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We've all had some time to process this release and, even though it may have already been discussed to death on the message boards, I'm going to talk about it some more.

It's allegedly going to be followed up soon by a release of Star Trek III, but I can't comment on that since I am merely a humble blogger and have no official connection to the FSM corporate juggernaut.

Meanwhile, some thoughts about Star Trek II.

  1. If you have not purchased the FSM cd, you are an idiot. Yes, I’m talking to the Trek haters and Horner bashers, the “I don’t like ‘complete and chronological presentation’” crowd, the “I already own the original lp/cd” fossils, and, most especially, the cheapass “I’ll download it for free from the internet” weasels. This is a flawless package and presentation of a dynamite, landmark, career-making score. It’s a vital component in any self-described soundtrack lover’s collection and, at the very least, will help fund all the other revelatory but poor-selling (Eye of the Devil, anyone?) releases FSM lovingly offers us. So I’ll say it again. If you do not own it, you are an idiot. Period. (And, really, go ahead and buy Eye of the Devil while you’re at it. It’s really a remarkable score.)
  2. Time and familiarity have not diminished the power of Surprise Attack as one of the greatest action cues ever. The horns. The percussion. The  pizzicato strings building to a barrage of brass. It flows so deftly from Kirk’s “damned peculiar” feelings about the situation to Khan’s seething anger and anticipation to the battle damage and, finally, the defeat of our heroes followed by the gloriously devilish reveal of Kirk’s attacker. It’s a standout sequence in the film and it is flawlessly scored.
  3. This weekend, I heard a lecturer refer to the French horn as the best instrument to approximate the sound of light. And immediately (and somewhat sadly) I thought of Horner’s Main Title sequence. The shimmering strings and Courage’s fanfare setting the scene for us, grounding us in the familiarity of space, the final frontier. And then the French horns. When I first saw the film, I laughed at the French horn sequence there because of its similarity to the opening of Battle Beyond the Stars. But today I think of the French horns as light bursting from the familiar strains of the Trek fanfare, giving us, musically, the idea that something new and wonderful is leaping from the vestiges of the Star Trek we know. And that’s exactly what the film delivered.
  4. And speaking of Horner’s tendency toward self-plagiarism, this passage from page 101 of writer/director Nicholas Meyer’s terrific book, A View From the Bridge, gave me quite a chuckle.  “When I asked during a subsequent recording session if a certain passage he composed for the movie didn’t smack of Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, he squeaked, ‘Whatdya want from me? I’m a kid; I haven’t outgrown my influences.’”
  5. I thought I’d grown tired of this score. I bought the LP as soon as I could find it after its release in 1982 and subsequently played it to death. But I never bothered to get it on  CD. I had what I thought of as the best snippets on the “Astral Symphony” collection and left it at that. But when FSM released this new CD, I snapped it up mostly as just another Trek item to add to my collection. Yet amazingly to me, it has become the new go-to CD for months now. I simply can’t get enough of it. All the old, familiar bits sound brand new, and the new-to-CD bits sound revelatory. Yes, the anti-“complete and chronological” crowd can find a valid nitpick here, since there are a few places that feature too-similar passages programmed beside each other (Spock’s Theme and the opening of Kirk Takes Command being the most obvious example). But it doesn’t detract from the glories of the score and the teasures of the newly released material. This CD is a gem, even from the base standard of the soundtrack as souvenir of the movie experience. The performance sparkles, the packaging is superb and I, for one, wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s not the most important work in the either the Star Trek or Horner canon. But it’s pretty darned close. And it is must-own listening. I defy you not to love it.
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Comments (27):Log in or register to post your own comments
I don't have Star Trek 2, but I did buy Eye of the devil, hope that's ok then:)

I own it and listen to it on occasion, though I visit the Goldsmith scores more often. Being of the TNG/DS9 generation, I don't have the nostalgic relationship with this score and movie, although I do think it ranks as one of the better scores/movies of the original crew. And in regards to FSM's release, it's amazing from start to finish, especially the climactic material left of from the original album.

I own it and listen to it on occasion, though I visit the Goldsmith scores more often. Being of the TNG/DS9 generation, I don't have the nostalgic relationship with this score and movie, although I do think it ranks as one of the better scores/movies of the original crew. And in regards to FSM's release, it's amazing from start to finish, especially the climactic material left of from the original album.

Yeah, me too (about being in the TNG/DS9 generation), even though I never watched any sort of Star Trek until our parents introduced it to us a few years ago! This release is amazing and is one I love to listen to, along w/ Giacchino's and all of Goldsmith's.

I'd buy it if I liked the music. I don't, so I won't.

In 2010...

I'm sure I wasn't the only one who, when La-La Land announced the Paramount deal, thought, "Ohmigodstartrekexpandedscores!" :)

Having said that, I was one of the posters who was sure that the big FSM Comic-Con release was going to be Gremlins. But we were proven wrong when, on one Monday morning, Lukas announced the complete TWOK score. It certainly made my day a little brighter and I recall writing something on the board to the effect of, "I had no idea they'd get access to the Nerd Holy Grail section of the Paramount vault so fast!"

I can't say TWOK was my #1 Star Trek holy grail (that would be III and V) but it's a splendid album, every part of it, from the artwork to the sound quality to the alternate Bob Peak posters. Even more than the final battle music, I was happy to finally have the "Kirk in Space Shuttle" cue.

I'm proud to own this album and I'm happy to know it was SAE's busiest day ever (from what we were told on the board). I'm sure the music exec at Paramount was pleased to hear that.

This is definately one of my favorite Star Trek scores, and one of my top scores period.

The movie is also up there, and the FSM release makes my old GNP CD a waste of shelf space.

However, the GNP album was still an excellent presentation of the score in terms of cue selection and sequencing.

Looking forward to the rumored Star Trek III release.

I was in San Diego during Comic-Con last year and when I read the announcement on my iPod about Star Trek II, it was a no-brainer. As soon as the show opened, I made a bee-line to the Screen Archives booth and plunked down my money.

I'll be there for 2010 and I'm keeping my finger crossed that we get surprised once again.

Greg Espinoza

for me, it didn't add enough crucial material to merit an upgrade from my GNP
(no, i DONT need "Amazing grace" on bagpipes to feel fullfilled. LOL!).

really good score though
check it out!

I was in San Diego during Comic-Con last year and when I read the announcement on my iPod about Star Trek II, it was a no-brainer. As soon as the show opened, I made a bee-line to the Screen Archives booth and plunked down my money.

I'll be there for 2010 and I'm keeping my finger crossed that we get surprised once again.

Greg Espinoza


Greg is a real 'con man'
:)

Idiot? Cheapass? Fossil? Weasel? Those are pretty harsh words, and I am none of them. :D I have said it before, but here goes again. No matter what I think of Horner as a composer, THIS is a great score. It's got to be my favorite of his, because I have so few, mostly earlier scores- say, up to about 1985- no, I'll be generous. Up to 1991.

And I do find myself listening to it a lot.

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