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 IV: The Voyage Home (Newly Expanded Edition)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Order this CD

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

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

Amazing Stories: Anthology Two

Amazing Stories: Anthology TwoThe second volume of music from Steven Spielberg’s short-lived TV anthology series Amazing Stories presents the complete scores from another dozen episodes, boasting the most diverse musical talent gathered on any of Intrada’s three volumes of music from the show.

After one of John Williams’ alternate takes on the show’s main theme, the late Jerry Goldsmith’s single contribution to the show – at the behest of director (and Gremlins collaborator) Joe Dante – kicks things off. Boo! starred Robert Picardo in one of his most obnoxious roles (and that’s saying something), and it seems like whenever I happen to catch a rerun of Amazing Stories, this is the episode I’m most likely to see for some reason. Goldsmith’s music here isn’t quite up to Gremlins standards, though – it’s very much a novelty piece, and – at least in this listener (and Goldsmith fan)’s opinion – not one of his better ones.

Billy Goldenberg’s score for What If…? is a bit more serious, but lovely, pleasant stuff – though it’s associated with an episode that I always felt was more heartbreaking than anything else. Dorothy And Ben, an episode I don’t recall ever having seen, certainly sounds heartbreaking; Georges Delerue was one of Amazing Stories’ most prolific composers and certainly seemed to be the go-to guy for those installments that wore their hearts on their sleeves. The Main Attraction embraces its setting by combining marching band music with occasional moments of tension and synthesizer musical effects-as-sound effects. David Newman (Galaxy Quest, Serenity) contributes the music for Such Interesting Neighbors (which stands next only to Boo! as the episode of which I’m most likely to see a rerun), and as one his earlier works it succumbs to a film scoring cliche or two, but he uses his orchestra well and comes up with what I’d describe as a fond homage to the John Williams style.

Thanksgiving, scored by Bruce Broughton (another musical frequent flyer on this series), goes down as my favorite episode of Amazing Stories, simply because it’s the one installment that reminded me, more than any other episode, of the great anthologies that started it all – The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits – complete with a macabre but poetically just sting in its tail. It’s probably my favorite suite on this anthology as well, with Broughton pouring on bravado (for David Carradine’s belligerently macho character) and wonder in just the right places.

David Shire is back for Hell Toupee on the second CD, a big, brassy homage to the way movies used to be scored, while Johnny Mandel (M*A*S*H, Being There) gives us almost cartoon-esque music for One For The Road. Arthur B. Rubenstein (Blue Thunder, WarGames) tackles the all-star Remote Control Man, an episode – predating the John Ritter movie Stay Tuned – about a guy whose new remote has some magical properties, and in this case it seems to bring characters to life who hail almost exclusively from the Universal Studios/NBC stable circa 1985/86. Rubenstein thus gets to hint at a number of theme tunes from that era, after an opening act of decent mysterioso music.

John Addison is up next with The Greibble, which darts madly between mystery and comedy every time the titular critter makes an appearance. Leonard Rosenman (Star Trek IV) cranks up the tension with the WWII-themed No Day At The Beach, which combines typical war movie action sequences with more somber passages. Another member of the Newman family gets in on the Amazing Stories action, with Thomas Newman lending a humorous, Christmas-carol-inspired score to Santa ’85.

4 out of 4Again, the packaging and liner notes detailing each episode and its music are almost worth the price of admission alone. Though there are plenty of familiar faces here, this second 2-CD set is also packed with composers who only did a single score for Amazing Stories, making it a completely different experience from the first volume, but still very worthwhile.

Order this CD

    Disc one

  1. Amazing Stories Main Title, Alternate #1 (1:03)

    Boo! – music by Jerry Goldsmith

  2. The House / Sheena (0:36)
  3. Those People / Practice / Strange Feelings (2:57)
  4. Sharp Teeth / Let’s Scare ‘Em (1:50)
  5. What Fun / It’s OK / Jungle Zombie (1:57)
  6. Zombie Attack / Each Other (1:21)
  7. The Bike (0:26)
  8. The Jewelry (1:12)
  9. Catch Us / No Fall (1:35)

    What If…? – music by Billy Goldenberg

  10. Bubbles / Nails / Kitchen Odyssey (4:34)
  11. Obnoxious (1:47)
  12. Pregnant Lady (0:57)
  13. Crossing Guard / Steve / Born (5:04)

    Dorothy And Ben – music by Georges Delerue

  14. Twenty Three Thousand Dollars (0:47)
  15. Wrinkles (0:38)
  16. Be Quiet / Ben Leaves (2:45)
  17. Face Changes (0:59)
  18. Dorothy (4:49)

    The Main Attraction – music by Craig Safan

  19. Brad’s March / Brad’s Parking Space (1:58)
  20. Shirley (1:42)
  21. Meteor / Brad’s Fear / Attracting / Attractions (4:10)
  22. Brad Runs / Locker Room / Brad’s Honor (2:07)
  23. Magnetic Love (2:01)

    Such Interesting Neighbors – music by David Newman

  24. Al Driving Home (1:30)
  25. Water Vibrates (0:51)
  26. Through The Window / Off To Meet The Neighbors / Glad To Know You / Rose Eater (5:20)
  27. May Have Something (0:41)
  28. Microwave And Meatloaf / Off Kilter (2:54)
  29. Heat Seeker On Al (0:43)
  30. Emotional (2:31)
  31. Wide-Eyed Reaction (2:23)

    Thanksgiving – music by Bruce Broughton

  32. Momma’s Breath / The Package (2:39)
  33. Dora’s Message (2:12)
  34. Dora’s Gifts / Calvin Returns (2:33)
  35. Chicken Preferred / Turkey (4:42)
    Disc Two

  1. Amazing Stories Bumper #2 (0:04)

    Hell Toupee – music by David Shire

  2. I’m Harry Valentine (0:30)
  3. Can’t Remember / …As A Woman (2:47)
  4. Hell Toupee (0:17)
  5. Scratched Head / The Escape (2:00)
  6. Toupee Shop / Change Your Life (1:49)
  7. What Is It? / The Chase (5:10)
  8. Finale (0:53)

    One For The Road – music by Johnny Mandel

  9. Brainstorm (0:42)
  10. Free Drinks All Around (0:30)
  11. The Cupboard Was Bare / Pass The Oil (1:58)
  12. To Your Health (2:06)
  13. The Banquet (1:36)
  14. The Bridge (1:02)
  15. Reincarnation (0:30)

    Remote Control Man – music by Arthur B. Rubenstein

  16. Walter (1:47)
  17. From The Forties (0:34)
  18. Right Away (0:51)
  19. Super Over Source (0:50)
  20. Neon Signs And Fog (1:15)
  21. Something Just For You / Queen And Mrs. Cleaver (4:00)
  22. Simmons (0:45)
  23. Enjoying Yourself? (0:24)
  24. No Mice (0:35)
  25. To Bed (0:58)
  26. Pop Off (0:28)

    The Greibble – music by John Addison

  27. Off To Work / Tidying Up (1:40)
  28. Daily Soap (1:00)
  29. First Encounter / Is It Dangerous? (3:44)
  30. Lamp Eater (1:08)
  31. Nummy, Nummy (1:36)
  32. Hardware Dump (2:10)
  33. Gun Threat (0:58)
  34. Friends (1:10)
  35. Revelation (1:54)

    No Day At The Beach – music by Leonard Rosenman

  36. No Day At The Beach / Picking Up Cards / Turkey In The Face (2:06)
  37. Hey Casey / Get Some Sleep (1:32)
  38. Battle Stations (0:25)
  39. Gun Fire (0:22)
  40. Charging Pill Box (1:54)
  41. Dead Arnold (0:16)
  42. He Never Got Off The Boat (4:11)

    Santa ’85 – music by Thomas Newman

  43. From The Sky Above The House / From The House To The Within / From The Chimney And In Through The Window (5:42)
  44. Caught By The Law (1:42)
  45. The Reindeer / No Fingerprints / From The Jail To The Chase To Left Off (5:18)
  46. The Ray Gun (0:50)
  47. By Candlelight (0:28)
  48. Amazing Stories End Credits (0:29)
  49. Amblin Logo – Christmas Version (0:15)

Released by: Intrada
Release date: 2006
Disc one total running time: 78:03
Disc two total running time: 76:28

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV soundtrackYou know, it seems like a lot of people, particularly die-hard Star Trek fans, have a great distaste for this soundtrack album from the fourth (and arguably most popular) movie, but I’ve always had a soft spot for it. As you may have read in my critiques of the movie scores by Dennis McCarthy and Cliff Eidelman, I like it when a Star Trek movie’s musical sound isn’t just a repetition of previous scores, but has something new to say. I will be the first to admit that this movie, in venturing into 1986 San Francisco, made it easy going on the composer by allowing him to come up with contemporary, less orchestral music, but the tidbits of movie score that are present on the Star Trek IV soundtrack aren’t bad at all. From the more-celebratory-than-usual opening title (which plays almost like a Christmas carol) to some more menacing cues to accompany things like time travel and Earth-destroying alien ships, there really 3 out of 4is no decline in quality compared to other Trek films where the music is concerned. And even the fusion jazz source music cues are good, performed by the Yellowjackets, a small jazz ensemble. For those fans put off by the lighthearted sound of this score, I can only say it’s not bad at all.

Order this CD

  1. Main Title (2:39)
  2. The Whaler (2:00)
  3. Market Street (4:39)
  4. Crash-Whale Fugue (8:15)
  5. Ballad of the Whale (5:03)
  6. Gillian Seeks Kirk (2:42)
  7. Chekov’s Run (1:19)
  8. Time Travel (1:29)
  9. Hospital Chase (1:13)
  10. The Probe (1:17)
  11. Home Again / End Credits (5:40)

Released by: MCA
Release date: 1986
Total running time: 36:16