Nanclus - Production - Music

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Music

Meyer's original plan for the score was to adapt Gustav Holst's orchestral suite The Planets. The plan proved unfeasibly expensive, so Meyer began listening to demo tapes submitted by composers. Meyer described most of the demos as generic "movie music", but was intrigued by one tape by a young composer named Cliff Eidelman. Eidelman, then 26, had made a career in composing for ballets, television, and film, but despite work on fourteen features, no film had been the hit needed to propel Eidelman to greater fame.

In conversations with Eidelman, Meyer mentioned that since the marches that accompanied the main titles for other Star Trek films were so good, he had no desire to compete with them by composing a bombastic opening. He also felt that since the film was darker than its predecessors, it demanded something different musically as a result. He mentioned the opening to Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird as similar to the foreboding sound he wanted. Two days later Eidelman produced a tape of his idea for the main theme, played on a synthesizer. Meyer was impressed by the speed of the work and the close fit to his vision. Meyer approached producer Steven Charles-Jaffe with Eidelman's CD, which reminded Jaffe of Bernard Herrmann; Eidelman was given the task of composing the score.

Eidelman's previous project had been creating a compilation of music from the past five Star Trek films, and he consciously avoided taking inspiration from those scores. " showed me what to stay away from, because I couldn't do James Horner as well as James Horner," he said. Since he was hired very early on in production, Eidelman had an unusually long time to develop his ideas, and he was able to visit the sets during filming. While the film was in early production Eidelman worked on electronic drafts of the final score, to placate executives who were unsure about using a relatively unknown composer.

Eidelman stated that he finds science fiction the most interesting and exciting genre to compose for, and that Meyer told him to treat the film as a fresh start, rather than drawing on old Star Trek themes. Eidelman wanted the music to aid the visuals; for Rura Penthe, he strove to create an atmosphere that reflected the alien and dangerous setting, introducing exotic instruments for color. Besides using percussion from around the world, Eidelman treated the choir as percussion, with the Klingon language translation for "to be, or not to be" ("taH pagh, taHbe") being repeated in the background. Spock's theme was designed to be an ethereal counterpart to the motif for Kirk and the Enterprise, aimed at capturing "the emotional gleam in the captain's eye". Kirk's internal dilemma about what the future holds was echoed in the main theme: "It's Kirk taking control one last time and as he looks out into the stars he has the spark again But there's an unresolved note, because it's very important that he doesn't trust the Klingons. He doesn't want to go on this trip even though the spark is there that overtook him." For the climactic battle, Eidelman starts the music quietly, building the intensity as the battle progresses.

The soundtrack was released on December 10, 1991 through MCA Records and features thirteen tracks of score with a running time of forty-five minutes. In 2005, a bootleg copy of the soundtrack also surfaced with thirty-six tracks of score and a running time of nearly seventy minutes. Intrada Records released a two-disc set in 2012. The first disc is made up of the complete score and four extra cues. The second disc contains the material from the original MCA release.

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