Saturday, April 11, 2020

"The Doomsday Machine" Scored Big Time

"The Doomsday Machine" Music Revealed from Shem von Schroeck on Vimeo.

As any Trekker can tell you, one big reason for Star Trek's success is due to the varied and outstanding music scores. That stellar program had so many big hitters in the various production departments: cinematographer Jerry Finnerman and associate producer Robert Justman, to name two. We fans know and love the cast of characters, of course, but the "Tech Credits", as the industry papers label them, impress also.

The music department scored big time.

Some episodes with standout scores:

"The Naked Time" (A. Courage)
"The Conscience of the King" (J. Mullendore)
"Who Mourns for Adonais?" (F. Steiner)
"Amok Time" (G. Fried)
"The Trouble With Tribbles" (J. Fielding)
"Metamorphosis" (G. Duning)
"I, Mudd" (S. Matlovsky)

"The Doomsday Machine" rocks, rolls, and touches in brilliance. Its brass section blazes with 4 trombones, 3 trumpets, and 4 French horns. Those crackerjack session players ("West Coast musicians") plied their trade in Paramount Pictures' Stage M that day, with composer Sol Kaplan conducting them through the charts.

American composer/musician Shem von Schroeck produced the above 60-minute video. He starts off by breaking down the score's essential parts -- there are many -- then runs "The Doomsday Machine" with onscreen text denoting what instruments and instrumental groups are playing at any given moment. His method is academic but easily understood by those folk who can't tell a kettle drum from a double bass, or a bassoon from a cello.

Schroeck's affection and admiration for Star Trek and its scores is evident, and infectious.

Outstanding. The instructive video reminds me why I got into the business.


Simon St. Laurent said...

The above piece came about after I adopted an image from the episode to represent certain blog postings and my twitter account. It got me thinking....

Jon said...

I've often thought that the only way that episode could be more like an opera would be if everyone sang their dialogue. Hell, if you squint, the Planet Killer even looks like a sperm whale, the nemesis of Ahab.

Simon St. Laurent said...

The Planet Killer does look like a whale. Very good!

I agree with you on your 'opera' point. "The Doomsday Machine" is operatic, indeed.