Thursday, October 04, 2007

Unused Music from STAR TREK TMP (1979)

One of the coolest things that happened to me in the 1990s was I got to sit within a couple of feet (or meters, if you're reading this across the pond) of film composer Jerry Goldsmith while he conducted an orchestra rehearsal of his STAR TREK march. This was thanks to horn player Ricardo Cox, who is (a) a NYC pal and (b) just happened to be one of the musicians in the short-lived group that called themselves "The New York Filmharmonic;" a collection of classical and studio musicians. Like Ricardo, I am a TREK fan. Even better, I was a huge fan of Goldsmith. Unfortunately, I did not know what to say to the man when given the opportunity to say hello, so I just stated quiet, and watched him work.

The march was originally composed for the STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE, and Gene Roddenberry liked it so much it was used eight years later as the theme music for his new NEXT GENERATION series.

Goldsmith and STTMP Director Robert Wise had different ideas on the music. Since Director outranks Composer, Goldsmith went back to the dots, returning with the now-familiar tune.

This above clip, however, shows us the first time the new Enterprise successfully gets into warp, and the music here, while different than the music in the final cut, is not so big a difference ... and the march is not in there. Goldsmith's orchestrator on STTMP was the original composer of the TOS theme: Alexander Courage.

You can hear a small cut of that earlier, "wrong" music, on the STTMP "Director's Edition" DVD extras. Goldsmith says he felt Wise was correct to criticize. It's got the "march beat," but no recognizable theme. If I can find a video of that bit, I will post.

The Music of Star Trek ... well, there's a lot of it. And there's even a book, THE MUSIC OF STAR TREK, natch! But my fave music is the fight music from the "Amok Time" episode. It was written by Gerald Fried. You know the episode; where Spock goes into heat and has to get to Vulcan and take a mate or die.

The music is so versatile, it was reused in the series from time to time. And there are a lot of places it's resurfaced to comedic and dramatic effect: THE CABLE GUY movie (directed by TOS uber-fan Ben Stiller), video of some housecats fighting (aww, they're jes havin' fun), in this fan-made clip from the LAND OF THE DEAD movie (where it works in byootifully dramatic fashion), and here it is replacing the original music track for the DOCTOR WHO CHRISTMAS INVASION special. I'm also sure it was in a couple of FAMILY GUY episodes, but I'm not a fan.

Trivia: Were there lyrics to the original TREK theme? Snopes has the answer here.

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