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1941 by John Williams (Review)

posted Oct 31, 2011, 1:06 AM by Koray Savas

In the realm of archival soundtrack releases, I would say John Williams is severely undercut when compared to the treatment other composers get. Most of the time it will be a remastered reissue without expansion; and most of the time it will be one of his more obscure or lesser known works. Granted a lot of these scores do not necessarily need expansions, but the blockbuster side of Williams could use a little more love. Enter this 2-disc set from La-La Land Records. The first Spielberg-directed Williams score to be expanded by one of the speciality labels.

Listening to this complete release is like listening to the music for the first time. The old Varese Sarabande OST does not represent just how grand Williams' music is, and the complete score on Disc 1 is as good as John Williams gets. The score's march, which doubles as Wild Bill Kelso's theme, is one of Williams' finest compositions, brimming with bold adventure. The music is well balanced and paced, keeping you entertained with interesting underscore and bursts of that addictive march. From start to finish, Williams doesn't let your mind wander, and clocking in at 76 minutes, that is no easy accomplishment. For those who enjoyed the old album arrangement, you'll find it remastered on Disc 2, with a plethora of alternate and source music.

The most important element of this score, simply put, is that it is fun. Listeners will find wonderful references to his music from Jaws, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, and Williams' own energetic adaptation of Louis Prima's "Sing, Sing, Sing." Good luck finding this type of adventure score in Hollywood today, even from the maestro himself. This pressing was limited to 3,500 copies and is now sold out. If you missed it, do yourself a favor and track it down on the secondary market, it is well worth it.