City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

The Star Trek Album

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Silva Records' collection of music written for the various film, television, and video properties that make up the Star Trek franchise (performed, as usual for Silva, by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra) suggests a division between two composers not unlike that in the James Bond film franchise between Monty Norman, who wrote the original theme, and John Barry, who has done much of the scoring. In the case of Star Trek, that division is between Alexander Courage, who wrote the theme for the original 1960s television series, and Jerry Goldsmith, who wrote the music for the first film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, in 1979. And, as with the Bond films, in which, while Norman always gets his due, Barry really rules the roost, in the Star Trek galaxy, Courage gets repeated nods while Goldsmith is the real power. That's a shame, really. Courage's fruity theme is a triumph of '60s exotica, with its jazz elements and otherworldly female ululations. It's a throwback to the cheesy science-fiction films of the '50s. Goldsmith, on the other hand, contributed a big, showy march to the first film, its chief influence being John Williams' Star Wars music. As this album demonstrates, Goldsmith's successors, James Horner, Leonard Rosenman, Cliff Eidelman, and Dennis McCarthy, have always kept him in mind, but have recalled Courage only occasionally. And Goldsmith himself has stepped back in here and there, returning for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and handling the eighth, ninth, and tenth films, as well as one of the later TV series (Star Trek: Voyager). There is plenty of enjoyable film music here that will remind the Star Trek fan of favorite moments. But there is also aural evidence of how far Star Trek journeyed from its original form, and not necessarily for the better.

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