“JOURNEY TO INTO A VAST SPACE, TO BOLDLY GO WHERE NO MAN’S GONE BEFORE!”
“Star Trek: The Original Series Collection”
Soundtrack Review Part 3 Season Three Discs 11-15
LA-LA LAND RECORDS LLLCD1701
Featuring Music By Alexander Courage (Disc 3),
Fred Steiner (Disc 2), George Duning (Discs 4 &5),
Jerry Fielding (Disc 1), Wilbur Hatch (Disc 5)
and Ivan Ditmars (Disc 4). Discs 2 &5 Feature Season 3
Library Music & Alternates
Disc 1: 30 Tracks/Disc Time: 60:06
Disc 2: 31 Tracks/Disc Time: 70:07
Disc 3: 47 Tracks/Disc Time: 68:04
Disc 4: 40 Tracks/Disc Time: 72:36
Disc 5: 76 Tracks/Disc Time: 73:21
* BEST OF 2012/13*
THE LINKS TO STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES SOUNDTRACK COLLECTION REVIEWS
PART ONE IS HERE: http://usedview.com/review/star-trek-the-original-series-collection-soundtrack-review-part-1
AND PART TWO: http://usedview.com/review/star-trek-the-original-series-collection-soundtrack-review-part-2
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). After this final season in 1969, it would be ten years later that they would all reunite once again travel through time and space on Starship Enterprise in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”, which despite its’ problems, performed well enough at the box office to warrant a sequel in “Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan”, that would be a box office blockbuster with strong reviews and still highly regarded as the best “Trek” film ever.
In Part One of this lengthy three-part 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 Part Two, I covered the Season Two set, we hadthe likes of Gerald Fried, Sol Kaplan, Fred Steiner, George Duning, Samuel Matlovsky, Jerry Fielding and Alexander Courage returning to the conductor’s podium the continue Captain Kirk and his crew on their adventures. Fried, Duning and Steiner were given the lion’s share and wealth of the material during the season’s run featuring the gem that was, Jerry Fielding’s “The Trouble With Tribbles”, one of the more popular episodes of the series. However, the other season’s composers like Duning, Steiner and Fried musical stars shone very brightly and continued the strong wealth of music material that reached its’ pinnacle with the strong, wealth of material here.
Now, lastly we’ve reached the final Season of the series and this massive box set. While the music isn’t quite as strong as the first two seasons, the scores for these final season episodes really do hold up quite strongly. On hand once again is the solid roster that provided alot of the memorable music from the first two seasons that would include Jerry Fielding (Disc 1), Gerald Fried (Disc 1), Fred Steiner (Disc 2), George Duning (Discs 4 & 5), Alexander Courage (Disc 3), Ivan Ditmars (Disc 4) and Wilbur Hatch (Disc 5). Their work on the season was very solid, however there really isn’t the stand out episode like the previous two that features the great music and epsiodes.
Disc One of Season Three is split up by two different contrasting scores. Jerry Fielding is up first with his psuedo-Western influenced score for “Spectre Of The Gun” (26:10), as Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Chekov and McCoy are teleported back to the Old West. The score is pretty much a precourser to the Western scores he would do for “Lawman” and his lone Academy Award nomination for Sam Peckinpah’s bloody, violent and brilliant film, “The Wild Bunch” a few years later. The music is modernistic at times, but it is in keeping with Fielding’s style for the series. Gerald Fried follows his interesting, musical style for the series in “The Paradise Syndrome” (37:58). This score however is easily his best and most melodic of the scores he’s written for the series. It’s meditative and harmonious much like the episode itself as Kirk joins a tribe of Native Americans after losing his memory.
Disc Two belongs to Fred Steiner once again and his music throughout this box has been superb and it’s easy to see why Jerry Goldsmith had him on board to assist him on “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” during his busy time crunch of having to finish the score just in time for the film’s premiere in December 1979. Steiner has two scores on his disc for the episodes “Elaan of Troyius” (31:05) and “Spock’s Brain” (31:45) that are in keeping with his already solid work in the other seasons of the show. “Troyius” is purely romantic episode which is considered by most to be his best score in which Captain Kirk attempts to tame an alien beauty named Elaan while facing a threat of an enemy Kilngon ship during the middle of a poilitical mission for the federation. “Spock’s Brain” is one of Steiner’s interesting scores featuring percussion and primative electronics along with a “Greek Siren” theme, in this Season Three opener where Spock’s Brain has been abducted a group of dimwitted, mini-skirt wearing women named Eymorgs to use it to control her underground civilization. The disc is rounded out by Library music (12:51) that would be used throughout the season.
Disc Three belongs to another valuable future member of Jerry Goldsmith’s team in composer Alexander Courage in the next few decades after the show. Courage has displayed his solid musical style to the series on the first couple of discs of the box in seasons 1 and 2 and now with Season 3 episodes represented here, “The Enterprise Incident” (37:56), “Plato’s Stepchildren” (28:06) and “Whom Gods Destroy” (1:44), he solidfied his place in the series. The seminal episode of “The Enterprise Incident” which represented his first full score in quite sometime for the series. It’s atmospheric at times, but also very dramatic. “Plato’s Stepchildren” is a serious score pretty much in the mold of his other scores for the series like “I, Mudd” only the polar opposite. “When Gods Destroy” is a very brief Arabian styled “Hootch Dance” The disc is rounded out by “The Way To Eden” which is pratically a vocalized episode about space hippies that didn’t go very well for fans of the series” Wilbur Hatch was the muscial director with actors Charles Napier and Craig Robertson providing the “far out” material for it.
Disc Four opens with the solid work of George Duning who provided some memorable and wonderful music for the episodes he scored in Season Two. For this season, Duning was called upon to score “Is There In Truth No Beauty?” (36:39) and “The Empath” (32:24) two scores that were ironically scored on the very same day. “Beauty” is a very dramatic score and a surprisingly lenghty one that feels and plays out like one of Duning’s theatrical features as his music had to make up for alot of the budgetary constraints that the series would endure till its’ end. Easily one of the best scores of this Third Season box without a doubt. “The Empath” is another dramatic score that Duning was the voice of a mute alien girl nicknamed “Gem” as Kirk, Spock and McCoy are captured by an alien race known as the “Vians”. A score fashioned with dark colors and sadness, it a varied score that works much like the previous one on this disc. The disc is rounded out by Ivan Ditmars brief contribution to the episode “Requiem For Methuselah” which is inspired by a Brahms piece performed by Ditmars on keyboard which is a waltz like piece.
Disc Five features one final George Duning score for the episode “And The Children Shall Lead” (36:56) which is one of the more unique of his scores because the others were mostly romance laden. This one he really gets to expand using some odd orchestration as Kirk and company find a Federation colony made up of children who have been unaffected by their parent’s deaths. He also incorporates “Ring Around The Rosey” as musical way to restore the emotions of innocence the children had lost back to them courtesy of Duning and Capt. Kirk. Wilbur Hatch is also featued with a score to the episode “The Savage Curtain” (3:16) where Kirk brings on board a man whom he thinks is President Abraham Lincoln and serenades him with patrioic music courtesy of Hatch. The disc is rounded out by Library Music recorded by Hatch for the final season collated from music from the previous seasons.
We have reached the end of the review. I honestly didn’t know what to expect to be quite honest in reviewing this massive special set and in going through everything, I can see why fans of the series loved the music. It was via the efforts of these excellent composers that the show was highly successful in that high regard. The music was high quality as well as the composers who busted their buns to make this series work despite the cutting of budgetary corners throughout the last season. Regardless, the music is as solid as ever and for those who bought this set, should be extremely happy with it. Those who haven’t yet, should put something aside for the future. One thing that did bother me is just the individual tracks for most of these episodes were so brief that they could’ve easily played better as a long one track suite of music. I can see where La-La Land might have been heistatant to do so for collector’s complaining about why the tracks weren’t seperately indexed as they are if they were put together that way. The box features great liner notes and a wealth of information on the music, episode and the composers themselves which are fascinating. The sound quality is just out of this world.
In closing, I’d just like to say that this review was long in coming and now that I’ve traveled the music world of the original “Star Trek” series, it’s been my pleasure to have done these reviews for it. It was a long musical ardious road, but what alot of fun and discovery this was!