In honor of the new Star Trek film coming out in two weeks, the next few Film Score Friday Top 5’s will be about all things musical having to do with Roddenberry’s vision of the future. In the first of three, I postulate the question of best title themes, coming from ether film or TV. But if anybody says the title song to Enterprise, your commenting privileges are revoked! (Okay, not really, but damn if I don’t hate that song!)
#1) Main Title to The Motion Picture/Star Trek: The Next Generation – Jerry Goldsmith: As iconic as the The Original Series theme is, I gotta give it up to Jerry here. I don’t know where my childhood would have been without this theme.
#2) Theme to Star Trek – Alexander Courage: You knew I couldn’t put this any further down the list, right? From the 60s fabulous singers on “Ah” to the classic ascending minor seventh that is “Space…the final frontier,” and is subsequently part of almost every theme up until Deep Space Nine, this theme got so much right.
#3) Main Title from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – James Horner: Horner’s Khan score is yet another reason I fell in love with film music as a kid. His title starts with the minor seventh motive (played over those wonderful string harmonics), but quickly goes into his unique score that sets the aural tone for Khan and Search for Spock. And while the more I hear Horner’s music, the more I hear just how much he recycles himself (more than I think is really acceptable, even with time constraints), nothing can even diminish the Khan score in my mind.
#4) Overture from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country– Cliff Eidelman: I don’t really know why I really like this one so much, but perhaps it is just how dark it is, starting with low strings, then trombone, English horn, low voices…it is all so ominous. When it really gets going, it almost sounds like ‘Mars’ from The Planets. I just really enjoy it. It also helps that, in my humble opinion, VI is one of the stronger Trek films.
#5) Title theme from Star Trek: Voyager – Jerry Goldsmith: I was torn between putting either the DS9 or Voyager theme here, and while the DS9 theme really signaled a drastic shift in musical tone for the series, ultimately I went with Voyager because it retains much of that shift (more somber, less adventure), while also conveying the exploration aspect of the show and the longing of the stranded crew.
Next Week: Top 5 musical cues and charcter themes (You bet the Klingons make the cut! Qapla’!)