Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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There is no comparison.

I couldn't wait to get home today because I just knew that the parcel from Screen Archives would have arrived this afternoon. And I was right. I have received my copy of the Retrograde Records (Film Score Monthly) release of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and it blows the GNP Crescendo disc completely out of the water on all fronts. It sounds like the music has been unbound in some great mythic sense.

The sound mix is so much better with a wide stereo spread as opposed to that horrid "mono with presence" vibe on the GNP disc, and as a results sounds don't seem as 'crushed together' as they do on the other CD. This is an extremely colorful score, so the exhuberance of the music would often compensate for the limitations of the sound on the GNP Crescendo disc, but the best way that I could describe the way the music sounds on the new disc is "thunderous." "Kirk's Explosive Reply" really explodes, and when the "Enterprise Clears Moorings" it sails away. "Khan's Pets" was a cue that I was always lukewarm on from hearing it on the original CD, but the clearer sonics on the new one allow the textural writing to come through, and that whole sequence proves to be an interesting segment of the score in a Jerry Goldsmith horror vein (those scratches in "The Eels of Ceti Alpha V" scared the shit out of me).

I was expecting to glide over parts of the score but found the whole thing much more engaging. Frankly, hearing some of the more familiar pieces in the greater context of the entire score (and sounding so good) reveal how much more complex the score is than one would think from the LP selections (excellent though they were). Furthermore, cues like "Kirk Takes Command," "Captain Terrell's Death" and "Enterprise Attacks Reliant" are central to the score as it plays in the film, and there are many nifty little moments like the mixing of Alexander Courage's theme with Horner's in "Kirk In Space Shuttle" and the ethereal "Genesis Cave." The Big One of this score, however, is "Spock (Dies)," which is one of those moments that just couldn't have fit onto that original LP, but is a wonderful bit of scoring.

This is a score I know intimately. Not only have I played the original album more times than I'd care to admit, but the film is one of my all-time favorites as well. The score itself was something of a holy grail before the GNP Crescendo CD edition; jailnurse and I went on several far-reaching expeditions in an attempt to track down the Atlantic LP or cassette back in the high school days (it turned out somebody I knew who had nothing to do with my primary clique happened to have the LP). It would take a lot for me to use the term "revelation" in context of anything remotely connected with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and this CD qualifies.
Tags: film music, james horner, jerry goldsmith, sandy courage, star trek
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