The essence of Star Trek’s music was that it was composed of many themes that recurred across many episodes throughout the series, sometimes in variation, sometimes not, in ways that made the series’ music a sort of extended symphony-cycle of recurring leitmotifs, rather than a set of themes tied to particular episodes, the way film scores are. The themes ranged from grandiose action-adventure music, to questing nautically-flavored tunes, to eerie and colorful music suited for the adventures of the Enterprise on strange planets and meeting new civilizations.
Ironically, this effect of a broad set of themes that unified two and half dozen episodes – considering in this post only Trek TOS’s first season – was created not by some grand master plan to unify the show in this way, but inadvertently as a consequence of musician union rules at the time. Those rules required a TV series like Trek to spend a certain number of hours in a studio recording music for each season’s shows, but otherwise allowed the show’s producers to reuse that music as often as they liked, at least within the same season.
Thus, original music was written only for a minority of episodes, generally episodes produced early in the season. Later episodes reused or ‘tracked’ the earlier music as appropriate, no matter which composer had originally written each track, or for which episode. It was up to the show’s music editor to compile a ‘library’ of tracks from the original scores, and then to select from this library appropriate music for later episodes, scene by scene. Individual tracks in this library were often quite short, some only a few seconds long; dozens of such tracks would be strung together to fill out the score for a ‘tracked’ episode.
There have been selected releases of Trek scores for decades, beginning in the late 1980s, when Varese Sarabande released, initially on LP, two discs of newly recorded music from a total of eight episodes. You can tell that the music is from the original scores — rather than arranged suites, say — and the music was performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Fred Steiner, one of Trek’s key composers, the single most prolific composer by episode count, in fact. The first album (https://www.amazon.com/Star-Trek-Recorded-Paramount-Corbomite/dp/B00000153T/) included Steiner’s own music for “Charlie X,” “The Corbomite Maneuver,” and “Mudd’s Women,” plus Sol Kaplan’s music for “The Doomsday Machine”; the second, Steiner’s music for “By Any Other Name” and “Mirror, Mirror,” Jerry Fielding’s for “The Trouble with Tribbles,” and George Duning’s for “The Empath.” Steiner, in these re-recordings, takes his time with music originally written to fit carefully edited and timed scenes; e.g. in “The Corbomite Maneuver,” the “Baby Balok” theme is noticeably slower than in the original soundtrack, as is the big statement of the main “Fesarius” theme. In these recordings Steiner lingers over themes in ways that are often effective, but sometimes distracting considering what we remember and have listened to over and over again for decades.
Then in the early ‘90s Crescendo released three albums of remastered original soundtrack music. Each album contained scores from two episodes: the two pilots on the first, “The Doomsday Machine” (the full score, not the under 6-minute selections on the Fred Steiner album) and Gerald Fried’s “Amok Time” on the second; Fried’s “Shore Leave” and Alexander Courage’s “The Naked Time” on the third.
With my recent ambition to rewatch the series, I recalled the ambitious soundtrack set of Trek music issued of La-La Land Records a year or so ago– http://www.lalalandrecords.com/Site/STTOS.html. This is the ultimate soundtrack collection, a gathering of every track recorded for the show, even some that weren’t used, with annotations that include the exact dates upon which each set of tracks was recorded. It’s a boxed set of three fold-open plastic cases holding a total of 15 CDs. It’s not cheap — $225 – but I sprung for it, and it’s finally enabled me to appreciate not only which music was written originally for which episodes, but how that music developed and built on earlier scores by the entire set of Trek composers. And so for this consideration of Trek’s music, I’m focusing on this primary set of original recordings, not on the later re-recordings by Fred Steiner, or the earlier Crescendo soundtrack releases.
The liner notes for the La-La Lands CD set are by Jeff Bond, who published a book back in 1999, The Music of Star Trek (https://www.amazon.com/Music-Star-Trek-Jeff-Bond/dp/1580650120/), that covered TOS (The Original Series), several of the movies, and three of the later series to a lesser extent. So I tracked down that book also and bought a copy.
To go into further detail, as explained in Bond’s book: the reason producers could get away with generating only a certain amount of music, and then reusing that music in later episodes, is because that was allowed by musician’s union rules at the time. Bond gives some detail via an article by Fred Steiner (pp34-35 in his book). Rules at the time required a one-hour dramatic show of, say, 26 episodes over a year, to spend at least 39 hours in the studio recording music. Further, a typical episode score might run anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, but a single scoring session could record only some 4 or 5 minutes of music per hour in the studio. Arithmetic leads to the conclusion that such a series would need to fully score only eight episodes. Trek’s first season had 29 episodes, and scored 13 of them, though several only with shorter “partial” scores.
All that changed in the early 1980s, when union rules changed to prohibit such reuse, requiring new music for every single episode. Thus Trek Next Generation has a unique score for every episode.
One twist of the original 1960s-era rules was that music could not be reused from one season to the next, unless the music was re-recorded (so musicians would be re-paid). That’s why, for example, the main Trek theme over the show’s opening credits sounds a little different from season to season. (I noticed this effect at the time, or at least in the ‘70s, when long-running TV shows would have essentially the same theme music from year to year, but you could tell that the themes weren’t exactly the same – there were often slight changes in instrumentation, or intonation, or phrasing. I noticed that especially about Hawaii Five-O back in the ‘70s when I watched that show regularly, and its iconic main theme was slightly different from year to year.) And Trek did that too, thus preserving some of Alexander Courage’s and Fred Steiner’s earliest themes all the way through the show’s second and third seasons.
In each of Trek’s three seasons, therefore, the majority of scored episodes came at the beginning, until enough music had accumulated to constitute a library of tracks for reuse that season. There was an irony about writing music to be suitable for a particular episode, while being generic enough to be re-usable; a theme too specific to a situation might perhaps never be used again. An example might be Riley’s jig in “The Naked Time.”
Another technical bit: almost every episode has a “music by” credit in the end credits, to a single composer, often Alexander Courage, since so many of the show’s earliest themes were by him. Even the episodes without original scores had “music by” credits. So what did that credit mean? It meant that, for a ‘tracked’ episode, the music editors would have compiled an elaborate tracking sheet, listing the length in seconds of each track and who composed it (Courage, Steiner, Kaplan, etc.), and then whichever composer was responsible for the majority of the music tracked when the episode was done, even if only by the slimmest margin, e.g. 51%, was awarded the “music by” credit at the end. You can understand how most of those credits were misleading, because all of the tracked episodes actually contained music by several composers.
Here’s a list of the originally-scored first season episodes, with composers, where the numbers indicate production order. Episodes not listed were ‘tracked’ from the scores for these 13. (There were also a few miscellaneous separate ‘library music’ tracks done by a couple composers, rescoring other composers’ themes or scoring original mood bits for generic use, recorded as time permitted during sessions when original scores were recorded. They are included as a separate group on the La-La Land Records CD set.)
#0, The Cage (Alexander Courage) [pilot #1]
#1, Where No Man Has Gone Before (Courage) [pilot #2]
#2, The Corbomite Maneuver (Fred Steiner)
#3, Mudd’s Women (Fred Steiner)
#4, The Enemy Within (Sol Kaplan)
#5, The Man Trap (Alexander Courage)
#6, The Naked Time (Alexander Courage)
#7, Charlie X (Fred Steiner)
#8, Balance of Terror (Fred Steiner)
#9, What Are Little Girls Made Of? (Fred Steiner)
#12, The Conscience of the King (Joseph Mullendore)
#17, Shore Leave (Gerald Fried)
#28, The City on the Edge of Forever (Fred Steiner)
Note first of all that the shows were not aired in production order; e.g. “The Man Trap,” the fourth episode in regular production (after the two pilots), was the first ever Trek episode broadcast, in September 1966. To further complicate matters, however, the scores for these episodes were not composed in the order of the filmed production. That’s because the scoring was often one of the last things done during the post-production (i.e. after filming) of any episode; ideally, the composer would work from a nearly-finished show, completely edited and with special effects added in. But some episodes took much longer to get through post-production than others. “The Corbomite Maneuver,” for example, had heavy FX (special effects) of the alien spaceships, and took so long to complete that it was the 10th episode broadcast, not the 2nd.
The La-La Land CD set arranges the episodes more or less, but not exactly, in broadcast order – the order is altered a bit to fit on the CDs without splitting any one episode across discs.
But to appreciate which music was written originally for which episode, and to see how themes were reused or redeveloped by later composers, you need to listen to the scores in order of their recording (which even then doesn’t necessarily reflect the order of composition!) of that music. Fortunately, this La-La Land CD set has extensive booklet notes, listing track names and timings, names of performers at each recording session – and the exact date of each recording session. (Notable because in one case, relatively short scores for three separate episodes were recorded on the same day!) (Cushman’s books, too, as they nail down exact dates of every script draft and of filming and post-production, notes dates when original scores were recorded for episodes that got them.)
My notes here list the episodes in that recording order, with those dates noted in bold. As I go through these scores, I’ll give notable themes, especially those I know will recur, name tags for future reference, in bold. I should note that the scoring sheets and CD track listings use rather informal names or descriptions, some rather irreverent (e.g. “Zap Janice” for when Charlie makes Janice disappear, in “Charlie X”). I’ll try to use slightly more formal names.
“The Cage”, by Alexander Courage
- This first pilot for the series was filmed from 27 Nov 1964 to 18 Dec 1964. Production dates in these notes are taken from Marc Cushman’s book; scoring dates and times are taken from the booklet liner notes for the La-La Land Records CD set. The series did not sell on the basis of this pilot, and the pilot was never broadcast in its original form (it was cannibalized mid-first season as background events for the two-part episode “The Menagerie”).
- Music for this episode was recorded 21 Jan 1965; total time of the music score: 32:01.
- This episode’s score debuts what would become Trek’s signature theme, known world-round: the initial sonar-like ‘pings’, the Enterprise ‘fanfare’ flyby on trombone, and then the soaring melody of the main theme with wordless soprano vocals. That melody was based, the notes tell us, somewhat on the old song “Beyond the Blue Horizon”. (This opening in this episode did not yet include Captain Kirk’s narration “Space: the final frontier”, etc.)
- There are two signature themes of this episode. The first is the so-called “Vina’s theme“, a slow sultry vocal– one two, threefourfive one two, … heard in several variations — including as the basis for the famous green Vina’s dance. It was used again and again, throughout the first season, in situations with the exotic or the alien.
- The second: the twangy electronic cues when we see the alien Talosians. Let’s call this the Talosian Twang. Very distinctive, it was used sparingly in later episodes.
- There are other memorable tracks – the calm picnic scene music; bombastic music for Pike’s fight with the barbarian giant; the searing music in the scene when Pike is subject to illusory flames – that were also occasionally used in later episodes.
“Where No Man Has Gone Before”, by Alexander Courage
- The episode was filmed 19 – 29 July, 1965. Music was recorded 29 Nov 1965; the show aired 22 Sep 1966. This was the second pilot, produced as a one-off and eventually broadcast as the third episode in the show’s first season. Total time: 27:58.
- In the recording on this CD set, we have the score as originally composed and recorded – and this original version had a different main theme, different than the iconic “main theme” heard in “The Cage” and throughout the regular series. This was an aggressive four note motif stated once then repeated double-time, the pair then repeated a step up, and was scored for both the opening and closing credits. Courage used variations of this theme in other modes throughout the episode, and in fact you can hear a slow, probing version of this theme in the opening moments of the episode as broadcast.
- The remainder of the score originally composed was retained for the broadcast version, which used the series’ “main theme” for opening and closing to match all the other broadcast episodes.
- Courage reused this four-note motif in his later original scores, and it was often tracked; I’m dubbing it the NoMan theme for later reference. The aggressive version of this theme survives in several places in the show as broadcast, and in DVD sets: at the very end of the teaser, and again at the very end of Act IV.
- Speaking of reuse, “Vina’s Theme” from “The Cage” turns up in this score, in track 23 of the CD (not sure which scene this was).
- The second new theme in this episode is a rising, questing five-note theme, also heard near the beginning of the teaser and again throughout the episode. The liner notes of the CD set, and Cushman’s book, suggest that this was Courage’s attempt to establish a theme particular for Captain Kirk, and again he reused it in his later scores. So we’ll call this the “Captain’s theme.” It was occasionally used in later episodes as a low-key final send-off.
- And the third prominent theme is heard as the Enterprise approaches and enters the ‘barrier’ at the ‘edge’ of the galaxy, a gradually building, searing collage of brass and electronic tones. Dub this the “barrier theme.”
“The Man Trap”, by Alexander Courage
- Episode filmed 22-30 June 1966, score recorded 19 Aug 1966; the show aired 8 Sep 1966. This more typical interval – three weeks between recording of score and broadcast of episode – illustrates how scoring an episode is almost the last thing done before broadcast. Including main titles theme, total music is 35:20, for a broadcast show about 50 minutes long.
- The version of the main title is the ‘electric violin version’ used in the initial batch of broadcast episodes. The electric violin plays heavy in the episode’s eerie score.
- The episode’s slow, eerie score serves well to establish the strange other-worldliness of this alien planet — especially, I think, considering this was the first broadcast episode, Trek’s debut to the world. Note Courage’s “Captain’s theme” is woven into the score, early on. Especially distinctive are passages of eerie organ music, as the alien invader, in the guise of one crewman or another, wanders around the corridors of the Enterprise; other passages using an electric violin; and the mournful two-note French horn theme that opens the episode – one that appears often enough in later episodes that I’ll dub it the Man Trap moan.
- Roddenberry reportedly hated the score — he wanted more aggressive, swashbuckling music, like Horatio Hornblower naval battle music, for his show – but the music turned out to be very effective here and in a number of later episodes, as low-key underscore for scenes of mystery.
- Note there’s lots of winds and brass, and an organ, and an electric violin but otherwise no string section – an orchestration ploy to keep down the number of musicians needing to be hired for this particular recording session. The booklet that comes with the La-La Lands Records soundtrack collection lists, for each recording session, all the players and all the instruments! Not counting the manager or the copyists, there were 24 musicians performing this score.
“Charlie X”, by Fred Steiner
- Episode filmed 11-19 July 1966; score recorded 29 August 1966; episode broadcast 15 Sept 1966.
- Opening music is “Captain’s theme” segueing into the two-note horn theme from “Man Trap” – that is, here is Fred Steiner reusing established motifs from Alexander Courage. (Though this was Steiner’s first recorded score, Jeff Bond’s book implies Steiner composed the score for “Mudd’s Women” first.) This episode has an arranged version of the main theme, by Steiner, with cello playing the theme instead of the soprano voice. This leads to a new theme, an inversion of the two-note “Man Trap” theme – a two notes rising in menacing mystery.
- Act I opens with a new Enterprise fanfare – call this Enterprise fanfare #2 – by Steiner, an eight note nautical-sounding theme that initially descends, almost as an inverse of the more familiar fanfare by Courage. The eight note theme repeats an interval up.
- The third track includes an up-and-down-scale harp music, under a plaintive oboe, that was often used for no-dialogue scenes of a character looking around in wonder. Here it debuts as Charlie wanders around the deck of the Enterprise, watching crewmen go about their work. Call this Charlie’s wonder music. A similar but slower harp theme appears in track 4, heard as Charlie performs card tricks; instead of an oboe we get tense triplets on a muted trumpet. Call this the tense wonder music, where the wonder is undercut by a suspicion of some threat or danger. This track also has the harsh, trilling french horn ‘zap’ chord that we hear every time Charlie performs a trick – a short motif used many times in later episodes.
- Track 9 covers the scene in which Kirk has Charlie wrestle a crewman named Sam; Charlie is awkward, Sam chuckles, Charlie is offended and makes Sam disappear. Kirk witnesses this and for the first time realizes what a danger Charlie is – and we hear a strong, determined yet subdued (as if Kirk is struggling to maintain control and not overreact) theme in brass that came to be played many times at moments of grim confrontation. Call this Kirk’s menace theme. Its first three notes, actually, are very similar if not identical to the first three notes of Steiner’s fanfare #2. We hear this again the standoff scene at the opening of Act 3, as it segues into fanfare #2.
- The appearance of the alien Thasian at the end is underplayed to mysterious effect, punctuated a couple times by an ominous chime, before the music rises up as the alien – and Charlie – disappear. This transitions to a closing as the show began: “Captain’s theme”, the two-note horn theme from “Man Trap”, then Captain’s theme in a more victorious mode.
“The Naked Time”, by Alexander Courage
- Filmed 30 Jun – 11 July 1966; score recorded 31 August 1966; episode broadcast 29 Sept 1966. Score 33:42 long, not including a track on the CD for the trailer of the next episode.
- Music begins with the traditional Enterprise fanfare #1.
- The distinctive elements here are the character-keyed themes for Riley and Sulu; the former, a subdued Irish theme as Riley wanders the halls; the latter, a series of fanfares as Sulu brandishes his sword. (Riley’s vocal rendition of “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen” is not part of the soundtrack music on the CD.)
- At the same time Courage reuses key themes from his earlier episodes. The episode draws to a climax with tracks of variations of “Captain’s Theme” in a manner that sounds both noble and foretelling possible doom – a terrific underscore that dramatizes the uncertainty and danger the Enterprise is in. These transition to the alternate Courage title music, the “NoMan theme”, in increasingly strident tones for the scene when the Enterprise breaks away from the planet – and finds itself plunging back in time – and for this scene there’s a unique theme for this episode, a Glassian arpeggio underlying a bold three-note brass theme, call it the time travel theme… both gradually slowing down as the time effect ends…. Smoothing out to a somber return of the Enterprise fanfare, then repeated twice in relieved triumph. (This music was used later as the Organians transitioned to their energy being true forms, in “Errand of Mercy.”)
“Mudd’s Women”, by Fred Steiner
- Recorded 7 Sep 1966; episode broadcast 13 Oct 1966. Length, 22:01.
- Appropriately this opens with Steiner’s Enterprise fanfare #2, followed by a variation of “Kirk’s Menace,” both from “Charlie X” (or reused in “Charlie X” perhaps, depending on which was scored first).
- Steiner gives Harry Mudd a jolly, swashbuckling theme that’s cute, but not, so far as I have noticed, ever used again in any later episode.
- As the women appear we hear the first hints of the episode’s main themes – first, call it the Mudd’s women theme, three rising pairs and one falling pair being the principle. Heard only partially at first, it becomes quite lush in full blossom, and the instrumentation changes many times throughout the score, becoming low and ominous on a bassoon (or bass clarinet?) in a scene where the effect of the Venus drug is wearing off. (This version was used later, e.g. as Kirk and Sulu wander the corridors of the air force base in “Tomorrow Is Yesterday.”)
- A secondary, complementary theme is highlighted in track 23, and is heard most famously late in the episode as Eve takes the Venus drug (or thinks she does) and seems to recover her glamour.
- Later a swanky version of the first theme is called, on the CD, “space radio” and appears in the scene on the planet where the three miners try to get to know the women. The secondary theme is worked in here too.
- And as the Enterprise orbits the planet, there’s a descending fanfare theme on brass that suggests the trauma of the ship running out of power; and a complementary theme with xylophone pulses for emphasis. (The xylophone pulses, a distinctive motif of this episode, appear at the opening of Act I also.)
- An especially striking moment is the plaintive theme played in the scene in which Eve gets tired cooking for Ben, wearily, as if all hope is lost. This segues to the low/ominous version of the MW theme, the transitional rising flute theme as the pill is taken, then a brief rapturous passage as Eve’s beauty is, apparently, restored.
- After a humorous bit for the banter between Kirk and Mudd, we end with Captain’s theme and Man Trap moan.
“The Enemy Within”, by Sol Kaplan
- Recorded 14 Sep 1966. Episode broadcast Oct. 6th. A fairly long score, at 22:58.
- Opens with a glittery version of standard fanfare, with piccolo figures swirling around the familiar theme. This became, I’m guessing, the most often used version of the theme.
- The key theme here is the Evil Kirk theme, a strong descending three-plus-one-note piano motif when Kirk’s evil double appears. Bond notes that the three descending notes are an inversion of the first three notes of the standard fanfare – as if to suggest Kirk has been turned inside out.
- A second key theme comes in the scene in which Kirk tries to seduce, and rape, Yeoman Rand – about two minutes into track 5, on the CD, a driving theme over a pulsing underbeat that becomes increasingly menacing. This theme would be reused in later episodes for similar moments of mounting danger. It appears here a bit later in a scene in which the two Kirks confront one another.
- Later, in scenes in which the ‘good’ but indecisive Kirk can’t decide what to do, we get a plaintive, cello solo version of the pulsing rape theme.
- The music for the “Two Into One” scene in which the two Kirks reunite has a few moments that foreshadow the only other Trek score that Sol Kaplan would write – that for 2nd season’s “The Doomsday Machine.”
“The Corbomite Maneuver”, by Fred Steiner
- Recorded, along with the next two scores, all on one day: 20 Sep 1966. This episode was broadcast Nov. 10th.
- These three are ‘partial’ scores, this one only 7:11.
- First principle theme: a whirling aggitato for the alien space cube, overlaid by blaring brass. This is the Corbomite cube music. (This would be reused several times, e.g. as Captain Christopher aims his jet fighter toward the UFO in “Tomorrow Is Yesterday,” and even over a scene of riotous “festival” in “The Return of the Archons.”)
- Second principle theme: a four+four rising theme of menace, repeated and gradually leading to a ladder-climbing ascendant as the mother ship appears. This is the main Corbomite theme or Fesarius theme, usually heard with xylophone ostinato.
- Then there’s a variant of the second theme, as it extends to a five+four pattern.
- Later there’s a mysterioso variant of the Fesarius theme, slower and on organ(?), as we see the puppet Balok. This short segment was often heard in later episodes for moments of exotic mystery. (Used when we see the Guardian of Forever, in “The City on the Edge of Forever,” for instance.)
- And finally we get a delicate variant of the Fesarius theme (perhaps on oboe and xylophone), as we see the real, childlike Balok. Another short segment used later for moments of childlike wonder.
“Balance of Terror”, by Fred Steiner
- Recorded 20 Sep 1966. Episode broadcast Dec. 15th. Time: 5:35.
- Just one principle theme here, we’ll call it the Romulan theme, played in so many variations it fills the entire episode out of just four minutes or so of recorded music (not counting the chapel music at the beginning). It’s a seven-note sawblade theme played in a rising variation with a menacing tone for shots of the Romulan ship; or played in a descending, more contemplative mood for scenes of the Romulan commander doubting the wisdom of his orders. But there are several other variants of these: the rising theme quieter; the descending theme brassy and arrogant.
- Versions of this theme were used in later episodes, perhaps unfortunately, since the theme’s identification with the Romulans is so strong here.
“What Are Little Girls Made Of?”, by Fred Steiner
- Recorded 20 Sep 1966. Episode broadcast Oct. 20th.
- About 7:15, not counting a version of the end title.
- The principle new theme here, Ruk’s theme, features big kettle-drums underneath menacing chords as we first see the giant android Ruk, and later as he pursues Kirk through the caverns. One version of this, in particular, that begins with a stinger chord, was used many times in later episodes for scenes of imminent danger or fighting (e.g. in “Arena”).
- The second theme is a romantic one underscoring the female android Andrea, in lush cellos with piano counterpoint.
- There’s a bit of the “Kirk’s menace” here too.
“The Conscience of the King”, by Joseph Mullendore
- Recorded 2 Nov 1966. The episode aired Dec. 8th. Time: 28:51.
- The striking theme here is the mock-period music that underscores the performance of Macbeth, in the first scenes of the teaser. It’s set in winds, then a harp, then strings. On the CD it’s called “Go for Baroque”. I had thought this music – my favorite thing about this episode — was so distinctive that it might not have ever been reused, but it was, at least once: in “Shore Leave,” during the moments when Yeoman Barrows realizes, after an attack by Don Juan, she had just been thinking about such an old-style romantic hero.
- This was Mullendore’s only score for the series, and the music sounds like some alternate dimension version of Trek, where people stand around cocktail parties (as they do here), and the music matches. We even get swanky, lounge-music versions of the Enterprise fanfare! (Despite the discordancy of some of these tracks, they were reused in at least one later episode, “Court Martial.”)
- This episode has its own love theme, “Lenore,” which I confess has always sounded to me like the ‘60s Tony Bennett hit, “Who Can I Turn To?” I didn’t notice this theme, unlike Gerald Fried’s “Ruth’s Theme” in the next episode here, reused in any later episode.
- In contrast to the lounge music, there are several spare, low-key cues for dramatic scenes – e.g. Kirk’s confrontation with Kodos in the latter’s quarters, and Lenore’s revelations and breakdowns at the end, with a counter-intuitive but quite effective solo harp theme.
- This composer also did a couple notable library cues (see below).
“Shore Leave”, by Gerald Fried
- Recorded 2 Dec 1966. The episode aired Dec. 29th. Time: 20:34.
- This is Gerald Fried’s first Trek score; later he would do spectacular and memorable scores for “Amok Time” and “The Paradise Syndrome.” His style is very different from the technical (almost Beethoven-esque) Steiner, who can wring an entire score out of a single seven note theme; Fried, more Tchaikovsky-like, is profligate with memorable themes, even if they don’t fit together in any way, as in this score, which suits a story with a bunch of random incidents that are cute and memorable, but that don’t relate to one another in any necessary way.
- Opening theme: a playful five-note, broad musical turn, on woodwinds: “new planet”, initially calm. This segues into bouncy ‘rabbit music’.
- Second theme: the bouncy, then energetic Irish-tinged Finnegan’s theme. This returns several times throughout the show, every time we see Finnegan, including the extended five-minute fistfight sequence between Finnegan and Kirk, bridging a commercial break.
- Third theme: the tender, very simple, Ruth’s theme, on flute. This music becomes more interesting, more plaintive, as violins take over for a long bridging passage (largely played underneath dialogue), that seems to plead for understanding of how this person, Ruth, could possibly be here. Then the flutes return to restate the opening theme. (This theme was reused as the principal romantic theme in “This Side of Paradise.”)
- Fourth theme: a joyous ‘old English’ theme as Yeoman Barrows discovers a beautiful gown; this is on the same notes as the “new planet” theme, but here on strings, and differently phrased. (So there is some relation between the themes…)
- Then we get, in quick succession, a jungle theme with bongos for sightings of a tiger; an oriental theme with gongs for sightings of a samurai; and a fanfare theme for a jousting knight, on brass, a theme with some relation to ‘old English’ (similar intervals). This last theme transforms ominously to a scene finale as McCoy has apparently be killed. Later there’s a very brief, swanky lounge music passage, for the appearance of the two ‘ladies’ who accompany Dr. McCoy.
- Note about the broadcast episode: it tracks the “Baroque” theme from “The Conscience of the King,” in the scene where Yeoman Barrows is realizing she had been fantasizing about Don Juan. I’d thought perhaps that theme was so distinctive to be unlike any other Trek situation, it would never be heard again! But the point is – even episodes with largely original scores, would occasional track music from earlier episodes. (As in next episode.)
“The City on the Edge of Forever”, by Fred Steiner
- Recorded 24 Mar 1967. The episode aired April 6th, just two weeks later!
- Aside from the main theme, the score is only 9:46 – and two tracks, totaling about 3 minutes, intended to establish New York in 1930, and Edith’s character, were not used! Bond’s CD liner notes identifies associate producer Bob Justman as making the decision to used tracked music in these early scenes instead.
- And another minute and a half, on the CD, is the period song “Goodnight, Sweetheart.” So only about 5 minutes of Steiner’s original 8-minute score made it to the screen. (The producers atypically commissioned an original score for this very-late in the season episode, because they knew this was turning out to be a very special episode, and decided that it needed distinctive music. Which made it ironic that parts of Steiner’s original score went unused.)
- What survived includes some variations on “Goodnight, Sweetheart”; some slow, vaguely ominous underscore as Edith wonders about Kirk and Spock; and, most recognizably, the climactic musical sting as the traffic accident occurs and Kirk stops himself from saving Edith, a track that quickly calms into sad, tragic echoes of the episode’s signature period song.
- None of these tracks were reused in any later episode.
- The last CD in the Season 1 set includes 41 tracks, totaling about 25 minutes, of “library music,” consisting of some original themes by Joseph Mullendore, and some variants of themes from earlier scores, all these composed by Fred Steiner to give music editors more latitude in fitting tracks to scenes in future episodes. The disk also has source music used in “The Squire of Gothos,” another version of “Vina’s Dance” from “The Cage”, and then a bunch of sounds effects – the transporter effect, etc., some unused, and some outtakes of the main theme, totaling another 15 or 20 minutes.
- There are two prominent library tracks by Joseph Mullendore. One, “Impension,” scores the first phrase from the main theme in brass, over a snare drum; it was used in “Shore Leave” as Kirk and the others run toward gunshots.
- The second, “Lonely to Dramatic,” begins with quiet variations on the main theme, and then – beginning about :45 in – changes to a sequence of ominously pulsing brass, switching then to a swelling viola line — again, a variation of Alexander Courage’s main theme — that climbs, descends, climbs higher, then descends, then climbs even higher, and seems to sustain – before crashing back down. Just that latter portion of the track was used many times, notably in “Miri” when Kirk first finds the girl inside the closet, and during two key scenes in “Space Seed” as Khan subdues Marla McGivers.
- And there’s a light-hearted “Humoresque,” by music director Wilbur Hatch, which would be used in “The City on the Edge of Forever” as Kirk and Spock steal clothes… in place of an original track written by Fred Steiner, that went unused.