The Music of Star Trek: Profiles In Style – Jeff Bond

Original Book Review by Alan Rogers

Reading Jeff Bond’s overview of the music of Star Trek, that has arguably produced more music than any other franchise, it is clear that he enjoyed writing and compiling this book. Bond – Film Score Magazine’s “Editor-at-Large” – in his Introduction highlights the fact that almost every aspect of the Star Trek universe has been written about and analysed; except for the music. This book now fills the glaring gap in this universe.

The bulk of the book features a series of interesting and in-depth discussions of the music from the original 1960s TV scores, plus interviews with composers such as Alexander Courage, Fred Steiner and Gerald Fried who worked on the episodes. Generally following a chronological order, there then follows chapters on all the movies up to and including Star Trek: Insurrection. Interviews with composers such as Jerry Goldsmith, Leonard Rosenman and Cliff Eidelman add an interesting perspective to their respective scores. James Horner’s absence from these interviews, however, is a major hole in this section of the book. The music of the more recent Star Trek TV series – such as The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine & Voyager – is covered too, with contributions from Ron Jones, Jay Chattaway and Don Davis keeping the format consistent.

The inclusion of items such as original composer sketches, cue sheets and sheet music samples only add to the interest of this book. I love these sorts of things in film score books and to see original composer sketches from Fried’s score to “Amok Time” (for the fight music) and Kaplan’s “planet killer” motif from “The Doomsday Machine” is – even for a music illiterate such as I – a great touch. Also of particular interest was Bond’s meticulous itemised cue sheets for episodes from the original series. This must have been a difficult job since, as the author notes, of the 80 episodes filmed, only 34 had original; the remaining 46 episodes being tracked with music from other episodes. Also, the cue sheets from Horner’s scores for The Wrath of Khan and The Search For Spock provide tantalising information of music that could appear in any forthcoming expansion of these scores on CD (expansions that finally materialised in 2009 and 2010, respectively). Finally, the book is full of trivia from the through the years. One that I found particularly interesting was that, because of AFM rules producers could reuse music recorded during a production season in other episodes filmed in the same season as many times as needed, without further reuse fee payments. But their use in other seasons was prohibited. In order for this music to be used the music had to be re-recorded.

Obviously, as soon as a book such as this is written it is quickly out of date as new additions to the franchise appear. Hence, any music composed after 1999 is not included. This incompleteness, together with the fact that the more recent the music discussed, the fewer number of pages are devoted to it, are only minor complaints. Overall, this is an excellent book, full of interesting interviews and information and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in film and/or TV music, not just to those with an interest in all things Star Trek. Hopefully, at some point Mr. Bond will provide us with an updated issue of “The Music of Star Trek.”

Rating: ****

219 pages, ISBN 1-58065-012-0

Published by Lone Eagle Publishing Company, Los Angeles, CA, USA

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