Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Symphonic Suite Gets First Repressing Since 1980

Few film scores in cinematic history are as iconic as Star Wars: A New Hope, though some might argue that Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is even more impressive, due to the additions of compelling music like "The Imperial March." While that sequel's complete soundtrack has been available in various formats over the decades, The Empire Strikes Back's Symphonic Suite has been out of print since 1980, with Varèse Sarabande Records reissuing the LP on vinyl for the first time in 40 years. The suite was composed by John Williams for live performance purposes, with the single LP highlighting the depth and range of the entire soundtrack's accomplishments. You can grab a copy of the Symphonic Suite from Varèse Sarabande Records now.

Varèse Sarabande Records describes the album, "Originally released to supplement – not compete with – the 2-LP Motion Picture Soundtrack of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, this 1-LP release, skillfully combines a 'Symphonic Suite' that John Williams created for concert performance with new arrangements of other cues from the film score. This fantastic, long-out-of-print album comes in a gatefold jacket with the original iconic Star Wars paintings by William Stout, images of John Williams, and notes from author Ray Bradbury, composer and critic, Christopher Palmer, and from the maestro himself. Out of print since original pressing in 1980. 180 gm black vinyl pressing."

"I was delighted when Charles Gerhardt asked me if he could record the suite from The Empire Strikes Back, since I am a great fan of his recorded performances. Moreover, I was so pleased with his recordings of the original Star Wars and Close Encounters [of the Third Kind] scores, which he made in association with producer George Korngold, that I have looked forward to this LP with special anticipation," Williams recalled. "The Suite, which I had specially written and adapted for concert performance […] had been skillfully augmented with other music from the film to form a unified whole. A great orchestra and Gerhardt's opulent sound and dramatic phrasing combine to make a fine addition to a rapidly growing list of great recordings of film music."

star wars the empire strikes back symphonic suite record vinyl
(Photo: Varèse Sarabande Records)

The Symphonic Suite's tracklist is as follows:

Side One

  1. 20th Century-Fox Fanfare (0:21)
  2. Main Title/The Imperial Probe (5:25)
  3. Luke's First Crash (2:29)
  4. Han Solo And The Princess (4:26)
  5. The Asteroid Field (4:12)
  6. The Training Of A Jedi Knight And "May The Force Be With You" (1:56)
  7. The Battle In The Snow (3:06)

Side Two

  1. The Imperial March (3:21)
  2. The Magic Tree (3:38)
  3. Yoda's Theme (3:34)
  4. The Rebels Escape Again (3:01)
  5. Lando's Palace, The Duel (Through The Window) (5:01)
  6. Finale (4:39)

You can grab a copy of the Symphonic Suite from Varèse Sarabande Records now.

Will you be adding the record to your collection? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!