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StarCraft II – “Wings of Liberty” (Derek Duke, et al)

July 30, 2010

StarCraft II was released on Tuesday to great fanfare. Easily the most anticipated title of the summer, there were many places that opened at midnight to sell it – other fans who had purchased a digital copy simply had to wait for their authorization codes (a really cool system if you ask me). I actually haven’t bought the game yet, partly because I haven’t finished Brood War and partly because my computer simply can’t play it (same thing happened when WarCraft III came out actually). Well, that and a little thing called money, or lack thereof. Anyway, even if you don’t have the game, you can still listen to the soundtrack, which contains all the great stuff you may recall from the original StarCraft: space guitars, drums and trumpets, dramatic action, tense violence, and terrific battles. So without further ado, the main theme “Wings of Liberty.”

StarCraft II – “Wings of Liberty” (Derek Duke Glenn Stafford, Neal Acree, & Russell Brower)

“Wings of Liberty” is a pretty amazing piece. It manages to capture the wide range of emotions and situations that present themselves within the game, from battles and construction to epic drama and the horrors of space. The main theme opens up with that guitar we remember so well, a type of airy, echoing tone that travels across the chasms of night; a space guitar for space marines. The theme hits full stride at 1:15 with sweeping trumpets and choir – a martial tune that locks step with heroic thirds that produce ever-forward, ever-upward movement for a terrific, stirring experience. When people think StarCraft, they will now think of this theme.

The main theme levels out with a tremulous choir at 1:44 before finally breaking at 2:15 for a flute and clarinet section. Basically, you can’t have epic trumpets for seven minutes straight, as that gets old after awhile and plus, the audience needs to have a break in the intensity. With the third movement at 3:30, we hear strings and trumpets for the graceful sky-sweeping of spaceships in action, followed by an intense battle at 4:00 as the troops disembark and seek out the enemy in his lair… The section finishes with a truly creepy opera singer with a kind of pseudo-Latin lyrics similar to what was used in the WarCraft III main theme, “A Call to Arms,” though here with horror rather than glory in mind. This is followed by a piano movement at 5:15 which builds again at 6:10 to trumpets and a reprise of the main theme. A truly epic, sweeping piece that clearly deserves more than one listen. You can bet when they play this at Video Games Live, it will be something super-dramatic that should completely fill the walls of the concert hall.

Anyway, you can get the soundtrack currently in three ways. The first is, of course, by purchasing the game (though I don’t know if they use MP3 or some other audio format for the music, but with some digging, you should be able to find it). The second was a special bonus disc for people who purchased the Limited Edition version of the game. The final one is available through the iTunes store, and contains a separate tracklist with several different songs. “Wings of Liberty” is included in both albums.

Derek Duke and Glenn Stafford have been longtime composers of the StarCraft and WarCraft series (among other Blizzard titles). Neal Acree and Russell Brower are relative newcomers, having composed works for World of Warcraft. Russell Brower was also responsible for the Diablo III “Overture”.

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