Tags: cliff eidelman

Bones (Star Trek)

What does it mean… exact change?

I have been sick all week. I was sick two weeks ago as well. It's amazing how when you get to work, all you want to do is go home, but when you're stuck home, all you want to do is get to work. It's not like I don't have anything to do (a have a large collection of books, movies, music, Netflix and, oh right, the freakin' Internet) but when you're stuck with nothing else to do it can be rather dull. Time off from work ought to be for vacations, not boring oneself stupid in one's apartment.

I'm not exactly in a bad mood, but I'd characterize it as a "drab" mood. I'm stuck in the apartment on the BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) diet (also plain roasted chicken and chicken soup) until my body deals with whatever it is dealing with.

So I'm bored.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Fenster (The Usual Suspects)

Blah blah blah blah blah…

  • 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.

    1. 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.
Bones Redux (Star Trek)

"Home Again"

Last week I mentioned that I was working on revising my Silver Screen Star Trek compilation from a few years back to take advantage of the vast sonic improvements of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan the Retrograde Records provided over the wretched-sounding GNP Crescendo disc.

This coincided nicely with the added flexibility that I have with the new set-up and the additional capacity provided by the Hewlett-Packard inkjet printable CD-Rs I now use (which seem to top off somewhere around 83:25), the time seemed ripe to correct some glaring mistakes on the old disc as well as make a slightly more rounded presentation of the material from these four scores. I specifically wanted to include at least one version of James Horner's Klingon theme from The Search for Spock and the choir intoning taH pagh taHbe' (Klingon for "To be or not to be") in the "Rura Penthe" sequence from The Undiscovered Country. I also wanted to give Leonard Rosenman's score for The Voyage Home, which I always felt I had shortchanged somewhat, a bit better of a showing.

Ironically, while all of the other material was being moved around or added to, the selections from The Wrath of Khan remained pretty much what they'd always been and for the most part where they'd been. I had an edit where I included "Enterprise Attacks Reliant," but it was just too much at that point in the album. So while I took full advantage of the better sound on the new issue of the score, I didn't use any of the additional music; if anything there is slightly less this time around, but only because I shortened "Battle In the Mutara Nebula" to remove some of the more textural material.

The selections and sequencing weren't the only things getting a facelift with the new version. I have replaced the rather droll cover art with something much more graceful and stately. While I initially liked the idea of keeping a group photo of the movie-era original crew on the cover, I instead decided to concentrate on stately images of the Enterprise to adorn this edition. The CD artwork is quite striking, if I do say so myself.

I have just completed what I think is going to be the final edit of the album (thus far running 83:12 83:17), but I want to give it a few days before I finalize anything. I think I nailed it, though, much better than the last time. And yes, I am planning on revisiting my Jerry Goldsmith Star Trek compilation Battlestations; I've already remixed the main title to match the original film version.
Bones (Star Trek)

"Listen, kiddo, Jim Kirk was many things, but he was never a Boy Scout!"

The new entry can be found here.

I will make no bones about the fact that my interest in Star Trek had as much to do with my fascination with film music as Star Wars did. While Williams' music was omnipresent and almost axiomatic as the voice of Star Wars to me, the fact that there were so many different composers working on Star Trek, each impressing their own personality on the subject caused me to examine not just that the music was there, but what it was doing.

I was 8 when Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan premiered. My father was an avid fan of the television series, so I grew up watching it, and was excited about the film (though I had not, at the time, seen The Motion Picture). I remember our local station, WPIX 11 offering tickets to the preview screening as a prize for their interactive games (you'd call in to play the game and say "PIX" to perform whatever action you did in the game - primitive online gaming), but having to wait until the actual premiere of the movie to see it. The first thing I asked my father exiting the theater was why after the very beginning there was no music from the television series. Of course, this was because the televisions series scores were endlessly retracked into other episodes, and I was expecting to hear a familiar Fred Steiner tune.

It wasn't until I was much older that I started analyzing the music. It was really Jerry Goldsmith's Star Trek: The Motion Picture that made me really pay attention to it from a practical point of view. That expansive palette and scope was so entrancing. Goldsmith set the standard for the feature scores, and would return to score the fifth Star Trek film as well as three of the four Next Generation features as well. Because I covered Goldsmith's contribution to Star Trek in a two disc program in my Memorial Set (which is way too long, I have since created a superior single disc version), I decided instead to concentrate on the other composers' work on the original cast films.

Of course, Wrath of Khan was scored by then up-and-coming James Horner. His score for Nicholas Meyer's striking film was bold and rousing, bursting with a young composer's desire to prove himself on his first major film project. This desire is somewhat muted in Leonard Nimoy's The Search for Spock, which came across as a softer version of Wrath of Khan, but was appropriate to story. Leonard Rosenman was asked by Nimoy to score the fourth and most financially successful entry, The Voyage Home, for which he provided a baroque-influence main theme and his own unique modernistic style. Nicholas Meyer would return to the director's chair and get another up-and-coming composer, Cliff Eidelman, to contribute a dark, intrigue-filled score for what would be the last film to feature the (entire) original film cast.

That's the basics. But I'm making this mix and it is therefore my tastes that I am relying on. I consider Wrath of Khan not only to be a personal favorite, but one of Horner's best scores, featuring the busy quality of his earlier work that I find sadly lacking in his current music. I might even go so far as to say that the enthusiasm he seems to be showing in this score is unparalleled in his ouevre. I also have to admit that I like the roughness Jack Hayes' more aggressive orchestrations than Grieg McRitchie's admittedly more polished ones. I find his score from Search for Spock to be mostly a retread - his theme for the Klingons is basically a watered-down version of that for Khan - but with some real good moments in it.

I've never been much of Rosenman fan; I respect his work much more than I like it. I have to admit that I find his music annoying. However, his title theme was very pleasing and the chase sequences are cute, but little else interests me about the score. On the other hand, I think Eidelman's score is a real classy affair. He built his score around short leitmotives instead of long-form themes, and when it kicks in it is a kaleidescope of orchestral color. I think it is a shame that Eidelman wasn't able to parlay his Star Trek experience into a blockbuster career as Horner was.

I had made several Star Trek mixes throughout my youth, but this was the first time I'd really gone back to that well in many years. However, all previous takes on a mix like this had been chronological, however, and I don't do that anymore (my Alien Quartet mix a major exception, and that only after I did unsuccessfully try to mix things up). This actually gave me a lot of freedom to play around with things that I wasn't expecting when I sat down to compile it. I found the selection process relatively easy because of my intimacy with the music, although assembling the tracks was a bit tricky, but the end assembly definitely establishes a Star Trek "sound" with a refreshing variety provided by different personalities of the composers.

This is also the first project that I did on the new computer after Raz installed all of the requisite software on it. It's basically the same set-up as I had before, but on a much faster computer - on which both processors work - with a bigger screen that doesn't crash all the time. I hadn't realized how much of my mix-making process had recently become just plain wrestling with the computer until I didn't have to.

21 Tracks - 80:40

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