Undoubtedly some of the greatest music put to film, John Williams’ Star Wars is a favorite of many. No other film series has a soundtrack that is so recognizable, so intrinsically associated with the movies that the mere hint of a familiar refrain can invoke powerful memories.

Our conductor, Aaron Collins shares his favorites from John Williams’ epic Star Wars scores. Part 1 highlights musical cues from the Prequels.


from The Phantom Menace

As far as I am concerned, this is the only part of The Phantom Menace film that really stands out and shines. The use of a choir is rare in the Star Wars universe – with “The Emperor’s Theme” from Return of the Jedi being the other memorable cue. The piece marks a watershed moment for the series. Musically, it’s the first Wars tune Williams wrote that calls for a choir to be featured, alongside the full London Symphony Orchestra, the performed lyrics written in sanskrit. It is incredibly exciting and the lightsaber duel between Darth Maul, Obi-Wan, and Qui-Gon almost makes you forget much of the cheesiness that preceded it.

Listen to Duel of the Fates

from The Phantom Menace

In The Phantom Menace, when the droid armies are preparing to attack the Gungans on the battlefield, this march comes out of nowhere and smacks you right in the face. In robotic lockstep, the droids assemble, assume their positions, and march together with a most-perfect unison.   One of my favorite marches from Williams.

Listen to Droid Invasion March

from The Phantom Menace

I love this Miklos Rozsa-inspired track, something straight from the Golden Age.   Ahhh… the melody primarily played by the french horns is drool inducing.  It is a shame that this cue gets buried under sound effects and unneeded noise in the prequel. One of my favs.

from Attack of the Clones

One of my favorite action cues from the entire series, right behind the Battle of Hoth. It opens up with an incredibly beautiful presentation of the love theme, Across the Stars, that just melts your heart. Then we get some full-fledged action music reminiscent of his score to The Lost World.

Listen to Love Pledge and The Arena

from Revenge of the Sith

Anakin’s Dark Deeds is a great cue, featuring some really great choral and brass writing. It is very dark, chaotic, and tense. The way it enhanced the scene in the film struck me and it remains one of my favorites from the series. “You were deceived. And now your Republic shall fall!”

Listen to Anakin’s Dark Deeds

from Revenge of the Sith

The strength of Revenge of the Sith is not necessarily in its original tunes, but in its masterful re-use of themes from previous films. It establishes a bridge between the two trilogies, combining the best themes from the prequels with the familiar refrains from the originals. Revenge of the Sith is the best score from the prequel’s in my opinion. Williams really opens the musical pallet for the saga, and provides some genuinely great moments that eclipse the work composed for the previous two and ranks right up there with the original trilogy scores. This cue features some musical material from one of the centerpieces of the album, Battle of the Heroes. It also features the Imperial March and the Force Theme. This fight was epic and the score just brings it to a whole new level.

Listen to Anakin vs. Oboe-Wan