Is this the Enterprise theme that could have been?

Discussion in 'Enterprise' started by TrekToday, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^As I said, I don't see the song so much as a mission statement for Star Trek as a whole as a perfect fit for Archer's state of mind at the start of the series. He's frustrated that "It's been a long road" getting to the point of testing the Warp 5 engine, but he's determined that "my time is finally here." He's eager to see his father's "dream come alive at last" and to "touch the sky," and the Vulcans are "not gonna hold me down no more" and "not gonna change my mind." And so on. Maybe it wasn't so good a fit for the Archer of later seasons, as he gained more, well, seasoning, but for the Archer of season 1, and particularly of "Broken Bow," it's dead-on.
     
  2. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    I'm one of the even fewer people, perhaps, who hated the show (I've only seen about four episodes) but liked the theme. I liked that they didn't just do the same damn thing as the other Trek shows. Go figure.
     
  3. IronWaffle

    IronWaffle Ensign Red Shirt

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    I don't have an issue with a pop song for an opener. While I think the theme they chose is lyrically relevant to the broad strokes of the show, what I find jarring is that after an intense cold open the song punctures the tension (and that's the commercial's job!). It's a shame because visually it is my favorite title sequence, in part because it is as specific as (with all due respect to Diane Warren) the lyrics are generic.

    That said, I'm thankful that on the Blu-rays CBS has put a chapter stop after all intros. I've seen all the intros so much by now that I skip them more often than not. Much as I like TNG's rousing arrangement of TMP's theme, the credits are visually tedious. DS9 has always sounded stilted to me. For me, Voyager (my least favorite TV incarnation) has the strongest overall sound and visual one-two-punch.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Hm? As far as I can tell, it's essentially the exact same arrangement, just for a smaller orchestra. It's just conducted differently, and to my ear less deftly, so it's not as pleasant to listen to as the performances conducted by Goldsmith.
     
  5. IronWaffle

    IronWaffle Ensign Red Shirt

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    Good catch. Arrangement is the wrong word. Listening to the End Credits now (with Ilia's Theme interjected), it's evident there's more air in the recording and the horn players are more expressive -- even listening to the compressed mp3 on tinny earbuds.

    I also agree the TNG version sounds like a smaller orchestra, which is all the more pronounced now that I have a quality audio rig at home. Nevertheless, even first run the tempo always felt faster, making it less majestic to me. Like you, I'd mostly chalk it up to Goldsmith's conducting chops being stronger than McCarthy's (better engineering, too). Still, I'm glad they resurrected the TMP theme rather than go with McCarthy's own rejected submission.

    Off-topic, I sometimes attend lectures at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum and its great sitting in their IMAX theater beforehand and hear Goldsmith's theme play through their system. Unfortunately, Spinal Tap obviously isn't behind the boards because the volume is far from 11.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Except that led some ill-informed people back in the day to complain about ST V recycling the TNG theme. :rolleyes:

    I rather like McCarthy's rejected theme, particularly in that it incorporates his Picard theme, which is very nice.
     
  7. Mach5

    Mach5 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    McCarthy's theme is absolutely dreadful. Sounds like something out of a parody. I kept expecting to see "directed by Mel Brooks" at the end of credits.
     
  8. IronWaffle

    IronWaffle Ensign Red Shirt

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    People complained out of ignorance? About Star Trek? C'mon, you're putting me on. (Guilty as charged on some fronts, of course... Just don't tell the Internet I admitted it.)

    As to the alternate theme, I just got home and am giving it the fairest shake I can. Haven't listened to it in years. My thoughts: it is a very strident march. The string portion (is that Picard's theme?) is indeed actually better than I remember. I won't go so far as to say it overall sounds like a parody but I will say that it reminds me of The Last Starfighter and other mid-80s genre orchestrations.

    Ultimately, to me it feels like it tries really hard whereas Goldsmith's comes across as more effortlessly melodic and natural with the melody and rhythm having a more, as the pretentious would say, organic interplay whereas the brass portions of McCarthy's composition are halting and don't flow in a way I find appealing.

    Then again, I've heard Goldsmith's so many times (and, truth told, at times even been utterly sick of it) that not only would I need to listen to the McCarthy tune a couple dozen times to shake my preconceived notions completely out of mind but I'd have to forget Goldsmith's and learn it over again fresh. If only NOMAD were here to wipe my mind clean... Jeez, I might even finally learn Swahili.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, Picard's theme is the part just before the strings. After the Courage fanfare, we get 8 bars of the main theme on horns, then 8 bars of Picard's theme on horns, then 8 bars of the main theme on strings, then a closing 4-bar statement of the main theme. The Picard-theme portion begins at just about one minute into the cue.


    It sounds like Dennis McCarthy doing a John Williams riff, or rather a classic march of the type that Williams brought back into fashion with Star Wars, but which has its roots in the film scores of the '30s and '40s.

    As for the "parody" comparison, I think it's worth noting that the music in Mel Brooks movies was generally approached rather earnestly and was quite well-done, so I don't think that cuts it as a negative comparison. Maybe you think of that musical sound as comical due to the context, but taken on its own, it's not that different from serious dramatic scores from equivalent genres, albeit maybe a bit broader and livelier.


    I can see what you mean about "trying really hard"; I have always found it a bit bombastic. But as for the melody, note that the second through fifth notes of the main motif are actually the same as the first four notes of the Courage fanfare. I think that's a nice touch, providing a connection to what came before.


    Actually the main reason I find McCarthy's alternate theme interesting is because it's not the familiar one. As TrekBBS posters might remember from my past discussions about Superman themes, I like it when composers get to create new themes rather than just copying an old one. I'm not saying I don't understand why the producers passed on this particular theme; it is a little too big and brash and not an ideal fit for the show that TNG was. But I don't think it's a bad piece of music per se.
     
  10. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Most of us heard McCarthy's theme for TNG which they decided not to use after hearing the Goldsmith re-used TMP theme they decided to use for TNG. Now of course I think the TMP theme is the better of the two, but how much of that is coloured by the fact that's the one I heard for seven years. Would I have the same feeling about preferrance if I had heard McCarthy's theme for seven years?
     
  11. TheGoodStuff

    TheGoodStuff Commander Red Shirt

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    To be honest, I Love 'Faith of the Heart'. It did not surprise me that people hated it, but for me it perfectly fit the theme and feel of the show.

    Also, as someone who loves the philosophy in Trek, I felt it SAID what all the other themes did. I enjoyed the poignant feel of the song. We dont need silly 'gods', we can overcome our inadequacies, we can 'reach any star'. It actually gives me tingles and I find it rather motivational. That, however, is a personal take on it.