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Review: Star Trek First Contact Complete Motion Picture Score April 16, 2012

by John Tenuto , Filed under: Music,Review,TNG , trackback

The original 1996 soundtrack for Star Trek: First Contact was limited to about 45 minutes, and as such, much of the music was excised. Now, GNP Crescendo’s Star Trek: First Contact Complete Motion Picture Soundtrack restores the entire soundtrack, giving fans the chance to listen to isolated tracks never before available. TrekMovie.com makes contact with the CD to provide this review of Jerry (and Joel) Goldsmith’s compositions for one Star Trek’s best loved feature films. 

 

REVIEW: Star Trek First Contact Complete Motion Picture Score
Media: limited edition CD only – 29 tracks (running time 79.13 Min)
Publisher: GNP Crescendo Records
Price: $19.98 (at gnpcrescendo.com)

One of the great features of the recent spate of Star Trek extended and complete soundtracks is that the music is restored to the proper sequencing as presented in the films. Unlike the original soundtrack offerings which combined and moved music around for a more enjoyable symphonic experience, the new CDs present the music in the order intended by the composer. This is important because masters like Goldsmith use music to guide emotion, weaving in hints of themes that not allowed full expression until the proper time. This is part of the fun of listening to the complete First Contact. For example, the beautiful “First Contact” main theme gets a expression at the start of the film when the credits roll, and then is hinted at throughout the
soundtrack, until again it receives a full presentation when the Vulcans first meet Humans.


Inside new Complete Soundtrack for "Star Trek: First Contact"

Another fun aspect of the complete soundtrack is the ability to compare alternate tracks with the music eventually used in the film. The First Contact CD includes three alternative cues as bonus tracks. The most interesting is the syncopated and intense percussions of the alternate “Borg Montage” as compared to almost subdued and slower actual version. That is a pretty bombastic 1:17!

Listening to tracks for the first time without the effects and dialog give listeners a better appreciation for Goldsmith’s genius. Especially worthwhile is the “Flight of the Phoenix” which sounds great. The track utilizes many of the themes of the film together in one action cue, and hints of the superb Star Trek V: The Final Frontier soundtrack are a nice connection to previous Goldsmith Trek music. Other inclusions that are especially good are the ominous “Battle Watch” and the melancholy “Not Again.”


Back of new Complete Soundtrack for "Star Trek: First Contact"

The only misstep by the Goldsmiths on the CD, although this is a matter of personal opinion, is the use of the Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Klingon motif for Worf. Especially considering that the previous two uses of the theme were when the Klingons were enemies of the Federation, it is arguably misplaced to use that as Worf’s theme. However, it is an enjoyable and joyous use of the theme despite its unusual application in the “Red Alert” track to the heroic character Worf in service to the Federation as commander of the Defiant.

The packaging is excellent. It is close enough to the original CD that is a nice companion, yet easily recognizable with a Voyager influenced green Borg color pallet that is its own design. The CD looks like a Borg sphere which is nice, although the original CD had a better Borg tie in with a disc that had no text. The booklet included has the usual trivia filled notes from Jeff Bond and John Takis, although very disappointingly, the really great notes and photos are available only in an online supplemental PDF. These detailed PDF notes by Takis are free, yet they and the amazing photos should have been included in the purchased CD’s booklet.



Booklet cover and sample pages for new Complete Soundtrack for "Star Trek: First Contact"

By the way, if you are looking for Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” or Roy Orbison’s “Ooby Dooby” they are not included as they are considered source music and not composed by either Joel or Jerry Goldsmith as part of the soundtrack. However, they are available on the original First Contact CD.

Star Trek music fans have had a great couple of years, and now available are the extended or complete soundtracks for Star Treks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 11. We are awaiting 7, 9, 10, and eventually 12. If those releases get the care and attention that GNP Crescendo has given to First Contact, then we will have much music from “the stars away from here” to enjoy.

Pick up your copy of the complete STFC Score for $19.98 at gnpcrescendo.com


Comparison of CD packaging for original Soundtrack and new Complete Soundtrack for "Star Trek: First Contact"

 

GNP Provided TrekMovie with a review sample for this article

 

Comments

1. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - April 16, 2012

First contact was the best of the Next Gen Movies. I also love the Music and as such. May just get it.

2. Matthew Rushing - April 16, 2012

I just got this today and like the other films that have received the “complete score” treatment, this one rocks and is a must for any fan!

3. ST:EXP - April 16, 2012

Glad this is released and I purchased it, but it’s a shame that the bootleg released online of the original recording session tapes actually contains more music. So this still isn’t truly a complete collection of what exists.

Same with Nemesis… the only bootlegs contain a tremendous amount of music. I’m not endorsing bootlegs… but why not make available for sale?

4. William Kirk - April 16, 2012

The use of the Klingon theme is great. And so is in the “Insurrection”.

5. CmdrR - April 16, 2012

One of the prettiest main themes in Trek.

6. Jack - April 16, 2012

5. That’s the perfect word for it.

7. Gary - April 16, 2012

The extended liner notes can be found at http://gnpcrescendo.com/firstcontact/

8. Orb of the Emissary - April 16, 2012

I love the opening credits theme music, simply stunning!

9. Dr. Cheis - April 16, 2012

I too felt the Klingon theme was out of place in the movie. Glad to hear “Magic Carpet Ride” and “Ooby Dooby” aren’t included though. They were really out of place on the first CD.

10. Vultan - April 16, 2012

Nothing wrong with using the Klingon theme for Worf. The main TMP theme was used throughout TNG, so why not?

11. Anthony Pascale - April 16, 2012

The point John was making (and I agree) is that the Klingon theme was used in the past to indicate an ominous enemy. But Worf was not part of the empire, he was UFP fighting the Borg bad guys. He deserved his own theme or something else.

Although it isn’t the same, imagine if they used the Imperial March in the Star Wars Episode I as they introduced Anakin SW: Ep I

12. dep1701 - April 16, 2012

I am so glad that this series of complete scores have been released, and happy that GNP finally jumped on the bandwagon. Now they NEED to go back and revisit their very first Trek CD release; the soundtrack for “The Cage” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before”.

Not only could the sound quality be greatly improved with today’s technology, but since they aren’t trying to fit the same amount of tracks on vinyl and CD, surely they could finally release the missing portions of the “Where No Man…” score. Although I loved the first release back in ’87, I was disappointed that so many familiar cues were missing.

13. Vultan - April 16, 2012

#11

To me it sounded more like Goldsmith was trying to evoke the Klingon warrior spirit than an ominous enemy, but whatever…

RAMMING SPEED!

14. dep1701 - April 16, 2012

Oh yeah, and I forgot to add (once again) that Sony/Columbia NEEDS to get in the groove too, and realize that are still a good many Star Trek fans who would gladly shell out for a third release of Goldsmith’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” score…as long as it was complete and had all the alternate and unused cues.

If Sony/Columbia isn’t willing, then farm it out to another specialty company, such as Film Score Monthly, Screen Archives, Intrada or LA LA Land. I’m sure any of these companies would give their eye teeth to have the chance to release such a culturally significant Jerry Goldsmith work ( and any one of them would give it the treatment it deserves).

C’mon guys…I’m begging you. Take my money!!

15. dep1701 - April 16, 2012

@11 “Although it isn’t the same, imagine if they used the Imperial March in the Star Wars Episode I as they introduced Anakin SW: Ep I”

It wouldn’t have helped that movie at all. I don’t know what would have.

16. RedGreen - April 16, 2012

While it’s true that expanded or complete soundtracks have been released for Star Trek 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 11, the article is wrong on a few points.

Firstly, no official complete or expanded soundtrack has ever been released for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Also, like the new First Contact CD, both the complete release for Star Trek V and the expanded set for the Star Trek 11 were limited editions that have since gone out of print. You’d be beyond lucky to obtain either for less than $50 through any legal channels, so while the article is right in that they have been released, they are far from readily available.

17. RedGreen - April 16, 2012

Scratch part of my above statements, there is a somewhat expanded 18-track “20th Anniversary Edition” soundtrack release for The Motion Picture, far from complete, but better than nothing.

18. PEB - April 16, 2012

If only this was released on itunes. I mean I know the collector value and everything but I really dont listen to CDs anymore :(

oh and @13 Vultan -I totally agree with you. I never took the Klingon theme in TMP as a theme for an ominous enemy, it always just felt like “Their Theme” and I always would hear it in my head whenever Worf had an impactful scene in Trek. Even his DS9 intro, when he was stepping from the airlock in the old school TNG uniform, the theme played in my head.

19. Vultan - April 16, 2012

#18

Exactly. The Klingons weren’t ominous or threatening the Feds in TMP. V’ger was. And as for Final Frontier, well, they fired a couple of shots at the Enterprise, then apologized. That’s hardly ominous (unless you’re space junk).

20. dep1701 - April 16, 2012

@18 “If only this was released on itunes. I mean I know the collector value and everything but I really dont listen to CDs anymore :(”

The main reason they can’t release it on ITunes is because the licensing fees would be exorbitant. The limited editions are not limited just to make them collectable; there are musician union fees which have to be paid per batch of units. Generally, anything over 5000 units and the cost goes up exponentially.

I prefer CDs. Then I can download them to my hard drive. If anything happens to my computer or back up drive, I still have an original hard copy. I only like downloads if there is no physical copy available. I felt the same way about vinyl records vs. cassettes. I preferred to buy the record album, then I could make tape copies to carry and have the album handy for when the tapes ( which were fairly fragile anyway ) wore out, got chewed up in a player or wiped by a magnetic field.

I’m old school. I like a physical piece of product I can hold in my hand. Same thing with books.

But to each their own.

21. CarlG - April 16, 2012

@7: Thanks for the link! I love those behind the scenes pics of Alice Krige in the Borg Queen head-and-shoulders outfit. What an amazing bit of costuming / makeup / prosthetics that was.

22. Jai1138 - April 16, 2012

Although the ST:TMP soundtrack has been “expanded”, it has has yet to get the definitive version it deserves: full, complete score with notable alternative tracks (unless I missed it.) as the other films have been released. I have the FC set on order and am looking forward to it. The TNG scores, like the TNG movies, never matched TOS films but FC is is a damn good score and it’s great to have it finally available in full rather than a chopped together black market download.

23. Greenberg - April 17, 2012

TOS scores … now.

24. John Tenuto - April 17, 2012

#16:

There was indeed an expanded soundtrack to TMP available as the article properly details. There were 8 previously unreleased tracks on that CD.

Also, the article does not utilize the words “readily available,” rather it is your comment that uses those words. The article is factual in that it states those CDs are available.

I don’t mind criticism, nor are my articles perfect, yet these nitpicks are non factual. Thank you for reading.

25. John Tenuto - April 17, 2012

#19:

The Klingons were the cold war bad guys of the original show, and nothing between TOS and TMP altered that. Their Klingon theme was indeed their version of the Imperial March. The Klingon are used in TWOK’s opening moments because they are easily identified by the audience as threats, and they are the bad guys of Star Trek III and co baddies of Star Trek V. They are the dimplomatic bad guys of Star Trek IV. They are also those bad guys to whom we wish to make peace in Star Trek VI. They are the co baddies of Star Trek VII. I am not certain that a claim could be made that that Klingons are not threats or ominous in the first seven motion pictures, which is why, in my opinion, it was innappropriate to use their theme for the hero, UFP affliated Worf while in command of a Starfleet starship. Even Joel Goldsmith in an interview mentions that there was some license taken with that cue but that he felt it was worth it.

26. Scott - April 17, 2012

Great review John. Thanks. Speaking of soundtracks and the Borg – the other day I put the DVD for season 4 of Voyager in the player and heard the growing crescendo towards those trumpets signifying a major action point was going to occur in the battle with the Borg and Species 8472. I would love to get that on CD, but I checked and it’s not on any of the Voyager CDs or any of the compilation Trek CDs. You are right though – it’s been a good music year for Trek and that gives us hope that someone will put out a CD we haven’t heard yet!

27. Simon - April 17, 2012

@#18 – Lossy only iTunes? Sacrilege!

It’s a shame the iDevice generation has doomed many to finding middling music quality acceptable (or worse, preferred). It is even more painful to think of classical-type recordings such as this limited forever to such that format. Jerry Goldsmith and his producers used audiophile grade equipment to record his scores. Even CDs can’t do them justice, but they’re a heck of a lot better than lossy compressed MP3 or AAC.

28. Magic_Al - April 17, 2012

Anakin’s theme in the Phantom Menace actually is based on Darth Vader’s theme if listen closely.

The use of the Klingon theme in First Contact is awkward because it seems like a racial/ethnic motif. Imagine African music when Uhura enters. On the other hand Spock has had Vulcan themes so if you think of a distinction between the human concept of race and extraterrestrial species… actually I’m not sure that makes a difference either.

29. Vultan - April 17, 2012

#25

What about the Terminator? The theme used for Arnold in the second one is essentially the same ominous, metal-clanging theme from the first one. And yet his character is a good guy.

I take these cues as the character’s spirit in that moment, not the history of their “species.” Arnold is a good guy but still a killing machine. The music fits. Worf is an ally but still a Klingon warrior, ready to die a glorious death in battle against the Borg. I think the music fits in that particular moment, but to each his own.

30. John Tenuto - April 17, 2012

#29

Agreed! Thanks for the example.

31. Simon - April 17, 2012

I’m fine with and enjoyed the use of the Klingon motif in this soundtrack and in INSURRECTION.

It was great for Jerry to give a tip of the hat to his terrific theme he composed for THE MOTION PICTURE and continued in THE FINAL FRONTIER.

Ron Jones also used it for the scoring of the episode “Heart of Glory” on TNG.

32. George Zip - April 17, 2012

#23

Agreed wholeheartedly; there’s some great (and very thorough) TOS score sets available (from GNP and Varese) but would love to hear a re-recording of “The Cage/Where No Man Has Gone Before”.

#18

To build on this, I agree — and those of us who collect old jazz have a love/hate relationship with iTunes and digital music. On the one hand, the lossier format does detract some of the music, sure. On the other, digital availability means that some albums that would otherwise not be available at all can be made available far less expensively than a full CD release.

Life is compromise.

33. George Zip - April 17, 2012

#28

One of my favorite music moments in the prequel trilogy is when, onscreen, Anakin is confessing to Padme that he killed “all” the Tuskens — not just the warriors, but the women, and the children. The acting is a bit over the top, but listen to the music right after Anakin screams, “I killed them all! I HATE THEM!” or whatever — for the first time in the series, we hear the 9 (?) note Imperial March theme come into play.

In fact, I remember an interview with Williams after Lucas did his first retread of STAR WARS (aka A NEW HOPE) in the 90s and Williams re-recorded/re-scored some scenes (mostly the expanded stuff); he said he could have kicked himself for not working the March into the moments when Vader first makes his appearance in the corridor of the Tantive IV.

34. captain_neill - April 17, 2012

Mine got shipped yesterday, cant wait for it to arrive.

First Contact is one of my favourite scores and I love Goldsmith’s work. A shame he is no longer with us. I miss his msic in films these days.

35. Magic_Al - April 17, 2012

^33. Vader has a theme in A New Hope but it’s not as memorable as his ultimate theme. It plays when Leia first meets Vader and softly when Obi-Wan tells Luke that Vader murdered his father. It reminds me of Goldsmith’s first crack at the TMP theme that Robert Wise thought sounded like sailing ships and not a Star Trek theme. Goldsmith redid it and hit the jackpot with the theme we all know but he still snuck his first version into quieter moments of that and future Star Trek scores. Williams never brought back his original Vader theme, possibly because he chose to write a new one himself and wasn’t told to.

36. Mr. K - April 17, 2012

I liked the inclusion of the Klingon Theme for Worf, it didn’t bother me at all. Perhaps it wasn’t used in the same thematic function like in the Kirk-era movies; but I must be biased because I thought it was a great re-use of the piece.

And FYI- The Imperial March WAS used to introduce Anakin in Episode I. Listen to Anakin’s Theme again- it IS The Imp. March, albeit in a subdued fashion. But make no mistake, that is the March. Rhythmically it is altered, but by measure and melody it is Darth Vader’s theme. Never underestimate the thematic genius of John Williams, especially where Star Wars is concerned.

37. danielcraigsmywookiebitchnow - April 17, 2012

14 there is yet another remasterd star trek the motion picture in the works currently, to be released in the future.

38. Simon - April 17, 2012

#33 – That “interview” never happened, it was a lie spread through the internet.

Williams only rescored a single item: the end celebration montage of RETURN OF THE JEDI. The extended special edition scenes were all retracked with existing music. The original 2-disc SE soundtracks by RCA have extensive liner notes on alterations made.

39. Simon - April 17, 2012

#36 – Not only that, the end celebration music of PHANTOM MENACE is the Emperor’s theme played uptempo.

Those who stay for the end credits will hear Anakin’s theme morph into Darth Vader’s theme at the very end of the titles, complete with the breathing sound.

40. Brelz - April 18, 2012

Needless to say, the decision to use Goldsmith’s TMP theme as the Next Generation theme was idiotic. Just as originally telling Goldsmith NOT to use the TOS theme in the ST 1.(Then slipping it into the 2 ‘captains log’ segments – which did NOT make either soundtrack releases.)

41. Sean - April 19, 2012

That was a silly point made in the review about the Klingon theme. It’s use for Worf is fine. Any comparison to it being the same as, say, Darth Vader’s theme is moot–Goldsmith’s Klingon theme is versatile enough to be used in a heroic fashion; it made sense when I first saw the film when I was 13-years old and still makes sense today. Also, good on both Jerry and Joel for going back to that theme and “remembering” it to punch into those key scenes … John Williams seems to forget that he wrote a brother/sister theme for Return Of The Jedi and yet when the time came to use it in Sith he came up an awkward mishmash of Leia’s theme into Luke’s theme into the Force/Ben’s theme.

42. John Tenuto - April 19, 2012

#41

It is hardly a silly point when the composer himself discussed a concern with its use. Because someone doesn’t agree with you, that doesn’t make it silly. There is a good argument for why using a theme meant for the Klingons, especially used only to signify them when they were the bad guys, is an inappropriate motif for a hero character alligned with the UFP. Just because it is cool doesn’t mean it was a good choice. It also doesn’t meant it was a bad choice and I never would think of insulting a fellow fan who had a different idea than mine.

43. captain_neill - April 19, 2012

One of my favourite main title themes and one title sequence I loved.

Its a shame most major films don’t have title sequences these days. It always set the mood for the film.

44. Blowback - April 19, 2012

1996? Has it really been that long?

45. Simon - April 20, 2012

@#42 – The Klingon theme was never really a “bad guys” theme. It’s a theme that makes one think of a foreign culture, slightly savage and brutal. 24th Century Klingons still bear many of these habits.

It’s saying that it would be inappropriate to use Japanese or Russian sounding music in today’s films just because they were antagonists in the past.

46. John Tenuto - April 20, 2012

#45

Thank you for your opinion. I would think it is reasonable to define the Klingon theme as a “bad guys” theme as it was used for the bad guys. Even if it as ethnic theme as you suggest, it is innapproriate for Worf while serving as a commander of a Starfleet vessel. Why not play Irish music for James T. Kirk or some nice English melodies for Jean Luc Picard while they command the ship? While not without precedent, such as the music that acccompanies Kevin Riley in the original program, it is a questionable usage, as supported by the composer wondering about the same concerns.

The Klingons were certainly the bad guys of Star Trek II (cameo), Star Trek III, Star Trek IV (diplomatic bad guys), Star Trek V, and the bad guys we make peace with in Star Trek VI. For good measure, they were the co bad guys of Star Trek VII. I think it dubious to claim that the theme for those characters, especially as used in Star Trek V, is not a bad guys theme.

47. DS9 IN PRIME TIME - April 23, 2012

First contact is my favorite of all the movies except 11

48. captain_neill - April 25, 2012

Well the Klingons on Generations were the Duras sisters who was disgraced in the Klingon Empire. They were essentialy rogue.

49. Kolath - April 26, 2012

This appears to be the bootleg that’s been on the net since 2004?

50. Sherlock FanGirl - April 30, 2012

RIP Joel Goldsmith.

http://www.gateworld.net/news/2012/04/stargate-composer-joel-goldsmith-dead-at-54/

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