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Superman: The Music (1978 - 1988) Soundtrack Review

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by Chris McEneany Mar 11, 2008

  • Movies review

    4,804

    Superman: The Music (1978 - 1988) Soundtrack Review
    Film Score Monthly's Mike Matessino and Lukas Kendall have put together one of the most lavish and comprehensive soundtrack collections that I have ever come across with this unbelievably cool limited edition boxset of complete Superman scores for all of Christopher Reeves' caped outings and the animated series from 1988. Put together in one fabulous ensemble, this represents the musical legacy of the superhero icon during his most prodigious decade, from the debut of Richard Donner's seminal Superman: The Movie in 1978, through his next three cinematic adventures until 1987's questionable Quest For Peace and then the animated show from Ruby-Spears the following year. Taken as a whole, this celebrated collection represents the best that fantasy/action scoring has to offer and showcases the awesome talents of composer John Williams who was, at the time of crafting Superman, at the height of his most productive, innovative and influential period - what with Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders Of The Lost Ark surrounding it - as well as marvellous re-interpretations and original work from Ken Thorne and Star Trek's Alexander Courage. This collection sees all four movie scores presented fully intact and backed-up with numerous alternate cues, source tracks and library pieces for the very first time. Even the original Superman score, which was, itself, the recipient of an awesome double-disc release from Rhino (now out of print) which seemed, then, to be the definitive treatment of the cult classic soundtrack has been expanded again and now finally reaches its full length with certain new cues that only recently came to light. Spoiling us even more is the fact that this recording is taken from the original masters which have been kept in pristine condition and painstakingly remixed and remastered from that first-generation source, yielding the best sound quality ever.

    In fact, all the recordings here are taken and remixed from the absolute best sources available - usually the original 35mm music scoring masters and, in the case of Quest For Peace, the original two-inch multitrack masters. Sound quality, as you would expect, is second to none and all possess a warmth, and clarity, a vigorous and sweeping, bombastic power and an undeniably scintillating precision that was so often masked or dialled-down in the very films that housed them.

    Although I would dearly love to go through each disc here, track by track, this is simply not possible and probably unnecessary. So, in disc order, I will simply provide an overview and pick out a few highlights. In the case of Williams' score for the first movie, that should, by rights, actually include everything, but you know what I mean.

    Discs 1 & 2: Superman: The Movie.

    “Don't worry, Miss, I've got you.”

    “You've got me - who's got you?

    The master of cinematic fanfares, Williams created, for my money, simply his best one for Superman. He even manages to musically call out the title Su-per-man - Duh-Duh-DUHHH! - as the signature cue and then, if you listen, the following series of notes actually proclaim Up, Up and Away! as well. No other composer would have dared be so audacious as that. In the best traditions of character leit motif, Williams' theme for the Man of Steel is the backbone of the entire score, weaving skilfully in and out of the riotously complex myriad of compositions and rising to those BIG moments throughout - tracks such as Helicopter Sequence, Super Rescues, Superfeats etc are genuinely lifted into the stratosphere with the rousing power of this theme and have justifiably become legendary. But even the softer themes, such as the Love Theme for Lois, or the wistful Americana melody of the Clarke's Smallville years, primarily denoting his love for Ma and Pa Kent, or the playful signature cue for Lex Luthor and Otis - the March Of The Villains - that is deliberately humourous but evocative of devious scheming and can also be subverted with a clown-like menace with the sinister sound of tuba and bassoon. Several permutations of this exist, but the for the first time the complete cue is available as well as the famed concert/album version.

    But a strong personal favourite track of mine is the simply majestic and ethereal Fortress Of Solitude. A long cue that tells a story of Clarke's quest for his sense of self after Glenn Ford's Pa Kent passes away, his fear at the power of his mysterious heritage, his wonder at the building of the ice fortress up at the top of the world, and his odyssey of learning via the crystals that Marlon Brando's Jor-El has supplied, and then his transformation from alienated small-town boy to Superman, hero, defender and protector of his adoptive human race. Williams puts so much into this, his earlier sections of the cue spellbinding in their use of female choir, pensive strings and tumbling brass. And, then, after the tumultuous building of the Fortress, a dreamlike serenity that can act as a lilting lullaby. One of the most captivating and hypnotic tracks ever produced. Listening to this version and comparing it to the old Rhino release reveals the true fidelity, dynamics and clarity of this multi-track remixing, leaving all other interpretations in the shade. The Krypton theme, developed into two beautifully strong cores pieces - Origins and Kryptonite - dominates the early structure of the score, blending perfectly the influences of Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra (from Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey) with Williams' awesomely ominous yet stately evocation of a distant world and a far superior race.

    The pace quickens once Clarke reaches Metropolis and assumes his new identity of mild mannered reporter for The Daily Planet with so many new elements that jostle energetically with the established themes from Superman's formative years that only someone as versatile as Williams could possibly hope to juggle them successfully. The signature action cue of the movie is undoubtedly Chasing Rockets which cleverly combines both the Villain theme with the Fanfare to keep the whole, breakneck sequences involving Superman thwarting Luthor's plans to detonate the San Andreas Fault with nuclear missiles, literally propelled musically as well as visually. The set-piece features anticipatory lulls and wild frenetic action, the entire orchestra working overtime to keep up with the pin-wheeling baton-holder The Love Theme for Lois will appear throughout this and subsequent tracks as Clarke's babe is caught between a rock and hard-place and no matter how fast he is at catching missiles in flight, he cannot reach her in time to save the ground from swallowing her. Track 8, Turning Back The World, soon puts this right, though. The Love Theme and the Fanfare explode as Superman finds an emotion he never knew he could experience - rage - and the track catapults us through a musical rollercoaster as the Man of Steel spins the Earth backwards in time ... which is, admittedly, ridiculous, but hey ... this is Superman we're talking about here.

    The disc is rounded out with Alternate tracks and hitherto unheard cues such as The Dome Opens, an early version of General Zod and his evil cohorts being banished to the Phantom Zone, which favours terror over the uneasy wonder that carries the scene in the finished film. Other tracks are culled from differently timed or edited versions of the film, so appear as shorter interpretations.

    “Kneel before Zod!”

    Disc 3

    For Superman II, John Williams was unavailable to score the full film, but Richard Lester (who had infamously taken over the directorial duties from Richard Donner) was still insistent that the familiar fanfare and character themes be liberally incorporated. Thus, his long-time friend and musical collaborator, Ken Thorne was only too happy oblige and stepped in to an already established musical canvas with which he utilise his own particular skill for adaptation, variation and interweaving. The resulting score was a collage of his own and Williams' music, Williams, when he had the time, even consulting and advising his fellow composer where possible. But the score, quite rightly, remains Thorne's, because of the unique way in which he extrapolated instances and phrases from the original Superman score - a key element being how he founded the theme for the evil Kryptonians , General Zod, Ursa and Non who escape the Phantom Zone and attempt to take over the Earth - from what where often mere seconds and tones that he managed to develop into full-bodied pieces. He would also plunder and re-assimilate the March, Krypton, Crystal, Personal (a bridge between the Love Theme and the Fanfare to denote Clarke's duality) and Villain themes into powerful new compositions. It is remarkable just well the two scores and, as a direct consequence of this, the two movies flow together. But there are several stand-out tracks. The three-cue sequence for when the baddies encounter joint American and Soviet astronauts on the surface of the Moon and wreak havoc is gloriously otherworldly and ominous with foreboding. A new theme for Zod develops and there are plentiful moments of brass and percussion outbursts that revamp established motifs for Krypton and The Fortress Of Solitude. Track 23 covers the battle in, around and above Metropolis and although much of the music is culled from Williams, Thorne gives it a twist, emphasising different elements and instruments and fusing cues together to form something new and dynamic. Darker versions of known moments vie with pulverising nods to The Dome Opens and Helicopter Sequence as Thorne piles on the action and the incident, driving the kaleidoscopic aggression of his score ever forward with verve.

    It is a fantastic treatment of accepted music that remains fresh at the same time as reinforcing the fan-demanded elements that would no prove no Superman movie could do without.

    “I ask you to kill Superman, and you're telling me that you couldn't even do that one, simple thing.”

    Disc 4

    Ken Thorne took a slightly more comedic approach to Superman III, in the unfortunate style that director Richard Lester adopted for the tale of Richard Pryor's computer-hacking buffoon Gus Gorman linking up with Robert Vaughn's nefarious tycoon. All that weather-changing shenanigans and rooftop-skiing sadly resulted in a serious downturn of quality. But at least Christopher Reeve maintained his excellence of character and there were still a few action highlights in the otherwise silly romp. Whatever the parameters of the film, however, Thorne still delivered an exciting and entertaining score that, this time out, actually incorporated more of his own material. New motifs created were for the Computer, for Gus, the threatening tone of the Supercomputer and, of course, Georgio Moroder's theme for Annette O'Toole's Lana Lang. A new electronic element was also brought into play signifying the recognition for fellow composer Jerry Goldsmith who was, by now, utilising electronica quite broadly in his score (particularly, it should be noted, in his excellent music for Supergirl). Thorne uses it to enhance various established older elements such as those signifying Kryptonite and the inherent Krypton cues that encompass it. Rather than dating the score, though, these components add a frisson of neat sci-fi dread and a tingle of suspense. Thorne once again reveals his talent for adapting cues and interweaving them to create something new, such as in Track 14, The Two Faces Of Superman and Track 15, The Struggle Within, when good Superman battles his own bad self and familiar action spells such as Helicopter Sequence, Chasing Rockets and Kryptonopolis are combined. There is even the somewhat jokey cue for Vaughn's screen sister being transformed into a lumbering cybernetic drone which then seques into a frantic and detailed action piece.

    In all, Thorne's two caped adventures are thrilling rides that show how well another composer can assimilate, Borg-style, another's material and concoct vital variations on them that still retain the originals' integrity whilst resulting in something fresh and new.

    “Destroy Superman!”

    “First, I have fun ...”

    Discs 5 & 6

    Superman IV: The Quest For Peace is justifiably the lesser of the quartet of films and the least regarded even by the die-hard fans. The style of direction and story became insipid and daft, the creation of Superman's new nemesis Nuclear Man doing the opposite of the marvellous work seen in Superman II, this super-powered villain just a camp-as-they-come mullet-boy whose rampage just came across as a tantrum. Returning to the fold under the impression that this film was going to revert to the style and integrity of the first two, Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor was now diluted of any and all nuance, class or witty menace. And the whole nuclear disarmament plot was too heavy-handed and political to have been shoehorned into a comic book caper. But the score was a classic and even if the film ended up being drastically shorn of footage after a test screening of the full version damned it, Alexander Courage gave it the only touch of style that it possessed. Like Ken Thorne, Courage was also a friend and prior colleague of John Williams and had no qualms stepping into his shoes. Again, he had a track record of being able to adapt other peoples' works for a new project whilst injecting something of his own to the pot.

    After the original LP version was scrapped, it seemed like the score to Quest For Peace would never appear. But, much as lobbying for Donner's Cut of Superman II finally paid off with its home video release, the score-fans now have their Holy Grail as well. And the major plus point is that this recording is actually the full score for the original longer cut of the film, meaning that much of the music here is actually being heard for the first time. Courage, the man who created the stylistic and unique sci-fi sound for Star Trek: The Original Series, took the already established themes and ran with in new directions, re-tooling the by-now overly familiar cues for the Crystal, Krypton, Smallville, Clarke and Lois and, of course, the fanfare and spreading them across the score in strangely comedic, or action-orientated, or militaristic fashion, bending their structures to fit the new tangent that the story had taken.

    Williams supplied him with the core elements of several new themes that he could work with - Lacy's Theme (played by Mariel Hemingway), Jeremy's Theme (the irritating schoolboy who wants Supes to destroy the world's nuclear arsenal), but, by far, the most emphatic and enjoyable is the one to accompany Nuclear Man. Coming to the fore during several key tracks - Ear Ache/Confrontation/Tornado, Volcano and Statue of Liberty Fight in particular - Courage interlaces a defiant synthesised beat that pounds away as much as Nuclear Man, himself, does, with swirling chaotic brass and strings cavorting over the top. These scenes in the edited-down release version of the film are literally all over the place, with many action set-pieces removed altogether and, therefore, to hear this rampaging series of cues is a particular delight. Fast, furious and hyper-kinetic. What is also nice to hear are the slight nostalgic nods to his original Star Trek music - just little elements of skittering strings or galloping timpani here and there within longer cues, but great to hear, nonetheless.

    “If Clarke's Superman, then I'm Wonder Woman!”

    Disc 7

    Now here's a major surprise. This disc contains a wealth of material from the short-lived 80's Saturday morning Superman cartoon, called simply Superman and scored Ron (Family Guy) Jones. Already a veteran of kid's TV shows, including newer versions of The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo, Jones was a devotee of John Williams and had actually studied music under the highly regarded composer of films such as Dirty Harry and shows like Mission: Impossible, the great Lalo Schifrin, so he wrote scores for twenty-minute episodes that came across as big, broad and expansive orchestral works in their own right. Williams, forever pleased that his trademarked tracks were in constant demand as the definitive Superman cues, allowed his main fanfare to be utilised as the title track for the show and Jones attempted to simply suit with his own fantastically aggressive and rich music. Certainly such a style for a kids' cartoon was unusual back then, but it became the component that elevated the series in terms of excitement, grandeur and sheer scale.

    The music from several episodes is included here and it is great stuff. Jones likes to use a synthesiser to underpin the bass beat and percussion of his tracks, and then build on top of this with orchestral sweep and the end result is spectacular. He even tracks in the old comedic element that Williams used to herald Lex Luthor, keeping his cues slightly whimsical yet veiled with threat. But it is the breadth and lushness that delights the most with Jones really relishing his moment in the red and blue spotlight. Some tracks mix in some great sci-fi spookiness as well, such as Fugitive From Space's Alien Discovery (Track 11), The Suit (Track12) and Aliens Take Over The World (Track 18). But he also reveals a flair for action with percussive and energetic cues such Track 7, Defendroid and Track 14, Kryoni Encounter.

    Jones would go on to become a stalwart cue composer for Mike Post action shows Magnum P.I., The A-Team, Riptide and Hunter, but would be forever immortalised by sci-fi fans with his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, his work here marks a phenomenal transitional period that showed audiences for the first time that cartoons were much more than just distractions for the kids - Jones took them seriously enough to bestow them a grand operatic score, and he can certainly be proud of his compositions for the show as his work for this incarnation of Superman is rightly praised.

    Disc 8

    The old Rhino release of the Superman: The Movie score was bolstered by several alternate cues and bonus tracks, some of which are already contained on the new Disc 2. But here, on this well-stocked disc, you will find even more from the film, along with many others from the entire series of scores. Whilst this collection may not be the set that you will return to very often, there are some treasures to be savoured. The song versions of famous cues, such as Can You Read My Mind? are presented in full vocal and instrumental flavours. There are also plentiful Source Cues and Library Tracks on offer. Now, before you go thinking that these may not be original works, they all are. The Source cues are all music that is deemed to be music that is hear within the film's narrative, ie by the characters in the scene. This would cover, as you will hear, radio spots and jukeboxes etc. But, in the case of the Superman series, these cues have been composed for the film and not lifted from elsewhere. Likewise the Library Tracks. Composers are often asked to create sounds and tracks that can be kept as a sort of “music pool” for themes, ideas and motifs. This type of thing is especially relevant with regards to film series which often need the backdrop of familiar-sounding tracks to help keep audiences in the fold, as it were, or for new composers to fall back on. And, even more so, cartoon shows of the sixties, seventies and eighties would revolve around this type of soundtrack set-up for scene transitions and regular visual fixtures - but Disc 7 actually incorporates these, whilst this disc focuses upon the movies. Fans may get a kick out of the selection of songs produced by Georgio Moroder that, in some cases, featured in Superman III and in Quest For Peace, though really, we are branching out into the realm of the obsessive completist with them. Still, it is nice to have them.

    “They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show them the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you - my only son.”

    And accompanying this collection of CDs is a marvellously produced hardback book of notes chronicling the genesis of each film and its score, track by track, trial by trial and provides copious anecdotes from all those involved, including quotations from the composers and directors, overviews of the film series and its profound musical legacy and detailed histories of John Williams, Ken Thorne, Alexander Courage and Ron Jones. The book is also lovingly furnished with numerous colour stills and poster artwork and original album covers. There is even a musical analysis and recording breakdown of Williams' Superman March theme. A nice touch is that every cue and track is broken down and presented with its manuscript and cue-sheet titles, with reel and part numbers included. Differences between filmed, album and original versions are also detailed. In short, this is the best reference guide to the music that you could get other than having the composers on-tap to discuss each track, and its countless permutations with you.

    Indispensable, exhaustive and thoroughly entertaining, this is the ultimate and definitive collection for not only John Williams' triumphant score but for Christopher Reeve's years as Superman as well, for every second of music contained here produces in the mind's eye an image of him in full glorious flight. The film franchise undeniably lost steam, but the music, like Reeve, will never die.

    Full Track Listing is as follows - Phew! Take a deep breath ...

    Disc 1

    1. Theme From Superman (04:23)

    2. Prelude and Main Title (05:02)

    3. The Planet Krypton (06:36)

    4. Destruction of Krypton (07:53)

    5. The Kryptonquake (02:24)

    6. The Trip to Earth (02:30)

    7. Growing Up (02:32)

    8. Jonathan's Death (03:23)

    9. Leaving Home (04:48)

    10. The Fortress of Solitude (09:18)

    11. The Mugger (02:07)

    12. Lex Luthor's Lair (04:48)

    13. Helicopter Sequence (05:55)

    14. The Burglar Sequence/Chasing Crooks (03:18)

    15. Super Rescues (02:16)

    16. The Penthouse (01:31)

    17. The Flying Sequence (08:10)

    18. Clark Loses His Nerve (00:46)

    Disc 2

    1. The March of the Villains (03:35)

    2. The Truck Convoy/Miss Teschmacher Helps (03:24)

    3. To the Lair (02:18)

    4. Trajectory Malfunction/Luthor's Lethal Weapon (03:24)

    5. Chasing Rockets (04:57)

    6. Superfeats (04:54)

    7. Pushing Boulders/Flying to Lois (05:21)

    8. Turning Back the World (02:03)

    9. The Prison Yard/End Title (06:37)

    10. Love Theme From Superman (04:58)

    Alternates:

    11. Prelude and Main Title (03:46)

    12. The Planet Krypton (03:16)

    13. The Dome Opens (02:30)
    >
    14. The Mugger (01:24)

    15. I Can Fly (Flying Sequence segment) (02:01)

    16. Can You Read My Mind (film version) (03:02)

    17. Trajectory Malfunction (01:01)

    18. Turning Back the World (02:16)

    19. The Prison Yard/End Title (film version) (05:44)

    Disc 3

    1. Preface/Villains in Zone/Main Title March (08:18)

    2. Superman to Paris/Lois Climbs Tower (02:47)

    3. Walkie-Talkies/Gelignite Bangs/Superman Saves Lift (02:08)

    4. Lift Into Space - Releasing the Villains (01:32)

    5. Orange Juice/Prison Intro/My Little Black Box (01:48)

    6. Ursa Flies Over Moon/Spacecraft Wrecked/Moon to Earth (04:04)

    7. Lex Escapes (02:03)

    8. Sleeping Arrangements/Relaxing at Niagara/Looks Familiar/Superman Saves Boy (03:31)

    9. Lex and Miss Teschmacher to Fortress/Lex Plans Partnership (02:35)

    10. Suspecting Lois Takes the Plunge/Clark Fumbles Rescue/Villains Land by Lake (03:33)

    11. Clark Exposed as Superman (03:11)

    12. Sheriff and Duane Meet Villains/Lovers Fly North (02:21)

    13. Daddy's Rise and Fall/Flight for Flowers/East Houston Battle (03:03)

    14. Lovers at Dinner Table/Zod Meets General (01:35)

    15. Mother's Advice (01:49)

    16. To Bed - Mount Rushmore - Sweet Dreams (01:32)

    17. President Kneels Before Zod (01:53)

    18. Fight in Diner (01:04)

    19. TV President Resigns -- Clark to Fortress (02:42)

    20. Return of the Green Crystal/Bored Zod (02:16)

    21. Non Wrecks Office 1:27 (01:27)

    22. Aerial Battle/Zod Throws Slab/Superman Saves Spire (04:49)

    23. Superman Saves Petrol Tanker/Superman Fights Zod/Superman Flies Off (04:29)

    24. Villains Take Lex and Lois to Fortress/School Games (03:11)

    25. Superman Pulls Big Switch/Superman Triumphs Over Villains (01:56)

    26. Sad Return (01:38)

    27. Lois Forgets (01:46)

    28. Happy Lois Back to Normal/Superman Replaces Stars and Stripes/End Title March (05:34)

    Disc 4

    1. Main Title (The Streets of Metropolis) (05:27)

    2. Gus on Computer After the Cents (01:06)

    3. Saving the Factory -- The Acid Test (06:11)

    4. Pay Day for Gus/School Gym -- Earth Angel/Vulcan (01:37)

    5. Lana and Clark in Cornfield/Clark Rescues Ricky (02:27)

    6. Gus Shows the Booze/Gus Finds a Way (01:20)

    7. Montage (03:10)

    8. Colombian Storm (01:30)

    9. Kryptonite/Gus Down Building/Searching for Kryptonite (02:16)

    10. Lana and Clark on Telephone/Kryptonite Sting/Superman Affected by Kryptonite/Superman Too Late (01:48)

    11. Tower of Pisa/What Will It Do for Me (01:58)

    12. Superman and Lorelei on Statue/Superman Ruins Tanker (02:19)

    13. Boxes in Canyon/Drunken Superman (03:22)

    14. The Two Faces of Superman (02:52)

    15. The Struggle Within (02:27)

    16. The Final Victory (02:15)

    17. Preparing Balloons/Superman Coming/Computer (03:02)
    18. Rockets/Video Games/Big Missile (03:11)

    19. Superman Confronts Ross/Computer Takes Over/Gus Fights Ross (02:13)

    20. The Computer Comes Alive/Superman Leaves Computer Cave (02:32)

    21. Metal Vera/Computer Blows Up (02:55)

    22. Gus Flying With Superman (01:19)

    23. Diamond Sting/Thank You Superman/Superman Gus/Clark Gives Lana Diamond Ring (01:40)

    24. End Credits (04:28)

    Disc 5

    1. Fanfare/Space Saver (01:48)

    2. Main Title/Back in Time (05:40)

    3. Pow!/Good Morning (02:45)

    4. Smoke the Yokes/Nefarious (01:04)

    5. To Work/Train Stopper (02:06)

    6. Someone Like You (Lacy's Theme) (03:17)

    7. Jeremy's Theme (02:13)

    8. For Real/The Class (01:43)

    9. Hair Raisers (00:59)

    10. Lacy/The Visit (02:27)

    11. First Nuclear Man (05:24)

    12. Nuke 1 Fight/Ashes (03:45)

    13. Headline (02:48)

    14. Fresh Air (04:33)

    15. United Nations/Net Man (04:42)

    16. Sunstroke/Enter Nuclear Man 2 (05:25)

    17. Flight to Earth/Introducing Nuclear Man 2 (03:27)

    18. Lacy (disco version) (02:13)

    19. Lacy's Place (05:23

    20. Ear Ache/Confrontation/Tornado (08:09)

    21. Volcano (02:18)

    22. Statue of Liberty Fight (03:44)

    Disc 6

    1. Nuclear Man Theme (02:45)

    2. Down With Flu (03:12)

    3. Two-Faced Lex/Missile Buildup (01:39)

    4. Persuader/Awakened (03:13)

    5. Abducted/Mutual Distrust (04:43)

    6. Metropolis Fight/Lift to the Moon (03:36)

    7. Moon Fight/Goodbye Nuke (05:06)

    8. Come Uppance/Lifted/Quarried/Flying With Jeremy/End Credits (09:34)

    Alternates and Source Music:

    9. Fresh Air (album version) (04:35)

    10. Someone Like You (Lacy's Theme) (slow version) (03:33)

    11. Red Square Band (00:52)

    Source Music and Songs by Paul Fishman:

    12. Superfly Guy (04:11)

    13. Headphone Heaven (03:23)

    14. Revolution Now (04:26)

    15. Saxy Sadie (04:47)

    16. Krypton Nights (04:44)

    17. Life's Too Dangerous (03:14)

    18. Workout (02:27)

    19. Lois Love (04:56)

    Disc 7

    1. Main Title (Williams/Jones) (01:07)

    episode 1 "Destroy the Defendroids":

    2. Drone/Blown Drone (02:12)

    3. Talk With Lex (02:29)

    4. Trouble in the Park/Fire Rescues (03:23)

    5. Supe Quits/Fake Quake (02:20)

    6. Saved From Lava/Plans (02:18)

    7. Super Defendroid/Operation Nugget (02:40)

    8. Droid Wars/Warning (03:25)

    9. Superman's Family Album: The Adoption (04:23)

    Alternate:

    10. Main Title Alternate (Jones) (01:08)

    episode 2 "Fugitive From Space":

    11. Alien Discovery (02:01)

    12. The Suit (01:36)

    13. Daily Planet Mystery Play-On/Jimmy and Chief (01:14)

    14. Kyroni Encounter (02:22)

    15. The Planting/Ship's Log (02:16)

    16. Something's Up #2/Bad Guy Dialogue #1 (01:28)

    17. Trouble in Metropolis (00:50)

    18. Aliens Take Over the World (02:07)

    19. Superman's Family Album: The Supermarket (03:54)

    20. Superman Theme (01:02)

    episode 3 "By the Skin of the Dragon's Teeth":

    21. China Play-On/Nukua's Theme (01:26)

    22. Saboteur (01:36)

    23. Transition #3/Bad Guy Dialogue #6/Dragon's Treasure (01:21)

    episode 6 "Triple-Play":

    24. Prankster's Theme/Game Montage/No Baseball (03:48)

    episode 4 "Cybron Strikes":

    25. Superman's Family Album: The First Day of School (04:35)

    Library Music:

    26. Library Suite #1 (arr. Mark McKenzie) (04:53)

    27. Library Suite #2 (03:21)

    28. Aliens Take Over the World (alternate #1 -- orchestra only) (02:06)

    29. Library Suite #3 (02:41)

    30. Library Suite #4 (02:02)

    31. Library Suite #5 (01:52)

    32. Aliens Take Over the World (alternate #2 -- strings/synth only) (01:26)

    33. Library Suite #6 (01:32)

    34. Library Suite #7 (00:36)

    35. End Title (00:27)

    Disc 8

    1. Prelude and Main Title (film version) (05:19)

    2. The Flying Sequence (album version) (08:11)

    3. Can You Read My Mind (original version) (02:51)

    4. Can You Read My Mind (non-vocal version) (03:02)

    5. Kansas High School (01:56)

    6. Kansas Kids (01:49)

    7. Lois Car Radio (02:02)

    8. Luthor's Luau (02:43)

    Tracks 01-08 from Superman: The Movie

    Superman II:

    9. Honeymoon Hotel (03:11)

    10. Country & Western (02:07)

    11. East Houston Cafe (02:13)

    12. Car Radio for Ride Back (00:56)

    13. Diner Jukebox #1 (02:14)

    14. Diner Jukebox #2 (02:16)

    Superman III:

    15. Main Title (The Streets of Metropolis) (alternate) (05:26)

    16. Pay Day for Gus (alternate) (00:40)

    17. Colombian Storm Part 1 (01:05)

    18. Olympic Parade (00:25)

    19. Apres Ski (01:04)

    Songs Composed and Produced by Giorgio Moroder
    Lyrics by Keith Forsey:

    20. Rock On (03:40)

    21. No See, No Cry (03:16)

    22. They Won't Get Me (03:20)

    23. Love Theme (03:13)

    24. Main Title March (Williams, arr. Moroder) (04:14)

    Verdict

    Absolute gold, this boxset will set you back a bit but, believe me, it's worth it. Last year's grand release of Jerry Goldsmith's full score for Alien was the soundtrack highpoint of 2007 - see separate review. This year, it is hard to believe that a bigger, better package than this exemplary set will come along. There is so much material here - the full, nothing-at-all left-out scores for the first time ever - that it will keep you occupied for a long, long time indeed. The only thing that comes close to the thought, love and quality that has gone into this mammoth project would be the complete scores for Howard Shore's The Lord Of The Rings trilogy boxsets. But whether you are a Superman fan or not, anyone who appreciates superlative film music that transcends genre and becomes part of the cultural lexicon will discover much of value here, be it sentimental, academic or just the sheer thrill of it all. But, without a doubt, the oft-mooted and long-desired score for Quest For Peace is everything that salivating fans have been waiting for - and more besides. Not only does it bring possibly the best elements of the movie together for the first time in outstanding clarity, but also gives some musical insight into a version of the film that hasn't been seen before.

    The lavish boxset is topped off with the fabulously detailed and comprehensive collection of notes and housed in a simple but elegant box. In short, this is a treasure. Do yourself a favour and grab a piece of film-music history while you can because, before long, it will be commanding horrifically high prices on the net.

    Ten out ten just isn't high enough for this super-soaring symphonic spectacular!

    The Rundown

    Movie

    10

    Overall

    10

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