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Themes from The Phantom Menace and other Film Hits (Soundtrack) Conducted by Frederic Talgorn

Tracksounds Rating = 8/10

Themes from The Phantom Menace and other Film Hits (Soundtrack) Conducted by Frederic Talgorn

Conducted by Frederic Talgorn (Non-OST tracks)
Performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Choir
Released by Varese Sarabande November 1999

Track Title Time Rating Varese Highlights of 1999
by Christopher Coleman

Even prior to the release of the Christmas season’s plethora of higher quality films and subsequent higher quality scores, Varese Sarabande has compiled some of film music’s highlights for the year of 1999.  The announcement of Themes from the Phantom Menace and Other Film Hits has held great promise for film score lovers. Conductor Frederic Talgorn and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra certainly took a big musical bite with the first performance of John Williams’ music from Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace since the original soundtrack release,   and many were eager to hear if they could “chew it.”  

It was my assumption, along with others,  that the entire album was going to feature new recordings by the above mentioned, but unfortunately, this has not proven to be the case.  There are actually only eight tracks that feature all new performances.  The other ten are tracks from the original motion picture soundtracks…as released by Varese Sarabande earlier in the year.   This came as a surprise and a disappointment to me.  The prospect of hearing new, full orchestral versions of Rabin’s Aftermath from Deep Blue Sea or Goldsmith’s Old Bagdad from the 13th Warrior, were two that held equal promise to those from The Phantom Menace.  But alas it was not to be.  In any event, Varese has brought selections from some the years best pieces with only one real misfire with the below average main titles from Payback. 

The eight tracks that are performed by one of the best orchestras around the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and conducted by Varese’s apparent new main guy. With Joel McNeely being so busy with other projects, Frederic Talgorn has gotten the call and in general, have produced some pieces that are quite listenable.  Most of the pieces selected from The Phantom Menace are performed admirably; however, the centerpiece of the score, Duel of the Fates, surprisingly comes off a bit flat.  Despite the 150-member choir, the same drive, sharpness and passion is not found in this performance as by the London Symphony Orchestra and "mere" 80-member choir.  The orchestra and choir do come back with a vengeance later on the disc: the choir in Hymn to the Fallen and the orchestra in the Shakespeare in Love Suite.

Jerry Goldsmith’s The Mummy is given a fair shake on the compilation.  While original score for The Mummy, as a whole, was a bit underwhelming, Talgorn and company milk The Sand Volcano for everything it’s got!  Four tracks later, Talgorn, orchestra, and choir resurface to perform another Williams classic piece, Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan.  I believe this is, at least, the third recorded performance of this piece of music since the original score was released.  Of those I have heard, it probably comes in...third place mostly due to its tempo.  While the choir certainly is powerful, it is a noticeably slower in pace than the original performance as well as the version included on Silva’s John Williams:  The Essential Film Music Collection.

This compilation seeks to sum up the 1999s best.  It may have been a strong desire to be the first to release another performance of John Williams mega hit for The Phantom Menace, but Varese may have been a bit premature considering Angela’s Ashes, Bicentennial Man, Anna and the King, among others are sure to be memorable scores representing 1999.  Be that as it may, aside from the mysterious inclusion of Payback and the dreaded Wild, Wild West theme, the label has done an adequate job.  If one does not already own the original scores for Deep Blue Sea, The Matrix, 13th Warrior and the other film scores represented here, this compact disc does provide one with some great moments from each.

Star Wars Episode One:  The Phantom Menace
Tracks (1 - 5)  - Frederic Talgorn

1 Star Wars Main Title/ Arrival at Naboo 3:20 ***
2 The Flag Parade 3:29 ***
3 Anakin's Theme 3:42 ***
4 The Adventures of Jar Jar 3:43 ***
5 Duel of the Fates 4:21 **
6 The Mummy - The Sand Volcano- (Talgorn) 5:23 ****
7 The Sixth Sense - Dr Profundis (Howard) OST 2:21 ***
8 Instinct - Main Title (Elfman) OST 3:16 ***
9 Wild Wild West - Main Title (Bernstein) OST 2:29 *
10 The 13th Warrior (Goldsmith) OST 2:01 ****
11 Saving Private Ryan - Hymn to the Fallen (Talgorn) 6:1 ***
12 Deep Blue Sea - Aftermath (Rabin) OST 2:46 ****
13 The Iron Giant - The Eye of the Storm (Kamen) OST 2:27 ***
14 The Haunting - Home Safe (Goldsmith) OST 3:16 ****
15 The Matrix - Main Title (Davis) OST 3:34 ****
16 Payback - Main Title (Boardman) OST 5:20 *
17 Shakespeare in Love - Suite (Talgorn) 7:20 ****
18 Bowfinger - Finale/ Fed Ex Delivers (D. Newman) OST 2:50 ****
  Total Playing Time      




Music Selection


Themes/ Composition


CD Length


Track Order




Final Score


Other reviews:

On the whole, though, they are balanced by the extremely enjoyable cues from Bowfinger (an enigma from the original score, if you recall) and Rabin's sweeping title theme from Deep Blue Sea. Regardless of which cue was chosen over another for inclusion on this album, it is still an excellent compilation. Frederic Talgorn's work with the Royal Scottish National Orchestral rivals, if not eclipses, McNeely's "Hollywood 94-96" albums, and I greatly hope to see them teamed together again in the future. ****

Christian Clemmensen - Filmtracks

Frederic Talgorn

Themes from The Phantom Menace and other Film Hits (Soundtrack) Conducted by Frederic Talgorn

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Themes from The Phantom Menace and other Film Hits (Soundtrack) Conducted by Frederic Talgorn


All artwork from Themes from the Phantom Menace and Other Film Hits is exclusive property of Varese Sarabande (c) 1999.  Its appearance is for imformational purposes only.



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