Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
rob + = email

2022 April 11 • Monday

There's a lot of Jerry Goldsmith out there. And it's ALL GOOD! For the 721st Soundtrack of the Week we're listening to one of his best, the music for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

The music is pretty much the only thing that doesn't disappoint about this movie. And this soundtrack has been released a bunch of times. What we're listening to right now is the most recent presentation, a two-disc set from La-La Land Records.

It starts off with the "Overture", which is basically "Ilia's Theme", and one of our favorite piecves of music.

Then there's "Main Title and Klingon Battle". The first half is the theme that would end up becoming the theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation. The first half is a wonderful hunting theme with pizzicato strings, harp, rattly percussion, hunting horns and blaster beam.

There's a lot of blaster beam on this score. It's prominent in "Total Logic", which uses strings to create a mysterious atmosphere along with some other creaky and desolate sounds that might be coming from percussion instruments or very delicate manipulation of the blaster beam.

A Debussy-like swirl of airy strings and flutes, soon to be joined by a triumphant orchestra that gives it a nautical feel, sums upo the short "Floating Office". This cue seems to anticipate James Horner's approach to the sequel.

The main theme is brought back in a quieter, more restrained and spaced out arrangement for "The Enterprise". It sounds like a love theme, actually, and it should.

A feeling of danger and dread is introduced in the tense "Malfunction", which also manages to suggest the main theme in some of its intervalic writing.

Blaster beam kicks off "The Crew Briefing", which gradually increases the tension until it culminates in a reprise of the main theme, which is then brought out in full glory for "Leaving Drydock".

"Captain's Log—Warp One" and "No Goodbyes" are very short cues that make use of the main theme and "Ilia's Theme" while "Spock's Arrival" draws on that material very subtly for a swirling, otherworldly yet somehow classical piece with quite a few surprises.

Captain's Log—Warp Seven" includes the classic Alexander Courage theme for the original series and it's absolutely thrilling to hear, particularly in Goldsmith's calm and composed arrangement. It's followed by an energetic reprise of the film's main theme.

Then we get music for our main menace in "Meet V'Ger", alternatingly urgent and driving and myserious and atmospheric.

"The Cloud" is a favorite cue, very lush and textural and lyrical and lovely but with the blaster beam crashing in occasionally. This mood is continued in "V'Ger Flyover" and "The Force Field".

Then there's another reprise of "Ilia's Theme" for "Micro Exam", followed by the mini-suite of "Games", which has Goldsmith using church organ, creepy crawl strings, eerie percussion and blaster beam to conjure an abundance of uneasiness.

This blend of sci-fi and horror scoring gets another work out in "Spock Walk", an intense cue with lots of space and different levels of intensity.

"System Inoperative" is a moore familiar-sounding dramatic underscore type of cue, though still using the vocabulary of what we've heard in the score so far.

There's a lot of restraint in "Hidden Information", which does indeed suggest secrecy and under the table machinations with long spacious tones and quiet noises from percussion instruments in the background.

The main theme is given an electronic an ethereal going over for "Inner Workings", a mostly delicate cue that builds up some strength near the end.

A similar restraint informs "V'Ger Speaks", lots of steady, stable, long tones, no big leaps and bounds for the instruments, just keeping the audience focused.

Goldsmith then deconstructs the two main themes for "The Meld and a Good Start" and again you can hear some anticipation of what Horner would do for the second movie in a few places here.

Then for the end credits, the two main themes come charging out strong, nothing tricky.

Also on this release are several alternate takes and the original soundtrack album. But how does this differ from the previous triple CD set? Uh, not sure, but maybe we'll get arouond to finding out one of these days.