Hardcore fans might be loathe to admit that the most popular entry in the STAR TREK film series (at least until J.J. Abrams re-booted it) was the “save the whales” picture STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME that had the least to do with Gene Roddenberry’s mythology – let alone the movies’ majestically adventurous musical character that had been established by Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner.

But dismissive purists aside, there’s no denying the one-off pleasures that abound in the lightweight, character-driven VOYAGE HOME especially in director Leonard Nimoy’s decision to bring a seriously avant-garde composer like Leonard Rosenman aboard for whale watching.

From his remarkable filmscoring debut with 1955’s EAST OF EDEN, Rosenman’s experimental, overlapping use of the orchestra was usually caught somewhere between melody and dissonance, making much of his work anything but casual, pleasant listening. But it was precisely this stirringly discordant, strange approach that made him a a natural for science fiction, particularly when exploring the genre’s most foreboding frontiers- whether they lay inside of the human body in FANTASTIC VOYAGE or BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES. The time-traveling aspects of STAR TREK IV gave Rosenman plenty of opportunities to go at warp speed with his undulating walls of symphonic sound and rising brass cries, from the unsettling motiff of an alien probe to eight, modernistic minutes of returning two cetaceans to future earth. But for most of this TREK score, Rosenman is in an uncharacteristically joyful, and catchy mood. Indeed, TREK IV offers the most enjoyable theme of the series, a rousing, bell-clanging, and horn-blowing melody that not only captures the nautical spirit of the TREK universe, but also the film’s San Francisco setting. From the comedy opera-style hospital chase to the synth jazz funk for “Market Street” (abetted by The Yellowjackets) and the merry Scottish horn and drum strut of “In San Francisco,” Rosenman’s “Star Trek IV” has a sweet twinkle in its eye, while also delivering one of the series’ most suspensefully thrilling cues as Kirk’s Klingon Ship intercepts “The Whaler.” Rosenman’s appealing quality is right in line with the can’t-we-all-just-get-along appeal of this very special VOYAGE, a score that marked the only one in the TREK series to get an Oscar nomination.

Intrada gives this appealing odd musical duck its long-overdue royal treatment. With always-informative liners by noted Trek music authority Jeff Bond. The CD adds over twenty minutes of alternates, including an original man title that used the Alexander Courage theme to far less effect than Rosenman’s own melody (thought the composer more than pays off Courage’s nostalgic glory for the end reveal of a new Enterprise). But the coolest unheard piece of music here is the full, notorious version of “I Hate You,” associate producer Kirk Thatcher’s hilarious punk song whose nihilism was more than worthy of its Mohawked singer getting a Vulcan nerve pinch.


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Article: CD Review of  STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME soundtrack

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