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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
GNP Provided TrekMovie with a review sample for this article