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Star Trek: The Original Series Soundtrack Collection Review - Highly Recommended

Soundtrack Review

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#1 of 21 Kevin EK

Kevin EK

    Screenwriter

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Posted December 23 2012 - 05:31 AM

In a release long-awaited by fans of the series, La-La Land Records has assembled a comprehensive collection of the soundtrack music created for the original 1960s television series Star Trek.  Running over 17 hours in length and spanning 15 CDs, Star Trek: The Original Series Soundtrack Collection holds all of the original scores, along with a generous collection of more generic library cues, alternate takes, and even on-set song performances from the cast.   Cutting to the chase, this is a marvelous collection, as produced by Lukas Kendall, Neil S. Bulk and Jeff Bond.  The upside is that it is complete, the sound quality is very good, and people who purchase it can look forward to hours of enjoyment.   The challenge is that it is a limited release of 6000 units that can only be purchased as a complete set, for the hefty price tag of $225.   And we should note that while the 15 CDs are broken up into 5-packs for each season, those packs are not expected to be released individually.  Meaning that people waiting for a smaller set to appear may not see such a release.  So the price should be taken into account.  But when the price is divided by the number of discs, along with a thorough set of 4 booklets discussing the music and providing complete track listings, musician lists, recording dates and more, the average disc price turns out to be fairly reasonable.  That said, the issue remains – if you wish to purchase the set, it’s an all-or-nothing prospect.  Given the quality, the set is Highly Recommended.  But that’s with the caveat that not everyone will have the wherewithal to spend this much on a single purchase.



STAR TREK:  THE ORIGINAL SERIES

SOUNDTRACK COLLECTION





Release Company: La-La Land Records
Catalog ID:
 LLLCD-1701



Broadcast Years: 1966-1969


Running Time:  Over 17 hours

Number of Discs: 15


Composer(s):   Alexander Courage, Fred Steiner, Sol Kaplan, Joseph Mullendore, Gerald Fried, Samuel Matlovsky, George Duning, Jerry Fielding, Wilbur Hatch


Release Date: December 5, 2012

Review Date: December 23, 2012







“Strangely compelling, isn’t it?  To step through there and lose oneself in another world…”

James T. Kirk, in “The City on the Edge of Forever”


A bit of history is in order before we get into the actual discs of this set.  Television series music is an interesting offshoot of motion picture scoring, usually in a much more limited vein.  For most viewers, the most music they will remember from a series is the theme song.  


In the current age, many television series don’t make use of much composed music, opting instead to incorporate contemporary songs, as we’ve heard on shows as disparate as The Sopranos, Grey’s Anatomy, and House.  The actual scored music to be found on such shows tends to be minimal, used to provide minor incidental accents for comedy or tension.  Adding to the problem is the issue that many of today’s television series even dispense with a main title theme, opting instead to have a quick title card and then a running set of credits after the first commercial break (Burn Notice, for example).  To be sure, there are notable exceptions, though mostly in genre fare.  Lost was scored with music by Michael Giacchino.  Game of Thrones is scored by Ramin Djawadi, and Doctor Who is scored by Murray Gold.  Battlestar Galactica was scored with music by Richard Gibbs and then the incredibly talented Bear McCreary (who also provided a marvelous score for the first season of Human Target and is currently delivering another outstanding music accompaniment to AMC’s The Walking Dead).  All of these shows are excellent examples of recent television series that provide extensive scoring, progressions of thematic material, and unique musical identities for their respective shows.  Such shows are rarities in today’s television landscape.


This was not always the case.  Back in the 1960s and 70s, many television series brought in multiple composers, who would together create a library of moods for each show which could be recycled in turn.  Such a trend can be heard in multiple genre shows like Mission: Impossible and The Twilight Zone.   The latter series is notable not only for its unmistakable theme but for the contributions of multiple composers including Jerry Goldsmith and the great Bernard Herrmann.  (Kevin would argue that Herrmann’s initial theme for the series was actually a more haunting one than the better-known Marius Constant music…)


And then there’s the original television run of Star Trek, which is known not only for the theme music written by Alexander Courage but for many of the actual episode scores themselves.   The adventures of the captain and key crew of the starship Enterprise are remembered musically.  Many people can hum Gerald Fried’s fight music for “Amok Time” in the same manner that Jim Carrey does in The Cable Guy.  For many people, the driving shark music in Jaws has a direct ancestor in Sol Kaplan’s monster music for “The Doomsday Machine.”   Many of the act-outs and action cues from throughout the series are instantly recognizable to genre fans and more casual listeners alike.  As has been noted everywhere by now, much of this is due to the limited number of episodes being run infinitely in syndication starting in the 1970s.  An entire generation has grown up watching reruns of Star Trek every afternoon or every weekend, hearing the music of the 78 available episodes so many times that the effect has become subliminal.


Fans of soundtrack music began clamoring for the television scores from Star Trek as far back as the early 1980s, if not earlier.   But getting a release proved to be a bit more complicated.  (A sidenote – as a young soundtrack collector, Kevin attended a Creation Convention in Los Angeles in the early 1980s, where he met an enthusiastic Neil Norman (an award winning producer/performer), who at that time had already located the music and was working on arranging releases.  The scores discussed in that one brief meeting were “Spock’s Brain” and “Elaan of Troyius”, which were then eagerly awaited for what turned out to be nearly 30 years…) 


In 1985, a few music releases finally happened, but they weren’t exactly what the fans had been requesting.  The first was a Neil Norman GNP Crescendo release of the actual Alexander Courage scores from both pilots of the show.  Or at least it was most of the music from both pilots – a crucial cue from each pilot was not part of the release.  The other releases were re-recordings of various episodes’ scores.  A company called Label X released two volumes of suites, as performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Tony Bremner.  Varese Sarabande in turn released two volumes of suites, performed by the same orchestra, but this time under the direction of Fred Steiner, who had actually composed much of the music found in those volumes. 


Things were quiet on this front for another few years, and in 1987, attention shifted to the new series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, which began to see releases of its own scores on the GNP label.  (We should note that the later Trek series continued the original series’ approach of having multiple composers contribute – but the musical style was deliberately a much more homogenous one, providing a good backbone for the episodes of the new series but without providing nearly as much personality as that found in the original.)  In 1991, GNP released another pair of scores from the original series, this time tapping the popular “Amok Time” and “The Doomsday Machine”.  As in 1985, much of the music was included but there were still a few pieces left off.  In 1992, GNP released two more scores, for “The Naked Time” and “Shore Leave”, but didn’t see sufficient sales to continue the releases. 


A few years later, with the 30th Anniversary of the series, GNP did a single CD “Best of Trek” release, which included suites from every television series in the franchise to date, including some music from “The Trouble with Tribbles.”  This generated enough interest for a second CD volume in 2000, this time including brief material from “The Corbomite Maneuver”, “Balance of Terror” and “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”, but again the sales weren’t enough to continue past this point.  And here is where the situation stayed for more than a decade.  On a regular basis, soundtrack fans over various message boards would ask about further Star Trek releases without success. 


With the new collection, La-La Land Records has answered all the requests with a single shot.   In one release, Lukas Kendall, Neil S. Bulk and Jeff Bond (with restoration by Chris Malone and mastering provided by Doug Schwartz), have assembled the entire mass of music from the original series, including all of the scores, a significant amount of library cues, alternate cues and more.  There are musical sound effects included here, as well as mock-classical performances and the song stylings of various cast members.  Granted, it’s a massive collection and a heck of a commitment.  Putting this release together was a significant project for La-La Land, and investing in it will be a significant project for any fan.  Given that most soundtrack fans normally spend perhaps $20-30 for a special release, this one’s price tag of $225 will be a fairly sharp hit.  (Already, various boards have included people discussing their affection for the music but their reluctance to invest this much into a single series.)  But the price should be understood as covering the cost of generating 15 CDs of solid sound quality music, as well as the bonus of Jeff Bond’s extensive notes.  Averaged out, the price comes to $15 per CD, which is a pretty fair price.  Of course, the kicker is that the collector must pick up all 15 CDs.  As stated above, the music here is not intended to be available other than in the 6000 unit full collection.   Fans waiting for the individual release of each season or of further episodes will need to know that such releases are not planned.  So a purchase here will depend on your interest in the music.  Fans who enjoy the music but aren’t intending to buy the whole cow as it were may decide to just stay with the music that’s already been available.  Fans who are intent on getting the large selection of scores unavailable until now will want to get this set while it is available.  This set is Highly Recommended, with the caveat that the price is by its nature an issue for most people.



The Score


The music of Star Trek is an indelible element of the series; as much as the adventure and allegorical stories, the different species and locations that populate the stories, and the visions of a future celebrating infinite diversity in infinite combinations. Born from the composing DNA of numerous skilled composers, the musical partner for the bright and futuristic visuals is rich with textures and instrumentation known to anyone with familiarity with orchestrations, but frequently augmented with experiments in the potential sounds of the instruments wielded by the orchestra.  Star Trek as a series explored fascinating stories rich with human drama and tests of morality, marvelously weaving ideas that allowed the composers to dabble with multiple genres.  At every turn, the music provided the blended dichotomy of contemporary grounding and otherworldly probing.  We should keep in mind that the music very much reflects the time and tastes of the original series.  Many episodes feature hints of contemporary jazz or lounge music.  Further, the instrumental range of the scores was in direct relation to the series’ music budget.  As the numerous lists of session performers show, the composers regularly were compelled to limit the number of players, particularly in the strings section.  Thus, larger instruments like cellos were favored over smaller violins.  And yet, the composers flourished within the limitations.  Some scores, like “Amok Time”, actually turned the limitation into an advantage by taking an emotional theme for Spock and playing it through a bass guitar, thus making a musical comment on the character’s inability to express such emotions.    Over the course of three years, the music covered a wide range of scenic landscapes, all the way from serious drama and tragedy to wild farce. 


As is probably already known by readers, the series did not hire composers for every episode.  Instead, the producers brought in composers for several early episodes every year, and then tracked cues from those scores into all the following episodes as appropriate.  In rare cases, the producers would bring a composer back in late in the season to deal with a specific episode.  It is a testament to the abilities of the composers that they were in many cases able to address the specific needs of the episode at hand while also providing mood pieces that could be plugged into multiple episodes with tangentially similar situations on screen.



SEASON ONE

5 / 5


As one might expect, the richest tapestry of music in the series comes in the first season, with a wide variety of scores that build first a musical backbone for the series and then provide an array of textures to complement almost any scene one could imagine.  This is where the basic themes for the series and Captain Kirk are worked out.



Disc One:  Alexander Courage:  “The Cage” (32:01), “Where No Man Has Gone Before” (27:58)  (Each pilot has its own Main and End Titles)  (Total Disc Time:  60:06)


The first season of the series starts off with a brace of scores by Alexander Courage.  Courage scored both of the pilots in 1965, with a ten month lag between them after the first pilot was rejected.  His score for “The Cage”, in which original Captain Pike is taken captive by illusion-wielding aliens, establishes the primary theme for the series and then alternates between simple, yearning themes and more exotic ideas to suggest the wilder elements of the fantasies being manipulated by Pike’s captors.  While much of this material was previously available in the 1985 release, the new collection now includes the famous siren song of ‘Monster Illusion’, a hypnotic combination of wordless soprano singing and a heartbeat of heavy instruments and muted brass.  (This cue would be used ad infinitum in the first season, popping up everywhere including “This Side of Paradise” for the spores, and “The City on the Edge of Forever” for McCoy’s arrival in 1930.)  Courage’s score for “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, in which the Enterprise encounters strange forces at the edge of the galaxy, offers a new primary theme for the show, repeating a four note sequence twice.  This score has a heavier feel to it, with a strong emphasis on the tragic elements of the story of unlimited ESP powers absolutely corrupting Gary Mitchell until the new Captain Kirk has no choice but to destroy him.  Again, a crucial cue is included for the new collection:  the ‘Situation Grave’ fight cue which takes the original main theme from “The Cage” and surrounds it with an action motif.  (The approach overall is not surprising, given that the first pilot was rejected for being “too cerebral” and the order for the second pilot was based on having something with more action and less fantasy.)



Disc Two:  Alexander Courage:  “The Man Trap” (35:20), “The Naked Time” (34:44) (And trailer music for “The Man Trap” and “Mudd’s Women”) (Disc includes Main and End Titles – electric violin version) (Total Disc Time: 70:07)


The second disc covers the remaining two scores written by Courage during his “Star Trek month” in August 1966, as he put it in an interview back in 1992 for the GNP release that year.   Throughout both scores, Courage provided plenty of cues for shots of the Enterprise in space, as well as dramatic ones to set up the act breaks.  “The Man Trap” is an eerie score, with most cues tending toward the creepier side, particularly the ones that use a subdued organ.  The primary driving theme is a three note ascending piece on electric violin to signify the otherworldliness of the salt vampire at the center of the story.  Some forum readers have already noted that this score has several openly creepy cues to follow the vampire’s stalking of her victims.  “The Naked Time” is a more varied score, including everything from driving action to wild fancy.  This is appropriate, given that the episode centers on a disease that reveals the innermost feelings of the crew.  The score hits its finest moments near the end in ‘Captain’s Wig’ and ‘The Big Go’, the former cue providing a poignant take on the main theme of the show, and the latter incorporating the “Where No Man Has Gone Before” theme in a totally new context.  Unfortunately, these scores would be the last time the series would see Alexander Courage for some time – a situation not helped by Gene Roddenberry’s addition of unnecessary lyrics to Courage’s main theme.  (There are different accounts of this, but the best one can be found in Herb Solow and Robert Justman’s excellent book, Inside Star Trek.  That, of course, allows for the fact that Justman’s account leaves out Courage’s later return to the series).  The second disc also includes music for a pair of trailers early in the first season.



Disc Three:  Fred Steiner:  “Charlie X” (24:40), “Mudd’s Women” (22:01), “The Corbomite Maneuver” (7:11), “Balance of Terror” (5:35), “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” (8:11)  (Disc includes Main and End Titles – cello version, and the Desilu ID by Wilbur Hatch)  (Total Disc Time: 68:04)


The third disc brings in the great work of Fred Steiner, who effectively completed the work started by Alexander Courage, to provide a musical backbone for the show.  Steiner expanded upon Courage’s main theme and in fact recorded a modified version of it for use over the main titles, and this is the first track on the disc.  Steiner’s first score, “Charlie X” is one of the more interesting ones in the series.  He contrasts some good expressions of the ship’s (and Captain Kirk’s) theme with a series of cues that express the angst of the title character – a teenager gifted with too much power for his limited maturity to handle.  (One can argue this is the same story as “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, but in this case the person with the power has no concept of what he is doing – he’s just a scared young man lashing out.)  This score ends with a dirge accompanied by a high-pitched whine, as Charlie is retrieved by the aliens who gave him his power.  Much of the music in “Charlie X” wound up being recycled throughout the rest of the series, as it applies in multiple other situations.  Steiner followed this with “Mudd’s Women”, a score that provides the first of Steiner’s melodies for women as seen in William Theiss’ beautiful costumes.  Steiner adds a few tension cues, a comical cue for scoundrel Harry Mudd’s antics, and a drawn-out, suspense motif for the effects of Mudd’s “Venus Drug”.   Again, much of the music of the score wound up in other episodes throughout the series.  The next three episodes represented here are partial scores, in which Steiner was providing specific cues to fit moments that the existing library could not accommodate.  For “The Corbomite Manuever”, Steiner provides a variation on the main theme, going up and down the scale, which serves in a variety of ways.  In the first iteration, with an alternating rhythmic accompaniment, the theme describes both a dangerous rotating cube and then the gigantic Fesarius ship, which dwarfs the Enterprise in much the same way as Vejur would in The Motion Picture.  In another iteration, Steiner plays the theme in an unsettling, almost ghoulish manner as the scary Balok image appears on the ship’s screen.  In the final iteration, Steiner plays the theme in the most childlike of settings, appropriate for the revelation of the real Balok as a very small and friendly alien (played by Clint Howard).   For “Balance of Terror”, Steiner creates a kind of inversion of the main theme, to play as the martial theme of the Romulans.  This theme is played both in action beats as the Romulan ship attacks and maneuvers, and in quieter beats as the Romulan Commander plots his next moves.  A quotation of the Bridal Chorus (‘Here Comes the Bride’) is used in the first act of the episode as a wedding aboard the episode, which Kirk as ship’s captain dutifully presides over, is interrupted by a red alert. This classic episode, effectively a submarine cat and mouse tale, deploys music expertly to fuel the tension and keep the viewers on edge.  For “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”, Steiner creates a new ravishing theme for the latest female character, android Andrea (Sherry Jackson) and a menacing one for hulking killer android Ruk (Ted Cassidy).  Again, all of these themes would be recycled many times throughout the following seasons.  The third disc concludes with Wilbur Hatch’s Desilu ID stamp, heard on the show throughout the first two seasons.



Disc Four:  Sol Kaplan: “The Enemy Within” (22:58), Joseph Mullendore: “The Conscience of the King” (28:51), Gerald Fried: “Shore Leave” (20:34)  (Total Disc Time:  72:36)


The fourth disc brings in three other scores written for the first season.  The first one, Sol Kaplan’s work for “The Enemy Within” (in which a transporter accident splits the Captain into his positive and negative aspects) assembles a series of cues that juxtapose brutal, percussive pieces for the negative side, and more plaintive ones for the positive side.  Kaplan has long been cited for the intelligence of his writing, but there’s a definite emotional quality to his work.  The cues from this score would be used throughout the first season, usually to spotlight moments of extreme danger or high emotion.  “Arena” is one episode that made tremendous use of the cues, playing the negative ones for shots of the Gorn.  “The City on the Edge of Forever” also made use of the same cues, this time to background shots of the crazed McCoy.  Joseph Mullendore’s rich score for “The Conscience of the King” comes next, covering an openly tragic story about a mass murderer hiding in plain sight as a traveling actor.  While this score contains several cues that are stylized for the Shakespearean theme of the episode, there are multiple dramatic cues that would find use elsewhere in multiple episodes.  Mullendore’s romantic theme for Lenore would find an arguably better use as a theme for Edith Keeler in “The City on the Edge of Forever.”  The last score on the disc is Gerald Fried’s romp through “Shore Leave”, in which he provides a widely varied and almost completely upbeat score for a situation where the crew beams down to an amusement park planet.  Key moments include the Irish-flavored jig written for Kirk’s old school nemesis Finnegan, and the nasty fight that develops between the men.  And there’s also another love theme, this time for Kirk’s old flame Ruth.  As before, these cues would find use in multiple other episodes – Ruth’s themes would play out again in “This Side of Paradise” for the one real love story ever done for Spock.  As Fried points out in the notes, this score was a kind of audition for him, as it led directly to him scoring three key episodes for the second season.



Disc Five:  Fred Steiner: “The City on the Edge of Forever” (10:38), Assorted Library Cues, Source Cues, Alternates and Sound Effects  (Disc includes 2006 Main Title Re-Recording – cello version) (Total Disc Time:  73:21)


The final disc of the first season rounds things out with a staggering 76 tracks.  First up is a 2006 re-recording of the main theme for the HD conversion of the series – this version using a cello.  Next is the partial score of nine cues written by Fred Steiner for the late first season episode “The City on the Edge of Forever”, thought to be the single best episode of the series.  The cues are mostly built around the period song “Goodnight Sweetheart” and build a sentimental mood around Edith Keeler before hitting more dramatic and tragic notes to indicate her fate.  The earlier cues of this score were not used in the episode and have never been released before.  Given how late this score was written in the season, this music may not have been recycled anywhere else in the series.  (It is a testament to the strength of this episode that the producers went ahead and paid for new music when they could have simply relied on their library at this point.)  A final note about this score – it’s the only one of the series preserved on stereo tape.  Next on the disc is a series of library cues, starting with some generic ones by Joseph Mullendore and Wilbur Hatch and continuing with a large spread of Fred Steiner cues from his scores, recorded separately as brief variations to be used in later episodes.  This is followed by source music of lyre playing and Nichelle Nichols’ singing from “Charlie X”, recorded live on the set.  A pair of alternate cues from “The Naked Time” and “Shore Leave” come next, followed by the harpsichord source music heard in “The Squire of Gothos.”  A musical guide track by Wilbur Hatch for Vina’s Dance in “The Cage” comes next, followed by a series of musical sound effects for the series.  Some of these effects became regular features on the show, including the sounds of the sickbay monitors and the transporter.  Other effects are unused alternates, rehearsals or outtakes.  The disc finishes up with a series of outtakes of the main theme and end title.




SEASON TWO

5 / 5


The scores for the second season flesh out the library with a healthy number of new and versatile cues, although the range isn’t quite as deep as that seen with the first season.  This year, the majority of the music comes from Gerald Fried, who contributes three scores to set the tone for the year, while Fred Steiner’s work once again serves to firm up the backbone of the series’ musical skeleton.  Sol Kaplan turns in a brilliant score that stands as one of the single greatest television soundtracks ever created.  George Duning contributes for the first time, bringing in two scores with a decidedly different emphasis than the other composers.  Jerry Fielding and Samuel Matlovsky each score a comedy for the series, although the former score is much more versatile.  And, in a development sure to surprise many fans, it turns out that Alexander Courage did return for one day to record some music for the second season, although not for any particular episode.



Disc One:  Gerald Fried:  “Catspaw” (32:36), “Friday’s Child” (24:13) (This disc also contains the “soprano” version of the Main and End Titles)  (Total Disc Time:  56:56)

 

Two Gerald Fried scores long sought-after by fans make their CD debut right here.  “Catspaw” was the first episode shot for the second season, and it was intended as the Halloween show, featuring the cast being menaced by witches, black cats and warlocks and appropriately airing on October 27, 1967.   “Catspaw” features multiple cues that would go on to see extensive use throughout the entire second season.   There’s a mystery-tinged theme as Kirk and company wander through fog to find their way to the inevitably evil castle.  The castle itself gets a simple, menacing theme.  “Catspaw” also introduces a two-part advancing theme for the business of the Enterprise, which in turn develops into a driving fight cue with a bit of a swing to it (‘Mace Fight’)  late in this episode.  (As aired, the fight cue was augmented with a stinger from the library cues of “Charlie X”, to punctuate Spock’s nerve pinch.)   Fried explores a palette of musical sounds that represented familiar sounds of Halloween, successfully so. There are also at least two act-out cues with a satisfying amount of brass that come right from this score – one is used in the first episode track on the disc as the teaser ending, and the other comes in the cue ‘Defeated Captain’.  (We should also note that a bouncy theme for the ship is also demonstrated in this score, but was not actually used in the episode as seen and heard by Star Trek fans.)  The second score here, for “Friday’s Child”, is another cornucopia of well-used second season musical cues.   This episode presents a scenario where Kirk, Spock and McCoy are trapped on a primitive planet and on the run for much of the time with a pregnant native woman, while Scotty and the ship are kept busy by Klingon deceptions.  Almost all of the act-outs from this episode get plenty of use throughout the year.  There’s one great act-out, ‘Call of Duty’ that shows Fried casually writing one of the best fly-bys for the Enterprise in the entire series, in addition to two other cues that probably top that in terms of underscoring opening or closing titles.   There are a series of cues written for the primitive culture of Capella, including a light theme for the quickly widowed wife of the leader.  The score does include some initial notions of a theme for the Klingons, but later episodes did not pick up on this idea.  The score winds up with a great climactic action moment in ‘Forfeit’, a cue that will be instantly recognizable to Star Trek fans.



Disc Two:  Gerald Fried:  “Amok Time” (32:46),  Sol Kapan:  “The Doomsday Machine” (31:51) (This disc also contains an enhanced stereo “soprano” version of the Main and End Titles.) (Total Disc Time: 64:45) 


The second disc presents the two most popular scores of the second season in a decidedly more complete form than was previously heard in the 1991 release, and in considerably better sound quality.  “Amok Time”, covering Spock’s return to Vulcan for a primitive marriage ceremony, is one of the most recognizable scores of the entire series, primarily due to the rollicking fight cues for the ritual combat between Spock and Kirk.  This is also the episode that introduces the bass theme for Spock that fans remember from both the second and third season.  This disc includes for the first time on CD, ‘More Soup’, which expresses the Spock theme in a much more plaintive fashion on cello.  Another cue in the score, ‘Contrary Order’ takes the two-part “ship’s business” theme from “Catspaw” and restages it on the lower part of the cello as Kirk pulls Spock off the bridge.  (That cue in the finished episode, we should note, also includes a timpani hit that was likely added in as an effect from another cue.)  This score wraps up Fried’s involvement with the second season of the show, although his cues from all three would wind up being repurposed many times over.  The second score on the disc is Sol Kaplan’s amazing work for “The Doomsday Machine” – a score that is arguably one of the single greatest pieces of television scoring ever written.  In one thirty-minute score, Kaplan manages to create a series of leitmotifs that instantly identify the Enterprise, the crippled Constellation, her crazed Commodore Decker, and a loud, driving theme filled with menace for the title weapon as it attacks both ships.  The closing action cue, ‘Kirk Does it Again’ is a really wonderful piece, ratcheting up tension while deliberately keeping all the motifs specific to their proper characters.  The driving rhythm of this cue, which builds from several earlier cues of menace from the planet killer, is an easy one to see as either a precursor for the main theme of Jaws or at least a very close cousin to it.  One can only wonder what other music Kaplan could have contributed to this series, if he had only had more time to do so.  One final note re “The Doomsday Machine”.  Some people have noticed a minor amount of intentional distortion on the higher end of several cues – this is something one wouldn’t have picked up on as readily were it not for the superior sound quality of the tracks as heard here.  The effect is a minor one, but it is clearly intended to help sell the size and menace of the planet killer.  As a point of reference, the effect is along the same lines as Howard Shore’s choice to record the scores for The Lord of the Rings in a large open space.



Disc Three:  Fred Steiner:  “Who Mourns For Adonais?” (29:07), “Mirror, Mirror” (13:59), “By Any Other Name” (12:28), “The Omega Glory” (2:01), Library Cue Re-Recordings from Season One Scores (14:24)  (Total Disc Time: 72:26)


This disc showcases Fred Steiner’s work for the second season, starting with the full score he created for “Who Mourns For Adonais?”.  This score actually recycles a few motifs from the first season, including specific material from “The Corbomite Maneuver” and “Mudd’s Women” as well as ‘Kirk’s Theme” from “Charlie X”.  But there is a host of new material in the score, including some appropriately grand and tragic music for Apollo and his inevitable fate.  The climactic duel between the Enterprise and Apollo is represented musically in a battle between the motifs for both ideas, with the fullest voice of Apollo’s theme giving way to a tragic aftermath.  Steiner followed this with a partial score for “Mirror, Mirror” in which the Romulan motif from “Balance of Terror” is recycled for use on the ISS Enterprise, the evil doppelganger of our familiar ship.  Steiner’s music also provides a romantic variation for the “captain’s woman” and a few other moments, but the main point of this music is to give the mirror ship an appropriate musical background.  Steiner’s partial score for “By Any Other Name” comes next.  This one mostly provides some new stingers and tension motifs for the Kelvans and their plot to reduce the Enterprise crew to little foam tetrahedrons.  The ‘Andrea’ music from “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” is recycled here to good use.   Steiner also prepared a few very brief cues of patriotic music for the unveiling of the US flag in “The Omega Glory”.  The remaining 16 cues on the disc are Library recordings done by Steiner specific to the second season – including brief motifs, playoffs and stingers from the second season scores, as well as a few re-recorded cues from his scores for “Charlie X” and “The Corbomite Maneuver.”



Disc Four:  George Duning: “Metamorphosis” (30:36), “Return to Tomorrow” (18:09), “Patterns of Force” (6:35),  Gerald Fried: “The Apple” (5:59), “Wolf in the Fold” (3:05)  (Total Disc Time:  64:51)


The fourth disc introduces experienced composer George Duning to the Star Trek universe.  First up is his lush, romantic score for “Metamorphosis”, which was actually the second score recorded for the season.  Duning creates a new series of fly-bys for the Enterprise, along with an openly romantic theme for the relationship between the alien cloud Companion and her human, the first iteration seen of Zefram Cochran.  There are a few action-oriented cues, designed around the moments when the Companion is angered or outraged, but these are far lighter than the strong action moments heard in the Fried, Kaplan or Steiner scores.   The second score on the disc is Duning’s partial score for “Return to Tomorrow” (although, to be fair, at 18 minutes, there’s a pretty solid amount of new music created for the episode).  This score features an expansive motif for the advanced spirits asking the Enterprise crew to host them while they create new bodies.  Unlike other episodes where the aliens simply take over, this one has the aliens asking for help and trying to work with the crew, thus taking the show and the music in a much more optimistic direction.  The cue for Kirk’s speech exhorting his officers to take part, ‘Kirk’s Philosophy’, sums up this approach with a big finish as Kirk wins everyone over.  Of course, when the spirit of Henoch turns out to be flat-out evil, Duning recycles a Fred Steiner motif for the Romulans/Mirror Enterprise – using the series’ own library to tell the audience in shorthand that something bad is happening.  The remainder of the tracks on the disc are unused Gerald Fried cues for the episodes “The Apple” and “Wolf in the Fold”.  The cues for the former are percussion tracks that were intended for the primitive people who feed Vaal, and the cue for the latter was intended to cover a belly dance on an alien planet.  As the liner notes point out, the belly dance was actually covered with ‘Vina’s Dance’ from the first pilot.   But it sounds very much like this was not a re-recorded cue done for the second season – but rather the original cue from the first season instead.



Disc Five:  Samuel Matlovsky: “I, Mudd” (17:50), Jerry Fielding:  “The Trouble With Tribbles” (12:05), Alexander Courage Library Cue Session (30:43) , Assorted Library Cues, Source Cues, Alternates and Sound Effects  (12:26)  (Disc includes 2006 Main Title Re-Recording – soprano version) (Total Disc Time:  73:26)


The final disc of the second season starts with another 2006 re-recording of the Main Title of the series, this one utilizing soprano Elin Carlson.  The disc continues with Samuel Matlovsky’s unique partial score for the comedy episode, “I, Mudd”.  This score is appropriate for the strange and absurd situations in the episode, as Harry Mudd confronts the Enterprise crew with a planet full of androids who wind up defeated by a devastating torrent of illogic.  This is a score that doesn’t find any recycling use elsewhere – or if it does, it’s so slight one wouldn’t notice.  As such, it’s an unusual score for the series.  Jerry Fielding contributed a more accessible partial score for “The Trouble with Tribbles”.  This one starts with a couple of unused source cues for the episode and then proceeds forward into several familiar motifs, including a light repeating cue for a standoff between tribble peddler Cyrano Jones and a bartender, a big fight cue (appropriately called ‘Big Fite’) and an instantly classic theme for Mr. Scott.  The first and last of these definitely found their way into multiple other scores.  On the other hand, at least one cue has a kind of “Here comes the Captain” comic theme as Kirk stomps into the station and then the storage area – which isn’t that noticeable during the episode but doesn’t play very well when heard on its own.  Fielding also created a unique theme for the tribbles themselves, using a trombone sound and then speeding it up to make a more high-pitched sound.   Next up on the disc is the true surprise of the season.  Where earlier published accounts stated that Alexander Courage had left the series after the first year and was not involved afterwards, the record actually shows that Courage returned to record about half an hour of library cues in a session in June 1967 that happened before any new scores were recorded for the second season.  Some of this music is library material from his first season scores, as well as from Steiner and Fried’s first season scores.  There’s a good pass at his ‘Captain’s Wig’ cue, now retitled ‘Mr. Spock’, which finds use in multiple episodes including “Amok Time”, “The Doomsday Machine” and “The Ultimate Computer”.  There’s a good re-thinking of ‘Situation Grave’, now retitled ‘Fight on Captain’s Theme’, which pops up in multiple episodes – particularly “Mirror, Mirror” and “Journey to Babel”.  The other cues are actually new library cues composed by Courage for whatever use the producers thought best.  Several are quite recognizable, as they were indeed used.  ‘Ship in Orbit’ certainly got used for fly-bys, while ‘Sad and Thoughtful on Captain’s Theme’ got a showcase during Kirk’s closing argument in “Mirror, Mirror”.  The rest of the disc is taken up with a series of alternate takes, outtakes and source music from various episodes.  A sweetener is included for a neck pinch seen in “Catspaw”, but this is not what was used in the episode.  (The actual moment, in the middle of the ‘Mace Fight’ cue, just plugs in a stinger from “Charlie X” when the neck pinch happens.)  Alternate takes are presented from “Amok Time”, The Doomsday Machine”, “Metamorphosis”, “I, Mudd” and “The Trouble with Tribbles”.  A demonstration is provided of how the trombone sounds were adjusted to make the tribble theme for “The Trouble with Tribbles” by playing a cue of that without the trombone being sped up.  An unused tribble sound effect created by Matlovsky is included in this pile.  The final batch of tracks are some source music created by Gerald Fried for “Amok Time”, including the momentary lyre plucking before Spock smashes his tabletop screen, and the musical sounds of the gong, bells and chimes at the marriage site.  The disc wraps up with the audio of the small orchestra rehearsing ‘Contrary Order’ with Fried for the “Amok Time” score.



SEASON THREE

4 / 5


With the third season, the scores reflect an inevitable drop in the series’ quality.  While there are several great scores in the mix, there are three that have very limited re-use potential, and one episode that features some very dated (and very bad) 60s-style songs.  On the bright side, Alexander Courage does return to compose two new scores, Fred Steiner composes two excellent new scores, and George Duning provides two solid scores including both rousing action and inventive use of the organ.   There’s a fair amount of re-recorded library material included on the disc, and some of this material actually does find use during the third season.  But many of the library cues just don’t have the punch of the original recordings and it’s not a surprise to find out that many episodes were simply tracked with first and second season recordings to augment the new third season material.


Disc One:  Jerry Fielding:  “Spectre of the Gun” (26:10), Gerald Fried:  “The Paradise Syndrome” (37:58)  (Disc includes Main Title and End Title – stereo soprano version conducted by Wilbur Hatch) (Total Disc Time:  64:15)


The final season of the series starts its collection with another rendition of the series Main and End Titles, this time in native stereo in a soprano version conducted by Wilbur Hatch.  The first full score on the disc is Jerry Fielding’s specific work for “Spectre of the Gun”.  This is an unusual score, similar to Matlovsky’s work for “I, Mudd” in that the needs of the episode are so specific that it’s difficult to imagine other uses for most of the cues.  The starship fly-bys do pop up in other episodes, and a few moments of the climactic action moments find their way into tracked scores elsewhere, but much of the music does not translate.  The episode itself is an oddity – a deliberately abstract western with Kirk and company taking the place of the Clantons in the infamous gun battle at the O.K. Corral.  So the score is laced with many fun moments of mock-western musical vocabulary, including a harmonica.  This is definitely not your usual “Star Trek” score.  The second score on the disc is Gerald Fried’s final contribution to the series: “The Paradise Syndrome”.  It’s a lush piece of work, expanding on a much simpler theme from “Friday’s Child” to create an unexpectedly moving love theme as an amnesiac Kirk finds himself living in a Native American camp on a distant planet.  (This is the final episode of the series to feature location work, and the film ranch exteriors used are quite beautiful.  That location exists to this day and is relatively unchanged from when “Star Trek” filmed there.)  There’s a wistful feeling over the whole score, which feels about right given that the episode is mostly concerned with Kirk’s bout of the “Tahiti syndrome”.  (Of course, the episode has a major logic problem that the music can’t overcome, but that’s another story…)  Fried’s score includes a few classic starship fly-bys and a new pass at his ‘Spock’ theme from the second season.  The final cue of the episode, playing as Kirk watches his bride-for-the-episode die in his arms, has a satisfying weight to it, aided by a low-end hit at the moment of her death.  Some of the music from this score would be re-used by later third season episodes, but much of this is, like Fielding’s work on the other score here, very difficult to translate into other situations.



Disc Two:  Fred Steiner:  “Elaan of Troyius” (31:05), “Spock’s Brain” (31:45), Library Cues from these two episodes (12:51)   (Total Disc Time: 75:50)


The second disc covers the remaining two scores written by Fred Steiner for the series, along with a batch of library cues from those scores that he recorded within his sessions.  Both scores play well for their individual episodes, but also have plenty of use for other situations, leading to the motifs here being repurposed for the entire rest of the season.  “Elaan of Troyius” develops a martial theme for the title character, a spoiled warrior princess being conveyed by the Enterprise to her arranged marriage as a way of ending their war.  Shades of “Taming of the Shrew” mixed with “Helen of Troy” run through the story as well as the music.  Steiner creates several menacing cues for Elaan’s evil bodyguard and even for Elaan herself before she melts both herself and Kirk, leading to a more romantic idea spinning off of the same motif.  Steiner also develops a full theme for the Klingons – appropriate for an episode that was designed to be the first one to let the viewer see Matt Jeffries’ new Klingon cruiser model.  The episode builds to a space combat sequence that allows Steiner to play several cues of battle music, the first parts of which wind up in multiple episodes afterward.  The most sweeping sequence, however, seems to be unique to this episode.  The second episode on the disc, “Spock’s Brain”, is notorious for being one of the silliest ideas of the entire series.  The plot has Kirk and the gang chasing a mysterious woman back to her planet after she steals the title item, and as one might imagine, hijinks ensue…  Ironically, Fred Steiner’s score for that episode is actually one of his very best for the series.  The score builds on a motif for the woman, Kara, adding in several different ideas – a pair of brooding tension cues as Kirk and McCoy realize what has happened, a menacing strings cue for the surface of Kara’s planet, and several of Steiner’s greatest act-outs.  Possibly the single best act-out of the series is in this score, as a newly intelligent Kara (don’t ask) pulls a phaser on Kirk.  Nearly every episode for the rest of the series would feature that act-out somewhere.   The disc concludes with the series of brief library renditions of key cues as conducted by Steiner.  Unlike earlier seasons, Steiner was not asked back after these sessions to create any further music, so his tenure on the show ended as of August 1968.



Disc Three:  Alexander Courage:  “The Enterprise Incident” (37:56), “Plato’s Stepchildren” (28:06), “Whom Gods Destroy” (1:44), Hatch/Robertson/Heinemann/Napier: “The Way to Eden”  (8:15)  (Disc includes Main Title and End Title – mono soprano version, conducted by Wilbur Hatch) (Total Disc Time: 76:21)


The third disc presents the return of Alexander Courage to the series, notably at a time when Gene Roddenberry was no longer directly involved as much.  Courage provides two new full scores for unusual episodes which would nevertheless provide plenty of trackable cues for the rest of the year.  “The Enterprise Incident” includes some shimmering fly-by music to start with and end with, but almost immediately gets into a deliberately sour version of the main theme – specifically to showcase the idea of Kirk having gone a bit mentally irregular as he orders the ship into Romulan space for no reason.  As the Enterprise is quickly surrounded in ‘Aberrated Captain’, Courage develops a new four-note theme for the Romulans, which is repeated throughout the episode.  Courage also develops a vaguely exotic/romantic theme for the female Romulan Commander who is distracted enough by Spock not to notice that Kirk is stealing their cloaking device right out from under them.  Multiple cues of the Commander’s scenes, along with various action cues, would be happily put to use elsewhere in the third season.  “Plato’s Stepchildren” is a more unusual affair, underscoring Kirk and company’s position as pawns in the hands of the decadent Platonians, who dress and act in the manner of Ancient Greece.  One motif, repeated throughout the episode to show the use of telekinetic power, is actually lifted from an appropriate moment in “Where No Man Has Gone Before”.  This episode also features strange moments as the Platonians force Kirk and Spock to dance and sing, resulting in some source cuing here – including Leonard Nimoy’s own composition “Maiden Wine”.  (Hearing that material should be enough to conjure images of Arthur Fonzarelli doing the waterski jump over the shark…)  The disc also includes a quick exotic dance cue recorded by Courage for a moment in “Whom Gods Destroy”.  One other note needs to be made here regarding Courage’s third season work.  An internet rumor has made the rounds for the past decade or so, stating that these scores were written by a man named Scott Huston.  La-La Land Records has gone through the actual scoring sheets to prove that they were written in Alexander Courage’s hand – meaning that the Huston internet rumor is just that.  There is no doubt that the above scores were composed and conducted by Alexander Courage.  The final 8 minutes of the disc are taken up with another candidate for worst episode of the series:  “The Way to Eden”, in which the ship is taken over by a group of space hippies looking for a planet called Eden.  Where earlier seasons had late episodes requiring some new scoring, this one had an episode requiring several contemporary songs as Adam the space hippy sings the classics ‘Hey Out There’ and ‘Headin’ Out to Eden’.  The lyrics come from the episode’s writer, Arthur Heinemann with music by guitarist Craig Robertson and Wilbur Hatch and singing usually done by actor Charles Napier.  (One wonders if Hannibal Lecter knew about this work when he flayed Napier in Silence of the Lambs…)  When one sees a track entitled ‘Far Out Jam’ and has to listen to what’s on it, two thoughts come to mind.  One is that the music is horribly, horribly dated.  Two is that if the shark hadn’t been jumped with the Platonian antics, it certainly got jumped here.



Disc Four:  George Duning: “Is There in Truth No Beauty” (36:39), “The Empath” (32:24),  Ivan Ditmars:  “Requiem for Methuselah” (4:37)  (Total Disc Time:  73:53)


The fourth disc is almost completely devoted to two full third season scores by George Duning, both recorded on the same day, and both of which make extensive use of a Yahama organ, albeit for different purposes.  “Is There in Truth No Beauty?” is a combination of soap opera dramatics and ship-in-danger theatrics, as the Enterprise is taken out of the galaxy by ship designer Larry Marvick after he’s rejected by Miranda, a fellow passenger on the latest assignment.  The kicker is that a third passenger, Kolos, is an intelligent but outwardly hideous creature kept inside a lead container, and if anyone actually looks directly at him without a visor, they go insane.   Duning initially uses the organ to build an atmosphere of mystery around Kolos and Miranda, and the strings to build a romantic atmosphere around Miranda.  Notably, Duning makes use of the opening of Gerald Fried’s ‘Spock’ music at several key points here.  When Marvick goes insane and wreaks havoc, Duning builds several strong action cues, culminating in a wild flash of brass and organ as the ship warps out of the galaxy.  The score actually works as a source of multiple cues heard throughout the third season and is overall the most successful one in Duning’s work on the series.  “The Empath” is also a strong score, but it is focused almost completely on the title character, the mute woman Gem whose healing ability is being tested by aliens who have captured Kirk and company.  Gem’s theme is beautifully presented on the organ and strings, but it’s so specific that the only other episode where it features as prominently is “Requiem for Methuselah”.  Duning once again uses the opening notes of Fried’s ‘Spock’ theme at key moments in the episode.  The last few minutes on the disc are taken up with two passes by Ivan Ditmars at a piano waltz designed to sound like the work of Brahms for “Requiem for Methuselah”.



Disc Five:  George Duning: “And the Children Shall Lead” (36:56),  Season Three Library Music Session, Conducted by Wilbur Hatch (25:40),  Season Three Library Music by Gerald Fried (7:41), Season Three Library Music by George Duning (0:30),  Alternate Scoring for various episodes (1:48),  Wilbur Hatch:  “The Savage Curtain” (2:22) and Paramount Television ID (0:05) (Disc also includes 2006 Re-Recording of Main Title – Third Season soprano version, and a Hatch recording of the End Title with soprano and an alternate ending)  (Total Disc Time:  76:18)


The final disc of the set starts off with the final re-recording of the series Main Title done in 2006, this one using soprano Elin Carlson again but doing the third season version.  Next up is the first score George Duning wrote for the third season, this one for “And the Children Shall Lead”.  While this score has a few fly-bys and mood pieces that would be repurposed for other episodes, a fair amount of the music has specific application for the title children, whose guardian angel “Gorgon” is empowering them to take over the Enterprise.  (When you look over the history of the series, the Enterprise sure gets taken over a lot, doesn’t it?)  Multiple orchestra hits followed by light percussion get used to score various moments when the kids pump their fists and manipulate the Enterprise crew.  These cues do get used later in the season when Commissioner Bele takes over the computer in “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”, but much of the music, including the white noise used to herald the appearance of the Gorgon, is just too specific to apply to later episodes.  It’s a good score, but not one that really announces itself like the work of Gerald Fried and Sol Kaplan in earlier episodes.  We should note that with this score plus the ones found on Disc Four, George Duning actually recorded more score material than any other third season composer.   One would have expected his music to be prominent, in the same way that Courage and Fried’s music were in their respective seasons.  But Duning’s scores weren’t as prominent – partly due to this score not being as applicable, and partly due to Duning’s work tending to be less bombastic.  The next half hour of the disc is taken up with an extensive library cue session conducted by Wilbur Hatch in late June 1968, mostly covering early first season score selections but also getting in a few second season cues by Gerald Fried.  Some of the performances would indeed be used in third season episodes, especially the re-recordings of “The Man Trap” cues replacing the earlier electric violin with a soprano voice, which wound up in “That Which Survives”.  But many of the other performances here are simply not up to the level heard in the earlier sessions, which would explain why the new performances were mostly sidestepped.  Third season episodes tended to actually use the library music from the earlier seasons rather than the specified session from the current season that union rules required them to use.  A few minutes of library music cues actually conducted by Gerald Fried and George Duning are also included here, although the Fried cues were not actually used in third season episodes as far as can be discerned.  Just under two minutes of alternate scoring moments for scores by Duning, Fielding and Courage are also included here.  The disc concludes with music by Wilbur Hatch.   About two minutes of patriotic music are here from “The Savage Curtain”, designed as piped-in music played when Abraham Lincoln is beamed aboard.  The final moments of the disc are an alternate version of the End Titles as recorded by Hatch for the third season, and Hatch’s badge ID for Paramount Television, as heard at the very end of third season episodes’ end credits.





The Sound

5/5


Star Trek: The Original Series Soundtrack Collection presents what are now 40+ year-old tapes in as close to pristine condition as one could imagine possible.  The sound quality is greatly improved over that heard in the prior GNP Crescendo releases, particularly when it comes to the original pilot scores, which show off a great sonic range.  Some moments of distortion have been discussed as regards “The Doomsday Machine”, but these are intentional and not anything that detracts from the experience.  There are moments where things get a bit hissier or have a bit more high end, such as the very end of “Charlie X” are part of the nature of those recordings. It’s clear from listening to these discs that La-La Land Records has really taken pains to make sure these tapes sound as clear as possible. 



Final Thoughts


Star Trek: The Original Series Soundtrack Collection is a major holiday gift for fans of the original Star Trek series, albeit an expensive one.  Fans that have searched for many years for this music finally have a way to hear it in the best way possible.  La-La Land Records has assembled the scores in a satisfying and thorough manner, and included not only extensive notes by Jeff Bond but also comprehensive lists of the musicians involved with each session, wherever possible.  This complete collection represents a holy grail of soundtrack wonder, featuring the extraordinary talents of composers like Courage, Fielding, Steiner and Fried.  These scores demonstrate the intrinsic value of compositions for television:  music with identity and personality, music that delivers a thematic sense of place and character as well as a high-quality compositional tapestry.  The music is also a peek into the time it was produced.  Listen to George Brun’s terrific score for The Jungle Book (1967) or Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter’s wonderful score for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) and compare that with what you find on any one of the 15 discs available in this set.  The quality of work is among the finest from that decade – and can rival what has been produced since.  There has been great music born from the subsequent Star Trek series, notably the contributions of Ron Jones from the early seasons of The Next Generation (and for which a magnificent boxset of music has been released courtesy of Film Score Monthly).  We should also note some of Jay Chattaway and Dennis McCarthy’s contributions in episodes like The Next Generation’s “The Inner Light” and Deep Space Nine’s “The Visitor”. But nothing has the vibrancy, distinctiveness or flourishing creativity of The Original Series music.


If there is a caution here, it is that the price tag may simply be too much for many people, and understandably so.  This is a case where there isn’t an option to just buy one or two bottles of milk – you really do need to buy the whole cow, and the overall price isn’t cheap, given that this is a collection of fifteen CDs.  Taken as an average over that number of CDs and the sheer time volume of the music, the price is actually reasonable, but it might not be a bad idea to save up the funds over a few months to pick it up.  At a unit volume of 6000, this should be around for long enough for fans to pick it up as they are able to do so.  Obviously, more casual fans are not about to spend this much on a single purchase, but one would think the older releases would do for them.  This new release is clearly and appropriately for fans who are intent on finally getting to hear all the music from the series, secured and produced by dedicated fans at La-La Land Records and beyond.  And this release is a terrific way for the fans to finally hear Star Trek, including so much music that hasn’t been heard in decades, or in some cases, ever.  This release is Highly Recommended.



Overall (Not an average)

5/5



Kevin Koster

With contributions by Neil Middlemiss

December 23, 2012

(And this may be a Home Theater Forum first – two reviewers collaborating cross-country on a single review.  Of course, it is a review of a 15 disc set…)





#2 of 21 Radioman970

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Posted December 23 2012 - 06:32 AM

For the fan who has everyhthing.
Silly Party Candidate:  Tarquin Fin- tim- lim- bim- whin- bim- lim- bus- stop- F'tang- F'tang- Olè- Biscuitbarrel

 


#3 of 21 Carabimero

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Posted December 23 2012 - 08:36 AM

An epic review to match an epic set. Thanks for writing it.

#4 of 21 RickER

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Posted December 23 2012 - 09:42 AM

Thanks for a great review Kevin. I of course already own this set. Reading the review made me have to listen to some of it again, right now, as a matter of fact. For anyone on the fence, not that my opinion matters, the set was worth every penny. Thanks again Kevin, and to the guys at LaLa land who worked on it!

#5 of 21 Ted Van Duyn

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Posted December 24 2012 - 01:31 AM

Own it, ripped it and listened to all of it. Wow. These past three years have been a tremendous time for Star Trek Scores. What first started out as just an expended release of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan has now grown into complete score releases for all the films (exception of Insurrection and Nemesis), Ron Jones TNG music, LaLa Land's TNG Vol. 1 and now this. If they could only find the music tapes for the Animated Series, we will have all the music from the classic Trek run!

#6 of 21 Neil Middlemiss

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Posted December 24 2012 - 01:55 AM

For those interested in picking this set up, here is a link to the La-La Land Records page and another for the fine folks at Screen Archives Records. I have purchased from both and have been delighted each time.



Here is picture of the unboxed set from LLL showing it off in all its glory!





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#7 of 21 bryan4999

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Posted December 24 2012 - 04:46 AM

Thank you so much for this wonderfully in-depth review. I am finding it very informative as I listen to the music, which, in this busy time, is taking a while to do. (I must say the anticipation is delightful.)

#8 of 21 Kevin EK

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Posted December 24 2012 - 06:45 AM

I want to make sure people are aware of Neil's participation with this review.  He contributed in a significant manner, putting in plenty of his own material, and correcting several of my errors.


We actually passed the review back and forth a couple of times across the country before posting here.

I'm happy we were able to collaborate.


Thank you Neil.



#9 of 21 Lou Sytsma

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Posted December 25 2012 - 05:09 AM

Thanks Kevin & Neil. You both went beyond the rim of the galaxy and back again for this review. This is the premiere set of TV scoring. My set is waiting for me when I get back from vacation. Your review is an excellent bridge - and anticipation builder - until then. Thanks for all your hard work putting this informative article together!
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#10 of 21 Nelson Au

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Posted December 26 2012 - 06:27 PM

Really big effort doing this review guys! I'm still making my way through the set. There's a ton of material, so it's an impressive effort to review it. While it is pricy, it's a no brainier for the dedicated fan!

#11 of 21 Harry-N

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Posted January 02 2013 - 07:39 AM

Great review of a great set. I've been very happy with it since it arrived.


One thing that was mentioned but could use a little more emphasis is the dynamic range of the music presented here. Fans are, of course, well familiar with much of this material from its use and reuse in the series in its constant and frequent runs and reruns. But this set provides us with the music as - MUSIC. It's got a wide dynamic range that we don't get to hear on the TV show. Gentle melodies build to a crescendo, and loud, booming battle music fades to quiet reflection.

In the TV series, the music was often padded down to allow dialog to be heard and understood, so by listening to the same cues on this set, one gets to hear how dynamic it really is.


STAR TREK LIVES! - and this set is the proof.


Harry


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#12 of 21 Jonathan Perregaux

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Posted January 07 2013 - 09:39 AM

After listening to almost the entire collection (it's taking awhile driving back and forth from work), I have to say if you love Star Trek's music and you hate having money in your pocket, then this set is EXTREMELY MEGA RECOMMENDED. It's got everything, even the "cop show" like music that was almost used for the second pilot, Where No Man Has Gone Before. Everything sounds incredible, even "The Cage," which to me sounded pretty shrill on earlier releases but is much warmer here.
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#13 of 21 Kevin EK

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Posted January 07 2013 - 10:26 AM

Having just watched "Catspaw" again last night, I should amend my earlier notes to say that the bouncy starship theme does pop up a couple of times over the course of the episode.  But the big title shot after the teaser uses the Alexander Courage "Ship in Orbit" theme.  There's also an extended cue for the reveal of the castle which was mostly dialed out in favor of using the zombie music from later cues.



#14 of 21 bluelaughaminute

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Posted April 19 2014 - 03:19 PM

I ordered this within seconds of it being available because I wondered how long it would be before it was unavailable. I'm truly stunned to find that 16 months after release that it is still for sale.

So there are not 6000 fans around the world who love the music enough to buy this admittedly expensive item.

The music , specially the first season is the soundtrack to my life so I couldn't miss out on it but I am amazed that from the millions and millions of fans around the world there's not enough to make this  item sell out within days.

 

It's a breathtaking collection sitting nicely on my PS3 hard drive where I even have a Star Trek Playlist with  all  my favourite tracks.

Thanks to everyone who worked on it . It's worth every penny.



#15 of 21 Jason_V

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Posted April 20 2014 - 10:08 AM

I think it is the price point, plus the shipping, that keeps people away. This is chunk of change for most people.

 

It turned out to be a good thing for me since I just got mine last week. 



#16 of 21 bluelaughaminute

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Posted May 02 2014 - 02:18 PM

When you consider the vast sums that certain fans will pay for the most bizarre things connected to Trek its still hard to believe a quality item like this hasn't sold out .

So many iconic tracks .

It's not as if cheaper versions will ever be available . Once this is gone access to some of the best tv series music ever will go with it.

Yes it is expensive but as all the reviews point out , its 15 discs so on a per disc basis its not too bad really .

Every so often I'll switch the amp to 7 channel stereo and just sit and wallow in musical heaven.

I was 6 when I first saw Trek and some of the music takes me back to that time - while others I've grown to love over the years.

Upon reading reviews I was very surprised to hear that the single best bit of music from The Cage was not included on vinyl or even earlier cd versions. 

 

I do hope the seemingly long time that the set is taking to sell out is not a disappointment to those who produced it .

I wonder how long they thought it would take to sell all 6000.



#17 of 21 Neil S. Bulk

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Posted May 12 2014 - 07:32 PM

In a move not typical in the world of the specialty soundtrack retailers, La-La Land Records announced this set in August 2012, several months before the release of the set to gauge interest in it. The 6,000 units was picked do to the amount of feedback received.

 

But I'm glad to see so many people are enjoying this set. Tell your friends about it!


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#18 of 21 bluelaughaminute

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Posted May 13 2014 - 01:03 PM

Would you say that a lot who gave positive feedback before the release didn't come through with a purchase once it was available?

 

How long was it expected to be on sale before it was sold out ?  



#19 of 21 Neil S. Bulk

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Posted May 13 2014 - 01:18 PM

I have no idea about those details.



#20 of 21 bryan4999

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Posted May 22 2014 - 07:46 AM

When you consider the vast sums that certain fans will pay for the most bizarre things connected to Trek its still hard to believe a quality item like this hasn't sold out .

So many iconic tracks .

It's not as if cheaper versions will ever be available . Once this is gone access to some of the best tv series music ever will go with it.

Yes it is expensive but as all the reviews point out , its 15 discs so on a per disc basis its not too bad really .

Every so often I'll switch the amp to 7 channel stereo and just sit and wallow in musical heaven.

I was 6 when I first saw Trek and some of the music takes me back to that time - while others I've grown to love over the years.

Upon reading reviews I was very surprised to hear that the single best bit of music from The Cage was not included on vinyl or even earlier cd versions. 

 

I do hope the seemingly long time that the set is taking to sell out is not a disappointment to those who produced it .

I wonder how long they thought it would take to sell all 6000.

 

Which track is it that you are referring to? Thanks!







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