By Fleet Capt. Dave Mason
PALOS VERDES ESTATES, Calif. — In space, no one can hear you scream.
But they can hear your orchestra.
“Our beloved ‘Star Trek’ has a musical DNA,” award-winning composer David Raiklen told USS Angeles members. “Parts have stayed the same throughout the years, and other parts have changed dramatically.”
Raiklen talked about the evolution of “Star Trek” music from the 1960s to today, from the small screen to the big, during the USS Angeles’ annual “Star Trek” Anniversary Party.
We met around the dining room table with him as he played musical segments on a laptop and took us on a noteworthy journey Sept. 14 at Janice Willcocks’ home in Palos Verdes Estates, near Los Angeles.
Besides Janice and myself, those attending were Jennifer Cole, Gloria Rodriguez, Jackie Freeman and Lisa Sobien.
After a delicious potluck, we listened to a 90-minute presentation that featured Alexander Courage’s original Enterprise fanfare and a look at electronics and synthesizers vs. orchestras. Raiklen, who is the composer and a producer on the independent sci-fi production “Space Command,” welcomed our questions and comments.
Raiklen, who has written music for movies, television, theater, dance and concerts, began with the original “Star Trek” series and played a segment from”The Corbomite Maneuver.” That was an episode in which the USS Enterprise encounters another ship and makes first contact with an alien species.
“I chose something by the most prolific TOS composer,” said Raiklen, referring to Fred Steiner.
He noted the clear bass line in Steiner’s score, and Jennifer responded with how music guides viewers.
“In every television program, especially dramas, you always know when the bad things are going to happen because the music intensifies,” the Angeles First Officer said.
Raiklen noted how the original series’ music sounded different from that of the 1973 animated “Star Trek” series.
“There’s less of a sci-fi vibe,” Raiklen said about the score of the cartoon series. He said Filmation, which produced “Star Trek,” went for a more heroic or adventurous sound.
Raiklen said “Star Trek” later felt the influence of “Star Wars” composer John Williams.
“There was a little bit of that in Goldsmith,” Raiklen said, referring to music legend Jerry Goldsmith and his theme for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (1979).
Raiklen noted how Williams’ influence grew when newcomer James Horner came aboard for “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan” (1982).
Raiklen played the theme.
“Ravishing romanticism. It’s magnificent,” he said. “Now the music has actually gone back to an earlier era. This is where there’s the inescapable, all-encompassing influence of John Williams in ‘Star Wars’ (1977).”
Raiklen called “The Wrath of Khan” one of his favorite soundtracks.
He said there were a lot of electronics in the scores for “The Wrath of Khan” and “The Motion Picture.”
Raiklen went on to discuss “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Star Trek: Generations,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” the 2009 “Star Trek” movie and “Star Trek: Discovery.”
To learn more about his talk, read the story in Angels Flight, the award-winning newsletter sent to Angeles members. To become a member, click on “Join us.”
By Fleet Capt. Dave Mason