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Review: New ‘Music of Star Trek’ CD by Prague Philharmonic August 12, 2009

by John Tenuto , Filed under: Feature Films (TMP-NEM),Merchandise,Music,Review,Star Trek (2009 film),Trek on TV , trackback

There are occasionally Star Trek items under the radar, released with little fanfare or promotion, and this is certainly true of the new CD "The Music of Star Trek" performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra from Silva America. TrekMovie brings all the details in this review of what is an excellent addition to Trek music aficionado collections.

 

A good year for Trek music

After years of no new Star Trek music CDs, 2009 has been a banner time for Trek soundtracks. May’s score for "Star Trek by Michael Giachhino" from Varese Sarabande was joined in August by an "expanded soundtrack for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" from Film Score Monthly. Now, the world famous City of Prague Philharmonic (utilized often by Hollywood companies such as Lucasfilm and Paramount, and by directors such as David Lynch) brings a new compilation of Star Trek music from all versions of the franchise to fans in a brand new CD.

 

The Music of Star Trek, Performed by the Prague Philharmonic

There is much to like about this CD. It should be noted that I am a "Franchise Fan" who enjoys all versions of Star Trek, so what is essentially a "greatest hits" music collection from Star Trek 1966 to 2009 is enthusiastically welcomed indeed. Each film and live action show is represented by one selection, organized first by feature film (beginning with 1979′s The Motion Picture) then by television shows. 

Listening to the music historically provides various insights into the Star Trek musical scores. For example, the influence of James Horner’s nautical stylizations for TWOK and TSFS on the newest Star Trek 2009 score is evident in this collection. Giachinno’s "Hella Bar Talk/Enterprising Young Men" and its flavor, while distinct and original, certainly feels at home with Horner’s music.
The CD is replete with "End Titles" mostly because many of the films’ major themes are restated during end credits. While this means fans get to hear a nice variety of the major motifs and themes, it also means that fans hear the "TMP" fanfare often, especially on the Next Generation selections, before segueing to each film’s new music.

The composers from the City of Prague Philharmonic (plus composers for a few selections from different orchestras such as The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) tweak the musical arrangements on a few selections slightly. This is most noticeable with some additional drum work on "Bird of Prey Decloaks" from Star Trek III and the radically restylized theme to the TV show "Enterprise." In both instances, these arrangements are enjoyable.

The CD is especially nice for a variety of kind of fans. "Franchise fans" will certainly enjoy all the selections, yet so will new fans or those who are partial to a particular kind of Trek as all are represented. Indeed, while a fan may not like a particular film, the music is usually excellent. For example, I don’t really like Star Trek First Contact (mostly because every character, especially Picard, acts out of character). Yet Jerry Goldsmith’s music from First Contact is beautiful and enjoyable. This is why this CD is a suitable gift for nearly any fan because The Music of Star Trek introduces new fans and reintroduces previous fans to what is arguably some of the most exciting film music.

You can listen to samples and purchase
"The Music of Star Trek" at Amazon.com. The Music of Star Trek is available on CD and as a MP3 download:

Previous Trek Release from Prague Philharmonic

The City of Prague Philharmonic previously released a 2 CD The Star Trek Album in 2003. It includes many previously unreleased Star Trek music from the various television shows and even the video games, although neither Enterprise nor ST09 are included. This is also a recommended title and is available for $16.98 from Amazon, where you can also hear samples of the music.

 

Comments

1. DHorizon - August 12, 2009

Amazon.co.uk appears to have a two-disc version, with additional tracks.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Music-Star-Trek-Prague-Philharmoni/dp/B002IKKK8C/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1250092193&sr=1-2

2. Your Friendly Neighborhood Mobile Emitter - August 12, 2009

The UK version appears to recycle some tracks from “The Star Trek Album,” which this group released in 2003.

Still, it does have some new tracks, which may make it worthy of an MP3 download. Since it looks like we’ll never see it over here.

3. Zaphod - August 12, 2009

They really need to release the last few TOS scores (Friday’s Child springs to mind as a great one). I’d also like to see the Label X “Symphonic Suites” get a wider distribution again; those are fantastic.

4. CrazyQuark - August 12, 2009

Great, everytime a new movie comes out they release a new compilation album containing all the Main Themes. I’m the only one who would like to get more music from the television shows released? I would really love to have some music of TNG’s early seasons released and especially some of DS9′s, Voyager’s and ENT’s later seasons. And yeah, I wouldn’t mind more of TOS’ unreleased music either.

But it seems it’s more profitable to release these compilation albums which content everyone already have.

I really liked what Grescendo where doing on the 30th and 35th Anniversary on Star Trek, putting some previously unreleased music from all the TV shows on CD and I was hoping they would continue it on the 40th Anniversary, but nothing happened. Instead we get albums with the TMP-theme again and again and again.

5. Andy Patterson - August 12, 2009

Now you get me music from the original show (like your suggestion Zaphod) and maybe I’ll even fly to Prague to hear that in person. Some of their current selections I’m not interested in.

6. MvRojo - August 12, 2009

The UK version seems to be the best buy. It includes all the musical tracks from “The Star Trek Album” plus the new stuff for “The Music of Star Trek.” The only stuff not ported over is the sound effects tracks.

7. Thomas Jensen - August 12, 2009

We’d like to see a release of the remaining music from the original Star Trek. Much of the music from the third season is used by the New Voyages in their productions, these should also be released to the general public.

Some of this has been released, but there’s so much more!

Those classic scores should be shared with all of the fans who enjoy trek music.

8. AJ - August 12, 2009

4:

I assume you know GNP/Crescendo did release “Farpoint” (Dennis McCarthy) and “BOBW” (Ron Jones) amongst others from latter-day Trek.

I do not think that there is one “Power That Be” that determines what ST music to release. This one is an album ny the Prague Philharmonic, and it happens to be “Star Trek” film music.

9. RD - August 12, 2009

With all due respect, I hear absolutely no connection between Giancchino’s score and Horner’s score. They are as disparate in the Trek musical family tree as Goldsmith’s and Rosenman’s scores. If you like Giacchino’s score, you like it, but please don’t try to shoe-horn it into a franchise collection where it doesn’t fit.

10. Rocket Scientist - August 12, 2009

In your opinion.

I haven’t sat down to listen to all of these tracks, so I might even share that opinion, but that’s all it is.

11. screaming satellite - August 12, 2009

9 – i disagree there were a few times that the new score definatly sounded Horner-esque…

when Spock beams down to the disintergrating Vulcan there is a drum beat that sounds exactly the same as when the NCC 1701 begins its decent into the Genesis atmosphere and starts to burn up in Trek III

there were a few other things like that ….cant remember exactly

12. Jordan - August 12, 2009

Its also $10 on iTunes.

13. Paul B. - August 12, 2009

Thanks for the info on this new release!!! I’m listening to the samples on Amazon right now, and it sounds great. Might have to grab this one…

BTW, is it just me, or does the main theme from “The Voyage Home” sounds really Christmas-like? I love the music, but it’s always made me think of Christmas, with snow and sleighbells and the whole “white christmas” vibe.

Especially the “tinkly” parts between the main themes–xylophones or something?

Anyway, thanks for the heads-up on this release!!!

14. screaming satellite - August 12, 2009

13 – yeah i always thought that too…esp since it came out Xmas 86…

itd have been a nice touch had they made it that Kirk and Co arrived in San Fran at xmas 86 – christmas trees, snow in places, (instead of the summer?)

itd have been nice to have a star trek christmas movie to show on tv at xmas

15. toddk - August 12, 2009

please please please release all the music from the tv shows..i am on my knees…..

16. The TOS Purist aka The Purolator - August 12, 2009

Needs more TOS. As it is now, it’s not worth a penny.

17. Mark - August 12, 2009

I don’t mind labels re-releasing older material with new tracks. Telarc did something similar with their Trek titles. And indeed all companies do this with their back catalogs. If you don’t mind major labels doing it with pop music, you shouldn’t complain about soundtrack specialty compilations.

I agree with Andy Patterson (et al.) that it would be terrific to have the unreleased TOS scores, either the originals or as re-recordings (or both).

The Film Score Monthly guys amusingly described the TNG-era Rick Berman-dictated sound as “pan-diatonic wash”. Am I a double-geek because I know what they mean?

I think I will release an album called “Pan-Diatonic Wash”.

18. Dr. Image - August 12, 2009

A little off-topic but –
“I don’t really like Star Trek First Contact (mostly because every character, especially Picard, acts out of character)”
I could not agree more!! Thank you!

The City of Prague Philharmonic usually does a fantastic job.
I’ll be picking this one up.

19. SupremeDalekOnTheBridge - August 12, 2009

The City of Prague Philharmonic are an absolutley brilliant orchestra, I’ve been getting their compilation albums for years. They have released 4 disc sets of the music of John Barry, John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith, with each disc having a running time of around 70 minutes. And just because it’s Prague who’ve recorded this “Best of” Trek album, I’m definately getting it.

20. William Kirk - August 12, 2009

It is nice to read here that The City of Prague Philharmonic are brilliant or similar comments, I´m from the Czech Republic :-) I also like their compilations of film music of Jerry Goldsmith (especialy the theme from The Shadow) and John Barry´s Raise the Titanic.

21. RD - August 12, 2009

#10. Rocket Scientist wrote: “In your opinion”

Duh. That’s all anything written on these boards are.

#11. screaming satellite wrote: “i disagree there were a few times that the new score definatly sounded Horner-esque…”

Yes, they did, IN MY OPINION, where Giacchino was imitating the temp track used from TWOK & TSFS. These were direct quotations from Horner, not Giacchino’s original voice. Overall the scores had nothing in common. Completely different styles … with Giacchino’s score in the minority within the franchise. IN MY OPINION. LOL

22. RD - August 12, 2009

#10 – with all due respect re: my response in #21. I don’t mean to lash out unfairly, but I recently read a diatribe pointing out how people state things as facts when they are merely “their opinions” and “don’t speak for everyone” (which of course is only “their opinion” LOL). To that all I have to say is: life is to short to state the obvious on a casual forum over and over an over. Anyone who takes what is written on face value here as fact, particularly from an anonymous user on the internet, really should take a class in naïveté 101. To that end, I will continue to state my opinions without red-flagging them as such and assume a level of intellect on these forums commensurate with understanding the scientific principles behind warp-drive. If someone wants to call me on something I have stated as fact, assuming it is clearly not an opinion, I will gladly clarify and provide documented sources if necessary. Or feel free to do it for me as you have done and I will counter-correct as appropriate.

23. Ralph F - August 12, 2009

Add my vote to the “please do a TOS era music remastering (or re-recording”. I love the Varese Sarabande and GNP Crescendoo recordings, but I want a complete re-recorded version of THE CAGE and WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE. The original series had some iconic music; let’s hear it again.

And another vote of confidence for the Prague Philharmonic. I have a few of their releases — I found out about them some years ago when I was looking (in vain) for a soundtrack for “THE VALLEY OF GWANGI”, and found it here:

http://www.amazon.com/Fantasy-Album-Jerry-Goldsmith/dp/B00006GOEG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1250128046&sr=1-2

Excellent compilation, BTW.

24. CarlG - August 12, 2009

@16: Oh, for the love of Shat…

Jerry Goldsmith and Leonard Rosenmann are going to return from beyond the veil to kick your a** for such narrow-minded musical fail.

And Gerald Fried, Alexander Courage and Sol Kaplan will help.

I’m definately checking this one out — City of Prague Philharmonic are your go-to guys for film score re-recordings. I treasure their 007 CDs.

Hell, they even managed to make “Faith of the Heart” sound decent.

25. CarlG - August 12, 2009

@23: Agreed. I love my “Cage/Where no Man” CD, but it’s so scratchy and thin; time hasn’t been kind to it.

And a “Friday’s Child” CD would be awesomesauce. We’d finally get a recording of the “redshirt gets killed” music. You know the one.

26. RG2009 - August 12, 2009

While this album seems cool, what we really need is a nice box set with ALL the unreleased score material from the Trek films.

I think the new TWOK release comes close but it would be great to see remastered tracks from the other films compiled together like they did for the Star Wars trilogy in the 90′s and last year for the Superman films.

27. Jim Nightshade - August 12, 2009

One of my faves for Goldsmith fans is his soundtrack for the movie Logan’s Run-easily one of the most original music scores ever made–

28. theavenger - August 13, 2009

First Contact is about the only Trek movie i really like, because it isnt so damn boring… And the latest movie of course.

29. captain_neill - August 13, 2009

I happen to think First Contact is an excellent movie.

it is much better than the new one in my opinion

30. ST EXP - August 13, 2009

I’m trying to figure out what is different in this release than the 2003 release… other than an ST11 track.

It appears, based on the listing and brief audio samples, that it’s the same release making you sit through the TMP/TNG theme song over and over on every track.

31. Andy Patterson - August 13, 2009

17

“Pan-Diatonic Wash”. Ha. I’d never heard that before. I always thought of it as sheets of boredom. They say a Coltrane solo was sheets of sound but that was my discription of TNG music.

and since this is the closest thing to a proper thread to leave this….

RIP Les Paul

32. CarlG - August 13, 2009

@17, 31: Yeah, it’s too bad, too. If you listen to some of the episodes from TNG’s 1st and 2nd seasons, there were some impressive scores there. “Heart of Glory” and “Q Who” come to mind…

But then they got bland. It figures — one of the few shows on TV that could afford an orchestra and they wouldn’t do anything with it… *facepalm*

33. Mark - August 13, 2009

Sorry to veer us further O.T., but +1 for Les Paul.

Always wanted to get over to hear him play. The story of how he invented the multi-tap tape delay is an exercise in genius .

Not one in a thousand can begin to appreciate the impact he’s had on modern production. The his electric guitar is a drop in the bucket compared to his innovation of the multitrack recorder, or sound-on-sound production.

I got out the old Gibson and played some heavy 5ths today in his honor.

34. Andy Patterson - August 14, 2009

Have a friend I teach with who got to New York the past two years to jam with Les on his birthday at some club. Got to know him personally through that experience. He said they’d jam till 2….3 whatever…and Les would be exhausted but stay afterward and sign autographs for everyone until the sun came up. Pretty cool.

That multitrack story is interesting and has an interesting progression from Bing Crosby to Thomas Dowd to today.

35. subatoi - August 14, 2009

Do they only have “Faith of the Heart” or also the end titles for ENT?

36. Kadratis - August 14, 2009

Beautiful music!

37. T'Cal - August 16, 2009

Does anyone know where I can find the recording of TNG theme done on piano? The version I’m looking for was played as a bumper between commercials during the 30th anniversary Trek TV special. It was a slowwed down, almost meloncholy version of the theme song. It sounded fantastic.

38. Ty - August 16, 2009

I suppose there’s a market for this, but I personally don’t get the appeal of re-recordings of Trek music when you can still obtain the original versions of these tracks.

39. lostandfound - August 20, 2009

Hi all – not sure if this is news to anyone, but I emailed Ron Jones about his scores for ST:TNG a few days back, and he mentioned that FSM were going to be releasing a 12 cd box set of his work for the series.. That seriously blows my mind.. I think he did some of the best work on the show when he was working on it..

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