Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage – Music from the 50th Anniversary Concert Tour

Star Trek: The Ultimate VoyageA 2-CD collection commemorating the touring concert experience paying homage to 50 years – give or take a few years off here and there – of Star Trek music, The Ultimate Voyage is basically a cover album for Trek fans. Every facet of the franchise is touched upon, with both the primary themes and individual episode scores from nearly every series and movie revisited. The only main themes not covered here are the ever-controversial choice of theme song for Enterprise, a series represented by only a single score cue from one of its final episodes, and the criminally underrated theme music from the animated series (a corner of Trek that is left completely by the wayside in this collection).

If there’s anything that holds this back from being a crowd-pleaser instead of merely a concert souvenir, it is, quite simply and sadly, the performances. For a professional studio recording, the number of fluffed notes is a little uncomfortably high. The fact that they made it into the finished product would seem to indicate that this was a rush job to get the discs pressed in time to be in the gift shop after every concert – one take and only one take.

Where the performances are on-the-money, they’re a wonderful representative cross-sample of Star Trek’s musical history, performed well and arranged nicely for live concerts. Some of the best bits are hidden in the pieces of individual episode scores: Jay Chattaway’s pennywhistle theme from The Inner Light, Ron Jones’ apocalyptic cliffhanger from The Best Of Both Worlds, the almost-patriotic-sounding swell 2 out of 4of hope under Kirk’s speech from The Omega Glory‘s “courage, the order of the day” scene, the aforementioned music from Archer’s address to the nascent Federation council from Enterprise…we’ve all heard the themes about thousand times by now. Hearing the episodic music in a concert setting is a nice change of pace.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Main Title from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1:30)
  2. Main Title from Star Trek: Generations (1:59)
  3. The Enterprise from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (6:02)
  4. Klingon Battle from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (5:20)
  5. Ancient Combat / 2nd Kroykah from Star Trek (5:12)
  6. Ba’Ku Theme from Star Trek: Insurrection (2:53)
  7. Starship / Kirk’s Philosophy from Star Trek (1:28)
  8. Kirk Does It Again from Star Trek (3:48)
  9. Main Title from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (2:06)
  10. Ilia’s Theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (3:06)
  11. Revealed / Reaching Out from Star Trek: TNG (4:50)
  12. Courage / Saved Again from Star Trek: TNG (1:54)
  13. Main Title from Star Trek: Voyager (1:50)
  14. Main Title from Star Trek IV (2:41)
  15. Red Alert from Star Trek: First Contact / Captain Borg from Star Trek: TNG (3:15)
    Disc Two

  1. Opening from Star Trek: Starfleet Academy (4:07)
  2. Epilogue / End Titles from Star Trek II (7:33)
  3. First Contact from Star Trek: First Contact (2:45)
  4. Defiant Ending from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (3:12)
  5. I Can Live With It from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (2:09)
  6. The Inner Light from Star Trek: TNG (6:41)
  7. Set Course For Home from Star Trek: Voyager (2:03)
  8. Enterprising Young Men from Star Trek (2009) (2:41)
  9. The Captain from Star Trek: Voyager (2:43)
  10. End Credits Suite from Star Trek VI (4:18)
  11. Up Your Alley from Star Trek: Enterprise (3:33)
  12. Archer’s Speech from Star Trek: Enterprise (1:52)
  13. Overture from Star Trek: Generations (4:18)
  14. To Live Forever from Star Trek: Generations (2:47)
  15. Main Theme from Star Trek (3:44)

Released by: CineConcerts
Release date: 2016
Disc one total running time: 48:54
Disc two total running time: 54:26

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

Krull

KrullAnnounced just prior to (and available at) the 2010 San Diego Comic Con, this long-overdue remastered (and, this time, officially-licensed and above-board) edition of the Krull soundtrack is practically custom-made for Comic Con – it’s such an obscure, cult-following niche item that only a Comic Con attendee or Krull‘s own mother could love it.

As hard as I ride the familiar horse that virtually everything James Horner composed in the 80s had the DNA of his score for Star Trek II in it, Krull at last pushes the familiar chords and progressions into a more fantastical, sword-and-sorcery realm. The movie itself was one of numerous cinematic attempts to marry SF and swashbuckling fantasy in the wake of Star Wars, though Krull made the mashup more literal than most, with more traditional feudal elements jostling for screen time with sci-fi concepts. Despite a merchandising blitz, it wound up with a cult audience and little more.

And up until La-La Land’s nicely cleaned-up 2010 two-disc soundtrack release, that cult audience had to make do with the (now insanely rare and expensive) pressing of the Krull score from the defunct Supertracks label. Supertracks was a ’90s outfit, also known for having turned out the only CD release of the music from the Paul McGann Doctor Who movie, that operated on a slightly shady basis: composers needed promotional copies of their work could get them pressed by Supertracks, but in exchange, they would quietly look the other way while Supertracks also sold copies of the same albums to soundtrack collectors. Though frequently sporting fine cover artwork and booklets, Supertracks’ releases were seldom, if ever, officially licensed. Supertracks suddenly disappeared early in the 2000s, and one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to connect the dots. Krull – and everything else produced by Supertracks – went out of print overnight and became collectors’ items.

La-La Land snatched up the rights to an official Krull soundtrack, fortuitously timed to both Comic Con and the DVD and Blu Ray release of Krull. The track list is largely the same as the Supertracks edition, but it sounds much better – the 4 out of 4difference in sonic quality is considerable. There’s also a specially-edited “Theme From Krull” suite assembled by the album producers from portions of the opening and credits.

Though this edition is also, as far as the label is concerned, sold out of its edition of 3000 copies, but let’s look on the sunny side: there are 3,000 fresh copies out there with better sound quality than the old release that was all but a bootleg. Krull‘s worth revisiting, and this time you just might be able to afford it.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Main Title And Colwyn’s Arrival (7:34)
  2. The Slayers Attack (9:18)
  3. Quest For The Glaive (7:23)
  4. Ride To The Waterfall (0:53)
  5. Lyssa In The Fortress (1:28)
  6. The Walk To The Seer’s Cave (4:10)
  7. The Seer’s Vision (2:18)
  8. The Battle In The Swamp (2:39)
  9. Quicksand (3:38)
  10. The Changeling (4:04)
  11. Leaving The Swamp (1:58)
    Disc Two

  1. Vella (3:46)
  2. The Widow’s Web (6:18)
  3. The Widow’s Lullaby (5:01)
  4. Ynyr’s Death (1:41)
  5. Ride Of The Firemares (5:22)
  6. Battle On The Parapets (2:53)
  7. Inside The Black Fortress (6:13)
  8. The Death Of The Beast And The Destruction Of The Black Fortress (8:31)
  9. Epilogue And End Title (4:52)
  10. Colwyn And Lyssa Love Theme (2:35)
  11. The Walk To The Seer’s Cave – album edit (2:16)
  12. Theme From Krull (4:48)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: 2010
Disc one total running time: 45:23
Disc two total running time: 54:16

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (Newly Expanded Edition) – music by James Horner

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (Newly Expanded Edition)Fresh from the spectacular success – in archival soundtrack release terms – of last year’s complete score from Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, Film Score Monthly (via its Retrograde Records imprint) did the “logical” thing and began work on a complete score release of the next movie in the classic Trek cycle, Star Trek III: The Search For Spock. Now, I’ve always been of the opinion that the Trek III score was less impressive than the music for Trek II by several orders of magnitude, but I began to wonder if perhaps that opinion was the product of poor choices made in the track selection and sequencing for the 45-or-so minute soundtrack release that’s been available all these years. Would the Trek III re-release, like that of its predecessor, reveal hidden depths that we’d been denied all these years?

The answer is a roughly equal mix of yes and no. As with Trek II, the original release of Trek III‘s soundtrack bizarrely omitted some of the movie’s most iconic moments. The destruction of the Enterprise (“A Fighting Chance To Live”) is a rather major event in Trek history, but the music accompanying that scene didn’t rate inclusion on the old soundtrack release. It’s a beautiful piece, Horner at his best, and at nearly five minutes, it’s not a piece that’s so short that you could blink and miss it (a frequent excuse for not including a prominent cue on a soundtracka album). Another scene that always struck me musically – accompanied by the track “Sunset On Genesis” – is also a long-lost treasure. It’s nice to have the film version (rather than an “album edit”) of “Stealing The Enterprise”, though the difference isn’t enormous.

Unlike some critics, I’ve always thought Horner’s unique take on a musical signature for the Klingons was appropriate, fitting nicely alongside the “Klingon Battle” piece from The Motion Picture, but even wilder. (In any case, Goldsmith’s Klingon music from the first movie was almost more of a theme for V’Ger, and didn’t gain its signature bombast – a la Horner – until 1989’s Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.) It’s nice to hear Horner’s Klingon motif put through its paces (as in the track “Grissom Destroyed”).

Where things fall down is when the music slips into a single-high-note drone, mainly covering what could be called “Vulcan mysticism scenes”. They may have been appropriate for the film, but they’re extremely tedious as stand-alone listening. I would just skip these tracks and count off a few points, except that by the last third of the soundtrack, these tracks are so prevalent. Basically, after the Genesis planet is destroyed and Kirk & co. make off with their newly-acquired Klingon Bird of Pray, I tend to skip straight to the end. The first CD is rounded out by a selection of “source” music heard in the bar scenes as the Spock-possessed McCoy tries to wheel and deal for passage to the Genesis planet.

Due to contractual constraints involving the label that originally released the Trek III soundtrack LP, a second disc tags along with the first, replicating that LP in its entirety (although it’s been remastered, so it’s not a total loss). The second disc is essentially the same disc as what was released by GNP Crescendo in the early 1990s, and is the same as the original EMI LP released in 1984. The version of “Stealing The Enterprise” heard here differs slightly from the film version, but the real saving grace of the LP is the very dated, Meco-esque “Group 87” synth-disco cover of the theme music. Over-serious, dyed-in-the-wool soundtrack afficionados may hate it, but I’m glad to see it preserved here, even though it means a second CD that increased the price of the set.

3 out of 4Overall, the new Trek III soundtrack is a worthy upgrade, but that worthiness is sometimes a little harder to find than it was with the much more listenable complete score from Trek II. There are persistent rumors – which, interestingly, haven’t been denied outright – that Film Score Monthly isn’t done mining Paramount’s music vaults for Star Trek material this year, so hopefully more musical delights await us from the final frontier.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Prologue and Main Title (6:32)
  2. Klingons (5:59)
  3. Spock’s Cabin (1:41)
  4. The Klingon’s Plan (1:03)
  5. The Mind-Meld (2:32)
  6. Stealing The Enterprise (8:41)
  7. Grissom Destroyed (1:04)
  8. Sunset On Genesis (2:18)
  9. Spock Endures Pon Farr (3:04)
  10. Bird Of Prey Decloaks (3:48)
  11. A Fighting Chance To Live (3:54)
  12. Genesis Destroyed (2:43)
  13. Returning To Vulcan (4:58)
  14. The Katra Ritual (4:31)
  15. End Titles (6:19)
  16. That Old Black Magic / Tangerine / I Remember You (10:32)
    Disc Two

  1. Prologue and Main Title (6:30)
  2. Klingons (5:58)
  3. Stealing The Enterprise (8:35)
  4. Discuss it!The Mind-Meld (2:32)
  5. Bird Of Prey Decloaks (3:48)
  6. Returning To Vulcan (4:56)
  7. The Katra Ritual (4:31)
  8. End Titles (6:20)
  9. The Search For Spock performed by Group 87 (3:43)

Released by: Film Score Monthly / Retrograde Records
Release date: 2010
Disc one total running time: 79:39
Disc two total running time: 46:53

Avatar – music by James Horner

Avatar - music by James HornerI always joke – well, it’s kind of a joke – that it’s not a James Horner score unless it sounds remarkably like a previous James Horner score. It was easy to make that joke in the ’80s; after Battle Beyond The Stars, a rather good score which was shoehorned into the same stylistic box as Star Trek: The Motion Picture by Horner’s boss, producer Roger Corman. That music led Horner to work on Star Trek for real with Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, and he then used much the same formula (and damn near the same music) for Star Trek III, Krull and his first gig with up-and-coming director James Cameron, Aliens. The similarity was strong enough that even people who, unlike your reviewer here, don’t listen to soundtrack music all day long noticed the similarities. To be fair, Horner has graced us with solid slices of musical Americana such as The Journey Of Natty Gann and Apollo 13 and perhaps the most popular soundtrack in history that doesn’t have the words “Star” and “Wars” anywhere on the cover, Titanic (also for Cameron).

Titanic also had the dubious distinction, at the time, of being the most expensive movie ever made (one which, luckily, also managed to make more of that money back than any more that came before it). When Cameron finally started production on Avatar – at $400,000,000, the new “most expensive movie ever” record-holder – it’s not surprising that Cameron called on the composer of his previous big-screen opus.

While there are a few rapid-fire brass blasts that immediately remind one of Horner’s works as far back as The Wrath Of Khan, generally the music from Avatar just about lives up to the hype of being something that Horner put a lot of time and thought into: it doesn’t actively sound like his previous works. In fact, it achieves something unexpected – at a time when world-music-inspired sounds are standing in for the otherworldly in nearly every other SF film/TV score out there (see: Battlestar Galactica, District 9, Lost, etc. etc. etc.), strong>Avatar manages to not sound like anything else out there. I think this revelation hit me about the time I heard percussion that seemed to be imitating hummingbird wings: that’s kinda neat.

Unusually for a major label soundtrack release, Avatar is filled to the brim, and not with tiny bite-sized cues either: one track, “War”, weighs in heavier than 11 minutes, and those 11 minutes are neither typical action music nor typical James Horner action music. The Avatar score interestingly treats mind-expanding, contemplative moments as little triumphs, but doesn’t bestow triumphant bombast on moments of conflict. Horner and Cameron were clearly on the same page thematically, and the music serves the movie well.

4 out of 4So I’ll admit it: James Horner has returned to science fiction, and aside from maybe all of twenty seconds, it doesn’t sound like any movie he’s scored in that genre before. What’s more, it fits the movie like a glove, and it stands up to a listen on its own. I may yet find a reason to drop my skepticism and become a James Horner fan after all.

Order this CD

  1. You Don’t Dream In Cryo (6:09)
  2. Jake Enters His Avatar World (5:23)
  3. Pure Spirits Of The Forest (8:50)
  4. The Bioluminescence Of The Night (3:36)
  5. Becoming One Of “The People” / Becoming One With Neytiri (7:41)
  6. Climbing Up Iknimaya / “The Path To Heaven” (3:14)
  7. Jake’s First Flight (4:48)
  8. Scorched Earth (3:30)
  9. Quaritch (5:00)
  10. The Destruction Of Hometree (6:44)
  11. Shutting Down Grace’s Lab (2:46)
  12. Gathering All The Na’Vi Clans For Battle (5:12)
  13. War (11:19)
  14. I See You (Theme From Avatar) (4:16)

Released by: Atlantic
Release date: 2009
Total running time: 78:28

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (Newly Expanded Edition) – music by James Horner

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (Newly Expanded Edition)Maybe we should’ve expected a release like this in a year in which the Star Trek franchise is suddenly coasting along on both warp power and the goodwill of a receptive public thanks to its big-screen relaunch, but this CD’s release caught me completely by surprise, and I hope it’s a sign of things to come.

Simply put, this CD gathers the complete score of James Horner’s celebrated, career-making music score from the second Star Trek film, in order, every note – even including material that was jettisoned after a studio-mandated reshoot required Horner to re-convene his orchestra and add more music at a late date. The soundtrack from Star Trek II has been released before, but this definitive remastered edition adds half an hour of music and represents every note heard in the course of the film. Add to that the usual lavish, well-researched booklet from Film Score Monthly, and you get a package worthy of one of the best scores in the franchise’s big-screen history.

Key passages of music that haven’t been heard before include – believe it or not – major movements in the movie’s climactic space battle, atmospheric tracks from early in the movie, and a brief piece of music that should be forever famous if for not other reason than underscoring William Shatner screaming “KHAAAAAAAAAAN!” Oh, and the death and funeral of one Mr. Spock. In short, the previously omitted tracks are not minor moments in the movie, and why they were left out on the original release is probably down to the fact that, in the LP-dominated days of the early 1980s, a 45-minute soundtrack album was considered more than enough unless, maybe, the movie’s title had “Wars” (rather than “Trek”) after “Star”. Even with that limitation in mind, some of the omissions from the original release are mind-boggling. This CD handily corrects that, and the improvement in sound quality is quite noticeable.

The booklet itself is worth the price of admission too: virtually everything you could possibly want to know about the movie’s music and its composer (including how he got the job and who else almost got the job) is here, lavishly illustrated, painstakingly researched, and the photos even reveal something I had never known about this movie: its composer can be seen in Starfleet uniform in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it walk-on part.

I’m literally praying to God (who may or may not need a starship) that Film Score Monthly isn’t going to be content to leave the Star Trek franchise alone after this release. The third through eighth films cry out for more fully fleshed-out soundtrack releases like this, and I 4 out of 4wouldn’t kick FSM out of bed if they wanted to do something crazy like venture into unreleased music from The Next Generation or Deep Space Nine. A pipe dream? Maybe. But until FSM announced it, the expanded Star Trek II score seemed just as unlikely. It’s been worth the wait – great music finally getting a fitting treatment.

Order this CD

  1. Main Title (3:08)
  2. Surprise On Ceti Aplha V (0:46)
  3. Khan’s Pets (4:20)
  4. The Eels Of Ceti Alpha V / Kirk In Space Shuttle (3:54)
  5. Enterprise Clears Moorings (3:34)
  6. Chekov Lies (0:42)
  7. Spock (1:13)
  8. Kirk Takes Command / He Tasks Me (2:08)
  9. Genesis Project composed & performed by Craig Huxley (3:17)
  10. Surprise Attack (5:08)
  11. Kirk’s Explosive Reply (4:03)
  12. Inside Regula I (1:37)
  13. Brainwashed (1:25)
  14. Captain Terrell’s Death (2:00)
  15. Buried Alive (0:58)
  16. The Genesis Cave (1:11)
  17. Battle In The Mutara Nebula (8:09)
  18. Enterprise Attacks Reliant (1:30)
  19. Genesis Countdown (6:35)
  20. Spock (Dies) (1:55)
  21. Amazing Grace (1:27)
  22. Epilogue / End Title (8:47)
  23. Epilogue (original version) / End Title (7:29)

Released by: Retrograde Records (Film Score Monthly)
Release date: 2009
Total running time: 75:16

Amazing Stories: Anthology One

Amazing Stories: Anthology OneProduced and overseen by Steven Spielberg from 1985 through ’87, Amazing Stories was a lighthearted take on the anthology/playhouse series format that hadn’t been seen on television in two decades. There was no recurring cast of characters, and no connected stories – but unlike The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents or The Outer Limits, Amazing Stories was built on one prerequisite set by Spielberg – a sense of wonder and the fantastic, not the fatalistic. To this end, Spielberg – largely on the power of his own name – drew A-list Hollywood writing, acting and directing talent into his orbit for the show’s first season, and an absolutely stellar, unprecedented A-list of composers, a gathering of genius the likes of which – in all honesty, and not intended as hyperbole – we may never see again on one project.

We’re talking about composers who weren’t even “doing” TV anymore at this stage in their careers. We’re talking Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams and James Horner. We’re also talking composers who were on the brink of making it big – Danny Elfman, Bruce Broughton, and others. How the show looked and felt was up to the individual directors and cast members of each story, but Spielberg put the money up front from the word go to make sure that Amazing Stores would sound amazing.

Although a single-disc compilation of two Amazing Stories scores was released by Varese Sarabande a while back, it was obvious that there was room for more music from this series. Intrada stepped up to the plate with a trio of 2-CD collections, covering several episodes per set and presenting the widest variety of composers’ works possible. Though several episodes were still left out by the time the third and final volume was rolled out, the result is a much more comprehensive collection, sure to please fans of many of the major film composers of the 1980s and ’90s.

John Williams’ music from the first episode, Ghost Train, sits nicely alongside his movie scores from the same era (E.T., etc.), and for a relatively short suite of music (though it’s also every note he recorded for the episode), it all develops beautifully. Two scores with period flavorings follow, James Horner’s Alamo Jobe – which, whenever it breaks out of its western feel into something more traditionally contemporary, sounds like a lot of Horner’s other output from the ’80s – and Bruce Broughton’s more whimsical, century-spanning (and Mark Hamill-starring) Gather Ye Acorns. Georges Delerue’s wistful, low-key The Doll follows, but the next suite – a jarring selection from early Spielberg collaborator Billy Goldenberg’s score from The Amazing Falsworth – is an unsettling wake-up call after Delerue’s calm music.

The second disc opens with a 4-second “station ID bumper” version of John Williams’ main theme, and dives into the music from Moving Day, scored by David Shire, who, fresh from scoring 2010: The Year We Make Contact, brings synth collaborator Craig Huxley with him for some music that sounds remarkably similar to that movie at times. Delerue returns for Without Diana, a heartfelt score that oozes tragedy even without the accompanying visuals. Contrast is once more the name of the game as this is followed up by an early Danny Elfman score, Mummy, Daddy, dripping with the kind of wackiness and whimsy that would become his hallmarks. Hollywood pastiche is the name of the game for another Bruce Broughton score, Welcome To My Nightmare, which brings things to a close (well, technically the Amazing Stories end credit music does that).

4 out of 4Where sound quality is concerned, there are a few quirks that stem mainly from the material being recorded at the twilight of mono sound mixes for television: some of the recordings are in stereo, while others aren’t. But the quality of the recordings is rich and crisp, like the sessions were recorded just last week. The shortest episode suite on this volume is just under nine minutes in length, so the double CD set is more than justified, and the packaging and liner notes are top-notch and informative. Overall, the Amazing Stories collections may be the best thing indie soundtrack label Intrada has ever done, and they’re a treat for fans of the composers whose work appears here.

Order this CD

    Disc one

  1. Amazing Stories Main Title (1:02)

    Ghost Train – music by John Williams

  2. Ohpa’s Arrival (0:30)
  3. Grieving Ohpa (1:17)
  4. Ohpa’s Tales (3:44)
  5. Ohpa Remembers (2:25)
  6. The Ticket (3:05)
  7. The Train Arrives (4:17)

    Alamo Jobe – music by James Horner

  8. The Battle / Jobe Runs (3:01)
  9. Travis Dies (0:51)
  10. First Chase (3:43)
  11. Antique Shop (2:16)

    Gather Ye Acorns – music by Bruce Broughton

  12. The Boy / The Gnome (4:34)
  13. 1938 Radio Source (1:42)
  14. Jonathan’s Room / The Car (0:48)
  15. Nothin’ But A Bum / 1955 / Tumbleweed Connection (2:50)
  16. Regrets (1:27)
  17. 1985 (0:51)
  18. Gas Station Source (2:58)
  19. Holy Moly! / Sow Ye Wild Oats (3:06)

    The Doll – music by Georges Delerue

  20. Doll Shop Sign (1:08)
  21. The Carousel / Doll On Floor / Well, Miss… (3:12)
  22. A School Teacher (0:46)
  23. An Occasional Model (0:36)
  24. She’s Not Married / An O.S. Clunk / Door Opens (1:54)
  25. John Walks To Mantle (2:17)

    The Amazing Falsworth – music by Billy Goldenberg

  26. Falsworth / Strangling / Retrospect (3:30)
  27. Leering / Frigity-Feet (0:30)
  28. Top Floor / Lights (0:53)
  29. All In The Fingers / Lunge (3:07)
  30. Falsworth (E.T.) (0:36)
    Disc two

  1. Amazing Stories Bumper #1 (0:04)

    Moving Day – music by David Shire

  2. Alan’s Dream (1:20)
  3. It’s Not The Same / Discovering The Room (1:37)
  4. My God! (2:40)
  5. Tonight / That’s Alturis (2:30)
  6. Your Ring (2:14)
  7. Departure (2:01)
  8. Finale (0:57)

    Without Diana – music by Georges Delerue

  9. Park (1946) (1:44)
  10. Only Eight / Forest Walk (2:30)
  11. Sorry Policeman / Not By George Alone (2:33)
  12. George In Doorway / Diana’s Story (2:20)
  13. George Will Be (3:22)

    Mummy, Day – music by Danny Elfman & Steve Bartek

  14. Mummy Movie / Baby Chase / Gas Station (3:21)
  15. Country Source (0:26)
  16. Gun Shot / Stinger / Swamp / Old Man / Real Mummy (3:35)
  17. Kung-Fu Mummy (1:00)
  18. Motorcycle / Caught (1:23)
  19. Lynching / Horse Ride (1:25)
  20. Corridors / Caught Again (0:27)
  21. Baby / Finale (1:30)

    Vanessa In The Garden – music by Leonard Niehaus

  22. It’s Lovely / Whoa, Rock, Whoa / I Hurt Vanessa (1:47)
  23. Beautiful Portrait / Humming From The Garden (4:09)
  24. Vanessa’s Laughter / A Summer’s Day / Do It Together / Create A Life (4:07)
  25. Vanessa (piano with orchestra coda) (3:19)

    Welcome To My Nightmare – music by Bruce Broughton

  26. Harry Wakes Up (2:00)
  27. Harry Takes A Shower / Horro Movie / Kate (1:57)
  28. Fraternity Of The Undead / Bad Milk (1:41)
  29. Harry & Kate (0:39)
  30. Harry’s Prayer / The Comet Theatre / Harry At The Movies (7:24)
  31. Back Home (2:13)
  32. Amazing Stories End Credits (0:29)
  33. Amblin Logo (0:15)

Released by: Intrada
Release date: 2006
Disc one total running time: 64:31
Disc two total running time: 70:33