Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Star Trek: The Motion Picture Music 2-CD Set

If one is really into film scores, he or she probably knows Jerry Goldsmith's brilliant music for 1979's science fiction epic, Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

The production itself was fraught with problems, the primary and underlying one being that the original script was to be the blueprint for a 2-hour telefilm ― actual running time, about 95 minutes. Instead, the core idea stretched out unnaturally to a 142 minute theatrical length. Even with the new extended running time, there did not seem to be enough time for great character scenes and bits, which were the major identifying marks of the original television series; a series with a few outstanding markings, including superb and memorable music scoring. ("Tunes, man! Tunes!")

As much as I'm into the art and craft of film scoring, I appreciate film music most when it's played with the movie (picture and sound) it was designed to accompany. However, some scores do work very well as standalone works ― Goldsmith's stellar work for ST:TMP is one of them.

In January of 1980, one month after the flick's release, the original soundtrack album LP hit store shelves in my town. And I hit Records on Wheels. But just before I did, a fellow teenaged geek invited me over to premiere his unit of that particular piece of vinyl. His audio system was high-end, and when the music kicked up, at a beefy volume, I felt as though I was listening to something cosmically beautiful. That beautiful.

In 2012, La La Land Records released an "all-in" 3-CD set. I never acquired that boxed set, but I understand that all its versions, variations, and alternate cues, worked well ― certainly for completists.

In February of last year, La La Land released a new-new boxed set, this one of 2 CDs.

Some sonic samples....

The "overture" (beautiful piece)

Meet V'Ger (the composer gave an all-but inanimate object some dimension and personality)

A Good Start (the Enterprise flies off) (If you heard this on its own you could be forgiven for thinking you just missed a good movie ― you did not.)

Final note: In the "Meet V'Ger" sample piece one can really hear a pipe organ. The instrument heard here is housed at the 20th Century Fox Studios Scoring Stage (now the "Newman Scoring Stage"). Composer Goldsmith wanted to utilize this special instrument, so he recorded his score at Fox, even though ST:TMP was a Paramount picture. The subsequent original-batch Trekkie feature films all had their respective scores recorded at Paramount's "Stage M", a music stage with a history in that most of the original Star Trek television series' music was recorded there. (Stage M was closed in 2006.)

I've not bought the 2-CD set. I'm just too cheap, I guess.

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