Angeles learns about evolution of ‘Star Trek’ music

David Raiklen meets with the USS Angeles to discuss music techniques in “Star Trek” shows. (Photo by Dave Mason)
The USS Angeles meets with composer David Raiklen at our annual “Star Trek” Anniversary Party. From left are (front row) Lisa Sobien and Dave Mason and (back row) Jennifer Cole, Janice Willcocks, David Raiklen, Gloria Rodriguez and Jackie Freeman. We were joined by the interstellar trio of Dr. McCoy, Mr. Spock and Capt. Kirk. (Photo by Lisa Sobien)
David Raiklen plays “Star Trek” music and discusses its evolution. (Photo by Dave Mason)
Janice Willcocks enjoys her birthday cake at the USS Angeles party. (Photo by Dave Mason)
Lisa Sobien noted how the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” opening theme has an ethereal quality. (Photo by Dave Mason)
Jennifer Cole enjoys the party. Later, she told those attending, “In every television program, especially dramas, you always know when the bad things are going to happen because the music intensifies.” (Photo by Dave Mason)

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.”

Dave Mason

Commanding Officer, USS Angeles NCC-71840