Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Guide to Star Trek: The Motion Picture: The Soundtrack

UPDATE: La-La Land Records and Sony Music have released the entire, complete score, including many outtakes, sought after alternate versions of the classic main theme and even tests of the blaster beam!  Its all on an outstanding 3-disc set, which can be bought from Screen Archives Entertainment here.

For years I've heard many things about Jerry Goldsmith's score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  It was written in 1979 when he had written another masterful science fiction score for Ridley Scott's Alien.  No doubt the score here is a masterpiece, yet its had an, as yet, unfulfilled history in the soundtrack market.  I want to take the time here to write and make note of the different soundtrack releases as well as pointing out those cues unreleased as of now.  So this is for all you die hard fans of this score:

The 1979 LP and 1986 CD release:

1. Main Title/Klingon Battle
2. Leaving Drydock
3. The Cloud
4. The Enterprise
5. Ilia's Theme
6. Vejur Flyover
7. The Meld
8. Spock's Walk
9. End Title

For the 1999 edition several unreleased tracks(*) were included, the tracks were organized in film order and the Main Title and Klingon Battle were split into separate tracks but still linked in the mix.

20th Anniversary Collector's Edition:

1. Ilia's Theme
2. Main Title
3. Klingon Battle
4. Total Logic*
5. Floating Office*
6. The Enterprise
7. Leaving Drydock
8. Spock's Arrival*
9. The Cloud
10. Vejur Flyover*
11. The Force Field*
12. Games*
13. Spock's Walk
14. Inner Workings*
15. Vejur Speaks*
16. The Meld
17. A Good Start*
18. End Title

I've noted that The Meld is slightly shorter than on this release because it is part of the cue A Good Start.

Now, as for the cues that are still unreleased, I'll make a list of those below and the parts of the film in which they appear.  I will also point out the cues that have been released yet sound differently from their album counterparts as it seems certain alternate takes and different mixings of the Blaster Beam and other elements may have been used:

1. Klingon Battle: as the film opens on the V'ger cloud there is a slightly different sounding hit on the blaster beam, more pronounced than on the album.
2. There is a piece of music following the transporter disaster and continues as Kirk goes out into the corridor and meets Decker again.
3. Soon after there is a cue when Kirk shows the crew footage of the Klingon Ships being destroyed.
4. This is immediately followed by a dramatic scoring of the Epsilon 9's destruction.
5. A small cue follows this as Kirk orders the crew to prepare for countdown.
6. After the Enterprise launches Kirk makes a log entry and we hear Alexander Courage's original theme briefly.
7. When the Enterprise first tries warp drive, another, brief musical cue punctuates the scene.
8. After Spock arrives there is another reprise of the original theme begun with a low blaster beam to remind us of V'ger as Kirk makes another entry.
9. As the Enterprise successfully enters warp drive there is a fanfare of the main theme.
10. The 'Red Alert' scene as the Enterprise reaches the cloud is given a magnificent underscoring to express the awesome mystery of it.
11. The Cloud: As the V'ger ship is sighted there is a louder blaster beam and a more prominent organ used than on the album.
12. The Force Field:  There is a completely different opening of this cue with the blaster beam than that on the expanded album.  Near the end there is also a slightly different use of the beam.
13.  As the Ilia probe is found on the ship, there is a brief cue comprised of subdued versions of the V'ger theme.  This cue was used in the Director's Cut in the restored scene where Ilia stops Chekov's pain after he is burnt.
14. A reprise of Ilia's theme is cued as they examine the probe, surrounded by a softer variation of the blaster beam.
15. Another captain's log with the original theme, as Kirk and others watch Decker interacting with the probe.
16. Games: One very minor thing, as Spock knocks out the guard of the thrusters suits with a nerve pinch, on the album there is a 'zing' of sorts. It is removed in the film version. Also, as they put the headband on the Ilia probe, her theme is an alternate to what is used in the film.
17. Before 'Spock's Walk' in the film there is a rousing prelude to his excursion scoring Spock's preparation and a scene on the bridge.  This leads right into the cue as it occurs on the album.  Lastly, as Spock ejects the thruster, there is a more noticeable entry of the piano in the film.
18. There is an ominous cue as V'ger disables the Earth's defenses and launches several weapons against it.
19. A long continuation of this occurs as the Ilia probe requests Kirk to disclose the information and they are soon drawn into the maw of V'ger.
20. Inner Workings: This cue goes on longer than on the album as Kirk uncovers V'ger's full name.
21. V'ger Speaks: The music here goes on longer than on the album as well.  On the album the ending of V'ger Speaks was linked to The Meld.
22. The Meld: Only one change.  There is a straining of the blaster beam (I believe) as the Enterprise emerges from the V'ger ship's disintegration.

These are all the changes I could note.  Here's to a complete soundtrack release sometime in the near future!  

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