Today CBS released a video featuring the scoring session for the main title theme of Star Trek: Discovery with Emmy-winning composer Jeff Russo conducting a 60-piece orchestra. The video also includes some discussion of the music for the show with Russo and executive producer Alex Kurtzman. Fans will likely note how the theme picks up on cues from the original Alexander Courage music from the original Star Trek.
Discovery’s composer went from rocker to Fargo
The news Jeff Russo was tapped to score Star Trek: Discovery was first revealed at San Diego Comic-Con by showrunner Aaaron Harberts, who said:
A fantastic composer by the name of Jeff Russo, who has done the music for Fargo the series and The Night Of. He is a life-long Star Trek fan – a huge, huge Trek fan. We are in really, really good hands. We just heard his theme. We just saw our main title sequence and it’s spectacular. His music is absolutely wonderful. Check out his other scores, because he is a talent.
Russo didn’t start out his music career as a composer. He began in the 90s as a founding member of the post-grunge band Tonic. The band has had a number of top 10 hits and sold over 4 million records; two of their five albums were nominated for Grammys. Even though Russo has now transitioned to primarily composing music for television, he is still part of the band. They released an album last year and still play live periodically.
Here is a Tonic music video for “If You Could Only See,” their hit from 1997 off their debut album Lemon Parade.
Russo started his composing career (just like Michael Giacchino) with video games. He began composing for television in 2009 with the short-lived show The Unusuals, which is where he first collaborated with writer/producer Noah Hawley. After composing for a number of other series, Hawley brought Russo on to score the award-winning FX drama Fargo and again for this year’s FX show Legion.
Here is a recent live performance from the Television Academy of Russo’s music from Fargo, Legion and The Night Of.
Listen to a live performance of @jeffersonrusso‘s original music (@FargoFX, @LegionFX, #TheNightOf) with a special intro by @rachelryekeller pic.twitter.com/YSsD7GyORA
— Television Academy (@TelevisionAcad) September 2, 2017
Russo earned three Emmy nominations for his work on Fargo, including a win just this week.
Star Trek: Discovery premieres on September 24th on CBS with all subsequent episodes on CBS All Access in the US. In Canada Star Trek: Discovery will premiere on Bell Media’s CTV and the Space Channel on the same night. Netflix will launch Star Trek: Discovery on Monday, September 25 to countries outside of the U.S. and Canada.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.
Just a little too short of a video to judge the theme, but it communicates a familiarity to TOS. I don’t know if this is a good thing as every show despite TNG had their own theme.
Awww. The tip of the hat to Courage’s original theme made me tear up, but then I’m a sap where Star Trek’s concerned. :-)
Jeff Russo is the biggest disappointment about DISC for me, and has some disturbing implications for the decision makers, and the kinds of decisions they may be making. Russo’s been fired off of more projects than he’s been hired onto — for a reason. Unlike Giacchino, he has no training with this kind of orchestral music, and relies on a team of well-trained people to ghost-write for him. He’s the “face” of his brand, and little else. Unlike Zimmer, I’m not sure how many ideas are his own. Add to that, FARGO is nothing like the kind of music needed for a Star Trek series. At least his crew will be adapting the original Trek themes, so at least we won’t have to sit through the bland score he may come up with for Trek, as he did for TIME AFTER TIME.
Yeah, what a hack! He’s only composed music for three award-winning TV series, has only been nominated by his peers for an Emmy three times, and has only won once. What a loser, amirite?
@Scott — there’s a lot of nominations and wins by people who don’t necessarily deserve it. Hollywood award shows are political. Russo is the face of his brand, but very little else to go with it — he employees a team of people who help him step up to the plate to fill in the significant gaps he’s missing in his training. If merely having been nominated for, and won awards is all the criteria necessary for quality, then why has he been fired from numerous projects? The answer is because he wasn’t the right fit, or didn’t have the right talent. Winning an Emmy for FARGO doesn’t really give me confidence that he’s the right fit for DISC, even if I didn’t know everything else I know about him. He was also only nominated two prior times for FARGO as well. In fact, for virtually any other award he’s ever been involved with, it revolved around FARGO. And nothing else as prestigious as the Emmys. Sometimes people vote for something related to a show that has nothing to do with the actual talent being brought into it, it’s a pack mentality known as a “sweep” in the Hollywood award circles. Either way, I don’t believe based on that one criteria he’s the right fit here, and I don’t have confidence in what he’s going to contribute to DISC, based on the rest of his limited orchestral dramatic film scoring work experience.
But if his “team” is so good, why do you care if he personally deserves it or not? Shouldn’t you be happy his “brilliant crew” is behind Discovery’s music? :-P
@Salvador — because it’s music by committee … and that’s never good. And I don’t recall anyone stating his crew was “brilliant”. I’ve actually seen them in action on a scoring stage, and my impression some of them know less than Russo does … regardless, his work management methods aside, I don’t care for the music he turns out, and in this case I think he’s absolutely the wrong guy for it, just as he was the wrong guy for TIME AFTER TIME.
Great songs are written by bands, which are “committees,” when all is said and done. If he and his team are being nominated for weighty awards and winning, “politics” only goes so far to explain it (He’s a cheesy-looking white guy from a grunge band, and it’s 2017). And anyway, compared to the scotch-tape job of TNG’s opening theme, and the atrocious pop schmaltz of “Enterprise,” his product as heard here is pretty damn in keeping with what a Trek opening should sound like.
I’ll defer you to you on the specifics Cadet. But I do have to admit I don’t care enough about the details to actually care if he’s only a front man.
As long as the end result is good. And thus far I’m loving this theme.
It will surely be better than the Orville music. Now that was a creative ripoff from other series and movies going as far as using actual Trek beats in it; just with a different tempo and alignment but nevertheless anyone can hear them clearly.
Of course you can do better. Everybody knows everything on the internet.Lets see he is doing Star trek and YOUR NOT! Putz
@Thomas — a little defensive aren’t you? Did I claim I could do better? No. But there are other’s who can and do. Russo was a choice. There were other, likely better choices. But thanks for the 5th grade, Trump, ‘I’m President and you’re not!’ moment — ha! Complete with the exclamation point! Ha! That was a good laugh …
Do you not know how childish the “can you do better?” argument is? Why must a fan aspire to be a better composer, writer, actor, etc, than those working on the show in order to have an opinion? As consumers of the product, isn’t the most important actor for any of us whether or not we like something, not whether or not we aspire to compose and “do better”?
Because so many fans whine petulantly about every little detail as if they know better than the professionals and it gets old?
From time to time fans do know better than certain professionals. Take the difference between Kelvin Trek 1 & 2 and Beyond. The latter is unquestionably more Trek in feel and style than the first two. Why? Because as a fan Justin Lin had a certain insight into the Trek world that Abrams, as a non-fan, did not. So I don’t think fan opinion should just be waved out of hand. When it comes to music, Trek has always had a grand, romantic feel with sweeping melodies. This theme is arguably a departure from that.
Jeez what a shit comparison. He also did Star Wars and was a noted lifelong Star Wars fan. And still the movie was shit. You’re still under the impression that they make this for you specifically, ‘the fans’. Well let me help you out of that dream: they don’t. And I do not agree for one minute with your conservative stagnant views; and not in the least on the type of score that has accompanied Star Trek series and movies. You are actually describing a generic template that befits just about any movie with an orchestral score. It’s grand! It’s sweeping! It’s romantic (???). Every composer has it’s own hallmarks and every time a score is created it is done for that iteration. Sometimes paying respect to other scores if it is a series (but then you whine) or not (then you also whine). I for one would enjoy something different instead of ‘a template’ as you want it.
Re: He also did Star Wars…
And he’s doing it again:
Please don’t use the “Can you do better?” line. It makes you sound immature.
Yeah, as much as I think people here complain about Discovery too much without having even seen it, the “Can you do better?” defense just makes the person who uses it look like a child.
Well, can you do better? The problem with all this whining is that it is JUST WHINING. If you want to be seen as an adult: stop whining and start making honest, informed suggestions. Whining is for petulant children.
Although I am very lukewarm on what I just heard at least he knows how to perform the fanfare correctly. I always though Giacchino butchered it. But I do see what you’re getting at. It lacks that truly inspired quality that only the best orchestral composers can do.
Jerry Goldsmith was the best there ever was.
Best for Star Trek. I’d actually put him below John Williams and Ennio Morricone though in terms of film composers.
So he’s nothing like Giacchino? Thank God for that.
The comparison with Giacchino rather undermines your own argument here, since Giacchino is noted hummer, who doesn’t write or conduct his own music.
If you’re going to gripe about film scores being made by people who use assistants to do the bulk of the work don’t use Giacchino as a point of comparison. I’m not sold on Russo yet, but compared to someone like Goldsmith there’s very little difference between the Russos and Giacchinos of this world.
I will say though that I rather enjoyed Russo’s work on Legion.
@groeneinkt — what are you talking about Giacchino doesn’t conduct? You can go on YouTube and see video of him conducting. And what does that have to do with his ability to compose anyway? James Newton Howard, doesn’t conduct his own scores either. Giacchino went to Julliard. He’s got classical grounding. And he has heaps more experience with orchestras and series like DISC than Jeff Russo. That said, I’m not a huge fan of Giacchino either, and the whole point of that comparison was to point out that even Giacchino got it right, over this tepid effort by Russo. I find his work on FARGO equally as vapid, though at least the Main Title is somewhat interesting, if similarly stitched together such that the seams are apparent.
Well I loved it. It reminded me a little of a GOT style along with the familiarity with TOS.
@ Spiked Canon – I also heard similarities to GOT. I think when the music is accompanied by the opening title sequence it will all come together nicely.
It sounds good, but did Kurtzman have to talk over it?
He’s promoting it. In due time you will hear it way more than you probably want to. ;)
Kurtzman sounds a lot like Berman and Braga back in the ENT trailers in the summer of 2001…my god…it’s been such a long time :-)
You could even say it’s been a long road.
That was hilarious, Scott!
*hurls Klingon d’k tahg at Scott*
Due to his involvement with the Kelvinverse Kurtzman is one of my biggest red flags on this project, but I’m still hopeful.
Akiva Goldsman being involved does not help either.
Yes. I will never forgive Goldsman for The Dark Tower.
Well, with Paramount’s recent firing of Marc Evans, I think the Kelvinverse has just transitioned from its Big Bang explosion to its Big Crunch singularity. It’s over.
Not nearly long enough apparently.
I liked it. Melodic, but not too saccharine. The opening contains a slight recognition of TOS main theme, which I thought was wonderful. The fuller reprise of that main theme at the end in my opinion really wasn’t necessary. To paraphrase a Chinese saying: “Sometimes the best way to hit a target is by simply not aiming at it.” B+
Agreed. Of course it turns out that the reprise at the end has been used in several of the trailers and previews CBS has released, so we’re far more familiar with it than the rest of the theme, and familiarity can breed contempt.
I loved what I heard. Lush but crisp and it paid homage to iconic Trek.
Liked it. Sounds like he’s not afraid to put some “punch” in his music. The show is going to need snappy cues and catchy strains here and there to bring it above all the other cookie cutter, forgettable generic fare that is out there these days.
And tears filling up in my eyes. To me, this is real now. Trek is back.
I can’t believe it…
Wow your easy.
I will listen to it in the show.
It is very beautiful! I especially enjoyed the nods to Star Trek: Into Darkness’ “London Calling” and John William’s “Rey’s Theme” from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Made my toes curl!
Is that a good thing?!?
“Stop that, young man! Your toes will freeze like that!” *chuckle*
Why do all the new themes (including the movies) have to be in minor?
I mean it’s good music but shouldn’t we have something more in major for Trek? Makes Trek not feel as optimistic.
Game Of Thrones……
I like it for nostalgic bits, both Courage and Giacchino. I’m not sure Discovery’s main theme stands out on its own. We’ll see. It’s purdy, though.
It doesn’t IMHO. There’s nothing there that’s a real melody, it’s all very background music. This is very very bad unless the bits they missed out *are* the actual melody.
There is hardly anything to hear on Instagram and the Youtube video with the full song is blocked. Is there another video somewhere with the whole song?
YouTube now has a full version available that seems to be region-free.
It sounds fractured and all over the place. There are like 3 or 4 themes mixed into one, beside the original TOS theme I’m hearing bits of ‘Game of Thrones’ & ‘Fringe’.
It’s really good but it’s also very close (too close?) to GOT, another hint at what this series is trying to accomplish: being GOT in space. It’s not bad per se, because after all, the theme of GOT is one of the best TV themes ever composed.
The big let-down is the link between the GOTesque main theme and the Trek-style lead-out in the end. It simply doesn’t fit (the introduction does very much though!)…
The intro part sounds very much like some hidden TOS cues that were used in the background music, not in the TOS theme.
And I’ve also identified a second element in the main part. It’s not just GOT, it’s also close to a recurring theme on Pirates of the Caribbean, prominently used in Part 3. It’s based on that Pirate song sung in the beginning of that film which is reprised during the final battle…
It’s called HOIST THE COLORS!
I actually found the GoT theme fairly repetitive and uninspired the first time I heard it, but of course it’s become an institution by now and my regard for it has changed accordingly. :-) Some things just have to grow on you.
The GOT theme didn’t have to grow on me. I loved it from second one. It’s one of the few things about that series I truly love. The rest I just take as it comes.
Well, it’ll do. Love the repurposing of the TOS theme at the beginning (how could any fan not?), but not so much the reprise at the end. What comes in between–very nice, but somewhat generic. We’ll see how it plays with the visuals.
Amazing that Courage’s theme has survived so long, especially given his total disinterest in SF. He considered Trek to be pure nonsense, at least at first.
I’ve often felt that the fact that Courage’s opening fanfare is missing from TMP’s opening credits was a major mistake on Gene Roddenberry’s and Robert Wise’s part. If they had put it in, it would instantly have said ‘This is Star Trek’. Instead, there’s a bit of the main theme when they cross Jupiter, when Kirk winks at the camera.
Also when Kirk’s making his log entry when they’re trapped inside V’Ger. And it’s not very well orchestrated, alas. You got the feeling Goldsmith’s heart just wasn’t in it.
@FLB — Considering Courage was Goldsmith’s long time orchestrator, it’s unlikely Goldsmith’s choice. Most likely stemming from he and Roddenberry’s bad blood at stealing half Courage’s royalties by writing lyrics for the theme which were never sung. Probably why he was uncredited in the final credits for TMP too. I’ll bet Paramount made Roddenberry use the theme after seeing the cut with Goldsmith’s music in it.
It was those pesky letter writers:
“I wasn’t asked to score the [STAR TREK] films because, by that time, I was kind of retired. And there’s a hierarchy involved. Certain people are feature picture scorers. When the first film was about to be scored, an acquaintance asked me if I was going to do it. I told them no, Jerry Goldsmith was doing it. Then, I was asked if they were going to use my theme, and I said, ‘Of course not! Jerry will write a new theme. Which is what he should do.’ When I did The Waltons, which had Jerry’s theme, I didn’t use his theme, except for the first couple episodes. So, why should he use my theme? But, they had so much mail, apparently, that he finally called me, rather reluctantly, and asked me if I would write a 15-second version of my theme and a 30-second version. It was used somewhere in the picture. Of course, James Horner [STARLOG #63] has used it in each of his films because they told him he had to, and that’s all there was to it.” — Alexander Courage in ALEXANDER COURAGE: and the music of STAR TREK by Randy & Jean-Marc Lofficier, STARLOG #107, June of 1986, p19
Michael Kmet, who regularly comments on trekmovie, already Factchecked and debunked that myth you are helping to spread:
“Although it is true that Alexander Courage didn’t return to score any individual episodes during the second season of Star Trek, he did record thirty minutes of library music for it — some newly composed — on June 16, 1967. And, during the program’s final season, Courage returned to score two more episodes: ‘The Enterprise Incident’ (recorded August 5, 1968) and ‘Plato’s Stepchildren’ (recorded October 25, 1968). Bob Justman had left the series by the time the score for ‘Plato’s Stepchildren’ was recorded, but he was definitely around during the recording sessions for ‘The Enterprise Incident.’” — Michael Kmet, ALEXANDER COURAGE’S ‘Marvelous Malarkey’, STARTREKFACTCHECK.COM, Tuesday, June 25, 2013
And here’s another direct quote from Courage himself:
”There wasn’t any rift, really, with Gene. What happened with Gene was a I got a phone call once…it was Gene’s lawyer, [Leonard] Maizlish. He said, ‘I’m calling you to tell you that since you signed a piece of paper back there saying that if Gene ever wrote a lyric to your theme that he would split your royalties on the theme.’
Gene and I weren’t enemies in any sort of way. It was just one of those things…I think it was Maizlish, probably, who put him up to doing it that way, and it’s a shame, because actually if he’d written a decent lyric we could have both made more money.” — Alexander Courage, Archive of American Television Interview (February 8, 2000)
@Disinvited — thanks for clarifying. I’ve heard some of those before, but I’ll assume there’s more than just these quotes, since Courage doesn’t really say he and Roddenberry have a good relationship. The reality is Roddenberry might not have known anything about the library music that Courage wrote and was engaged by another producer. Since it’s widely said that Roddenberry was an absentee producer in the third season, it’s entirely possible the Frieberger hired Courage, again without telling Roddenberry. Even if Courage has softened over the years, there could have been some bad blood at the time. I mean, why would they reluctantly call him during TMP? Goldsmith certainly wouldn’t have objected since he had already hired Courage to orchestrate for him.
Either way, I’ll accept that there may be another explanation besides Roddenberry’s discomfort in working with Courage, our of guilt or perceived anger, etc.
Well, Roddenberry should have felt guilty over his treatment of Courage. We all owe the man such an enormous debt that I tend to find most of the bashing that goes on here pretty tiresome, but his ethics in this situation, at least, left a lot to be desired.
That said, some months back a friend sent me a link to an audio file of the theme featuring Roddenberry’s lyrics being sung by a competent jazz singer, and it was surprisingly not-bad.
Well, I don’t think anyone can argue with the fact that Roddenberry was a typical entertainment industry male of the era with much baggage in regards to feeling guilt over the extent to which they self-promoted themselves and their achievements.
And by that, I mean I’ll take issue with you, if you mean to assert Gene invented the lyric royalty split dodge, or was the only television producer to take advantage of it — he wasn’t. But like Courage, I do lament that Roddenberry’s lyric writing talents didn’t equal those of producer Sherwood Schwartz.
I’ve often wondered if Gene’s self-awareness of his own inability to actually be the bettered man that he believed he was responsibly promoting as man’s future was in any way a contributing factor to his drug problems?
If I recall correctly I believe I heard a jazz English lyric version on the radio by the operatic Jean Norman who sang the non-words in the original theme and was a Ray Coniff singer too. If that’s what you heard, I agree.
Thing is TMP’s own theme, later used in TNG and other movies has become as iconic as Courage’s. So win-win
Well, that just gave me chills. How impressive. Resonant, deep and respects what came before while still having it’s own gravity. Very nice.
Generic car commercial music. I can practically hear the announcer saying, “BMW. The ultimate driving machine” over footage of cars driving by the coast. Not impressive, and the Courage stuff is tacked on poorly.
@PaulB — Ugh is right. You nailed it with that BMW commercial sound. It sounds like he’s re-using his Theme to the failed TV series TIME AFTER TIME. It even has the same clock ticking motif. Such a waste.
Considering the music will be likely accompanied by beauty shots and flybys of Discovery, you’re probably not far off. I like it, but to be honest, the music is not something I care a lot about. I used to– when Voyager debuted I cried for weeks about how lame the music was. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve focused more on how good the actual show is. A nice theme is a bonus.
This one seems OK. Will eventually grow on me if I like the show, I’m sure. Voyager’s theme no longer bugs me, and I find it kind of catchy in hindsight some 25 years later.
I enjoyed the Voyager theme pretty quickly, but I’d already had to get used to DS9’s theme, so it never really bugged me like it bugged you. This one’s not as jarring as the Enterprise theme, at least. But it’s so bland!
I agree. Never been a music guy. Found the JJ film theme really distracting. Too bombastic. I want a theme that doesn’t hit me in the face.
It’s not really that important. But I like this.
It’s fine to want a theme that doesn’t hit you in the face, and I’m glad you like this one. I find it to be bland, disjointed, uninteresting, and actually somewhat insulting. “Hey, let’s use a bland car commercial theme and just slap 8 or 9 notes from the TOS theme on the ends of it! Trekkies will love anything as long as you throw them those notes.”
The JJ film theme sounds like something from a sports highlights show or a NASCAR broadcast. “Today in the NFL–” (DUN DUN DUNDUNDUNDUN) It’s an okay theme but mostly annoying and not enjoyably memorable.
This theme is just…blah. It’s tapioca with even less flavor.
That’s weird. Voyager’s music was another Goldsmith masterpiece. DS9 however was a lot more generic IMHO.
Definitely think the Courage callbacks were poorly integrated, at least at the end. I did appreciate it in the beginning. As for the rest — I think I’ll have to watch the opening credits a few times before I really take to it, or hear it in enough variations throughout the series for it to truly resonate with me.
A worldwide release, which you’re marketing to a global audience? Geoblocking is illogical
Mmm, sorry to offer a contrary opinion but…. is that it???!! It’s nothing. Low key, inoffensive and uninteresting aural fluff, with an underpowered delivery of the classic trek fanfare at the end.
My reactions vary from Pfff to Meh.
I LOVE film scores, alost entirely thanks to the sci-fi and Star Trek scores, of Goldsmith, Horner, Eidelmann… a good trek fanfare and a rousing brass and percussion march is my trek heaven.
This theme evokes absolutely nothing. Again, sorry, just my opinion. If other like it, great.
You’re right. There’s no highs, nothing to mesmerise.
With the Federation tidbits I’d have expected some dramatic Klingon music cues considering they’re a big part of the show.
^This 1000% There’s no actual melody!
Individual portions of the theme were good, but pieced together it felt quite off. I hope more instruments will be added to it to “complete it”.
@Zaid — nope I think you pretty much got the whole thing, right there. I was even surprised to hear the choral element added to it.
Nice beginning and end, but where’s the middle? Where’s the beef?! If you can’t hum it, it ain’t a theme.
Or I should say it ain’t a Star Trek theme. All the series before it, even Enterprise, had themes you could hum to yourself. Why have composers largely moved away from that in the past decade or so?
Can’t hum it – that’s a perfect way to put it.
The mid-section seems to be a generic filler
Maybe it will grow on me?
Sounds more like a BBC nature documentary right now. Aside from nabbing bits of the TOS theme it doesnt scream sci fi to me.
Game of Klingons
Aaaand… it’s gone. Dangit. Or is it just the dreaded region-lock again? I don’t think so, since it only says “This video is not available”, as opposed to “…not available in your region”
Ahh, but other channels have it. I don’t know whether they obtained the video legitimately, so I won’t posts links, but a quick youtube search does the trick.
Sounds fine to me – so far – but I’d have to hear the full theme in order to adequately judge it.
Hmmm. the video is down
The version posted by Trekmovie is geoblocked and can only be viewed in the US. Try the links posted in some of the comments.
Meh, sounds pretty generic and forgettable to me. I hope it’ll sound better when I hear the whole thing
@Spectre-7 — I think that was the whole thing …?
Now that I’ve seen the full clip…wow. It’s great! When it’s paired with visuals it’s going to be fantastic. And hearing the fanfare at the end….whoa! Really really exciting!
So so! Some nice touches of the original theme in there. We won’t know til we see it played with the visuals. Most score music seems incomplete without the context of the visual.
@Karl — I completely disagree. A good theme is evident with or without picture. The only memorable parts of this theme were written by someone else. I don’t care for Russo’s take on it whatsoever, or his minions, and the body of his “original” theme, which as I mentioned earlier is lifted from his theme for TIME AFTER TIME, is totally unmemorable. I was never a huge fan of Giacchino’s Trek Theme, but it was heads and tails above this thing. At least there was something memorable to hum. This thing is just wrong for me. But to each his own. There are Trek fans who love Leonard Rosenman’s theme for TVH, but I think it’s not Star Trek at all. It’s my least favorite theme of all, well maybe until this one came along. Of course the only thing that saves this is ALexander Courage.
I’m not familiar with Time After Time – and from what you and one or two others have said, that’s no bad thing. Whatever about theme music (which I agree, needs to be memorable – that humability factoe), my issue with film and TV scores is that with rare exceptions the music doesn’t resonate with me without the visual. I’ve often heard a soundtrack in advance and shrugged my shoulders, but after I’ve seen the movie and the visual remains somewhere in my mind, the music usually sounds better. There’s a reference point and an emotional connection (so to speak) for me then. If that makes sense
@Karl — I don’t disagree. But that’s a phenomenon where the visual mitigates the music, by essentially distracting you, or offering something of greater value. It’s the same experience when you’re playing the stereo and the music serendipitously begins synching with a muted TV picture, or a video you shot on your phone. And it can work in reverse, a bad picture can ruin a good piece of music if it’s synched up badly. But a theme should have more impact. The VOY theme is lovely, and Jerry Goldsmith wrote it, but with or without picture it just doesn’t work for me (in part because I didn’t think the whole MT sequence didn’t fit well with the series), whereas the DS9 theme, for a show I didn’t really care much for, worked alone and with the visuals, both of which were appropriate for the series they were conceived for. And it was a great theme, which I can hum right now, despite not having really liked, or watched the show.
I agree with you. I wouldn’t care to listen to Richard Wagner’s music as a general rule (and love Mark Twain’s contemporary observation that “Wagner’s music isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds”), but pair “The Ride of the Valkyries” with Vittorio Storaro’s amazing cinematography in APOCALYPSE NOW, and what do you have? Cinema history.
I like Giacchino as a composer–his music for the first ten minutes of UP could get Genghis Khan to tear-up–but I found his Trek scores, and the theme in particular, to be overly bombastic, repetitive, and uninspired. Not wild about Rosenman’s Trek IV score overall (they should have completed that trilogy with Horner), but at least it was something unique in the annals of tentpole franchise film music.
That Giacchino music from the start of Up was our first dance music at my wedding, @Michael Hall. Agree with you about him: generally a very good composer with potential to reach Goldman, Horner and Zimmer levels of Hollywood greatness, but then he ruins it with mediocre or OTT stuff for Trek – which also has its moments of grandness in his scores, such as the Kelvin battle/Kirk birth at the opening of Trek ’09
It would be nice when, if you have people in officially sanctioned videos, they don’t call it Star Trak.
FFS another video that is not available!
You can find versions on Youtube that are not geoblocked. People have posted links in the comments.
It’s okay, but I would have liked something a bit more dynamic. I’ve listened to this a few more times now to see if it’s one of those things that will ‘grow’ on me with repetition…but it still sounds a bit mediocre overall.
And that bit of Courage cue at the end sounds like it’s a little awkwardly tacked on for my liking. Still, nice to get an early preview of this, and at least it’s a big step up from the ‘Enterprise’ intro, – but I would have preferred something a bit more bombastic and attention-grabbing overall, to be honest. I heard worse show themes however.
I think it sounds great. I’m sure it will eventually be appreciated by most. Most of you lot whinge and whine and complain about nothing just for the sake of it.
Still coming here to complain about this and that pretty much every single day on almost every single post. It’s tiring for sure
Did you come here just to whine and complain about people?
Thanks for the really informative article, TrekMovie; it helps tremendously to place the composer in context to see the other shows he’s worked on and the awards he’s won.
So is this the full musical piece in the video or not? Has some really lovely nods to TOS that bookend it, the middle sounds like it’s building to something… then it wraps up. Are they saving the main theme for the premiere? Or was that it?
@DiscoDuck — I think that was it …
I hope not. Frankly, it sounds unfinished.
@Disco — yup. It sounds like Jeff Russo trying to write for orchestra. The reason you know it’s finished is because you can hear the choir mixed in with it. That wasn’t recorded at the same time as the orchestra, so this is most likely the final intended result. If you watched the TIME AFTER TIME pilot, it’s almost the exact same theme, also recorded with an orchestra. Since he was fired from that series, and it tanked after only a few episodes, he’s apparently reusing it here.
Sort of makes me think of a grand seafaring adventure.
Thank god, they’re going back to orchestral music and not something like the sappy “Faith of the Heart” that was used for Enterprise. This will likely get me branded a snob by some, but Mr. Berman’s musical sense was not that acute, however effective he may have been in other areas of producing Trek. Trek does best with sweeping orchestral themes.
@Mather — they used an orchestra on Enterprise score, the end title was an orchestral version of the theme, and I’m pretty sure there was an orchestra under the theme song itself. But like so many other of Braga’s miscalculations, it was money poorly spent (or maybe not, I heard the muzak version of that song everywhere I went, so it likely earned some good royalties).
That said, it is good that they are continuing that tradition and going back to an orchestral Main Title. It’s just in the DNA of the series.
That’s not unfair at all, actually–Berman was notorious for thinking of music as sonic wallpaper, there to support the story only, and God forbid that it be memorable enough to draw attention to itself. Which is why so much of the Trek music produced under his tenure is so utterly bland, and when a really memorable score (e.g. “The Best of Both Worlds”) made it past him it was more or less a happy accident.
I vaguely remember reading in an interview (might have been with one of the composers) that it was Peter Lauritson who advocated the sonic wallpaper score.
@Diginon — wow … finding more and more about about Peter. I’ve worked with him, very nice man, very competent post producer, but wow … he probably said that because it was easier to lift, move, and cut, and one less thing they had to worry about as their deadlines neared … still, wow.
FWIW Trek BBS has a typo-laden, what is claimed to be a, transcription of CINEMAFANTASTIQUE from October of 1993:
That has a quote from Berman that to my mind fingers him as the source. I don’t have that issue of CINEMAFANTASTIQUE so I am unable to verify that.
I can attest that in communication exchanges with me Dennis McCarthy fingered Berman as the source of the dialogue philosophy, but you would be just taking my word for it. I am researching interviews.
I posted quotes from here:
confirming Berman but it went into some sort of moderation hole.
Maybe the link will be permissable?
Listened to it a few more times on the way home and it did grow on me a little–there are some lovely highlights and instrumental choices, but they’re pretty subtle. I can certainly understand why some would be underwhelmed, but for me it’ll do just fine, especially if it’s paired with the right images.
I like that it has the fanfare, but I thought that was a bit weak if I am honest. What I’d give for Goldsmith to still be with us.
Meh. Did he say Star Track?
It sounds like they were looking for a catchy string of measures that stick in your brain after a listen or two, and I do believe they have achieved that. It seems they also wanted to start, and end it with the Courage theme, which they pulled off nicely.
I’ll say this, the tune is basic enough that they could revisit every season with additional accompaniments, and such. I give it a B+/A-.
I do wish they had gone with a more notable, more seasoned composer, but this could be a great opportunity for this guy to make a more broader name for himself, all while honing his skills as a composer.
How dull and lazy. You can tell that whoever cobbled this together has little understanding of counterpoint, harmony, and just basic strategies for convincing melodic structure and how it relates to harmonic development. This is the sort of anonymous pap that I’d expect to see from a first year university student. I realise as a trained composer I’m more discerning than the average listener, but this is really quite a letdown. With Voyager they got a big name for the main theme, why not here?
“Nice”.. But it has no bite at all. There’s no actual theme beyond what sounds like background music.
It’s not horrible. He’s certainly no Goldsmith. Kind of Giacchinoesque. I’d like a litlle more orchestration and energy personally, but it is what it is. Btw- I don’t post here much anymore because of how ugly it’s gotten. Everything’s politicized and negative. Sad.
Big shock. Another video not available in Canada. CBS realizes there are Star Trek fans up here, too, right? Amazing as it sounds, we actually get cable and internet in our little igloos.
It is odd considering Canada’s historic airing of STAR TREK first.
Bell Media has the distribution rights for Discovery in Canada whereas Netflix has the international rights for the rest of the world. It’s quite annoying (I don’t live in the US either) but that seems to be the reason why CBS promo videos are only available in the US.
Compared to Trek themes of the past, I’d rate it somewhere in the middle, behind that of TOS, TNG, and VOY, but ahead of ENT, which is more memorable but for all the wrong reasons. Interestingly, I also like it better than the the initial DS9 theme music but not as much as the up-tempo version that later replaced it.
For my money VOY’s opening credits had the most beautiful music and visuals of all the shows. Which just goes to show, a great theme will only take you so far.
Sorry. Sounds pretty bland to me. More 8th note’s under whole notes. Sounds like…..every other soundtrack these days. This guy, Michael Giacchino, Steve Jablonsky…all just boring, boring stuff. No melody. Just a moving part underneath with whole note strings on top.
Goldsmith is gone. Horner is gone. William’s has reduced his output cause he’s a bit older now. Silvestri is around….
I don’t want to offend, I’m just sick of hearing this over and over. I could have hummed it to you before I even heard it….
Agreed, though Giacchino can turn out memorable themes once in awhile. His main theme for the new Trek movies is hummable, at the very least.
That music was fantastic! I’m glad to see a return to an orchestral theme after the blundered departure from such with Enterprise.
@CaptJWAmick — I assume you mean for the Main Title, ENT used an orchestra for the score just like every other Trek production, including TAS. ENT even had an orchestral End Title, which frankly would have worked much better as the Main Title Theme for my money.
Love the TOS opening but then…. Like a Babylon 5 / GOT – MashUp (both way too martial; i don’t like their themes) that bells for war and is citing (or better ravishing) TOS. I just can’t cope.