Star Trek: The 50th Anniversary Collection

Star Trek: The 50th Anniversary CollectionIn the early ’90s, I was positively obsessed with Star Trek music – every new movie score released, any new television soundtracks that came along, anything was a cause for celebration, because I was in “maximum Trekkie” mode, and there never seemed to be enough of it.

Fast-forward a bit to the 21st century, in an era where we’re starving for the seemingly perpetually-delayed first new Star Trek TV series in a decade…and yet we’re positively drowning in music from the franchise’s glory days. I’ve gone from “not being to get enough Star Trek music” to “how in the hell do I organize this huge glut of music when I rip the latest box set worth of CDs to my hard drive straight out of the mail?”

Not that I’m complaining. The 50th Anniversary Collection from La-La Land Records is a fine buffet line adding to the embarrassment of riches we’ve gotten since 2009, a year during which the first J.J. Abrams movie (and yes, its soundtrack) came along, revitalized Trek as a media juggernaut, and convinced new Paramount music executive Randy Spendlove that maybe, just maybe, he should license some of the gems from the Trek music vaults to these specialty soundtrack labels that are clamoring to release it.

Rather than a laser-like focus on any one series, this four-disc set tries to patch some holes, right some wrongs, and answer some fannish prayers. The first disc consists, mostly, of remastered selections from the original series, piece of music of which better copies have been found since La-La Land’s monumental 2012 box set release of every note of music recorded for classic Trek. There are a few new 1960s gems as well: Wilbur Hatch’s “bumper” music, played over still slides of the Enterprise and the Star Trek logo as the show went to commercial during its broadcast premieres, is something I don’t think I’ve ever heard before. An alternate take of a cue from Star Trek: The Motion Picture also appears, but the big takeaway from disc one is the dialogue-free version of the end credits from Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, a track which had previously only appeared on CD with the late Leonard Nimoy’s ethereal narration. Fans have been demanding this since Film Score Monthly released an otherwise complete Star Trek II score on CD in 2009, and at last, here it is.

The second disc, however, contains the box set’s biggest knock-me-over-with-a-feather surprises: virtually the entire music library from the 1973-74 Filmation animated Star Trek series, a segment of the franchise that’s often overlooked for no readily justifiable reason. These selections come courtesy not of a miraculous session tape find (stories have circulated for years about how the original tapes no longer exist), but from the box set’s restoration experts and producers painstakingly editing together all of the cues from the audio of the episodes themselves, meticulously splicing together dialogue-and-FX-free sections of music until they had the entire piece of music reconstructed. Fans have been trying to do this since the days of cassette tapes with moderate success, so to hear an expert reconstruction of this music is nothing short of amazing. (Sharp-eared Filmation fans will also recognize a lot of this music from its later reuse in the live-action series Jason Of Star Command.)

As the animated series’ music consists primarily of fairly short cues, the second disc is rounded out with Dennis McCarthy’s all-synth score from the PC game Star Trek: Borg (previously heard on a private-release CD sold by McCarthy himself) and something that I never would’ve anticipated hearing: new Ron Jones Star Trek music. Let me repeat, for emphasis: new Ron Jones Star Trek music. In 1991, Jones was effectively “let go” by the TNG producers for consistently pushing the bounds of both the show’s creative parameters and its music budget, and aside from scoring a couple of late ’90s computer games, Star Trek has been a thing that’s in Jones’ past…until he composed an original three-part concert suite that, free of having to match the timing or editing of film, simply conveys the spirit of Trek as Jones interpreted it. That music makes its debut as a recorded piece here, tacking a new coda onto Jones’ musical legacy with the franchise.

Discs three and four stay with TNG, offering highlights or nearly-complete scores from such episodes as Coming Of Age, Symbiosis, Contagion, The Bonding, The Hunted, Qpid, Tapestry, Parallels, and even the McCarthy-arranged cutdowns of Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture theme. There’s a nice slice of unreleased tracks from Jay Chattaway’s sophomore TNG effort, Tin Man (a score which, in many ways, he never topped); combined with the tracks released on CD by GNP Crescendo in the 1990s, you now have the entire score from Tin Man. The original synth demos for the Deep Space Nine and Voyager themes are heard for the first time, as well as the premiere of Jay Chattaway’s music from the “Klingon Encounter” ride at the much-missed Star Trek: The Experience attraction at the Las Vegas Hilton. A variety of source music is also made available – Q’s mariachi band from Deja Q, the Brahms string quartet piece from Sarek, and oddball source music from Voyager and Enterprise.

4 out of 4If nothing else on this box set has convinced you what a delightful dive into Trek’s musical deep cuts it is, the last track of the last disc should do it: it’s “Comminique (C)”, the piece of 1988 library techno music that graced TNG’s “next week” trailers in the early 1990s. Were thousands of Trek fans clamoring for this? Probably not, but La-La Land identified and licensed it for this set anyway.

The Star Trek 50th Anniversary Collection probably isn’t for the casual fan of Star Trek soundtracks. It’s for the obsessives, the diehards – the people who are still in “maximum Trekkie” mode and still can’t get enough of it.

Order this CDDisc 1 – Star Trek: The Original Series

  1. Third Season Theme Music – Main Title/End Title (soprano version, stereo) (1:14)
  2. Love Scene (1:15)
  3. Ship in Orbit (Big) (0:40)
  4. Sad and Thoughtful on Captain’s Theme (2:30)
  5. Captain Playoff No. 1 (Heavy) (0:08)
  6. Smooth Neutral Ship Theme (0:41)
  7. Playoff on M.T. Theme (0:23)
  8. Fight on Captain’s Theme (1:50)
  9. Captain Playoff No. 2 (Neutral—Slightly Ominous) (0:12)
  10. Stingers (0:51)
  11. New Sexy Exotic (2:17)
  12. Captain Playoff No. 3 (Sad and Alone) (0:20)
  13. Prime Specimen (“The Cage”) (3:13)
  14. Monster Illusion (“The Cage”) (2:34)
  15. Mr. Spock (“Captain’s Wig” From “The Naked Time”) (3:27)
  16. The Big Go (“The Naked Time”) (2:30)
  17. Mudd’s Perfidy (0:33)
  18. Zap the Cap (1:34)
  19. Zap the Cap take 1 (0:08)
  20. Zap the Cap take 2 (0:06)
  21. Zap the Spaceship (1:28)
  22. Zap the Spaceship (0:34)
  23. Zap the Spaceship (0:08)
  24. Ruk Attacks (1:41)
  25. 2nd Ruth (2:35)
  26. No Mind / Tense Meeting / Tracking the Alien / The Question (2:31)
  27. Survivors (1:42)
  28. Bottled (1:52)
  29. Monster Illusion (2:46)
  30. Monster Illusion (tag) (0:10)
  31. The Kibitzers (0:41)
  32. Vina’s Punishment (1:54)
  33. Vina’s Dance (1:53)
  34. Wrong Think (0:43)
  35. Act 1 Card (0:38)
  36. Crippled Ship (0:55)
  37. Speedy Reader (1:06)
  38. End Title (0:24)
  39. First Goner take 3 (0:48)
  40. First Goner take 4 (0:49)
  41. Dressing Down (0:08)
  42. Monitor Gizzard (0:14)
  43. Monitor Gizzard (0:09)
  44. Lazer Dazer (2:44)
  45. Dodo Girl (0:09)
  46. Drugged (1:23)
  47. Mace Fight (0:59)
  48. Mace Fight (0:18)
  49. Down the Throat (1:13)
  50. Arrows (1:25)
  51. Bumper (broadcast edit) (0:06)
  52. Bumpers (alternates) (0:25)
  53. Paramount Television I.D. (0:05)
  54. Paramount Television I.D. (alternate) (0:04)
  55. Inner Workings (alternate mix) (4:03)
  56. Star Trek II Epilogue / End Title (sans narration) (8:41)

Disc 2 – Star Trek: The Animated Series

  1. Title Theme (1:01)
  2. Captain’s Log (1:19)
  3. Something Ahead (0:54)
  4. Evasive Maneuvers (1:07)
  5. Sensor Data (1:07)
  6. Intercept Course (0:14)
  7. Fire Phasers (0:50)
  8. Enterprise Attacked (1:32)
  9. Illogical (0:13)
  10. Briefing (0:43)
  11. On the Viewscreen (1:02)
  12. New Heading (0:19)
  13. Scanning (0:54)
  14. Deflector Shields (0:19)
  15. Red Alert (0:33)
  16. Battle Stations (0:41)
  17. Surprise (0:07)
  18. Supplemental Log (0:49)
  19. Kirk’s Command (1:11)
  20. Sickbay (0:28)
  21. Library Computer (0:44)
  22. Full Power (0:28)
  23. Approaching Coordinates (0:08)
  24. The Bigger Meaning (1:15)
  25. Trouble in Engineering (0:29)
  26. Spock’s Analysis (0:42)
  27. Enterprise Wins the Space Race (0:43)
  28. McCoy’s Summary (0:16)
  29. Just Another Stardate (0:39)
  30. Ongoing Mission (0:18)
  31. Title Theme (alternate mix) (1:01)
  32. Sensor Data (alternate mix) (1:02)
  33. Enterprise Attacked (alternate opening) (1:42)
  34. Scanning (alternate mix) (0:54)
  35. Turbolift Music (0:29)
  36. Mr. Arex Lends an Extra Hand (0:38)
  37. Fascinating (0:17)
  38. Don’t Mess With M’Ress (0:22)
  39. Oh My (0:17)
  40. Spock’s Quick Analysis (0:22)
  41. Yellow Alert (0:26)
  42. Off Duty (0:15)
  43. Suite: Stingers and Act-Out Music (2:03)
    Music inspired by Star Trek – Ron Jones
  44. The Ascent (7:43)
  45. Meaning (2:27)
  46. Pathway to the Stars (3:17)
    Star Trek: Borg – Dennis McCarthy
  47. Main Theme (1:02)
  48. The Legend of the Borg (1:24)
  49. Battle at Wolf 359 (2:58)
  50. The Battle Rages (0:58)
  51. Club Q (0:55)
  52. I Am Berman of Borg (1:36)
  53. Goldsmith Has Been Assimilated! (1:37)
  54. Welcome to the Collective Cadet (2:22)
  55. Searching the Borg Ship (2:20)
  56. Time Is Running Out (1:17)
  57. Escape From the Borg Collective (1:42)
  58. Borg Hell (2:03)
  59. You Will Be Assimilated, Have a Nice Day (2:21)
  60. “Resistance Is Futile, My Ass!” / Finale (7:25)
  61. End Titles (1:03)

Disc 3 – Star Trek: The Next Generation

  1. Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title (1st season, alternate take) (1:48)
    Coming Of Age
  2. Physics / Shuttle Fuss (3:35)
  3. Air Bounce (2:04)
  4. Competition (2:14)
  5. Decisions (2:04)
    Symbisos
  6. Flares (3:04)
  7. Precious Cargo (2:10)
  8. Four Out of Six (1:03)
    Unnatural Selection
  9. Searchin’ (1:10)
    The Measure Of A Man
  10. Memories (1:19)
    Contagion
  11. U.S.S. Yamato / Vaporized (1:22)
  12. Floral Tea / Otis’ Revenge (2:07)
  13. Romulan Misfire / Phasers / Escape / Goodbye Iconia (2:27)
    The Survivors
  14. Diversion (2:16)
    The Bonding
  15. Dad / Mom’s Double (2:04)
  16. Release / Ceremonial Worf / Off Into Space (4:01)
    The Enemy
  17. Into the Pit (3:01)
    The Hunted
  18. Escape Artist / Melee (3:28)
  19. Breakout (0:32)
  20. Phased / Geordi (4:14)
  21. Confronted / To the Stars (3:30)
    Sins Of The Father
  22. Condemned (1:22)
    Transfigurations
  23. Lookin’ Fine (1:44)
  24. Lazarus (3:48)
  25. Choke Hold / Explanatory / El Ascencio (5:11)
    Future Imperfect
  26. Delusionary (4:08)
    Tapestry
  27. Saint Q (2:05)
  28. It’s a Wonderful Life / Deja Vuosity / War Stories (3:18)
    Parallels
  29. Instant Family (2:42)
  30. Wolfman Riker (3:09)
    Trailer music
  31. Theme From Star Trek: The Motion Picture (30-second version) (0:33)

Disc 4

    Theme From Star Trek (“Gene Roddenberry 1921–1991” unused alternate) (0:10)
    Tin Man

  1. Soft / Student (1:04)
  2. Unique / Welcome / Data (0:48)
  3. Problems / Land of Living (1:41)
  4. Scared (broadcast version) (0:47)
  5. One Way Trip (1:08)
  6. All of It (0:57)
    Deja Q
  7. Tractor Moon / Hoisted (2:58)
  8. La Paloma (traditional) (1:13)
  9. Coffin Spike (0:45)
    Captain’s Holiday
  10. Planet Vegas (1:12)
    Qpid
  11. Hat Trick / Sir Guy / Nottingham Castle / Maid Marian (unused) / Betrayed (3:21)
  12. To the Block / Swordplay / Game’s Over (4:16)
  13. Adieu (1:04)
  14. Plucking Three (0:13)
    Elementary, Dear Data
  15. Sherlock Tones (0:55)
  16. Dead End / Turtleback (2:36)
  17. Short Goodbye (1:21)
    Ship In A Bottle
  18. Holo Tolodo! (4:02)
    Clues
  19. Peace Dividends / Gloria / Blown Away (1:39)
    Manhunt
  20. Juke Boxer (3:29)
  21. How High the Moon (3:36)
    Star Trek: First Contact
  22. Moonlight Becomes You (2:55)
    Unification II
  23. Andorian Blues (0:37)
  24. Aktuh and Maylota (0:49)
  25. Melor Famigal (0:58)
    Lessons
  26. Picard and Nella, Date #1 (Picard’s Cabin) (2:43)
  27. Picard and Nella, Date #2 (Jefferies Tube) (2:22)
    Sarek
  28. Sextet #1 in B-flat Major, Op. 18 (II, Andante) (1:53)
    Star Trek: The Experience
  29. Klingon Encounter (4:24)
  30. Borg Invasion 4D (7:22)
    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  31. Main Title Demo (1:59)
  32. Single Bridge Demo (2:24)
    Star Trek: Voyager
  33. Main Title Demo (1:51)
  34. Lookover / Maiden Voyager (1:34)
  35. Opera Alla Alienosity (1:11)
    Star Trek: Enterprise
  36. Dance-O-Matic (2:28)
    Trailer music
  37. Communique (C) (2:33)

Released by: La-La Land Record
Release date: November 25, 2016
Disc one total running time: 1:16:13
Disc two total running time: 1:17:23
Disc three total running time: 1:18:57
Disc four total running time: 1:18:57
Box set total running time: 5:16:50

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: 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

The Best of Star Trek, Volume Two

The Best Of Star Trek, Volume 2This new collection of previously unreleased suites from various episodes of all of Star Trek’s live-action incarnations includes some of the most requested music from all of the series – and a few extras as well.

The classic series is easily the show best represented by this CD, with music from The Corbomite Maneuver, Balance Of Terror, What Are Little Girls Made Of? and a “lounge” version of the show’s main theme which was used in a small number of episodes as background source music. Though the Corbomite and Balance scores have been re-recorded in part on past releases by Varese Sarabande, it’s always nice to hear the original recordings rolled out and remastered. They sound great.

Deep Space Nine is represented by a suite from the fourth season opener, The Way Of The Warrior, which introduced Worf as a permanent feature of the DS9 landscape. The music is big and bold…and, by and large, lifted directly from the music of Star Trek: Generations. Go ahead – listen to the “Final Fight” track on the Generations CD and then the Way Of The Warrior suite, back-to-back. The similarities are stunning. Not to say that it’s bad music…just that we’d heard it before. I would much rather have heard some music from season two’s three-part epic premiere.

Also included in the DS9 section is the televised mix of the main theme from seasons 4-7 (a previous version, heard on the original Best Of Star Trek CD in 1996, featured more percussion than the version actually used to open each episode), as well as Nana Visitor’s version of “Fever” from His Way (the first Vic Fontaine episode). The latter is quite nice – Nana’s no Shirley Bassey, but “Fever” is supposed to be moaned and growled more than it’s sung anyway. It’s a nice companion to Jimmy Darren’s album of tunes performed by Vic on DS9.

The DS9 suite is also plagued by another problem – an incorrect table of contents in the CD’s liner notes booklet which omits a track of Warrior score and adds one more track of music from the Voyager suite than actually appears on the CD. The track list below is the correct track list.

Voyager is also represented by an uncharacteristically bombastic score, David Bell’s music from The Bride Of Chaotica. Incredibly atypical of the most recent Trek spinoff’s usually somnolent scoring, Bell’s music is an over-the-top homage to Flash Gordon-style pulp sci-fi radio epics of yesteryear. Some of the most interesting moments in the Chaotica score occur when the music shifts gears abruptly between the retro-40’s music and Bell’s more frequently-used style. Sadly, in these few very brief “modern” passages, one hears – more or less – the entire gamut of Bell’s typical Voyager score, as he too has fallen victim to replicating his own work under the constraints of time and – in all likelihood – the limited inspiration provided by the average Voyager episode.

The album does at least pick a good note on which to close, however: several minutes of music from Dennis McCarthy’s score from the Next Generation finale, All Good Things. This score, though it too features some musical repetition, features some of the best moments from the last episode. The “Saved Again” cue accompanies the memorable scene of the refitted Enterprise saving the collective butts of the crew of Beverly Crusher’s doomed U.S.S. Pasteur, and the cryptically titled “I Have A Gun” is the wonderful final shot of the episode, in which the crew’s last poker game dissolves into the Enterprise’s flight into an alien sunset, set to the strains of Alexander Courage’s Star Trek fanfare, bringing things nicely full-circle. (Shouldn’t this track have been called “The Sky’s The Limit”?)

There’s one cue I wish they’d included though: Picard’s first view of the Enterprise as Tasha ferries him to the ship for the first time via shuttle.

Overall, the second volume of The Best Of Star Trek will satisfy fans of nearly every one of the 4 out of 4show’s incarnations, particularly fans of the classic series that started it all. Here’s hoping that it won’t take four more years for volume three. There’s enough unreleased Trek music to merit a yearly release (hell, there’s enough unreleased music to fill a monthly CD magazine, but the economics of that kind of venture would be nightmarish for both label and consumer, so I’d settle for a yearly release).

Order this CD

  1. Theme from Star Trek – string arrangement (0:51)
  2. The Corbomite Maneuver (4:29)
  3. Balance Of Terror (3:42)
  4. What Are Little Girls Made Of? (4:39)
  5. In Chapel (1:18)
  6. Theme from Star Trek – lounge mix (1:39)

    Suite from The Way Of The Warrior

  7. Theme from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – season 4 (1:55)
  8. Dry Run (1:31)
  9. Medieval Harp source (2:57)
  10. Worf (1:35)
  11. “Yo!” (4:08)
  12. Worf II (1:47)
  13. Fever (2:01)

    Suite from The Bride Of Chaotica

  14. Theme from Star Trek: Voyager (1:47)
  15. Begin Chapter 18 (4:21)
  16. Presenting…Arachnia (3:07)
  17. Chaotica Is Defeated / Distortions (3:43)
  18. Chaotica’s Last Words / The End (1:05)

    Suite from All Good Things…

  19. Theme from Star Trek: The Next Generation – season 2 (1:40)
  20. Here Comes The Judge II / To The Rescue (5:59)
  21. Primalosity (2:29)
  22. Courage (3:31)
  23. Saved Again (2:26)
  24. I Have A Gun (0:52)

Released by: GNP Crescendo
Release date: 2000
Total running time: 63:42

Star Trek: Newly Recorded Music, Volume 2

Star Trek soundtrackIt took me years to find this second volume, and though after a while a lot of Classic Trek music starts to sound the same, the music from Mirror, Mirror was an eye-opener for me – I had never realized how frequently the “Black Ship Theme” (for the evil Enterprise) was used from then on in the series, nor where it had originated. Now I know. The cues from Mirror, Mirror and The Empath alone make this a worthwhile purchase for any Trek musicologists out there, and again the 3 out of 4sound quality – since it’s a digital re-recording – is exceptional.

  1. Star Trek main title & closing theme (1:19)

    Suite from By Any Other Name

  2. Neutralizer, Kelvan theme, More Neutralizer, Broken (3:42)
  3. Rojan’s Revenge, Rojan’s Blocks, Pretty Words, Victory (5:32)

    Suite from The Trouble With Tribbles

  4. A Matter of Pride, No Tribble At All, Big Fight (4:19)

    Suite from Mirror, Mirror

  5. Mirror Mirror, Black Ship Theme, Agonizer, Meet Marlena (4:38)
  6. Order this CD Black Ship Tension, Goodbye Marlena, Short Curtain (3:51)

    Suite from The Empath

  7. Enter Gem, Kirk Healed (2:07)
  8. Vian Lab, The Subjects, Cave Exit, Star Trek Chase (3:37)
  9. Help Him, Spock Stuck, McCoy Tortured (5:17)
  10. Time Grows Short (5:06)
  11. Vian’s Farewell, Empath Finale (2:20)

Released by: Varese Sarabande
Release date: 1986
Total running time: 41:57

Star Trek: Newly Recorded Music, Volume 1

Star Trek soundtrackDespite all my ravings about the wonders of GNP Crescendo’s original soundtrack releases, this is an example of how nice it would be to have more than one party releasing Star Trek music (do you hear me, Silva America?). This Varese Sarabande compilation of newly recorded suites from the original series is a vast improvement over Label X’s over-long extended suites, and also features music from episodes that GNP Crescendo hasn’t touched, such as The Corbomite Maneuver and Charlie X, both of 4 out of 4which generated some of the best-remembered musical cues in the entire series. Very highly recommended!

  1. Star Trek main title & closing theme (1:19)

    Suite from The Corbomite Maneuver

  2. The Corbomite Maneuver (5:03)

    Suite from Charlie X

  3. Kirk’s Command / Charlie’s Mystery / Charlie’s Gift (3:37)
  4. Kirk Is Worried / Card Tricks / Charlie’s Yen (3:23)
  5. Zap Sam / Zap Janice / Zap The Cap / Zap The Spaceship (4:18)
  6. Order this CD Charlie’s Friend / Goodbye Charlie (2:44)

    Suite from The Doomsday Machine

  7. Goodbye Mr. Decker / Kirk Does It Again (5:39)

    Suite from Mudd’s Women

  8. Three Venuses / Meet Mudd / Hello Girls… (3:10)
  9. Hello Ruth / The Last Crystal / The Venus drug (4:30)
  10. Planet Rigel / Eve Is Out / Space Radio (4:09)
  11. Eve Cooks / Pretty Eve / Mudd’s Farewell (3:17)

Released by: Varese Sarabande
Release date: 1986
Total running time: 41:09