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