The Training Of A Jedi Knight – 3:05
    1. 0:00-0:45 : [6m4] Training a Jedi (microedited, missing 55 seconds)
    2. 0:45-end : [5m3] Yoda's Entrance (microedited, missing 10 seconds)
  3. Yoda And The Force – 4:02
    1. 0:00-end : [7m3] Yoda Raises the Ship
  4. The Duel – 4:03
    1. 0:00-end : [11m1] Through the Window (microedited, missing 5 seconds)
  5. The Battle in the Snow – 3:48
    1. 0:00-end : [3m3] The Snow Battle

Total Time: 41:23

CD[]

  1. The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme) – 3:00
    1. 0:00-end : Darth Vader's Theme
  2. Yoda's Theme – 3:27
    1. 0:00-end : Yoda's Theme
  3. The Asteroid Field – 4:10
    1. 0:00-end : [4m3] The Asteroid Field
  4. Han Solo And The Princess – 3:26
    1. 0:00-end : [5m4-6m1] Solo and the Princess
  5. Finale – 6:25
    1. 0:00-1:57 : [12m3] Finale
    2. 1:57-end : [12m4] End Credits
  6. Star Wars (Main Theme) – 5:48
    1. 0:00-1:30 : [1m1] Main Title
    2. 1:30-3:30 : [1m2] The Imperial Probe (microedited, missing 280 seconds)
    3. 3:30-end : [6m3] This is Not a Cave (microedited, missing 80 seconds)
  7. The Training Of A Jedi Knight – 3:05
    1. 0:00-0:45 : [6m4] Training a Jedi (microedited, missing 55 seconds)
    2. 0:45-end : [5m3] Yoda's Entrance (microedited, missing 10 seconds)
  8. Yoda And The Force – 4:02
    1. 0:00-end : [7m3] Yoda Raises the Ship
  9. The Duel – 4:03
    1. 0:00-end : [11m1] Through the Window (microedited, missing 5 seconds)
  10. The Battle in the Snow – 3:48
    1. 0:00-end : [3m3] The Snow Battle

Total Time: 41:23

Notes and References[]

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