I am off the night tour for this week, as I am being sent to pole-climbing school on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Despite being relieved at having something resembling a normal schedule once again, I am having a hard time adapting to daytime. Hopefully this will clear up by the time I'm expected to actually hang off of a damned pole. I will be off the night tour at the end of the month, and 'm looking forward to rejoining the living.
My life has become boxes and bags. At first it was cathartic, now it's just a pain in the ass. I can't keep anything organized because the moment I've gotten one thing in order, three new things come up. Don't get me wrong, I'm very glad that this is all happening, it's just that it's no longer comfortable to be where I am, and where I'm going isn't ready for me yet. Hopefully I'll have some of that rectified by this evening.
This Star Trek III expansion really breathes new life into the score on its own. The Klingon music benefits very much both from the remaster (the exotic instrumentation is much better delineated) and the wider variations afforded it here (so it doesn't come off so much as Khan redux and comes into its own as a versatile theme). I am particularly fond of some of the aggressive presentations in "Grissom Destroyed" and "Spock Endures Pon Farr."
There are some really cool transitions here, too, such as the one in "Klingon Plan" and the triple transition in "Spock Endures Pon Farr." One of my favorites, however, is in "A Fighting Chance To Live," as the jaunty version of Kirk's theme segues into the Alexander Nevsky part of the Klingon theme for the exchange on the transporter platform.
When I was tagging these tracks for my iPod, I grouped together all of the cues with the Alexander Courage theme to add his credit to the list I keep in the "lyrics" field. It was the first time I really thought about the fact that the Courage theme is not heard for a moment as momentous in the history of Star Trek as the destruction of the original Enterprise.¹ It was in no way the wrong choice; as I said, it took me twenty-six years to notice this, and I think the cue as Horner composed it is perfect for the scene. From a spotting perspective, it makes the appearance of the Courage theme in "Genesis Destroyed" much more cathartic.
Interestingly, Trenton and I were having a discussion yesterday about how the different Star Trek feature composers handled the Courage theme. While Jerry Goldsmith used the theme for the Captain's Log sequences in The Motion Picture, it was really Horner that brought the fanfare to the forefront as the curtain-opener for the movies. And while Goldsmith would use it to announce and send off his scores, his use within the fabric of the score was usually very sparing. Leonard Rosenman's score as it appears in the film and on disc is similar ("Home Again" being an obvious exception, but that's why it's "Home Again") as is Cliff Eidelman's.
The two big exceptions for the features were Dennis McCarthy and James Horner, both of whom utilized the Courage fanfare as prominently in their scores as any of their own themes. I think I read in the Allan Asherman interview book that Horner said he hit on using the fanfare because he wanted something that would signify Star Trek immediately to the audience, drawing a comparison to the way that Richard Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" opened 2001 by announcing to the audience that something Profound was about to be seen. It's interesting to contrast that bold statement of the fanfare at the beginning of Wrath of Khan with the wistful arrangement of the complete theme at the conclusion of The Search for Spock.
As for Giacchino, his use of the Courage theme was very different because of the nature of the project. I really liked how sparing its use in the new film was, with sly hints woven in here and there. It's one of the things I'm looking forward to tracking better once I receive my copy of the 2 CD set.
Yes, I know that the Enterprise class ship was not the same model as the Constitution class ship (which is on exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.), but I liken it to them having "recast" the role for the first movie. And I felt that the Enterprise class ship more than proved herself, and that there was enough continuity to get the sense that this was, in fact, the same Enterprise that collided with the Galactic Barrier, was filled with Tribbles or infiltrated deep into Romulan space to steal their cloaking device. The music never hurt to endear me to her either.