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Old December 17 2012, 11:03 PM   #778
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Re: La-La Land to release 15-disc original series score set

Done with season 3 disc 3. This contains the two scores, "The Enterprise Incident" and "Plato's Stepchildren," that I'd convinced myself were ghostwritten for Alexander Courage by my father's former teacher (and Courage's former classmate) Scott Huston. (See earlier in the thread for that discussion. With help from other posters, I now think Huston probably just helped out with some uncredited orchestrations, a common practice, and it got misremembered or misinterpreted somewhere along the line. Someday I should track down that Cincinnati Enquirer article from the early '80s where Huston talked about it.) One reason I find it credible that they were ghosted is because the style seemed different to me -- I never really pinned down how, but I guess I felt they were more melodic and lyrical, less avant-garde, less exotic in orchestration.

Anyway, listening now, although they do have those characteristics, I can hear more details that make it obvious they are Courage's own work. The "Enterprise Incident" score in particular is very much of a piece with his pilot and first-season work. There are moments where the treatment of the Romulan Commander's love theme strongly evokes Vina's theme from "The Cage," and the edgy, off-balance music in the first half of the episode often shares similarities in orchestration and approach to the "Man Trap" and "Naked Time" scores. "Plato's" sounds more distinct from those first-season scores to me, but its similarities to the "Incident" score are strong (I note that they both were orchestrated for essentially the same ensemble, save for "Plato's" having one more woodwind performer -- though the specific musicians weren't all the same people in both cases).

There are moments in both of these scores I quite like, but I'd say "Plato's Stepchildren" is my favorite of the two. The powerful treatment of "Captain's Theme" at the end of "Dancing Spock" is one of my favorite moments, but the final cue of the episode, "The Little Visitor," is one of the finest closing fanfares in the entire series.

Nice to hear the Orion dance from "Whom Gods Destroy" again, because it filled my mind with pleasant memories of Yvonne Craig. I wish she'd been the one in the accompanying picture instead of Steve Ihnat.

And oh, man, those "Way to Eden" songs. Those... are... just... so... very... sixties. But in their own way, they work. I feel the episode itself was a hamfisted and rather clueless treatment of the counterculture movement (it was never really clear what they were protesting or whether they had legitimate criticisms of the 23rd-century world, and they were all just dupes for a terrorist and their Edenic goal turned out to be a fool's dream), but the songs come closer to capturing the feel of '60s protest songs and counterculture ideals, or at least it seems so to me. And "Hey, Out There" has kind of a nice message that isn't too bizarrely conveyed.

Although I still don't think "Eat all the fruit and throw away the rind" is a line that works particularly well. Feels like Napier and his collaborators were kind of flailing around for a rhyme there.

Oh, speaking of songs, "Maiden Wine" is one hell of a cynical one, isn't it? "Watch out, girls, 'cause all men are sexual predators who'll take advantage of you." Also, I'm disappointed we didn't get Alexander's "Brek-kek-kek-kek, ko-ax" at the end of "The Frog." I mean, that's what it's named for -- that was what the chorus of Frogs sung in Aristophanes's comedy The Frogs. So presumably that was supposed to be part of the song.
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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