On Space 3: Beyond the Final Frontier, the third release in a series following Space and Beyond and Alien Invasion - Space and Beyond 2, the City of Prague Philharmonic, under the direction of Paul Bateman and Nic Raine, still manages to find plenty of film scores from science-fiction films to adapt for its purposes. This is a varied set, ranging from space adventures like Star Trek and Star Wars to horror films like Aliens and even comedies like Ghostbusters. If there is anything that ties the music together, it's that there is a convention for using full orchestras to convey the wonders of space (though in these arrangements, sometimes the soundtrack versions have been expanded from their more modest original instrumentation). Space may be silent, but space movies are anything but. That said, much of this music is not unlike what one hears in cues for other kinds of films, from calm, meditative passages to stirring sections signaling danger. Working with some recent film scores, the producer and arranger/conductors in some cases have encountered music deliberately written in an existing space tradition. For example, David Newman's music for Galaxy Quest, arranged here into a seven-minute suite, consciously recalls the music from Star Trek, just as the film is a send-up of the Star Trek phenomenon, and Bruce Broughton's end-titles music to the Lost in Space film seems to deliberately call upon every possible orchestral cliché derived from predecessors like Star Wars. The most fun music comes from the older films, such as Henry Mancini's cheesy score for the cheesy 1950s movie It Came From Outer Space, complete with a spooky theremin (or something that sounds like one), a sound similar to that in Alexander Courage's original Star Trek theme, which appears at its original rapid tempo in a suite from the TV episode "The Menagerie" that is the one track performed here by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. Some of the best music comes in a sequence at the start of disc two dubbed "Journeys into Space," especially with Peter Schickele's "The Space Fleet" from Silent Running and Barry Gray's music for Journey to the Far Side of the Sun. Excellent sequencing, along with surprising choices of excerpts, make for a highly listenable album. Who would have supposed that a grouping of music from the recent meteor-disaster movies Deep Impact and Armageddon could be so pleasant? But if the collection spotlights any one composer as a new master of the science-fiction score, it is Don Davis, whose "Anything Is Possible" from The Matrix captures the feel of that remarkably inventive film. With two sequels in the works, that gives film score fans something to look forward to. And can a Space 4 be far behind?
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann