“JOURNEY TO INTO A VAST SPACE, TO BOLDLY GO WHERE NO MAN’S GONE BEFORE!”
“Star Trek: The Original Series Collection”
Soundtrack Review Part 2 Season Two Discs 6-10
Featuring Music By Gerald Fried (Discs 1,2 &4),
Music By Sol Kaplan (Disc 2), Fred Steiner (Disc 3)
George Duning (Disc 4), Jerry Fielding (Disc 5) and
Samuel Matlovsky (Disc 5)
Discs 2 & 5 Feature 2nd Season Library Music
Disc 1: 34 Tracks/Disc Time: 56:56
Disc 2: 30 Tracks/Disc Time: 64:45
Disc 3: 52 Tracks/Disc Time: 72:26
Disc 4: 45 Tracks/Disc Time: 64:51
Disc 5: 66 Tracks/Disc Time: 73:26
*BEST OF 2012/13*
THE LINK TO STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES SOUNDTRACK REVIEW PART ONE IS HERE: http://usedview.com/review/star-trek-the-original-series-collection-soundtrack-review-part-1
Since it’s unpreceidented release at the end of last year, “Star Trek: The Original Series” box still remains as one of the most important and exciting releases for the La-La Land Records label and a major gamble as well after scoring major successes with their sold release of Jerry Goldsmith’s “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” expanded album years ago and their brilliant expanded release of Goldsmith’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” which should be on its’ way to selling out in the near future. This comprehensive and spectacular box set was one long in coming after soundtrack fans have been teased by several solid releases of some of the more popular music from the best episodes of the series by labels such as GNP/Crescendo, Varese Sarabande and Label X over the last few decades. This collection is the first ever release of all the original tracks from all three seasons of the series which ran from 1966 to 1969 under the DesiLu banner with Paramount Television. The series for most who have seen it and still think it’s remarkable for its’ time, revolves around the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise lead by it’s charismatic Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew that includes the benevolent and wise Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Dr. Bones Mc Coy (DeForest Kelley), Lt.Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Scotty (James Doohan).
In Part One of this review, I covered the series musical First Season that featured some excellent music from the likes of Alexander Courage, Fred Steiner, Gerald Fried, Joseph Mullendore, Sol Kaplan and George Duning, which were very effective and enjoyable scores that were very varied and energetic featuring each composers’ respective style. Each disc featured suites of music for each episode that didn’t contain library music which would happen later on during the season. The episodes that were scored fully are the ones that made up the first batch of discs in this set and the music from Season Two certainly follows suit with as much success as the first season music was.
In this Season Two set, we have the likes of Gerald Fried (Discs 1, 2 & 4), Sol Kaplan (Disc Two), Fred Steiner (Disc 3), George Duning (Disc 4), Samuel Matlovsky (Disc 5), Jerry Fielding (Disc 5) and Alexander Courage (Disc 5) returning to the conductor’s podium the continue Captain Kirk and his crew on their adventures. Fried, Duning and Steiner are given the lion’s share and wealth of the material this time around. Not to be outdone however, Jerry Fielding’s score to “The Trouble With Tribbles”, one of the more popular episodes of the series gets its’ just due in having the original tracks released for the first time after numerous re-recordings on the Varese Sarabande and Label X labels in the past. This portion also gets some other composers to shine brightly like Duning and Fried for example.
Disc One the Season Two portion of the set, solely belongs to the interesting and unique mind of Gerald Fried, which features two complete episode scores in “Catspaw” (32:36) and “Friday’s Child” (24:13). Each episode score is very interesting in that they vary in style at times with an introduction of unique percussion and orchestrations while retaining the style Fried had exhibited in the first season in the episode “Shore Leave”, which I highly enjoyed. “Friday’s Child” is a unique episode that features some ethnic Arabic percussion that adds a little spice to the material since the episode did take place in the Arabian desert influenced by “Arabian Nights”. While the former, “Catspaw” features a Halloween – magic mystique to it (the episode was aired on Halloween 1967) so it was pretty fitting that series would incorporate the holiday into one of their episodes and that’s why Fried’s work sounds the way it does and has fun with the idea. His solid work would continue into the first half of Disc 2, with another popular Star Trek episode in “Amok Time” (32:46), which one of Fried’s well known scores for the series and the most dynamic that Fried would write. The music is a stand out thirty-two minutes that would feature alot of memorable pieces such as “Ritual / To The Death” and “The Ancient Combat / 2nd Kroykah” that would be spoofed in the movie “The Cable Guy” and later on the cartoon series “Futurama”.
The remainder of Disc Two solely belongs to the work of Sol Kaplan and yet to another popular Trek episode in “The Doomsday Machine” (31:51), who provided an exciting score to the Season One episode “The Enemy Within”. This episode would revolve around a “planet killer”, a massive alien spacecraft designed destroy planets. Kaplan’s music featuring an onslaught of harsh brass and pounding percussion that sounds much like a human heartbeat to symbolize the threat that Kirk and his crew are up against. Thrills and suspense abound with Kaplan shifting from these motifs that go from brooding to heroic. It’s easy to see why alot of Trek fans like this episode and the score.
Fred Steiner makes a welcomed return to Season 2 and this set with Disc 3 solely devoted to him. I really enjoyed the music that he wrote for the first season portion of the set and Steiner continues to deliver the goods on this one. Steiner’s stellar work is represented in the episodes “Who Mourns For Adonis?” (29:07), “Mirror, Mirror” (13:59), “By Any Other Name” (12:28), and “The Omega Story” (2:01). While “Adonis” gets the brunt of the new score material featured here featuring an interesting, ancient majestic modernistic sound for the being that claims that he’s the Greek God “Apollo”. While “Mirror, Mirror”, which is another all time popular episode in which Kirk and the crew are sent to an alternate reality ruled by terror after a transporter mishap to an Enterprise known as the “Blackship”. Steiner’s dark and brooding paranoia with harsh brass and pounding percussion to emphasize the dark universe our heroes are in. “By Any Other Name” features a lush, romantic theme mixed in with dark orchestrial rumbles of the darker material. “The Omega Story” is a very brief suite featuring patriotic versions of the Star Spangled Banner, Trek style. Second Season’s Library Music rounds out the remainder of this very solid disc.
Composer George Duning finally gets his due in the series with Disc 4 and with the episodes “Metamorphsis” (30:36), “Return To Tomorrow” (18:09) and “Patterns of Force” (6:35). Duning was hired by Producer Robert Justman after admiring his Oscar nominated score for “Giant” and handed him the more romantic and intimate episodes of the series, but also keeping the suspense material involved. This disc much like the previous two in this portion of the set are very enjoyable and to be honest my favorite for its’ thematic material. “Patterns of Force” is a short suite of essentually military material based on a single theme called “Military Mite”, which is a like a Nazi styled march. Gerald Fried brief material to the episode “The Apple/Wolf In The Fold” around the disc which bonus material from previous episodes reworked into these two particular ones.
Disc Five is highlighted by the Jerry Fielding’s classic music for the series, “The Trouble With Tribbles” that Fielding’s legacy will forever now be associated with and rightfully so as he would write memorable film scores soon after, but would sadly be lost in 1980. “I, Mudd” is Samuel Matlovsky’s score for the episode which is incidently a comedy. Matlovsky’s score is based on a romantic waltz and a whimsical theme for the episodes’ con man, Harry Mudd who’s imprisoned on a planet with the perfect androids that resemble his nagging wife. His score is really good and very enjoyable almost off beat in a good way. The rest of the disc is rounded out by even more library music from the Season Two, much like the first season’s portion of this box set.
In reviewing this set, which has been an exhausting, but unique experience in so many ways. I can easily see why fans of the show have really wanted a set such as this one for the longest time. It’s full of thrills and unique moments, that are really missing from most soundtracks today. There was a craftsmanship of music that was established here and set a standard for what a Sci-Fi television show should sound like for years to come. All of the composers works represented over the 15 discs was a labor of love and enjoyment in that they did have alot of fun composing for the series and the music itself dictates that. The energy is there. The passion and the excitement of creating something original for what would become a legendary TV series despite its’ short lived run, but would find a home in the hearts of many viewers since their original airings. With these experiences to take account for, I took a fresh approach to this since I’m personally not a die hard fan of the series eventhough I’ve enjoyed all of the films, there is a uniqueness about it that is just easy to see why people love it so much and were bitterly disappointed when it was cancelled in 1969. This set is special reminder for the extremely loyal fans of the series, that somethings were just simply ahead of its’ time and “Star Trek” was easily in that category. That the series remains as popular today and stronger than ever is a great achievement and started out with these excellent composers busting their butts to write the memorable music that made for memorable television.
This is just part TWO of this review which will be followed by Part THREE, the third and final installment which will cover the scores (Discs 11-15) that comprise the music from Season Three which would turn out to be the final season of the series.
UPDATED: The Third part of this review can be accessed here: http://usedview.com/review/star-trek-the-original-series-collection-soundtrack-review-part-3