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STAR TREK: INSURRECTION – Jerry Goldsmith

September 5, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

startrekinsurrectionexpandedMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The Next Generation crew returned for their third film with the addition of villain J. Murray Abraham (Ru’afo) and Picard’s love interest Donna Murphy (Anij). This 9th installment of the franchise offers in the finest Star Trek tradition another classic morality play. The story explores Machiavellianism, which espouses that “Might Makes Right” and that evil means may be used to achieve a “Greater Good”. The story is set on the planet Ba’ku, which is located in isolation in Sector 441. Ba’ku’s planetary rings emit a unique metaphasic radiation, which are both regenerative to health and life prolonging. We see a Federation team collaborating with the So’na, later to be revealed as disaffected Ba’ku ex-patriots, covertly seeking to remove the Ba’ku so that they may harvest the planet’s ring matter for ‘the betterment of all’. When Data malfunctions and exposes the sordid plan to the Ba’ku a crisis is precipitated. Picard and his crew choose to violate the direct orders of the mission commander Admiral Dougherty and defend the Ba’ku, believing that his mission violates the Prime Directive. This elicits war with the So’na who begin the forced removal of the Ba’ku and the harvesting of the planet’s rings. Our heroes succeed in defeating Ru’afo and in reuniting the Ba’ku with their estranged children, the So’na. The film was a commercial success, doubling its production costs and achieved some critical acclaim with both Hugo and Saturn Award nominations.

By time of this 9th film, Jerry Goldsmith had become the franchise’s resident composer, having achieved fame with his masterful scores for films I, V and VIII. Indeed his signature sound and themes were by this time fully embedded into the very DNA of the Star Trek universe. Goldsmith related, “I think this film is a more romantic film than any of the others have been. The whole thing is a much more melodic, romantic approach, on a very big scale. It’s almost operatic”. For the film Goldsmith needed to address the mystical wonder of the Ba’ku as well as the militaristic So’na. For his soundscape he expertly blends several old themes as well as some new themes unique to the film. We have his renown Star Trek March, emblematic of the Next Generation crew; a classic horn laden major modal theme that fully captures the nobility and sense of adventure long associated with Star Trek. We also have the iconic Star Trek Theme by Alexander Courage. In addition, Goldsmith’s famous ethnic Klingon Theme returns as a leit motif for Worf. Lastly, a plaintive variant of the Star Trek First Contact Theme informs us of Picard’s choice of principle over orders. For new themes we have the pastoral Ba’ku Theme, which speaks to the idyllic beauty of the planet Ba’ku. Imbued with a wondrous gentile elegance and animated by woodwinds, we find ourselves transported to an ideal existence where infirmity and death have long been vanquished. There is also the ethereal and transcendent Mystical Theme, a woodwind lovers dream come true, which speaks of the utopia that is Ba’ku. Its A Phrase is emoted by either solo oboe or solo flute, strings doloroso, harp and ethereal electronica, while its B Phrase also flows atop solo flute and solo oboe, harp and lush strings. Infused throughout is sparkling electronica, which creates an ethereal aura and sense of magical wonderment.

To drive the action, Goldsmith provides two new recurring themes; the Insurrection Theme, which supports the valiant efforts by the Enterprise crew to defend Federation principles and the Resistance Theme, which informs us of the noble principles of the Federation. The ferocious horn laden four note Insurrection Theme is a classic Goldsmith powerhouse, propelled with his staccato rhythms, and emoted by a fortissimo pounding piano, horns bellicoso, thundering timpani and pulsatile electronica. The Resistance Theme is more versatile; at times solemn with horns nobile, but also at times aggressive. For our villains we have the ominous So’na Theme, which is emoted by piano and muted horns. They are a proud and warlike race and their theme perfectly contrasts the Federation themes.

“Ba’ku Village” is a multi-thematic ternary cue that opens naturally over the opening credits. We hear a solemn rendering of the Star Trek Theme, which announces the call for a new adventure and whose descending phrases are kindred to those of Star Trek First Contact. We segue atop a French horn bridge emoting the Resistance Theme into a score highlight, where we see a panorama of the Ba’ku living in their idyllic community. Goldsmith introduces his Ba’ku Theme atop solo oboe, which bathes us in a wondrous gentile pastoral elegance. The passage of the melodic line to lush violins elevates the cue to the sublime. With a scene change at 3:04 Goldsmith sows tension with the So’na Theme atop piano, drums and muted trumpets as we see Federation officers and the So’na in a cloaked blind observing the Ba’ku. All hell breaks loose at 3:53 when we see Data fleeing fellow officers in hot pursuit. They are cloaked and as they battle hand to hand the Ba’ku are frightened and alerted to their presence. When Data uses phaser fire to reveal the cloaked blind, the unauthorized Federation and So’na presence on Ba’ku is exposed. Goldsmith’s propels the action with the Resistance Theme using his trademark staccato rhythms, electronica and sharp percussive strikes, which really supports the tense film imagery. Nicely done! The extended cue ends with a final scene change to the Enterprise, which is supported by a noble rendering of the Star Trek March.

“Out Of Orbit / Take Us In” reveals Picard and Worf leaving the Enterprise aboard a shuttle in search of Data. Goldsmith sows tension as dark percussive staccato rhythms interplay with a militarized variant of the Resistance Theme. At 1:16 the Klingon Theme informs us of Worf’s plan to deactivate data. In “Come Out”, a textural cue, we open darkly as we see Worf and Picard continuing to search for Data’s shuttle in hope of retrieving him to discover the source of his malfunction. Sharp staccato piano, percussion and pulsatile electronica join with the Resistance Theme to raise tension as Picard struggles to match Data’s piloting skills. We complete the sequence with “In Custody, which features Worf managing to board Data’s shuttle and disable him. Fierce swirling high register violins, contrapuntal horns and percussive strikes animate this dramatic cue.

In “Warp Capability / Planet View”, Picard apologizes to Anij for the events that have transpired. Ethereal strings and a fragment of the A Phrase of the Mystical Theme underscore the moment and inform us of a nascent mutual attraction. This phrasing continues as Picard and Anij continue their conversation amidst the beauty of the Ba’ku world. We conclude this ternary cue with “Children’s Story”, a magical cue where we see Data and the boy Artim interacting. A prelude by ethereal electronica provides an other world ambiance before we flow into the Ba’ku Theme atop solo flute, which in turn yields to a dance-like interplay between solo oboe and electronica. This is just exquisite writing.

“The Holodeck” is a score highlight where Goldsmith demonstrates mastery of his craft. It reveals Data walking into a lake and discovering a cloaked Hollodeck ship. Goldsmith supports his aquatic journey with electronica and the Resistance Theme on gentile woodwinds. At 0:54 the Resistance Theme resounds on portentous French horns as Data reveals the existence of the Hollodeck ship. We hear a masterful interplay of woodwinds, strings and electronica as Picard, Data and Anji raft over to the vessel. Chirping woodwinds, shifting string sustains and electronica mysterioso sow tension as they enter the vessel. A crescendo at 2:22 informs us of the true nature of the vessel – to surreptitiously remove the Ba’ku from their planet. As they contemplate its dark purpose the line of chirping woodwinds, shifting string sustains and electronica continue until 3:50 when the Resistance Theme shatters us as we see a phaser battle unfold. This cue is perfectly attenuated to the film’s imagery.

“New Sight” is the score highlight and a masterpiece cue, which Goldsmith loved and for which he created a concert piece. We see Picard and Anji, now clearly in love, walking together and sharing the wonderful vistas that are Ba’ku. After they part, the scene concludes with Picard joining Geordi on a bluff where he sees a sunrise for the first time with his regenerated eyes. It is a profound and stirring moment. The cue features a full statement of the Mystical Theme in all its wondrous and sublime beauty. It is one of those rare and treasured moments in film score where a composer achieves immortality. Bravo! “Lost Ship” reveals a frustrated Ru’afo threatening extreme action against the Ba’ku. We hear the So’na Theme emoted darkly by French horns with a piano counter. “Prime Directive” is the film’s moral hinge of fate where an angry Picard confronts Dougherty for repeating humanity’s tragic crime of forced relocation in clear violation of the Prime Directive. Dougherty’s counter that 600 people are insufficient cause to deny a Greater Good rings hollow. He orders Picard to leave the system and the mission to him. Goldsmith supports the tense scene with some fine string play, which features a slow bass ostinato with shifting string sustains. Woodwinds doloroso and plaintive horns echoing the First Contact Theme inform us of Picard’s loss of the argument. In “As Long as We Can” the crew joins Picard in his decision to defend the Ba’ku. A dark piano and percussive ostinato interplays with the Mystical Theme as the crew load weaponry into the Captain’s shuttle. We finish with a militaristic flourish as Riker is dispatched with the Enterprise to alert the Federation Council.

“Not Functioning” is a tour de force and score highlight, demonstrating masterful interplay of the Insurrection and Resistance Themes. The scene features the crew and the Ba’ku desperately fleeing an aerial attack by the So’na. The Resistance Theme thunders powerfully and interplays with a counter line of desperate strings and pulsatile electronica. The music crescendos when a potent Insurrection Theme joins atop horns bellicoso in a powerhouse display! Wow! This is vintage Goldsmith action scoring! At 1:47 we segue into “Send Your Ships”, which reveals Dougherty authorizing Ru’afo to send his ships to stop the Enterprise as the So’na Theme informs us of his treachery. A scene change at 2:02 brings gentile phrasing by woodwinds, pizzicato string and muted horns which reveals the crew and Ba’ku hiking through the countryside to escape the So’na. In “Growing Up” we see Data and the boy Artim having a tender conversation. Goldsmith captures the magic of the moment with a flowing line of gentile strings and woodwinds adorned with twinkling electronica. At 1:12 we segue into “Wild Flowers”, which reveals a private, tender moment between Picard and Anji. We hear the A Phrase of the Mystical Theme that blossoms into a romantic statement. Simply beautiful! We conclude this ternary cue at 2:13 with “Photon Torpedoes”, which reveals the pursuing So’na ships on an attack vector to the fleeing Enterprise. We hear the Insurrection Theme play over a piano ostinato, which speaks to the tension of the moment.

This brings us to the score’s battle music apogee with “The Drones Attack”, a truly multi-thematic powerhouse of a cue. The planet side battle enters a new phase with the introduction of drones, which shoot tags into people, thus allowing transport off the planet. The Insurrection Theme resounds on horns with epic power and is augmented by mechanistic electronica, which are countered by fragments of the Star Trek March for an exciting interplay. Militaristic snare drums, impassioned strings and pulsatile electronica propel the action with exciting dramatic intensity. This fierce interplay with the So’na Theme and a reference to Worf with the Klingon Theme elevates this cue to the sublime. Wow! Switching scenes, in “The Riker Maneuver” we see Riker resolve to counterattack as he realizes that escape is futile. He lures the So’na into a plasma milieu and fires phasers, which detonates the plasma in a concussive conflagration that destroys one So’na ship and cripples the other. Again a dark low register piano ostinato interplays with the So’na Theme and mechanistic electronica as the Enterprise is seen being pummeled. At 1:09 a powerful low register ostinato announces that the Enterprise has turned back upon the So’na. Its relentless shifting interplay with the Insurrection Theme amplifies the tension. A tranquil interlude informs us of the So’na taking the bait and joining the Enterprise in the plasma field. A classic accelerando raises the music to a ferocious intensity as the scene ends in a cataclysmic explosion. Wow! This cue just affirms Goldsmith’s genius in scoring action cues.

In “Stay With Me” Picard and Anij are trapped and injured by collapsing rocks in a refuge cave. Picard asks Anij to use her gift of slowing the flow of time, to buy more time for their rescue. Goldsmith understood the intimacy of this scene and responded with just magical writing. We open with wailing strings doloroso, which play over a bass sustain. Slowly and from out a shimmering sustain of strings brilliante we hear a solo flute emote the A Phrase of the Mystical Theme as we see time slow upon the screen. In simplicity, there is beauty. “The Same Race” offers a stunning revelation – that the So’na are in fact the disaffected children of the Ba’ku. They were banished a century ago after a failed coup d’état, as they were unwilling to accept their parent’s rejection of technology. When a captured Picard reveals this to Dougherty, and Ru’afo declares his intent to activate the collector prior to the removal of the Ba’ku, we realize that his true motive is parricide. A distraught Dougherty finally realizes how wrong he has been, which leads to a fatal confrontation with Ru’afo who kills him. A plaintive English horn and later a flute emote over a bass sustain as Crusher discovers the identity of the So’na and Picard grasps their horrific intent. At 1:38 a slow pounding ostinato and mechanistic electronica inform us of Picard and Anij’s capture. The cue ends bleakly with Picard’s revelation to Dougherty.

“The Collector” reveals Ru’afo ordering the collector to be deployed. Malevolent horns emote the Insurrection Theme to support the display of the horrific technology. “No Threat” features Picard managing to disaffect Ru’afo’s lieutenant who did not support the extermination of the Ba’ku. Together they manage to surreptitiously beam Ru’afo and the bridge crew to the Holodeck ship and seize control of his flagship. The cue begins with a dark bass sustain, piano ostinato and mechanistic electronica as Picard manages to turn the lieutenant. At 1:02 Goldsmith returns to his aggressive staccato action motif as Data’s shuttle attacks Ru’afo’s ship, weakening its shields so as to allow the transport of the bridge crew to the holodeck ship. After the transport of Ru’afo to the holodeck ship, shifting string sustains and electronica play as the collector is activated and the destruction of the rings appears to unfold. Yet at 2:28, ethereal music and electronica informs us that Ru’afo has discovered their removal to the Holodeck ship, and that the collector was never deployed.

The cue “Healing Process Original Version” is a binary cue, which supports the collector launch sequence where we see that Ru’afo has beamed to the collector to manually activate it. A slow low register bass dominated ostinato pulses against a repeating So’na Theme. At 1:14 all hell breaks loose as Picard beams over and a phaser fight with Ru’afo ensues. The militaristic staccato action motif carries the battle, with interplay against the So’na Theme. The music also supports the So’na battling Worf and retaking their bridge. An electronic ostinato with interplay of the So’na Theme begins at 3:18 as Picard succeeds in reaching the collector’s self-destruct platform. At 3:42 horns announce the approach of the Enterprise to rescue Picard. At 4:05 a crescendo with ethereal choir informs us with a final statement of the So’na Theme of the destruction of Ru’afo and the collector, and Picard’s rescue. We segue at 4:21 into “The Healing Process” where we see the So’na lieutenant reunited with his mother, and Picard with Anji. The Mystical Theme plays on solo flute and solo oboe with ethereal strings to support the intimacy of these tender moments. At 5:54 we segue into a playful rendering of the Ba’ku Theme as Data and Artim play in mounds of hay. Lyrical strings take up the theme and a solo flute supports Picard’s promise to Anji to one-day return to her. A final statement of the Resistance Theme concludes the cue and launches us into the “End Credits”. As is customary for Goldsmith, the End Credits has a ternary construct, with the Star Trek March bracketing a wondrous restatement of the of the Ba’ku Theme, bringing us to a most satisfying conclusion.

And so the journey of film score collectors to obtain the complete scores to each Star Trek film moves closer to fulfillment. I must thank Lukas Kendall, Neil Norman and Melanie Clarkson for this magnificent release of the expanded score of Star Trek Insurrection. The sound is just pristine and of the highest quality. This blended orchestra and electronica score has a multiplicity of just exceptional themes, which interplay and contest in exceptional fashion. Goldsmith demonstrates mastery of his craft by expertly attenuating his themes and music to support the film’s imagery and narrative. His dynamic action writing is powerful, potent and of the highest order. The Ba’ku and Mystical Themes are some of the finest themes ever written in the Star Trek universe and in and of themselves worthy enough to elicit purchase of the score. I truly believe this to be an exceptional score and highly recommend its inclusion in your collection.

Buy the Star Trek: Insurrection soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store

Track Listing:

  • Ba’ku Village (6:53)
  • Out of Orbit/Take Us In (1:44)
  • Come Out (2:34)
  • In Custody (1:14)
  • Warp Capability/The Planet/Children’s Story (2:33)
  • The Holodeck (4:35)
  • How Old Are You/New Sight (6:14)
  • Lost Ship/Prepare the Ship (2:39)
  • As Long As We Can (1:40)
  • Not Functioning/Send Your Ships (2:55)
  • Growing Up/Wild Flowers/Photon Torpedo (2:55)
  • The Drones Attack (4:15)
  • The Riker Maneuver (3:15)
  • Stay With Me (1:48)
  • The Same Race (2:50)
  • The Collector (1:10)
  • No Threat (4:18)
  • Tractor Beam (0:38)
  • The Healing Process (Revised) (5:04)
  • The Healing Process (Original Version) (7:17)
  • End Credits (5:30)
  • Ba’ku Village (Alternate Ending) [BONUS] (3:53)
  • The Holodeck (Alternate Opening) [BONUS] (1:12)
  • Growing Up (Alternate) [BONUS] (1:21)
  • Tractor Beam (Alternate) [BONUS] (0:38)

Running Time: 79 minutes 02 seconds

GNP Crescendo Records GNPD-8082 (1998/2013)

Music composed and conducted by Jerry Goldsmith. Orchestrations by Alexander Courage. Recorded and mixed by Bruce Botnick. Edited by Kenneth Hall. Score produced by Jerry Goldsmith. Album produced by Lukas Kendall, Neil Norman and Melanie Clarkson.

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  1. September 6, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Excellent review! Personally I would rate this score just a tad higher than First Contact. I love the themes and the pounding action. The statements of his classic Star Trek theme in the end credits are some of the best and most powerful. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your review.

  2. OneBuckFilms
    September 6, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Just a quick note: It’s F. Murray Abraham, not J. Murray Abraham as Ruafo. 🙂

    Great review.

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