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“Luke’s Rescue” is hopeful yet suspenseful while the rebel snow speeders search the frozen tundra for Han and Luke who have been stranded in below freezing temperatures all night. “The Battle in the Snow” and “Luke’s First Crash” which play as the Empire attacks the rebel base on Hoth are foreboding, chaotic, and heroic. In fact, all of the music that Williams wrote for the rebel base on Hoth, as well as the action surrounding it, is fun to listen to.

“Han and Leia” gives us a theme that is very versatile. It’s soft and sweet when Han and Leia first kiss onboard the Millennium Falcon. But it’s bold, dark, and brash during “The Duel” when our heroes desperately attempt to save their skins by blasting away against the stormtroopers while fleeing Cloud City.

“Yoda and the Force” is inspiring and triumphant as Yoda raises the X-wing fighter from the swamp, something that Luke in his disbelief was unable to do. It is a wonderful moment of enlightenment about the Force that we learn with Luke. Here is one of the many cases where the score lifts the scene to even greater heights. It truly captures the magnitude and spirit of the moment.

The ethereal sounds of “City in the Clouds” and the lighthearted “Lando’s Palace” take us to Cloud City and its enchanting environment where everything is not as serene as it seems. We transition back to Dagobah and Luke while he prepares to abandon his Jedi training to help his friends, against the wishes of Obi-Wan and Yoda. The lone trumpet that plays its gorgeous solo still brings tears to my eyes. It’s such a moving piece.

“Hyperspace” has been a longtime favorite of many old-school fans like myself. The strings are relentless and give us a power that drives the scene to its bombastic conclusion as the Millennium Falcon achieves light speed seconds before the Empire unleashes the tractor beam that would doom it.

With “Finale; End Credits” Williams has saved the best for last. We hear Han and Leia’s theme again. Luke receives his new mechanical hand aboard the rebel medical frigate. Leia is concerned about the fate of Han. C-3PO has been put back together and is looking like a million bucks all polished and shiny. And Lando and Chewbacca ready the Falcon to go to Tatooine to rescue Han. The closing melody during the credits reprises all of the film’s themes, and then it does something spectacular. The music ends in a crescendo that emulates the emotion of the saga in a way that no other S.W. film has ever done. I still get a charge out of it forty years later. I always felt that this ending would have been a much more appropriate ending for Return of the Jedi since that was the end of the original trilogy.

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