TrekMovie commemorates Cliff Eidelman’s distinctive score to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country with a review of the 2012 Intrada two-disc release. This expanded soundtrack release includes previously unreleased material, plus the original release from 1991.
Dark and foreboding best describes composer Cliff Eidelman’s unique entry in the Star Trek canon with his score to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. While not the typical music fans had come to associate with the franchise during its then quarter-century of existence, it still became a favorite of many fans. Its unique, mysterious and poignant tone helped mark the final voyage of The Original Series cast.
Fans and music lovers were finally able to enjoy the full score as it was presented on film with Intrada’s 2012 Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Expanded Edition two-disc release. More than 22 minutes of new material was made available for this version, doubling the number of tracks from the original soundtrack. Plus, in addition to previously-unreleased material, the soundtrack also includes cues presented in its entirety.
Standout new music includes “Spock’s Wisdom,” “Mind Meld” and “Trailer.” Eidelman captures the character’s gravitas in the solemn “Spock’s Wisdom,” as the Vulcan discusses his and Valeris’ future as members of the Enterprise crew. “Mind Meld” is a terrific piece of music and exemplifies Eidelman’s knack for switching back and forth between menacing and lighter tones. This contrast is served particularly well as it highlights Spock forcibly subjecting Valeris to the intimate ritual of the meld. The “Trailer” release is special as Eidelman actually wrote Star Trek VI’s trailer music; two versions of the cue are available on disc one.
Other new tracks include “Alien Fight,” which beats listeners over the head with its loud and recurring drums as Kirk fights for his life at Rura Penthe. “Dining on Ashes” revisits the poignant yet bittersweet crew theme as Kirk and Spock realize they might have outlived their usefulness.
American Federation of Musician fees have often prevented producers from including a film’s complete score in CD releases, so composers would truncate, combine or use alternate takes to convey the themes from the film for a listener’s pleasure. It is nice to finally have full editions of “The Overture” and “Sign Off,” as well as “The Battle for Peace/The Final Chance for Peace/The Final Count,” which clocks in at 8:15 long.
“Spacedock/Clear All Mooring” and “Escape from Rura Penthe” are identical to the 1991 release and both are terrific pieces of music, now presented along with the film’s complete score on the Expanded Edition. “Spacedock …” is actually the first “hopeful” cue the audience hears in the film as the crew boards the Enterprise for its mission to escort the Klingons. The old gang is here for one last hurrah (although conspicuously missing is Sulu). Despite Star Trek VI’s dark overtures thus far in the film, audience members get the feeling that everything will be all right now that the Enterprise crew is on the job.
Meanwhile, “Escape from Rura Penthe” is one of the film’s best musical moments. Eidelman’s romantic and melancholic composition sweeps across the planet’s snow-covered wasteland, pulling the camera away from the three who dare to challenge the planets harsh environment in a possible futile attempt to escape their life sentences.
With its additional minutes, expanded track listing, alternate takes as well as music being released for the first time in its entirely, Intrada’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country’s Expanded Edition two-disc issue is a must for any fan’s collection. To be able to listen to Eidelman’s intended version of the film is a pleasure well-timed for the movie’s silver anniversary in 2016.
*Information for this article was included from Jeff Bond’s liner notes for the Expanded Edition.
Go to Intrada’s website to order Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country’s two-disc expanded edition.
The Star Trek Expanded Soundtrack” renaissance has done wonders for the first 12 movie scores. But the expanded score for Star Trek VI is a very special case for me due to how the ‘expanded’ portion of “The Battle for Peace” when you compare it to the original album.
During the climactic battle between the Enterprise and Chang’s cloaked Bird of Prey, the score really gets your heart racing as it builds in intensity as the crew scramble to ready the torpedo before the Enterprise is destroyed. And when the torpedo is loaded and Kirk leaps from his seat to give the order to fire, the music stops and Kirk shouts,
A great moment that was sadly ruined in it’s presentation. You see, before the music reached it’s highest point in the film, the music of the Bird of Prey’s destruction immediately plays before the music even finishes! If you were to edit the movie to coincide how the album treated that moment, you wouldn’t see Kirk shout “Fire!”.
But on this expanded edition, Intrada not only lets the music finish, but they’ve added in a gap of silence between the moment where the score cuts off for to the Bird of Prey exploding. Not only is this a much more satisfying way to listen to the music, but it also gives this Trekkie a geek out moment where I could shout “Fire!” the moment the music cuts off. Even with the excellent 12 expanded scores that present their scores differently, this one remains to this day my favorite “Album vs Expanded” editing changes*.
*This opinion reflects the movie specific soundtrack releases. The best change to date is the narration-less version of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’s film version epilogue that was included on the 50th Anniversary Collection released last month.
Great soundtrack. Thanks for the info Rich. LLAP
37 years ago today STMP: