I have to start this review out with a personal confession: I’m not much of a Star Trek fan. In fact, I’d never seen anything from the Star Trek universe until the recent J.J Abrams big screen “reimagining” – a film I resisted at first but finally gave in to due to overwhelming critical support. And I’m glad that I did. Since then I can’t say that I’ve delved any deeper into the legacy of the original television series or its multiple subsequent spinoffs and movie versions, but I have at least become much more receptive to the idea that maybe there’s something more to this series than a guy with pointy ears and some deep space battles. But mostly, as a fan of composition music, I’ve become interested in the musical evolution of the series. This may seem a little mixed up to get into the music for a franchise before actually experiencing the franchise itself, but sometimes this method is advantageous. I didn’t get into “Battlestar Gallactica” until I started listening to Bear McCreary’s inimitable soundtrack releases.

In 2003, on the heels of the tenth Star Trek film (Star Trek: Nemesis) and long before J.J. Abrams began working on his reimagining, conductor Nic Raine conducted the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra in an expansive two-disc extravaganza that covers as much of the Star Trek series as any two-disc set can manage. With tracks ranging from the original 1960s television series all the way to 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis this is not so much a “best of” album as it is a comprehensive look back at the music of a deeply beloved franchise. And so, six years later, as a relative newcomer to the world of Star Trek, I find myself captivated by the nearly four decades of music stylings encapsulated in this one album, aptly titled The Star Trek Album.

It’s clear that the tracks chosen from each film or series (or video game, in the case of “Star Fleet Academy”) have been carefully selected for maximum thematic exposure. Many of the tracks here (those from Star Trek – The Motion Picture, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and Star Trek: Insurrection) are End Titles, which makes for especially lively listening as the end titles tend to include themes from throughout the film, as well as increasing crescendos and well-defined finales. But some of the most impressive tracks, such as the nine minute “Tasha’s Farewell” from Star Trek: The Next Generation, are neither opening themes or end titles. These tracks are stand-alone pieces that perfectly capture a moment (or nine minutes, to be more specific) in a film or series that was particularly important and moving.

Overall, though this is not an official soundtrack or score album, it is an album of great music that is easy to enjoy regardless of whether or not you’re deeply invested in the Star Trek world or not. I obviously can’t speak to those who may have heard the original music on the shows or in the movies and therefore are partial to those original recordings, but to the un-Trekkied ear, this is an hour and a half of impressive composition expertly orchestrated by a group of dedicated musicians. Even the five “Sound Effect” tracks (“Warp Drive”, “Crash Landing”, etc.) don’t take away from the impresive nature of these recordings.

Zach’s Rating: A-
Perfect For: Any non-purist fan of Star Trek music who can appreciate a new interpretation
Stay Away if: You like your composition to be more grounded and emotional rather than packed with sci-fi action

To purchase The Star Trek Album, visit Amazon

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