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Faeries of the East

Watching Star Wars with a live orchestra is a treat for the ears

Hearing John William's soundtrack live takes the A New Hope to the next level.

I've always loved the music of Star Wars.

Even as the prequels failed to live up to my expectations, John William's amazing themes helped prop up the films. From Phantom Menace's Duel of the Fates to Revenge of the Sith's darker tones, William's iconic tracks have remained fan favourites.

The music from Star Wars IV: A New Hope still feels fresh no matter how many times I listen to it. And watching it being performed live as you watch the movie is a fantastic experience any Star Wars fan should try.

I had the opportunity to attend one such session last week, conducted by Emmy Award winning conductor Mark Watters in Singapore, and I now want to watch all the movies with a live orchestra soundtrack.

Watching it being performed live makes you that much more aware of the music. And when the orchestra stops playing, the silence lets you focus more on the dialogue and what's happening in the movie.

While it feels like music is constantly playing throughout A New Hope, that's actually not the case. With a live performance, you're much more aware of the silence, which helps you focus more on the scene you're watching. This may sound like an exaggeration but it really does feel like watching a different movie.

The orchestra was perfect, always coming in at the right time. The intermission break comes at just the right moment, when the Millennium Falcon gets tractored into the Death Star, giving both the orchestra members and attendees a quick toilet break. Audio was also perfectly mixed: At no point did I feel like the dialogue or sound effects were being drowned out by the performance.

And while many people tend to skip the end credits -- though I've never done so for a Star Wars movie -- you'll definitely want to stick around during a live performance. The credits scene feels like a natural farewell piece. But there's no encore to follow up once it ends, which was a shame as I'd have loved to hear more.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Star Wars film concerts are performed in various locations around the world, including the UK, US, Japan and Singapore. Hopefully you'll have the opportunity to catch one near you.

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