'Simple Gifts' Aaron Copland
John Williams' scores for the Star Wars movies are legendary and rightly so - here's our guide to the big themes and the lesser-known gems, from the huge fanfares to Ewoks, Mozart pastiches and Toto.
You couldn't start anywhere else, really, could you? One of the most famous pieces of film music in history, John Williams' grand march defined sci-fi and fantasy music for the twentieth century and beyond, and features in all of the Star Wars films so far.
One of the best things about the epic themes in Star Wars is how Williams weaves them through the fabric of the movies themselves. This is one of the most recognisable from the whole saga, signifying the mystical quasi-religious 'Force' that governs the characters.
Taken from the Episode IV (A New Hope), this cheeky little number is a reminder that John Williams was equally adept at writing lighter music as he was at the bombastic themes. Written to accompany the Jawas, a distrustful band of scavengers and traders, it's stuffed with clumsy humour.
First appearing in The Empire Strikes Back, the angular brass motifs of the Imperial March are synonymous with evil on an almost pantomimic scale. However, as it continues to reappear through Return of the Jedi, it takes on a quieter, more reflective character as the tone of the film changes.
Another theme that debuted in The Empire Strikes Back, John Williams' action chops come into play. As the Millennium Falcon weaves in and out of tumbling asteroids user hot pursuit, the music tumbles and weaves to suit the action perfectly.
The diminutive Jedi master is given one of Williams' most amiable themes, with an almost hymnal quality to accentuate his role as teacher in the films.
The film itself may have been something of a disaster, but John Williams' music for the first Star Wars prequel, The Phantom Menace, is a typically sophisticated affair. The young Darth Vader's theme delicately hints at the Imperial March, just letting the audience know that something just might be wrong with this kid…
The Phantom Menace was deemed such a mess of a film by die-hard fans that it's a miracle the music turned out so well. This iconic theme soundtracks the climactic battle at the end of the film between Rob Roy, Renton from Trainspotting and a stuntman with paint on his face (not pictured).
Similarly, the second instalment in the prequel trilogy, Attack Of The Clones, was received with sighs of disappointment and geek outrage. But guess which element of the Star Wars universe survived untainted? John Williams' soundtrack, of course. This is some of his most sumptuous romanic writing - just try to forget that it accompanies lines like "I'm not afraid to die. I've been dying a little bit each day since you came back into my life."
Another ripping battle theme, this time from Episode IV. Han Solo and Luke Skywalker haphazardly defend the Millennium Falcon from an Imperial attack, boasting to each other as they do.
Another comic theme, similar to the Jawa Theme, this impish melody defines one of the lighter characters in the saga. Though the Ewoks (who are essentially sci-fi's equivalent of the Care Bears) become integral to the story of Return Of The Jedi, they're basically fun-loving little fellas. Trivia: the most prominently featured Ewok in the film was played by Warwick Davis, pictured.
As Anakin Skywalker turns to the dark side in the final prequel, Revenge Of The Sith, he battles fiercely with his old master, Obi-Wan Kenobi on a collapsing platform above an erupting volcano. How do they get into these scrapes, eh? Williams' music is a superb companion to his Duel Of The Fates theme from Episode I, and a perfect soundtrack for avoiding lava.
Another Ewok highlight, this time made all the more remarkable by the fact that the lyrics were written by John Williams' son, Joseph (pictured), who was famous for being the singer in soft-rock band and African geography experts Toto.
One of the more left-field bits of the John Williams oeuvre, this music plays in the famous Cantina sequence in A New Hope. According to notes made on the soundtrack's special edition re-release, it was supposed to sound like a Benny Goodman (pictured) piece as if it was reinterpreted in the future.
Even more strangely, Return Of The Jedi contains a Mozart pastiche in a scene on Jabba The Hutt's sail barge. Listen out for its quasi-harpsichord sound and perfect cadences - bravo!