The Music of Star Trek

Profiles in Style:
Written and Compiled by Jeff Bond

Paperback: 219 pages
Publisher: Lone Eagle; illustrated edition edition (March 1, 1999)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1580650120
ISBN-13: 978-1580650120
Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches

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Author’s Foreword 2014 – A Look Back

Since Jeff’s book and my review below was published back in the day, in the pages of Legend (the journal of the ongoing Goldsmith Film Music Society), there have been more movies and television incarnations of STAR TREK. However, in the judgement of this reviewer, I believe that these latter productions and indeed all of the films from GENERATIONS onward, have been lacklustre, in terms of the stories and music scores.

Not wishing to end my foreword on a negative, in recent years we have seen a veritable smorgasbord of CDs from all manner of films and television scores, including TREK. This means we have at last been treated to complete/expanded releases of all the TREK films and much of the television music. By choice, I have not purchased the TNG-era television releases. Not by choice but for budgetary reasons , I have not purchased the massive TOS box set from La La Land Records. But I don’t want your sympathy, dagnabit!!!!

The Review

Jeff Bond, the then-managing editor of Film Score Monthly, wrote this in-depth study of the music of STAR TREK in all its incarnations, from the original pilot The Cage, up to and including the then-latest theatrical film. INSURRECTION.

There have been tons of books about STAR TREK, both official and unofficial; this book falls into the former category and is the first to concentrate on the music. Features of varying lengths have of course appeared in various magazines, but this book holds a wealth of information that should interest fans of film and television music in general and Trek fans specifically. The attractive cover mostly resembles all the ‘unofficial’ large format Trek books, most of them published in the UK by Boxtree.

Besides a foreword by director Nicholas Meyer, there are lots of interviews with the composers involved with the various series and movies, as well as producer Robert Justman and current music editor Garry Sackman. Alexander Courage, Fred Steiner, Gerald Fried, Jerry and Joel Goldsmith and all of the movie composers except James Homer are interviewed, as well as the composers involved in STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION and its spin-offs, the least musically and dramatically interesting period in the history of STAR TREK.

The book includes some composer music sketches and reprinted excerpts of the piano sheet music of all the main themes available from your local music shop in book form. I would have preferred actual score excerpts but there is probably a good reason for their absence. Cue sheets for most of the films and selected episodes abound and a study of who composed what and when for the ‘tracked’ original series episodes – now we know why there were so many non-original scores back then for many of the episodes!

A couple of errors and omissions occur, for those nitpickers (like me). One such error misrepresents actor Ricardo Montalban’s Khan Noonian Singh as Khan Noonien Soong. Noonien Soong, as fans know, was the creator of the android Data in the Next Generation…

The Music of STAR TREK is a thoroughly-researched and in most parts, dare I say it, fascinating study. The problem is, as a writer, I find myself in agreement with a lot of what Jeff Bond says, making his analysis occasionally redundant. However, this is still a worthwhile purchase, originally available directly from the publishers of Film Score Monthly and now available most readily from Amazon Marketplace on the all seeing, all knowing internet!

Dirk Wickenden

Originally published in Legend: Issue 28, 1999, updated expressly for runmovies in 2014, by the reviewer.

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