Do the names Alexander Courage, George Duning, Jerry Fielding, Gerald Fried, Sol Kaplan, Samuel Matlovsky, Joseph Mullendore, or Fred Steiner sound familiar to you? Odds are good that even if you don’t know them, you know their work. For the science fiction and/or classic television fans out there, they’re best known as the composers who brought you the music of the original Star Trek.
I’ve made no secret of it: I’m a big fan of the series, of the franchise, and especially of the music. I’d have to be if I’m blogging about all of the episodes, right? Back in 2012, as a semi-regular customer who was already buying expanded Star Trek soundtracks from La La Land Records, the fine folks at that site sent me a heads up about this pending mammoth release. Unlike their usual releases, they needed my help (and the help of any other fan they could recruit to the cause). They were requesting pre-orders so they could fund a new project. There was a link in the email that sent me to this video, which they claimed would speak for itself:
As the proud owner of the extremely limited-in-scope three volumes of TV series releases (which comprised highlights from a mere six episodes between them all), plus a handful of remasters and re-recordings here and there acquired over the years, my jaw dropped at the sheer Kirk-level audacity of this endeavor.
Needless to say, I jumped all over this once the initial wave of disbelief passed. It hurt my wallet, even with the pre-order discount they gave me.
Turns out, my wallet got over it. Didn’t even leave a scar. Any pain caused by financial extraction was momentary; the end result was totally worth it.
When it arrived in the mail some weeks later, I sat and stared at that brick of a box like it was an alien object. It didn’t seem real. Once I cracked it open, I couldn’t hit play on the first disc fast enough. While I listened, I cruised through 100 pages of accompanying booklet material. The love that went into this… you can feel it in every single aspect of this release. I soaked it all in as only a fan could.
You can find the original landing page for this collection here, with the (sadly) incomplete track listings. After all, 15 discs means there are far too many cues to list, even on the originator’s site. I was going to list them all here for you, but it’s 640 tracks. Like I said, too many to list. But… if you scroll through, you can find a few links to some mp3 samples from those tracks if you want to take a listen! Of course, if you’ve watched the video, you’ve got the idea. You already know how excellent this sounds.
When you have 79 aired episodes plus the original pilot, that’s a lot of music. Add in all of the alternate takes and unused cues… this set is something extremely special. Compare this to some 2-disc movie scores or some 4-disc collections for the other Trek series (even with a second volume of such collections), this is the set guaranteed to please the most ardent fan. I know… because I am that fan! It meets and exceeds my highest standards, and if I’m being honest, it’s spoiled me. I’ve begged for all of the Star Trek and Star Wars films to have this kind of release, never dreaming they’d do this for a TV series. I’m surprised it fit on 15 discs. Among my soundtracks, this set is a pride and joy among a select few. While I run it through the regular rotation on account, this set has been seeing a considerable amount of extra play these days while I blog about the series. Seriously, how could it be otherwise? Anything less would be illogical.