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The Music of Star Trek
Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Leonard Rosenman
The Music of Star Trek
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1


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Near-Perfect Renditions of All Our Favorite Themes
James Whaley | 08/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The City of Prague Philharmonic demonstrates their Star Trek prowess with these fantastic renditions of Star Trek's themes. This release doubles as a "Greatest Hits" and cover album.

I always enjoy hearing new versions of familiar music, especially when the occasional liberty is taken in the arrangement. This release is sometimes-faithful, sometimes-unique, and while I don't like every single change that was made, I'm very glad the Prague Philharmonic was bold enough to put their own spin on the music.

On the faithful side, the Prague Philharmonic presents nearly note-for-note adaptations of the Star Trek II, Star Trek IV, First Contact, and Voyager themes. They are so close to the original scores that if I were to listen to a random sampling of either the originals or this release, it would take some time to figure out which version I'm listening to.

I'm pleased to see the 2009 Star Trek film included here. Unfortunately, I must defer to the original Giacchino score as the superior version. This is a very straight adaptation, but there are a few places in this track where the orchestra sounds so-close-but-not-quite-close-enough. While not "bad" per se, it is difficult to ignore the difference if you're familiar with the original score. I don't think this would have been as much of a problem if the track had done more to set itself apart from the Giacchino score.

While a stellar tune, Goldsmith's Motion Picture theme is heard in many of the End Theme tracks, which makes listening to this album from start to finish a little repetitive. I don't see why the Prague Philharmonic chose to use First Contact's end credit theme. It only contains the Motion Picture bookends and the First Contact main theme. A track with the isolated main theme would have easily sufficed, and broken up the monotony a little. (One would also be able to cue up their CD/mp3 player directly to the First Contact theme without having to sit through the Motion Picture portion first.)

As sad as I am to say it--being the huge Next Generation fan that I am--the Next Gen series theme was the most disappointing. The Prague Philharmonic included a brand new middle section that goes poorly with the theme and even the feel of the series as a whole. It sounds more appropriate for a 1950's domestic sitcom than a sci-fi adventure. It only lasts about twelve seconds, but in my opinion is enough to derail what was otherwise a very faithfully-interpreted theme.

Finally, I must applaud the Prague Philharmonic for its excellent instrumental version of "Faith of the Heart." As controversial as the original theme may be, hearing it sans-lyrics in a full orchestra is as enjoyable as any other Trek theme and a great way to close out the album.

If you are looking for a different spin on Star Trek music new and old, I highly recommend this release. If you are a purist who wants to buy this soundtrack simply for its "Greatest Hits" track list, I recommend against it as you may not welcome the liberties taken with some themes."