Star Trek: The Music - disc by disc

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by Mastadge, Oct 15, 2011.

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  1. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    The amount of Star Trek music available on disc has at least doubled in the last year, so I thought now's as good a time as any to tackle all available Star Trek music in one thread. And I thought I'd start at the very beginning (I hear that's a very good place to start). . .

    So. Star Trek. The original series. I must say first that I've never really listened to TOS music much. I grew up with TNG, and my idea of Star Trek music was shaped by the film scores more than anything else. It wasn't until after I was well immersed in TNG that I began seeing episodes of TOS, and I found Courage's main "siren song" theme hilariously outdated -- more in its presentation than in the actual melody, but even so, I've never really learned to love that theme. And I never really came to love TOS as I did TNG and DS9, so I never really became familiar with its music within the show, but again, only with frequently tracked snippets such as the "Amok Time" fight that's been spoofed so many times in other shows and movies. So I'll be coming to the music of the original series with mostly fresh ears, not sure really what to expect of it.

    Without further ado:

    Star Trek, Volume One
    "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before"
    composed by Alexander Courage

    [image=http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6053/6246142497_b84f217dd6_o.jpg]

    Here we have the original scores by Alexander Courage for Star Trek's two pilot episodes, both recorded in 1965, the second aired in 1966. The disc runs 35 tracks over 43 minutes, so mostly shorter pieces -- the better, I guess, to track into other episodes later. The original pilot, "The Cage", takes up 23 tracks and 29:20; the aired pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before", 12 tracks and 13:45 -- did it really have so little music? I'll try to check out the episode later.

    "The Cage" starts out with Courage's classic theme: the four-note "space" motif, followed by the eight-note Enterprise fanfare that would go on to be used in the films and TNG, followed by the bongo-licious main theme that I still can't take seriously. The rest of the score is surprisingly impressive: it's a nice blend of exotic instruments and sounds playing up the science fictional and hallucinatory aspects of the production -- the backbone of the score is an effective mysterious theme -- and approachable Hollywood-style music, and all in all it really works very well to my ears. Unfortunately, the pilot was rejected for the network for being "too cerebral" (IIRC) -- it was still too much science fiction and not enough Wagon Train to the stars. But they ordered another more westerney, adventure oriented pilot. Which brings us to

    "Where No Man Has Gone Before", which opens with an alternate main theme that didn't end up being used in the episode, but was tracked or adapted into later episodes. Although the episode was made to be more adventurous than the previous pilot, the music is more difficult -- darker, denser, starker. The new main theme is kind of a muscular western-ish theme, but the rest of the music, well, some of it makes me think of tense submarine pinging music, some of it really playing up the space setting. Overall, this score is much less enjoyable to me than "The Cage".

    Overall, this is not a disc I think I'll return to often. I quite enjoyed "The Cage", but not so much WNMHGB. That said, this is an important archival release containing the themes that would become the backbone of the Star Trek franchise, as well as some cues that would be used later in the series.
  2. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2003
    star 6
    So this is basically Star Trek: The Music: Where No Man Has Gone Before? :p

    Cool summary -- I only have a few of the film scores and never considered what was on the show before (aside from the signature frantic action scene track).

    Look forward to hearing about more of these when you get to them. It's probably going to get me in the mood to rewatch some of those old episodes, an endeavor I've been meaning to do for a few years now.
  3. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Which brings us to:

    Star Trek, Volume Two
    "The Doomsday Machine" and "Amok Time"
    composed by Sol Kaplan and Gerald Fried

    [image=http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6042/6246142559_a6114793c4_o.jpg]

    This disc presents the music for two episodes from Star Trek's second season, both from fall 1967. The disc runs 52.5 minutes or so, of which, not counting the main and end themes, 28:30 are from Sol Kaplan's "The Doomsday Machine" and 22:00 are from Gerald Fried's "Amok Time". Although "Amok Time" was the first episode of Season 2, I'll tackle them in the order in which they're presented on disc.

    Sol Kaplan's "The Doomsday Machine", recorded 8/30/67, was Kaplan's 2nd Star Trek episode, following his dark score for the first season's "The Enemy Within". This is another dark score, but in a very different way: whereas the earlier episode had focused on the internal lives of the characters, this score focuses on the conflict between the ships. Courage's Enterprise fanfare is used throughout the episode to represent the actions of Kirk and the Enterprise; the Doomsday Machine itself is represented by low horns and woodwinds; and Commander Decker and his defeated ship the Constellation tie those elements together with piano and strings, always in the low registers, creating an intelligent, somber but richly textured score that carries both the action and the emotions of the episode. The first time I listened to this score it left me cold, but repeated listens have made it my favorite of the four scores I've listened to so far.

    Gerald Fried's "Amok Time", recorded 7/19/67, was the composer's fourth episode scored; he'd previously done the first season "Shore Leave" and has already scored several 2nd season episodes ("Catspaw" & "Friday's Child") which would air after this one. But this is probably the most iconic of his scores, containing one of the most familiar moments in all of Star Trek music, the (in)famous battle music. But there's much more to this score. For this episode about Mr. Spock in heat, Fried took a turn away from the dark dense drama of so much of Star Trek's music and instead used the music to define Spock's mental state: he created two main themes for Spock, one a complex 13-note theme representing the conflict between logic and emotion, the other, a 10-note theme that starts off deliberately, kind of I think representing Vulcan logic, and then switches to an arpeggio representing the illogical state of mind Spock's in. All the iterations of long, complex themes being twanged on the bass, and then later punctuated by the blaring music, don't make this the easiest Trek score to sit through, but it is a fascinating one -- and I'd have loved to see some of the movie composers revisiting Spock's theme when appropriate in the films.

    From the liner notes:
  4. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Star Trek, Volume Three
    "Shore Leave" and "The Naked Time"
    composed by Gerald Fried and Alexander Courage

    [image=http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6115/6246666204_f7f53eb074_o.jpg]

    This disc returns us to the first season; both of these scores were recorded in 1966. The disc runs 45:46, with 18 minutes from "Shore Leave" and 27 from "The Naked Time".

    This is actually a pretty interesting pairing -- both episodes allow for some "kitchen sink" scoring, with "Shore Leave" being the "amusement park planet" episode with the crew's fantasies being made real, and "The Naked Time" in which the crew loses self-control and inhibitions and starts acting out. But they come from opposite ends of the emotional spectrum -- "Shore Leave" has some of Trek's jauntiest, bounciest music, while "The Naked Time" features some of its darkest.

    "Shore Leave" is a pretty short score because the episode was also heavily tracked with cues from other episodes -- a commonplace occurrence in Trek and much early TV and movie music. This score is a blast to listen to -- a far cry from the intellectual look at Vulcan culture in "Amok Time," this is a playful, optimistic score, reflecting the oddities onscreen -- the infamous White Rabbit, for instance. The score is built around a theme representing the planet itself, but features a number of others, including a jig for Kirk's nemesis and a romantic theme for Ruth, the woman from his past.
    "The Naked Time" is Courage's fourth Trek score, after the two pilots and "The Man Trap," and is a characteristically dark piece of music, emphasizing the mysterious challenges Kirk & co. face in space rather than the action or adventure. While this score occasionally ventures away from the darkness, with for instance some swashbuckling stuff for Sulu, it never achieves anything like the levity or optimism of Fried's score.
    While the episodes represented on this disc don't contain music quite as intellectual or as iconic as that found on the previous two volumes in this series, as a whole this is the most accessible and enjoyable of these three volumes of the original recordings of classic Trek music, and the two scores represented, while opposites in terms of tone, have enough in common that they're easy to listen to back to back. A nice pairing.
  5. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Those three volumes mark all of the complete original score recordings available. I'm not sure why there weren't more -- did they not sell well? Were the masters lost or damaged? Were there rights problems? I don't know. But fortunately, in the mid-80s there were not one but two re-recording projects for the original Star Trek. Tony Lasher of Label X got the ball rolling with Tony Bremner conducting symphonic suites of the scores from several episodes, while Varèse Sarabande got Trek composer Fred Steiner conducting the London Philharmonic for recordings of others. There's no overlap between the two sets, and while I'm not sure how music was chosen for each, it looks like Steiner got dibs on his own scores and Label X got to select from what was left. In total there would be two albums from Label X and two from Varèse.

    Star Trek (Label X), Volume One
    "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" and "The Paradise Syndrome"
    composed by George Duning and Gerald Fried
    conducted by Tony Bremner

    [image=http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6100/6246142655_436294b299_o.jpg]

    This disc, running about 43 minutes, comprises symphonic suites from Season 3 episodes "Is There in Truth No Beauty" by George Duning and "The Paradise Syndrome" by Gerald Fried. They run about 21 minutes and 22 minutes respectively. Both scores were originally recorded in 1968, but these re-recorded suites are from, I think, 1986. The suite of Duning's music was arranged by Duning himself; Fried's music was arranged into the suite by conductor Bremner. I haven't seen either of these episodes so I can't comment on how the recordings compare to the original scores, but in terms of sound quality it's certainly a change for the better!

    "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" marks the first time we've come across George Duning's music on disc, but it was not his first Star Trek episode -- he'd previously scored "Metamorphosis" and "Return to Tomorrow" from Season 2 and earlier Season 3 episode "And the Children Shall Lead". This episode apparently involves an alien so fearsome that to look upon it drives people mad, and the blind telepath whom everyone falls in love with and who's able to work with the alien to save the day. Most of this suite seems to involve gently mysterious melodies escalating into action, with a nice theme that I can only imagine is for the telepath getting a nice workout toward the end. This is perfectly pleasant, sort of easy-listening by the standards of Trek music, but to be honest after multiple listens really hasn't made much of an impression on me.
    "The Paradise Syndrome" is Gerald Fried's first score since "Amok Time", and is another good one. The episode is one of those affairs that happens in most sci-fi shows in which the advanced travelers end up falling in love with a "primitive" society, with the added twist of an amnesiac Kirk being thought a god by the indigenous people. This type of episode is usually pretty embarrassing, but Fried as usual provides an engaging and intelligent score. It's very different from many Trek scores -- much brighter and livelier than the often dark, mysterious drama of so much Trek music, it really emphasizes the episode's Native American-inspired setting rather than the Enterprise crew -- and it admirably does so without indulging in cliché. This is a lovely and exciting score.
  6. Fishmanlee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 1
    Mastadge, I have a fanedit of the TOS scores, it has all scores from the seasons, and it seems that the order the episodes are in, are NOT the same order as they were scored, so the first episode scored in season 2 would be Catspaw, instead of Amok Time.

  7. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Yes, and I don't think I contradicted any of that! :)

    Also, I'm looking forward to returning to this thread shortly, when I have a little more time.
  8. Fishmanlee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 1
    So I asssume this will only be an analysis of the OST official discs?

    because some of the episode scores (like Trouble with Tribbles) are spread out as suites in the "Best of Star Trek" albums by GNP and I was wondering if you would touch upon them, and whether you would the tackle the episodes NOT presented on ANY edition?
  9. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    I plan to do the OST and the Varese and Label X discs, then the movie scores, then TNG, etc.

    As for the Best of Star Trek discs, I will cover them, but haven't yet decided whether I'll pick cues from them as I do each series, or just do them as a whole at the end.
  10. Fishmanlee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 1
    By the time you get to the movie scores, you will have complete score discs to go by ;)

    Its the truth BTW, a complete Star Trek IV is coming out the 4th.
  11. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    I know, it's preordered. I'm really hoping that someone makes a deal with GNP to get expansions of the Goldsmith TNG movie scores.
  12. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2001
    star 9
    Intrada seems to hint at it with the release of the two disc set for the sixth film.
  13. thesevegetables Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2012
    star 4
    Okay you've posted that picture in multiple threads. It doesn't even contribute to the conversation. WHY?
  14. Lord Tyrannus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2012
    star 4
    Sometimes it does contribute to the conversation/and/or is staying on topic!!!! I just don't feel like giving examples................

    It's is not there anymore. Just look above...........:D[face_dancing]
  15. thesevegetables Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2012
    star 4
    The American flag doesn't contribute to the conversation either. Guess what your behavior is called? SPAM.

    This is derailing the thread. Back on topic:

    The Star Trek soundtrack is good, but I've only heard it on The Score once. SW comes up much more. :)
  16. Lord Tyrannus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2012
    star 4
    I actually somewhat like Star Trek........
  17. thesevegetables Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2012
    star 4
    Star Trek is about war too...
  18. Lord Tyrannus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2012
    star 4
    The entire focus is not about war, though............
  19. thesevegetables Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2012
    star 4
    And neither is Star Wars.
  20. Lord Tyrannus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2012
    star 4
    What? Yes it is? The entire focus/point/goal of the original trilogy is the Rebels Allliance (a grow up revolutionaries), trying to overthrow an evil tyrant/and/or/dictator of a Galaxy-Wide-Galactic Empire, and space battles.......
  21. Cerrabore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2004
    star 4
  22. General Kenobi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 1998
    star 6
    Yeah, I heard about this earlier this year. I don't know if I'll get it - 15 discs - I guess it depends on the price. I have the series on DVD (I'd probably want to get the blu -rays of remastered series with the updated SFX before the soundtrack box set. A lot of that score was tracked on later episodes. Seems a shame they didn't use more of what was recorded at the time, but the series was sliding in the ratings.
  23. Cerrabore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2004
    star 4
    $225, if I remember correctly. I'm definitely not sure I'll pick it up, with so many more reasonable things looming, like student loans to pay off. It does look spectacular, though.
  24. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Guh. Sorry for missing the spamming...deleted now :p
  25. Fishmanlee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 1
    Don't get me started on Star Trek II, III, and VI.
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