Star Trek: Generations (Newly Expanded Edition)

Let’s be clear – the Star Trek: Generations soundtrack that was released in 1994 was no slouch, featuring around 45 minutes of music, a collection of Generations and Star Trek: TNG sound effects, and a fridge magnet of the CD cover (no joke!). The soundtrack consumer demands a bit more these days, however, so the miraculously revived GNP Crescendo label has traded in the fridge magnet for an extra disc featuring the complete score from beginning to end.

And let’s be clear about another thing – this has always been one of the two best soundtracks from the TNG movies, demonstrating that Dennis McCarthy was not simply phoning in sonic wallpaper for TNG on TV (at least not willingly). Generations gives us McCarthy at his thunderous best, composing music with a real melody behind it and then giving a truly widescreen treatment. Of the previously unavailable cues, the one I was looking forward to hearing the most was “Distress Call / Harriman and the Ribbon”, whose first glimpse of the Nexus is a masterpiece of spine-tingling, otherworldly foreboding – the sound of laying eyes on something dangerously beyond comprehension.

The highlight of Generations remains “The Nexus / A Christmas Hug”, an eerily beautiful choral piece accompanying Picard’s disorienting fantasy of a perfect Christmas with a family that his Starfleet lifestyle would never allow him to have. McCarthy himself has always been justifiably proud of this piece, and the bonus tracks present us with this selection in choir-only form, with the orchestra mixed out completely (and it still holds up as a great piece of music).

Between this and the recent release of box sets of music from Star Trek: TNG and Deep Space Nine (each of which devote at least one CD to McCarthy’s best from each series), I’d like to think that these 4 out of 4releases of his work are earning Dennis McCarthy a long-overdue reappraisal from Star Trek fandom, which seemed to indict him of the crime of not being Ron Jones for many years. McCarthy could always crank out a great tune; the strictures placed on Star Trek’s composers by its showrunner kept the music to a very dull roar (in every sense of the word “dull”). This is why you don’t have a 14-disc box set of McCarthy’s music. The expanded Generations soundtrack is a good start on redressing that balance, though.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Main Title (2:54)
  2. Past Glory (1:19)
  3. The Enterprise B (0:42)
  4. Distress Call / Harriman and the Ribbon (4:27)
  5. Kirk Saves the Day / Deck 15 / HMS Enterprise (4:50)
  6. Picard’s Message / Raid Post Mortem (4:43)
  7. Data and the Emotions (0:54)
  8. Time is Running Out (1:11)
  9. Data Malfunctions (2:29)
  10. Soran Kidnaps Geordi (2:44)
  11. Guinan and the Nexus (2:47)
  12. Torture (1:37)
  13. Soran’s Plan Revealed (1:49)
  14. Prisoner Exchange (2:59)
  15. Outgunned (3:22)
  16. The Gap / Coolant Leak / Appointment with Eternity / Out of Control / Blasted / The Crash (5:43)
  17. Coming to Rest (1:00)
  18. The Nexus (1:32)
  19. A Christmas Hug / The Kitchen Debate (8:03)
  20. Coming to Rest (1:38)
  21. Two Captains / Crash Recap (2:04)
  22. The Final Fight (6:15)
  23. The Captain of the Enterprise (Kirk’s Death) (2:45)
  24. To Live Forever (2:40)
  25. Star Trek: Generations Overture (4:13)
    Disc Two
    Original 1994 album remastered

  1. Star Trek: Generations Overture (4:13)
  2. Main Title (2:54)
  3. The Enterprise B / Kirk Saves the Day (3:13)
  4. Deck 15 (1:41)
  5. Time is Running Out (1:11)
  6. Prisoner Exchange (2:58)
  7. Outgunned (3:22)
  8. Out of Control / The Crash (2:05)
  9. Coming to Rest (1:00)
  10. The Nexus / A Christmas Hug (7:07)
  11. Jumping the Ravine (1:38)
  12. Two Captains (1:34)
  13. The Final Fight (6:15)
  14. Kirk’s Death (2:45)
  15. To Live Forever (2:40)
  16. Sound Effects

  17. Enterprise B Bridge (3:13)
  18. Enterprise B Doors Open (0:13)
  19. Distress Call Alert (0:10)
  20. Enterprise B Helm Controls (0:16)
  21. Nexus Energy Ribbon (1:38)
  22. Enterprise B Deflector Beam (0:08)
  23. Enterprise B Warp Pass-by (0:14)
  24. Enterprise B Transporter (0:12)
  25. Tricorder (0:30)
  26. Hypo Injector (0:03)
  27. Communicator Chirp (0:06)
  28. Door Chime (0:07)
  29. Enterprise D Warp Out #1 (0:22)
  30. Bird of Prey Bridge / Explosion (2:51)
  31. Klingon Sensor Alert (0:08)
  32. Bird of Prey Cloaks (0:04)
  33. Bird of Prey De-cloaks (0:10)
  34. Klingon Transporter (0:12)
  35. Soran’s Gun (0:11)
  36. Soran’s Rocket De-cloaks (0:05)
  37. Shuttlecraft Pass-by (0:21)
  38. Enterprise D Bridge / Crash Sequence (3:21)
  39. Enterprise D Warp-Out #2 (0:09)
  40. Bonus Tracks

  41. Prisoner Exchange (film version) (2:59)
  42. A Christmas Hug (choir only) (1:22)
  43. Lifeforms (Vocal: Brent Spiner) (0:17)

Released by: GNP Crescendo
Release date: October 15, 2012
Disc one total running time: 75:39
Disc two total running time: 66:11

[…]

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Newly Expanded Edition)

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Newly Expanded Edition)The moment that it became crystal clear that all of the Star Trek movies soundtracks would be getting a remastered reissue that included every note of music heard in the movie, one question seemed to be dominating the conversation: “when do we get Star Trek: The Motion Picture?” As various soundtrack boutique labels marched through the Kirk-era Trek film scores, beginning with Star Trek II, that insistent chorus only got louder, usually taking on a disbelieving “Seriously, you’re releasing the soundtrack from [insert Star Trek movie title here] before you do The Motion Picture?”

The answer came only after the rest of the Kirk-era movies’ scores (and the music from the TNG-era movie Star Trek: First Contact had been reissued, and the results were grander than anything fans could’ve asked for, as La-La Land rolled out a lavishly packaged 3-CD extravaganza containing the cues that many fans have been waiting for since 1979.

In the larger context of Goldsmith’s music – whether for film in general or for genre movies in particular – Star Trek: The Motion Picture represents a return to the experimental Goldsmith. After experimenting with synthesizers in the soundtracks of movies such as The Illustrated Man and Logan’s Run, Goldsmith grew disillusioned with what he felt was a limited palette of colors from the new instrument. Trek saw the composer do an abrupt about-face, to the point that some of his later work in the ’80s would be all synth (such as the rejected Alien Nation score), a surprising development for a composer who was famous for making best use of his orchestral resources.

Key to Goldsmith embracing electronics alongside the orchestra once more was the Blaster Beam, a 16-foot machined aluminum slab with strings running its entire length, like a giant guitar fretboard. Struck with an metal artillery shell casing and driven through an amplifier, the Beam lent Trek its most striking sound, a gut-rattling, unearthly reverberation somewhere between an electric guitar and the end of the world. The Beam was built and played by Craig Huxley, nee Hundley, a new age music enthusiast whose previous life as a child actor had included two guest starring roles on the original Star Trek. Also bringing things full circle – out of necessity – were Goldsmith’s two orchestrators, Alexander Courage and Fred Steiner, both of whom had worked extensively on the original TV series.

As pointed out in the extensive liner notes by “The Music of Star Trek” author Jeff Bond, Goldsmith originally had very little actual film to work with, composing material with an absolute lack of any effects sequences. In a way this was freeing, but also frustrating: all the esteemed composer had to work with were timings from the film’s editors. Then, once the effects were completed, there was an incredible time crunch to finish the movie – and its music – in time for the set-in-stone December 1979 premiere. Goldsmith had to rely on Courage and Steiner to “ghost write” sequences in the style Goldsmith had already established. This material included Goldsmith-style renditions of the original Star Trek TV theme arranged by its original composer, Alexander Courage, oft-requested but never released on any of the prior CD releases of Trek‘s soundtrack. The previously released editions (this is the third) leaned almost entirely on material that Goldsmith had originated, so this set marks the first release for nearly half of the movie’s soundtrack.

And it keeps getting better. The second disc features rejected music for the first 1/3 of the over-two-hour movie – the bulk of it originating from the early sessions where Goldsmith had no visuals to work with. In these early pieces, the Enterprise theme is not fully formed, and the drydock sequence features delicate, almost-fairy-like music that runs completely counter to the power and majesty of the music that would finally grace that pivotal scene. Filling out disc two is a remastered version of the original 1979 soundtrack LP release, much of which draws from “takes” that were not used in the movie itself.

The third disc features alternates, out-takes and raw studio tapes, including the first-ever recording of the theme that Goldsmith composed in the wake of director Robert Wise’s complaint that his film had no discernable main theme. That the resulting piece of music went on to represent Star Trek in future film installments and as the main theme of Star Trek: The Next Generation is significant; despite its fleeting appearances in this movie’s score, Alexander Courage’s ’60s-flavored television theme had been supplanted, and the entire franchise had new theme music.

Trek was released in 1979, and, like Star Wars before it, was undeniably a disco-era movie. The producers of this soundtrack gleefully embrace that with two slices of ’70s-style ephemera that were released at the same time as the movie itself: Bob James’ disco-fied jazz-with-synthesizers cover of Goldsmith’s main theme, and the gloriously cheesy train wreck that is teen crooner Shaun Cassidy’s earnestly-performed “A Star Beyond Time,” featuring schmaltzy love song lyrics laid over the love theme for Lt. Ilia (a character whose storyline in the movie didn’t really merit a love theme, but Paramount brass had decreed that the movie would have a love theme in the vein of “Princess Leia’s Theme” from Star Wars). Cassidy’s contribution to the Star Trek music archives is endearingly over-the-top – it’s so bad I almost find myself liking it.

Fans have been clamoring for the complete, unshortened score to this entire movie practically since the movie was in theaters, and while the original 1979 soundtrack was nothing to sneeze at – actually, it’s 5 out of 4one of the best-judged assemblies of highlights from a movie score ever to see release, even in its abridged original form – this new set leaves the fans nothing to ask for. (I’d say it leaves them nothing to complain about, but hey, we’re talking Star Trek fans here.) There’s an embarrassment of riches of new material, all of which demonstrates the staggering pressures and considerable talent brought to bear on the music for Star Trek’s first big-screen outing. Somehow, the pressure cooker and the incredible instincts of Jerry Goldsmith and his cohorts resulted in a soundtrack that’s arguably better than the movie it comes from, and a soundtrack that still towers over the landscape of film music today. There’s never been anything quite like it since.

Order this CD

    Disc One
    The Film Score

  1. Overture (1:43)
  2. Main Title / Klingon Battle (7:01)
  3. Total Logic (3:54)
  4. Floating Office (1:08)
  5. The Enterprise (6:02)
  6. Malfunction (1:30)
  7. Goodbye Klingon / Goodbye Epsilon Nine / Pre-Launch (2:10)
  8. Leaving Drydock (3:32)
  9. TV Theme / Warp Point Eight (0:50)
  10. No Goodbyes (0:53)
  11. Spock’s Arrival (2:03)
  12. TV Theme / Warp Point Nine (1:49)
  13. Meet V’Ger (3:06)
  14. The Cloud (5:05)
  15. V’Ger Flyover (5:01)
  16. The Force Field (5:07)
  17. Micro Exam (1:13)
  18. Games/Spock Walk (9:51)
  19. System Inoperative (2:03)
  20. Hidden Information (3:58)
  21. Inner Workings (4:04)
    Disc Two

  1. V’Ger Speaks (4:04)
  2. The Meld/A Good Start (5:37)
  3. End Title (3:16)

    The Unused Early Score

  4. The Enterprise early version (6:05)
  5. Leaving Drydock early version (2:39)
  6. No Goodbyes early version (0:55)
  7. Spock’s Arrival early version (2:00)
  8. Micro Exam early version (1:15)
  9. Games early version (3:49)
  10. Inner Workings early version (4:43)

    The 1979 Soundtrack Album

  11. Main Title / Klingon Battle (6:50)
  12. Leaving Drydock (3:29)
  13. The Cloud (5:00)
  14. The Enterprise (5:59)
  15. Ilia’s Theme (3:00)
  16. Vejur Flyover (4:56)
  17. The Meld (3:15)
  18. Spock Walk (4:17)
  19. End Title (3:16)
    Disc Three
    Alternates

  1. Overture long version (2:50)
  2. Main Title alternate take (1:44)
  3. Total Logic alternate take (3:49)
  4. Malfunction early take (1:28)
  5. Goodbye Klingon alternate take (0:35)
  6. No Goodbyes alternate take (0:53)
  7. Spock’s Arrival alternate take (2:01)
  8. The Force Field alternate take (5:04)
  9. Micro Exam alternate take (1:14)
  10. Games early synthesizer version (3:48)
  11. Games alternate take (3:48)
  12. Inner Workings alternate take (4:05)
  13. V’Ger Speaks alternate take (4:03)
  14. The Meld film version (3:16)
  15. A Good Start discrete (2:27)
  16. Main Title album take (1:44)

    Additional Music

  17. Main Title first raw takes (7:21)
  18. The Force Field / The Cloud excerpts (2:33)
  19. Beams and Synthesizer for V’Ger 4:04)
  20. Beams and Synthesizer for Ilia 0:59)
  21. Synthesizer for Main Theme 1:44)
  22. Main Theme From Star Trek: The Motion Picture performed by Bob James (5:24)
  23. A Star Beyond Time performed by Shaun Cassidy (2:43)
  24. Ilia’s Theme alternate (3:33)
  25. Theme From Star Trek: The Motion Picture concert edit (3:25)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: 2012
Disc one total running time: 72:06
Disc two total running time: 74:31
Disc three total running time: 74:37

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek: First Contact (Newly Expanded Edition)

Star Trek: First Contact (Newly Expanded Edition)Though it really shouldn’t have been surprising after the recent glut of remastered soundtracks from the Kirk-era Star Trek movie franchise, the sudden announcement of a complete and remastered Star Trek: First Contact soundtrack took many by surprise. It came from a label that had been dormant for years – GNP Crescendo had a seemingly absolute lock on all Star Trek soundtrack releases throughout the 1990s – and it was the first remastered soundtrack from the shorter big-screen run of the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew.

Of course, First Contact was the first (and arguably only) undisputed success among the TNG-era films, and marked the return of Jerry Goldsmith to the Star Trek film franchise, so it’s an obvious starting point for the TNG movie soundtrack remasters. (Three TNG-era movies’ soundtracks remain to be remastered and expanded, and two of them – Generations and Insurrection – were previously released by Crescendo, making it almost certain that Crescendo will be releasing the expanded editions.)

The original 1996 soundtrack release of First Contact was hampered by two factors: the punishing cost of licensing more than 40 minutes of music recorded by a union orchestra for a soundtrack release, and a somewhat arbitrary decision to slant the original soundtrack heavily in favor of music by Jerry Goldsmith. Almost a quarter of the movie was actually scored by Joel Goldsmith, who would later make his mark on the genre by scoring the vast majority of the Stargate TV franchise, due to Jerry Goldsmith’s busy schedule. The liner notes even point out that executive producer Rick Berman and director/co-star Jonathan “Riker” Frakes greeted this development by pointing out that they’d paid for Jerry Goldsmith to score their movie. As it so happens, the elder Goldsmith played a thundering action cue that impressed everyone in the room – and then revealed that his son had written it. But that didn’t mean that Joel’s music would find its way onto the original soundtrack release: the same silly argument cropped up. The CD cover said “music by Jerry Goldsmith,” and album producer Neil Norman was determined to deliver on that. The payoff there is that Joel Goldsmith was responsible for the music to the one scene in the movie that everyone bought a ticket to see, the first warp flight by Zefram Cochrane. That was, without a doubt, First Contact‘s money shot. I remember seeing the movie in the theater the first time with my friend Mark, who said “Holy shit!” out loud when the Phoenix deployed its warp engines from its Titan missile casing. It was built up as the movie’s “holy shit!” moment from the word go, and it got “holy shit!” music from the junior Goldsmith – which Crescendo then proceeded to omit from the album on the ground that the cue wasn’t composed by Jerry Goldsmith.

That cue, “Flight Of The Phoenix”, has been… obtainable, for the lack of a better way to put it, as part of a bootleg First Contact score that’s been circulating since the Napster days. However, this single-disc release has been remastered by the same team responsible for the previous Trek movie score remasters, and it’s never sounded this good. With all due respect to the now-departed “dean of movie music,” as Trek TV composer Dennis McCarthy once called him, “Flight Of The Phoenix” is the highlight of the restored full-length soundtrack, just as it was in the movie itself. It’s ironic that arguably the most iconic piece of music in a score attributed to Jerry Goldsmith was composed by his son. Stargate fans will also want to check out Joel’s cues here as a precursor to the up-and-coming composer’s body of work for that franchise (SG-1 was about a year away from premiering at the time of First Contact‘s release).

For those who, like the label circa 1996, are more interested in Goldsmith Sr.’s work, there are unreleased cues by him as well. One of the more intriguing ones is “Borg Montage”, a brief, menacing cue covering several shot Borg-related interludes aboard the Enterprise-E, culminating in a hapless security team wandering into a dimly-lit space which is then illuminated by the laser sights of several approaching Borg. There are two versions of this cue – one used in the movie, and a significantly different one with a more martial approach – and both are vintage Goldsmith with a big brassy flourish at the end.

If you want Steppenwolf or Roy Orbison this time around, there are other sources for those tracks, and in the intervening years they’ve almost certainly been remastered too.

The return of Crescendo Records to the soundtrack arena, especially with the full release of First Contact in hand, is a welcome one, especially when some of the soundtrack specialty labels are calling it a day in the current economy (Film Score Monthly) or beginning to split their release schedules between classic remasters and brand new releases (Intrada). The liner notes booklet – both the printed one with the disc and the downloadable PDF “booklet” (more like one giant, unending vertical strip, possibly representing the first-ever soundtrack liner notes wall 4 out of 4scroll) – looks like it just woke up from ’96, however. The cover layout also shows no attempt to mesh with the general cover design that’s been established for the other Star Trek movie score remasters to date, so maybe a visual rethink might be in order before Crescendo turns out another remastered Trek soundtrack. In the end, though, it’s the music that matters, and this release delivers an increase in both sound quality and quantity. Hopefully it delivers enough sales to Crescendo’s doorstep to merit upgraded releases of Generations and Insurrection.

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  1. Main Title / Locutus (4:18)
  2. How Many Ships (0:31)
  3. Battle Watch (1:13)
  4. Red Alert (2:16)
  5. Temporal Wake (2:11)
  6. Shields Down (1:48)
  7. The Phoenix (1:04)
  8. They’re Here (0:28)
  9. 39.1 Degrees Celsius (4:48)
  10. Search For The Borg (1:53)
  11. Retreat (4:01)
  12. No Success (1:33)
  13. Borg Montage (1:03)
  14. Welcome Aboard (2:43)
  15. Stimulation (1:08)
  16. Smorgasborg (1:30)
  17. Getting Ready (1:36)
  18. Fully Functional (3:22)
  19. The Dish (7:09)
  20. Objection Noted (1:57)
  21. Not Again (2:44)
  22. Evacuate (2:24)
  23. New Orders / All The Time (3:52)
  24. Flight Of The Phoenix (6:23)
  25. First Contact (6:03)
  26. End Credits (5:32)
  27. The Phoenix [alternate] (1:10)
  28. Borg Montage [alternate] (1:20)
  29. Main Title [alternate] (2:54)

Released by: GNP Crescendo Records
Release date: 2012
Total running time: 78:54

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Newly Expanded Edition)

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered CountryThe only big-screen classic Star Trek sequel still waiting for its soundtrack to be remastered has finally gotten the deluxe treatment from Intrada. The release was inadvertently revealed by composer Cliff Eidelman early in 2012, a practice that the soundtrack boutique labels tend to avoid simply because they barely have enough time in the day to do what they do, let alone answer endless questions about upcoming releases and whether or not they can be pre-ordered. But that would seem to reveal a certain degree of pride on Eidelman’s part for his first major film scoring assignment – and listening to this expanded release, which finally puts every note of the movie’s music in fans’ hands, it must be said that any such pride is certainly justified.

Star Trek VI was a movie that almost didn’t happen. The William Shatner-directed Trek V bombed at the box office once word got out about its utterly goofy treatment of philosophical subject matter that had big implications, and it proved to be Shatner’s only directorial turn in the franchise, and the last stop for producer Harve Bennett, who, had turned the Trek films into a Big Deal with Star Trek II. But 1991 was the 25th anniversary of the premiere of the original Star Trek, and Paramount wanted to make a Big Deal out of that too, and so it took stock of the other driving creative forces behind Trek II and Trek IV, the series’ most successful films. A sixth movie would happen after all, shepherded to the screen by director Nicholas Meyer and Leonard Nimoy, surrending his director’s seat to produce the final film to feature the full original cast.

Meyer’s original musical idea was to adapt either Holst’s The Planets or Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite – basically pulling a Kubrick and scoring the movie with existing classical music. Composer Cliff Eidelman, chosen for his strong classical background, got a break when Holst’s estate refused to allow The Planets to be licensed or altered without a gigantic price tag: he would get to compose an original score with hints of both Stravinsky and Holst’s stylistic trappings. The result was something far darker than anything the Star Trek films had been graced with before, including the first use of choir in the Trek movies. Only fleeting references to prior scores in the film series would be made; Trek VI happened further in the future than any of the previous films and would have a stand-alone sound. A scary and glorious stand-alone sound, too, with Eidelman not holding back on playing up the implications of impending war between the Federation and its enemies, and the willingness of almost all parties to sacrifice Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy as pawns in the rapidly escalating hostilities.

The second disc of this two-disc set features a remastered edition of the original 1991 soundtrack album, which we covered back when The Undiscovered Country was a relatively recent arrival in theaters. The first disc presents the music as heard in the film itself, which sometimes means entire pieces of music that haven’t been heard before, and sometimes means subtly different versions of the pieces you’re already familiar with. It may not hurt to listen to this version first, so it’s easier to spot the missing material added to the complete score on disc one. Some of the missing material flies past pretty quickly, but as always, it encompasses key moments that weren’t incorporated into the original soundtrack release. Scenes that were on the original soundtrack but weren’t heard in full include the Excelsior crew receiving a message about a Chernobyl-like “incident” at a Klingon power plant, Kirk receiving his orders to attempt peace with the Klingons, and Kirk’s trial on a brutal Klingon prison planet after he’s accused of assassinating the Klingons’ leader at that peace summit.

Fans of the original soundtrack and the movie know by now that the original CD’s “Battle For Peace” track – an eight-minute orchestral assault – left some stuff out, including, ironically, silence. The expanded version of this lengthy battle scene is now complete, including those conveniently-timed pauses for Kirk and Sulu to issue their respective orders to destroy the pesky Klingon Bird of Prey whose commander is fighting to keep both worlds at war.

The most interesting and showy material among the previously unissued tracks center around the Enterprise crew’s search for evidence to lead them to the real assassins. In the movie, this search took the form of several vignettes as planted evidence was repeatedly found, leading to the wrong suspects, but it’s surprisingly good music that shows no ambitions toward low-key subtlety. The other new and interesting material is music that isn’t from the movie at all. Star Trek VI was the first and only Star Trek film to this day to have custom-scored trailers. Earlier films tended to rely on mashups of music from earlier Star Trek movies for their trailers, and even the very first Trek movie had trailers choppily scored with pieces of Jerry Goldsmith’s immortal music, often clumsily hacked to pieces in the editing room. For Trek VI, Cliff Eidelman scored his own trailers, offering the audience a preview of the music as well as the movie. Not edited together from the score, the trailers are custom-made creations that use the same themes in a kind of rapid-fire greatest-hits style. This is the first time that music has been released, and it’s pretty neat to hear.

Star Trek music expert Jeff Bond, who still needs to update his excellent 1999 book “The Music Of Star Trek: Profiles In Style”, and Film Score Monthly Trek music savior Lukas Kendall provide some of the best liner notes in the business, detailing the creation of both the movie and its music, rounding out the package. As with its Star Trek IV soundtrack, Intrada has wisely forgone its usual route of limiting this soundtrack to an arbitrary print run of 3,000 copies – there are enough copies for everyone who wants one.

Star Trek music fans have been graced with a wealth of re-releases and never-before-released material from both the movie and TV franchises in the past three years (like his movie or not, you can probably thank J.J. Abrams for raising Star Trek’s public profile enough to make that possible). Now, of course, everyone’s licking their lips and hoping for another re-release of Goldsmith’s music from the first film, hopefully this time in complete form. (I wouldn’t object if the next project was Dennis McCarthy’s criminally-underrated Star Trek: Generations score, 4 out of 4but I suspect I’m in the minority there; McCarthy has a small but loyal base of fans, of which I count myself one, while Goldsmith now has a cult of worshippers who’ll buy anything with the man’s name on it.) The ongoing expand-and-reissue project, however, has been nothing short of a delight for the ears, and Star Trek VI will keep me more than happy until the next re-release.

Order this CD

    Disc One: complete score

  1. Overture (3:02)
  2. The Incident (1:09)
  3. Spacedock / Clear All Moorings (1:59)
  4. Spock’s Wisdom (3:13)
  5. Guess Who’s Coming (0:49)
  6. Assassination (2:16)
  7. Surrender For Peace (2:48)
  8. The Death Of Gorkon (2:07)
  9. The Trial / Morally Unjust Evidence (1:13)
  10. Sentencing (1:02)
  11. Rura Penthe / First Sight Of Rura Penthe (4:09)
  12. Alien Fight (1:05)
  13. First Evidence / The Search (1:33)
  14. Escape From Rura Penthe (5:35)
  15. The Mirror (1:17)
  16. Revealed (2:48)
  17. Mind Meld (2:06)
  18. Dining On Ashes (1:01)
  19. The Battle For Peace / The Final Chance For Peace / The Final Count (8:15)
  20. The Undiscovered Country (1:07)
  21. Sign Off (3:16)
  22. Star Trek VI End Credits Suite (6:17)
  23. Trailer (take 10) (2:23)
  24. Guess Who’s Coming (alternate) (0:51)
  25. Sign Off (alternate) (3:31)
  26. Trailer (take 2) (2:20)
    Disc Two – original 1991 album

  1. Overture (2:57)
  2. An Incident (0:53)
  3. Clear All Moorings (1:39)
  4. Assassination (4:45)
  5. Surrender Dor Peace (2:46)
  6. Death Of Gorkon (1:10)
  7. Rura Penthe (4:22)
  8. Revealed (2:38)
  9. Escape From Rura Penthe (5:34)
  10. Dining On Ashes (1:00)
  11. The Battle For Peace (8:03)
  12. Sign Off (3:13)
  13. Star Trek VI Suite (6:18)

Released by: Intrada
Release date: 2012
Disc one total running time: 67:14
Disc two total running time: 45:!7

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Newly Expanded Edition)

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Newly Expanded Edition)Marking the first foray of soundtrack label Intrada into the neutral zone of Star Trek movie music, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is a risky thing to release, then or now. It’s also the only Star Trek adventure for Leonard Rosenman (Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, Ralph Bakshi’s animated Lord Of The Rings), and it’s been misunderstood since the original 35-minute soundtrack album was released by MCA in 1986. Rosenman’s approach to film scoring was always steeped in his classical background, and while that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t suited to making movie music, his old-school sensibilities on such things as formal structure haven’t won him as wide a fan base as, say, Jerry Goldsmith or John Williams.

Intrada’s single-disc release almost fills the running time of its CD, doubling the amount of music that was available before by finally revealing the alternate versions of many key pieces of music. There are so many alternates here that it almost constitutes a second soundtrack that we never got to hear. Rosenman has taken a lot of heat from critics for the almost Christmas-like main titles, and his original main titles are quite a departure from that – a stately, fully orchestral version of the theme from the original Star Trek series, for the first and only time in the movie series (that we never got to hear). Not just a quotation, not just the four-note fanfare, but the entire theme as heard on TV in the ’60s, upgraded to the splendor of a full orchestra rather than the bongos and the warbling female vocal. It’s pretty magnificent stuff, though of course using that would’ve gotten Rosenman bashed for lack of originality (a charge already leveled at the screen-used titles, which bore a slight resemblance to Rosenman’s Lord Of The Rings). The poor guy couldn’t win.

The other alternates reveal a slightly darker take on the themes for the inscrutible, cylindrical alien probe and the whaling ship at the end of the movie, both of which are looking for the same thing; the alternate whaling ship cue is a more violent, guttural sounding piece, almost like Goldsmith action music.

Heard in the movie, but previously unheard on a soundtrack album, are the series of vignettes at the beginning of the movie, reintroducing us to the Enterprise crew and their purloined Klingon ship, setting up the conflict with the Klingons in a diplomatic vanue on Earth, and setting up the probe crisis from the vantage point of Starfleet Command. This music is presented as a single suite, mainly because the scenes were presented that way too. Another series of vignettes, “In San Francisco”, follows Kirk’s fish-out-of-water crew through their haphazard attempts to function on 20th century Earth, and is perhaps a bit less successful as it falls back on stereotypical samplings of various “ethnic” music types to represent the nationalities of the crew. There’s somewhat predictable Eastern-scale music for the Sulu scenes that we barely got to see (much of the 20th century Sulu scenes, including a run-in with a potential ancestor, were cut from the movie), as well as Scottish and Russan refrains for Scotty and Chekov.

Several of the cues may leave Trek music fans cringing precisely because they don’t fit neatly into the template established by Goldsmith and James Horner in the first three movies. Rosenman was assigned to score a movie that was basically a comedy with a dramatic framing device, and that’s how the movie is scored. It worked well with the movie, but purely as a listening experience, even with the added material, it probably won’t satisfy listeners expecting a “hey, the music wasn’t that bad” revelation like the expanded Star Trek V soundtrack gave us.

It’s good to finally be able to hear more than 35 minutes of music, though, and even the movie’s comedy trappings have a musical payoff: the song written especially for the punk-on-the-bus scene, “I Hate You”, is heard in full, performed by an ad hoc band formed by some of the movie’s production team. In the film, the song gets shut down in the first chorus thanks to Spock’s timely nerve-pinching intervention, but here we get to hear it in all of its recorded-in-one-take lo-fi glory. It sounds like a local punk band’s recorded-on-cassette-in-the-living-room opus, which succeeds in ways that a licensed, “bought-in” and professionally produced song wouldn’t have. It also provides the Trek soundtrack library with its first explicit lyrics warning label (!) with an F-bomb right before the song ends.

4 out of 4It’s still too early to say whether or not this new release of the Star Trek IV soundtrack will lead to the movie’s music be any better understood, but it at least gives students of film music a more complete picture of what Rosenman was trying to accomplish (and in some cases, what he was told to accomplish differently). It’s a stronger listening experience for the added material, and may well be the Star Trek film score that most needed this expanded treatment.

Order this CD

  1. Logo / Main Title (2:52)
  2. Starfleet Command / On Vulcan / Spock / Ten Seconds of Tension (1:40)
  3. The Probe (1:16)
  4. The Probe—Transition / The Take-Off / Menace of the Probe / Clouds and Water / Crew Stunned (3:08)
  5. Time Travel (1:28)
  6. Market Street (4:38)
  7. In San Francisco (2:01)
  8. Chekov’s Run (1:21)
  9. Gillian Seeks Kirk (2:42)
  10. Hospital Chase (1:14)
  11. The Whaler (2:00)
  12. Crash / Whale Fugue (8:38)
  13. Kirk Freed (0:44)
  14. Home Again / End Credits (5:39)
  15. Ballad of the Whale (4:59)
  16. Main Title (alternate) (2:56)
  17. Time Travel (alternate) (1:29)
  18. Chekov’s Run (album ending) (1:19)
  19. The Whaler (alternate) (2:05)
  20. Crash / Whale Fugue (album track) (8:15)
  21. Home Again and End Credits (alternate) (5:16)
  22. Main Title (album track) (2:40)
  23. Whale Fugue (alternate) (1:05)
  24. I Hate You (1:59)

Released by: Intrada
Release date: 2012
Total running time: 72:44

Star Trek: The Next Generation Collection Volume 1

Star Trek: The Next Generation Collection - Volume 1In 2010, when Film Score Monthly took a huge financial gamble on the release of a lavish 14-disc box set chronicling all of composer Ron Jones’ contributions to Star Trek: The Next Generation, the label found itself having to fight not just protests about the price tag, but the commonly held misconception that TNG’s music, from its first season to its last, was a wall of droning synth music. (In fact, the show frequently boasted one of the biggest music budgets in TV, with at least a partial orchestra booked for most episodes.)

Weighing in at three discs, La-La Land’s Star Trek: The Next Generation Collection Volume 1 devotes one disc to a broad selection of music by Dennis McCarthy, another disc to Jay Chattway, and a third disc to composers whose stints on TNG proved to be one-offs. This is far from an indication that these musicians were never invited back, however – rather, they soon became far too busy on other projects. These one-off composers include John Debney (seaQuest DSV, Doctor Who, The Passion Of The Christ), Don Davis (the Matrix trilogy) and the late Fred Steiner (the only composer to score both original TV Star Trek and TNG).

This set puts the lie to the “wall of synths” accusation often unfairly leveled at the series’ music by fans who either have a short memory or simply don’t know any better, but one of the three discs proves the critics’ point about droning.

Dennis McCarthy remains the alpha and omega of post-original-series Star Trek music: he scored the pilot episode of TNG in 1987 and the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005. In between, he scored computer games, theme park rides and one movie based on the series. McCarthy’s sound is expansive, with French horns frequently sounding almost heraldic chord changes and strings arranged to give the show a widescreen, cinematic sound. While Ron Jones’ music may have been more “involved,” it’s hard to argue that McCarthy’s often comes across as more sophisticated. This first disc is full of series highlights, among them my favorite early episode, Conspiracy, which seemed on the surface like it should have spun the entire rest of the show in a different direction. Other big, brassy, noteworthy McCarthy scores include Sarek, Time Squared and The Child. Some of the cues where McCarthy eschews his usual style are among the most effective in the entire three-disc set, with The Survivors and The Big Goodbye being particularly worth a listen.

With Jones vanishing halfway through the series – having irked executive producer Rick Berman one too many times – the fourth season saw the introduction of his replacement, Jay Chattaway, who had filled in for Jones on the episodes Tin Man (already released by GNP Crescendo) and Remember Me (included here). Though those two early entries were very strong, Chattaway settled into a groove – or, perhaps arguably, a rut – where he frequently reused chord progressions. Some of Chattaway’s work used interesting, almost eastern chords, while other pieces went heavy on dissonance.

The problem with Chattaway’s disc is also the problem with his scoring of the series: the reuse of material is very noticeable. Episodes like Starship Mine, Journey’s End and I, Borg, which feature scenes that should crank up the action or the menace, are lulled into a somnolent daze where the music says “nothing is happening here.” Chattaway is at his best with more contemplative, exotic episodes as Darmok and The Inner Light. Also featured on the Chattaway disc, mainly because the fans would form a lynching party if it wasn’t included, is the “Scotty on the holodeck bridge” music from Relics.

The third disc is the most eye-opening surprise. Original series composer Fred Steiner wakes up everyone who fell asleep during the second disc with Code Of Honor, a busy, boisterous score that would’ve been right at home on Kirk’s Enterprise, and sadly represents Steiner’s only voyage aboard Picard’s Enterprise. Had Steiner stayed on, creating a McCarthy-Jones-Steiner rotation, the show would’ve benefitted greatly – and Steiner likely would’ve been spaced long before Jones. Code Of Honor boasts some great music (pity about the script it accompanied, though).

Fred Steiner sadly died just before this set was released.

Don Davis’ Face Of The Enemy isn’t quite as stunning, but compared to the state of TNG’s music circa season 6 (the almost complete lack of music from that season from either McCarthy or Chattaway is both conspicuous and telling), it stands out almost as much as Code Of Honor did in season one, with bold flourishes and a big sound. Less surprising is John Debney’s The Pegasus, which almost sounds like a McCarthy score. Debney’s score is at its best when illustrating the episode’s dark moral dilemma for Commander Riker.

Rounding things off are various arrangements of the opening titles, end credits, and even the post-fade-out “bumpers” that were seen and heard at the end of each act before the commercial break (now forever consigned to the aging memories of those of us who saw the show before it was on DVD). Two oddball arrangements of the original series theme are on disc three – the liner notes reveal that these were recorded for use on the gag reels shown at the cast and crew’s private end-of-season wrap parties.

3 out of 4This would be a four-star collection, except that a bizarre choice of Chattaway material makes the composer sound sleepy, when a different selection of episodes would’ve yielded much better music (Chain Of Command is very conspicuous by its absence). And again, La-La Land Records has found itself battling the age-old perception of TNG’s music as synthesized dreck – after an impressive initial burst of sales (including the set’s debut at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con), much of the inventory remained in the warehouse, casting doubt on the label’s promise to mine the Deep Space Nine and Voyager music vaults. This nicely-prepared collection didn’t deserve that fate, as a lot of it (chiefly discs 1 and 3) is better than even I remembered.

Order this CD

    Music by Dennis McCarthy

  1. Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title Season 3 (1:49)

    Haven

  2. Haven / Harpies / Gifts (2:06)
  3. Starship / Lost Love / Wyatt & Troi / Mom Arrives (3:26)
  4. In Practice / Tradition / Cuestosity (Not Used) / Mental Flame / Leper Colony (4:44)
  5. Petty (0:54)
  6. Desert Panorama / Proposal / Tractor Beam (2:51)
  7. Ariana / Plan to Die / Preparation / Alien Vessel / Departure / Next Adventure (7:54)

    Hide and Q

  8. Miracle Worker / Lights Out / Time Lapse (5:24)

    The Big Goodbye

  9. (You Came Along From) Out of Nowhere (3:24)

    Conspiracy

  10. Worf Down / Invader / Dinner Treats / Retching Remmick / Recovery / Cliff Hanger (7:44)

    The Child

  11. Rendezvous / Liaison (2:15)
  12. Aucdet IX / Containment Out / The Birth Growth Spurt (5:11)

    Elementary, Dear Data

  13. Stardate / Holmes’s Pipe / Holmes’s Pipe 2 (0:54)
  14. Denouement / The Challenge (0:57)

    Time Squared

  15. P-2 Arises / Hall Twins / P-2 Dies / Escape / No Repeat (6:08)

    The Survivors

  16. Music Boxer (1:03)
  17. Telepathic / Kevin’s Waltz / Unbridged (4:36)
  18. Music Box (0:39)

    Sarek

  19. Logging / Solution / Mind Meld / Angstosity / Back to Reality / Goodbyes (6:26)

    Conundrum

  20. MacDuff Exposed / Meeting the Girls / Confused (4:40)

    All Good Things…

  21. Saved Again (2:27)
  22. I Have a Gun (0:52)
  23. Star Trek: The Next Generation End Title: Season 3 Long Version (1:55)
    Music By Jay Chattaway

  1. Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title Season 2 (1:39)

    Remember Me

  2. Old Friend / Return to Starbase (1:06)
  3. The Traveler / Through the Bubble (7:08)

    The Host

  4. Sorry / Jay (3:34)
  5. No Pain, No Gain (2:04)
  6. Can’t Be Apart (2:18)
  7. Surprised / Last Waist Kiss (1:12)

    Darmok

  8. Doo Doo Occurs (3:04)
  9. Telling a Story / Gone Forever (4:07)
  10. Tired of Sitting Around / What’s a Life Worth? (4:55)

    Silicon Avatar

  11. Running for Cover / Someone’s Comin’ (3:25)
  12. So, We Finally Meet (3:51)

    The Perfect Mate

  13. Hard to Resist (3:07)
  14. I’ve Bonded With You (1:19)

    I Borg

  15. The Borg Pick Up Hugh (2:40)

    The Inner Light

  16. Lullaby #1 (0:50)
  17. Naming Dance #1: alternate (1:15)
  18. The Answer to a Mystery / Lullaby #1A (4:20)

    Relics

  19. Scotty’s Bridge (0:40)
  20. Captain in Rank Only / Scotty to the Rescue / Mister Good Hands (4:43)

    Starship Mine

  21. Greedy Double Crosser / Fight to the Death (6:51)

    The Chase

  22. Message Received (2:50)

    Journey’s End

  23. War or Peace / Wes Goes on His Way (6:08)

    Bonus Tracks from The Inner Light:

  24. Naming Ceremony, Alternate (Not Used)
  25. (1:20)

  26. Naming Dance, Up-Tempo Version (Not Used) (1:08)
  27. Star Trek: The Next Generation End Title: Season 3 Short Version Alternate (0:48)
    Other Composers

  1. Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title Season 3 (1:49)

    Code of Honor – music by Fred Steiner

  2. Sky and Starship / Meet Lutan / Lutan Impressed (2:43)
  3. Bronze Horse / To the Holodeck / Snatch Tasha (1:50)
  4. Waiting / Code of Honor II (1:39)
  5. Chez Lutan / Lutan’s Honor / The Centerpiece / Yareena Upset / Combat Ready / Hatching a Plan / Code of Honor Again (4:16)
  6. Code of Honor (Not Used) / Yareena’s Threat / The Glavin (2:12)
  7. Officer’s Log / Competition / Deadly Blow / She Lives / Poor Lutan / Mission Accomplished (6:39)

    Face of the Enemy – music by Don Davis

  8. Troi Delirious (1:35)
  9. Ear Trauma / Romulans in Romuland / Troi Trouble (1:29)
  10. It’s Huge / Riker Ridiculous (Not Used) / Jean-Luc Benign / Romulan Dissident Mummies / N’Vek Trek (3:32)
  11. Clash of the British Titans / Placating Picard / Untitled / Face of the Enemy (Act Out) (3:27)
  12. Toreth’s Revenge / N’Vek Nervosa (5:48)
  13. Destructed Plan / Another Cruel Hoax / Noble N’Vek Dies for Our Sins (8:15)

    The Pegasus – music by John Debney

  14. New Orders / Pegasus (0:22)
  15. On Impulse /Romulans Appear: alternate / Stand Down / Pressman Plots (2:06)
  16. Act In / Scanning the Belt: alternate (3:31)
  17. Romulans Depart / Duty Calls / Riker’s Dilemma /Relieved of Command (2:43)
  18. The Discovery / Trapped (5:12)
  19. Secret Weapon / Federation Cloak / Second Chance (6:57)
  20. New Orders: alternate (0:22)
  21. Romulans Appear: alternate (1:03)
  22. Stand Down: alternate (0:38)
  23. Scanning the Belt: alternate (3:17)
  24. Secret Weapon: alternate (3:53)
  25. Star Trek: The Next Generation Bumper Season 1 (0:06)
  26. Star Trek: The Next Generation Bumper Season 3 (0:08)
  27. Theme From Star Trek – Polka Version (0:55)
  28. Theme From Star Trek – Torch Song Version (1:34)
  29. Star Trek: The Next Generation End Title: Season 3 Short Version (0:48)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: 2011
Disc one total running time: 79:06
Disc two total running time: 77:17
Disc three total running time: 79:32

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Ron Jones Project

Due to the much-longer-than-usual nature of this in-depth review, and in an attempt to save everyone’s sanity who isn’t interested, you’ll have to click on “more” below to read the full text.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones ProjectIn the summer and fall of 1990, fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation were in frothing-from-the-mouth overdrive: they were busily speculating about the conclusion of the best cliffhanger that TNG would ever produce, and obsessing over their freshly-recorded VHS tapes (remember those?) of the season finale. Repeated viewing of The Best Of Both Worlds Part I yielded numerous insights, namely that the show really had gotten that good, and that this Ron Jones guy who did the music for the episode was on fire. A year later – an agonizing lag compared to how quickly TV music seems to be released these days – GNP Crescendo gave the world the soundtrack to both parts of Best Of Both Worlds, landing themselves a legion of grateful fans and an award for the best indie label soundtrack release of the year.

Some of us, however, had been paying attention to the music credits for a long time, and Ron Jones had been on the radar of musically-aware fans since season one. The cruel irony, of course, is that 1991 also marked the end of Jones’ involvement with the Star Trek series, and the rest of the TNG music released by Crescendo was from composers Dennis McCarthy and Jones’ replacement, Jay Chattaway, both of whom remained with the franchise until Star Trek: Enterprise went off the air in 2005. Barring a short two-part suite of music from the season one Klingon episode Heart Of Glory on 1996’s Best Of Star Trek CD, and despite the fact that Jones had gone through his archives and presented Crescendo with enough material for Klingon and Romulan themed TNG soundtrack collections, nothing else was forthcoming from TNG’s musical golden boy.

He still had fans, though, including yours truly, and including Film Score Monthly founder Lukas Kendall. As Film Score Monthly spawned a label and ultimately ceased to be a paper magazine, the idea of a Ron Jones TNG collection never went away. While even the most expectant fans might have bet on a CD here and there, nobody could’ve envisioned what Kendall had in mind: a 14 CD box set consisting of nearly every note Ron Jones composed and recorded for Star Trek: The Next Generation – in short, the full soundtrack for every episode Jones scored, not just the ones that everyone remembered well. With the possible exception of the (ultimately truncated) series of Babylon 5 episode scores on CD, nothing like this had been attempted for TV music. […]