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E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
John Williams
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #1

While director Steven Spielberg has sometimes termed his blockbuster hit E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial a loose sequel to his similarly themed Close Encounters of the Third Kind, that notion only underscores the breadth of Joh...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: John Williams
Title: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: MCA Records
Original Release Date: 6/11/1982
Re-Release Date: 9/24/1996
Album Type: Original recording remastered, Soundtrack
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks
Style: Easy Listening
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Other Editions: E.T.
UPCs: 008811149420, 008811902124

While director Steven Spielberg has sometimes termed his blockbuster hit E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial a loose sequel to his similarly themed Close Encounters of the Third Kind, that notion only underscores the breadth of John Williams's talents as a composer and tempts the listener to consider this score a sort of second, more nakedly emotional movement to his CE3K music. As in his epic Star Wars work, the musical touchstone is early-20th-century Russian romanticism, a link that becomes even clearer with the restoration of three fragile, largely atmospheric cues ("Main Titles," "Meeting E.T.," and "E.T.'s New Home"). While Williams has often suffered odd accusations of emotional manipulation--which is, after all, precisely the job of a film composer--his E.T. music is still some of his most compelling, recalling Herrmann's delicate, pastoral touch on The Magnificent Ambersons in its first half, then steadily ratcheting up the tension as the score's insistent brass motif intrudes ever more ominously. Two decades later, the 15-minute sweep of "Escape/Chase/Saying Goodbye" remains one of Williams's most powerful and memorable film-music achievements. This edition also features an illustrated booklet with a new interview with the composer. --Jerry McCulley

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CD Reviews

The one soundtrack that made me cry
Reginald D. Garrard | Camilla, GA USA | 01/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Besides being the film that Walt Disney would've made had he been alive, "E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial" is one of those genuine "great" films that works on all levels. Without one of its strengths lies in the superb scoring of John Williams. He has fashioned music that is endearing, lush, thrilling, illuminating, frightening, and heavenly. It is the end where the score really gets emotional. The final medley ("Escape/Chase/Saying Goodbye) is a triumph of Williams' genius. As the ship closes, taking the little alien back to his world as the boy looks on, Williams delivers an emotional punch that literally "knocks" the listener on his/her feet. The familiar "E.T. Theme" is played again, but this time the skies open and all who listen feel the bond so shared by Elliott and the little creature.Like I said, when I heard this in the theater, I jumped up and applauded, like everyone else this little tale so wondrously told in sight and sound."
Wonderful As Ever, Yet I Still Prefer MCA 6109
Erik North | 01/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It's hard to argue against those who would lobby to hear every film cue that John Williams has ever written, as each is a masterwork -- be it a miniature gem or a lengthy, multi-thematic suite -- which deserves to be appreciated. It's also hard to believe that a fair-to-middling jazz pianist who cut a couple of very forgettable recordings for EmArcy during the late 1950s under his full name of "John Towner Williams" would one day come to be regarded as the greatest film composer of the latter half of the 20th century (and my personal favorite of them all), churning out memorable themes like a gumball machine over a ten year period, while lesser composers would starve themselves for just one such idea during a lifetime.What is also hard to argue is the fact that soundtracks serve, in the end, the very utilitarian purpose of augmenting the images on the screen (although in the case of Williams' efforts, "augment" is too mild a word for what takes place in the souls of theatergoers upon having his music wash over them). For this reason, in the days of the 12" vinyl LP (which by the early 1980s held at best about 55 minutes) the composer selected those movements of his score which most represented the entire film thematically, and re-recorded them in suite form so as to make a more "listenable" overall package. On the one hand, some may say that this was a cold commercial calculation which cherry-picked from an abundance of worthy material and shoe-horned what would fit into an allotted space. I would say that since John Williams himself wrote, arranged, conducted, and chose what material would appear on the LP, this is a farcical argument -- but I won't deny that it exists among purists who wish to hear the actual cues used IN the movie AS used in the movie. (I got my first distaste for this practice upon hearing the Cantina Band song on the expanded "Star Wars" reissue just END -- whereas on the original double-LP it faded out nicely.) On the other hand is my opinion that MCA 6109 (the label and catalog # of the original 1982 LP) is, on the whole, a more coherent, more pleasurable, and more deeply emotional experience than any of the subsequent CD reissues available, including the widely-expanded release in question here. Granted, not even the new SACD mastering can match the majestic full-frequency output of vinyl ("E.T" was, after all, digitally recorded and mixed from the beginning, yet is still only overpowering on LP), and I am also coming at the subject as an 8-year-old boy who played his record countless times until it simply wore away. So, sprinkle the prejudices of childhood sentiment and the sensibilities of a modern audiophile into what I'm saying here. Despite those biases, however, and despite my satisfaction in knowing that John Williams' full original recordings are now being made available on expanded CD reissues to document his greatest achievements in their entirety, I cannot bring myself to prefer them over the original vinyl issues. Perhaps it has something to do with the "concert arrangements" on LP which sound more like the progression of a musical work rather than the lumping of a bunch of unrelated cues together in the approximate order of the film's chronology of scenes. Or maybe it is the nagging suspicion that Mr. Williams' selections for re-recording and inclusion on the LPs were as carefully chosen as were his themes, and that the 45 minutes or so on the album really does encapsulate the music and the movie so beautifully that further cues are neither needed nor yearned for. And as for re-recorded "concert arrangements," is there anyone who really believes that the world-class musicians who performed Williams' scores couldn't play them EXACTLY the same way 50 times in a row, if they wanted to? Aside from the smoother integration of cues on the re-recordings, there is scarcely any discernable difference between them and the actual film cues. If anything, the re-recorded suites may well be more powerful, being un-beholden to the ever-changing series of images on the screen to which the tempos and dynamics must conform.Of course, if you're a John Williams archivist then this expanded issue (along with those from his other Lucas/Spielberg associations) are indispensable, and probably every Williams fan should at least hear the vault material once. But when it comes right down to it, I still find myself spinning MCA 6109 (a new copy, not the beat one!) more often than I do this CD. Although it lacks almost 30 minutes of music that are present on the CD, to me the LP recording sounds more "complete" by virtue of its arrangement. Maybe that arrangement is all in my 8-year-old mind and won't let go, but seeing as how the same sentiment is reflected in other reviews, I don't know...maybe less really IS more."
Farewell E.T. ....
Peter | 12/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The finale to this piece is so emotionally charged and moving, I cannot recall another movie soundtrack fitting so completely congruently, especially with the final events of the movie itself. What is that magical, secret ingredient that Williams captures so well within the main E.T. theme, that leaves such an indelible impression? A truly magnificent, timeless and powerfully moving composition - in an instant reminding the listener of the desperately sad and tear-jerking farewell scene as our beloved alien leaves to return home.

Gosh, cinematic goodbyes have never been so powerful, before or since. Williams was born to write for the screen."