Wednesday 16 January 2013

Soundtrack update

I'm a bit behind on my coverage of Star Trek soundtracks since my last mention of them, back in August! Since then there have been two new releases, and one of those is the biggest most comprehensive release in all of Star Trek soundtrack history - The Star Trek: The Original Series Soundtrack Collection, which includes all the music from the entire original series, including pieces that weren't even used in the episodes! The set is split up by season, each with accompanying notes, plus a fourth booklet with further information about all the music. Here's what it all looks like:


You can see a full track listing, and listen to many samples, on La La Land's website. The set has been out since December, and is limited to 6000 copies. Just prior to release TrekCore ran two interviews, with producers Lukas Kendall and Neil S. Bulk. The team behind the set went to some effort finding the right recordings of each piece of music, to make sure they are the takes actually used on-screen. Kendall explained what is and isn't included on the set:
We included every original recording that we had that was considered a master take. When they’re recording any piece of music they’ll do Take #1, Take #2, Take #3 and so on until they get it right. In rare cases they may use an earlier take because they could not improve on that performance. We made a point to include every recorded master take, or “intercut” combination thereof, that was considered by the production to be the definitive recording of that composition. There were instances at the beginning of Seasons 2 and 3 where they had a recording session where they did new performances of earlier compositions which were then expressly used for library purposes. We made a point to include all of those re-recordings of the earlier music, but it was very easily identifiable what was original or not.
What those recordings include are some extra pieces of music that weren't used on screen at all, as Bulk explains:
The big bombshell was that not only was “City on the Edge of Forever” recorded in Stereo, but Fred Steiner composed music that was never used in Star Trek. Not only have we got the best episode with the best sound, he wrote stuff you’ve never heard! He wrote this whole piece of music where Captain Kirk steals the clothes, but I’m guessing the scene was recut or changed because it doesn’t match properly. There were so many instances where music was dropped from an episode.
What was really cool with Nichelle’s “Beyond Antares” from “The Conscience of the King” is that it was cut down in the episode. We have the full song on the set, on three tracks – harp, voice and a blank channel. We have it all, and when I was lining it up I was shocked!
Kendall also explained how he hopes the set will be received:
I hope people will be very happy. I think it will be a lovely collectible, and I think that there will be a certain ‘binge’ attitude which I experienced personally as far as wanting to listen and devour all of the music. To finally—after so many decades after hearing the tracks behind sound effects and dialogue—to hear it un-obscured and listen to all the lovely details in the music, to have this experience for the first time will be a special moment.
The other new recent release was the latest in the expanded Star Trek movie soundtrack collection; Dennis McCarthy's Generations. detailed the contents of this October release:
Disc one includes the full film score, including music for a sequence dropped from the finished film, while disc two offers a remastered version of the 1994 GNP soundtrack album (along with its innovative sound effects library)
And here's what it looked like:

That leaves just two films remaining to get the full soundtrack treatment. Insurrection, and my favourite Trek soundtrack of them all, Nemesis. Kendall spoke about both of these in his TrekCore interview on the TOS set. On Insurrection:
I have to be a little cheeky and neither confirm nor deny any such plans, because I have to be aware of GNP/Crescendo’s prerogative to either announce or not announce what they wish to.
And on Nemesis, coming from Varèse Sarabande:
I know the producer there—Bob Townson—is devoted to Jerry Goldsmith’s music. I know he’s also an excellent producer, he’s certainly someone who’s done far more work in the field than I have and whose career in the field predates mine by several years. I would be very optimistic that he’s aware of the interest in the title. Whether he does it or not is not for me to say.
In his interview Bulk also talked about TAS, although that sounds less promising:
The story is that that is lost. But, I’ve been doing this type of work for a while and sometimes things that are lost suddenly aren’t lost. I have no knowledge, I know nothing about an Animated Series project happening – but I’d love it, it’s very cool music.
Both producers commented on the DS9 set coming from La La Land soon, at the time of the interviews it was expected to be out this January. Bulk outlined the set:
I think it’s a “Best Of” compilation. It’s a 4-Disc set, and I think they went through and cherry-picked from all the seasons.
While Kendall elaborated:
I’m very happy with these releases, I consulted on them. The producer who has been most involved with that (and La-La Land’s Next Generation set) is Ford Thaxton. He knows the scores by Dennis McCarthy and Jay Chattaway much better than I do and I trust his judgment when it comes to selecting the episodes and cues to put on the album. With modern day Star Trek series, there’s a much larger quantity of music that was recorded because they did an original score for each and every episode. I tried with the Ron Jones box set to present every single note, but it became a very large set that was probably not cost effective, it was just something I personally wanted to do because I was passionate about Ron’s music. In the case of the newer Star Trek series and the composers who did many more episodes than Ron did, by necessity we have to excerpt their work. I trust Ford to make the best selections for the collections.
On top of those we should also have an all new soundtrack for Star Trek Into Darkness to look forward to.

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