Stargate: Ark Of TruthThe Stargate television franchise has used a full orchestra on precisely two occasion: the 1997 pilot episode of SG-1. and the 2004 pilot movie of Stargate Atlantis. Everything that has come since has been the product of synthesizers, and in the early years of Stargate SG-1 there was even quite a diverse mix of composers whose work – dating back to the first season – was mixed-and-matched as needed, like the original Star Trek’s library approach to its music. So it’s quite a shock to the system to suddenly return to a real orchestra and a real choir with Ark Of Truth, the first of two post-cancellation direct-to-DVD movie projects for the cast and crew of SG-1.

Resident Stargate maestro Joel Goldsmith is naturally at the helm here, and as usual, he has no trouble switching from synthesized/sampled orchestral music to the real deal. The soundtrack opens with a restatement of the Stargate theme we’ve heard for years – itself adapted from David Arnold’s music from the 1994 movie – but with a different emphasis and tempo than the SG-1 main titles, letting us know immediately that things are a little bit different. (I could stop here and point out that, despite the grandiosity of the music, things aren’t that different and Ark feel like two episodes jammed together that, give or take the large scale of a couple of its setpieces, could’ve easily been done on TV, but maybe I’d better just stick to the music.)

Themes are quickly established for the multiple angles of attack of the story: the Tomin/Vala angle gets its own motif, the SG-1 team gets its own noble sound, and the Ori get to sound like big, dark trouble, which is somehow appropriate. Later in the proceedings some ominous rumbling kicks in, which then turns into something more percussive for the somewhat surprising return of the Replicators. There are also themes for the Ancients and – to a certain extent – the Ark itself . However conceptually modest Ark‘s story may have been, the music is Widescreen with a capital W. It’s the same guy writing and arranging the music, but it probably doesn’t need to be said that Goldsmith goes to town with the opportunity to have real players, real instruments and real voices playing his material. To say that there’s a generous quantity of music here is an understatement – you get pretty much the entire score here, an hour of big orchestral/choral music for a direct-to-DVD movie with a running time of under two hours.

For a tiny label release, Ark Of Truth gets relatively lavish packaging too, with a booklet that extensively discusses the movie’s genesis, the team who produced it, and the long-standing relationship between the producers and Goldsmith, all lavishly illustrated. This material might not be here making for such a thick booklet, except that this was obviously a release catered to the fanbase of the show. 100 copies were autographed for those who ordered early from Goldsmith’s website, a window of opportunity which seemed to vanish like a closing wormhole, but faster.

Ark Of Truth has some great music, with something interesting always afoot even if it’s not thundering along on the musical equivalent of a war footing. One has to appreciate Joel Goldsmith taking the chance to not do this as a “composer promo,” which usually sees the studio quietly grumbling and looking the other way as a composer quietly releases a CD which serves as a resume piece (and, in more recent years, usually earns back its own production costs as it slips out into the hands of diehard fans). Instead, Goldsmith went to MGM and licensed it for a full release through his own label, with studio-4 out of 4sanctioned artwork and all – basically, putting whatever money he’d made from doing the music back into the studio’s coffers and taking a gamble that he’d make it back by putting the CD on the market. Hopefully – despite this being the age of Downloading Absolutely Everything Whether You’re Supposed To Or Not – the loyal fans make sure that gamble pays off, because I’m much more interested in the second SG-1 DVD movie, Continuum, and I’m eager to hear its soundtrack as well.

Order this CD

  1. The Decision (Main Title) (3:53)
  2. Dakara Discovery (2:06)
  3. Tomin (3:06)
  4. The Wrong Ark (3:36)
  5. My Notebook (1:55)
  6. Our Mission Begins (1:25)
  7. The Supergate (2:19)
  8. Meeting The Resistance (2:25)
  9. Sabotage (2:19)
  10. Replicator! (2:05)
  11. Merlin (2:07)
  12. Ori Fleet (3:39)
  13. The Doci (1:57)
  14. Journey To Celestis (2:09)
  15. The Battle Begins (2:34)
  16. Maternal Moment (2:20)
  17. The Healing (1:24)
  18. Morgan Le Fay (3:45)
  19. Marrick’s Demise (3:05)
  20. The Ark Of Truth (6:04)
  21. See The Light (0:54)
  22. Carter’s Cookies (2:19)
  23. A New Adventure (0:47)

Released by: Free Clyde Music
Release date: 2008
Total running time: 58:13