Enterprise by Dennis McCarthy available at Decca.com

 

 

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Star Trek: Enterprise (Soundtrack) by Dennis McCarthy

"Where Scores Have Gone Before"
Review by Matt Peterson

 

Enterprise by Dennis McCarthy

Enterprise
7/10

Star Trek: Enterprise (Soundtrack) by Dennis McCarthy

 

Category  |   Score

Originality 6
Music Selection 7
Composition 8
CD Length 8
Track Order 7
Performance 8
Final Score 7/10
 


 

 

 

 

 

Composer 
Dennis McCarthy

 

Quick Quotes


"On the whole, the music for Enterprise takes a few small steps forward, but also some giant leaps backwards for Trek-kind. For all the hype about going in a new direction with the music, the title song fails to set a popular and strong standard, and the orchestral underscores are still all too familiar to be considered new."
**

Christian Clemmenson - Filmtracks Reviews
Enterprise

 

 

 

Composed, conducted and produced by Dennis McCarthy
“Where My Heart Will Take Me:” Written by Diane Warren
Performed by Russell Watson
Produced by Nick Patrick and Russell Watson
Orchestral arrangement by Jeremy Lubbock
Released by Decca Records - May 14, 2002

Star Trek has certainly seen a long life. Between five television shows, a cartoon series, soon to be ten feature films, and scores of printed material and merchandise, Paramount’s most successful franchise, originally billed as a “wagon train to the stars,” is still going strong. Not bad for a low-budget 1960s television show which was canceled after barely three seasons. Star Trek is a show that has always tried to be more than the sum of its parts. Some see it as a ridiculous fantasy show featuring bumpy headed creatures and jumpsuit clad humans running in circles. Others see it as an important social commentary, shedding light on current issues, while projecting a positive outlook on the future of humanity, attained through the exploration of the universe. I tend to think the latter is true. The franchise’s latest addition to the saga, still under the reigns of producer Rick Berman, is Enterprise. Taking the show back to its adventurous Original Series roots, Enterprise features the wet-behind-the-ears crew of the first starship to bear the name. Some have disliked the show for its radical reversion (a tone quite distant from the polished appearance and mannerisms in The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager), while others, including critics, have appreciated its merits. After only one season, Enterprise has developed a strong direction. Keep in mind that it usually takes at least two seasons for a Trek series to really hit its stride.

Throughout the history of the franchise, the music of Star Trek has certainly been one of its strengths. Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Alexander Courage, Ron Jones, and Cliff Eidelman (among many others) have made great contributions to the show’s musical tapestry. Star Trek has always featured strong, award winning themes (the most recent of which was Goldsmith’s Emmy winning Voyager theme), until now. With Enterprise, the producers have thrown thematic consistency to the winds in order to feature a pop-laden main title called “Where My Heart Will Take Me,” sung by the British Russell Watson, and composed by the now famous Diane Warren. This is pretty close to heresy, folks. Even though the song features lyrics that do fit the context of the show, it goes against the Star Trek grain. Why the producers chose this path is still a mystery to me. Are they trying to appeal to a wider audience? Maybe. Are they trying to sell records? Probably. However, in the process, they seem to be alienating the very people who purchase Trek merchandise, and faithfully view the program: Fans. One of the biggest problems with the song is that it destroys the potential for a strong recurring theme in the score, which is clearly evident in the rest of the album.

In regard to the scoring of Enterprise, strength still abounds. Dennis McCarthy, the most veteran of all Trek composers, is a strong musician who has been with the franchise since the inception of The Next Generation. His style is very distinctive, and usually quite subtle: Low strings, coupled with brass (usually French horns) and high strings are the sure signs of McCarthy. His trademark key changes between scenes, and driving, repetitive string underscore are still used heavily. These techniques are effective, but are used too frequently. This is the main problem with the first score album for Enterprise, which features McCarthy’s score to the pilot episode, “Broken Bow.” We’ve heard this music before. The tone is very similar to everything he has done to date. On the positive side, the score is far less restrained than some of his previous work, and features some strong action/suspense music. In recent years, the music of Star Trek has turned from being used for scene transitions to heightening tension and action. This is certainly the case for Enterprise. Some new elements are present, including a small dose of driving percussive and electronic textures. Overall, the score is solid, but offers little new material.

The presentation of the music on the Decca (strangely not GNP Crescendo) album itself is disappointing. Not only do we get to hear the Russell Watson main title once, but we are also treated to the full, extended version! Please, restrain my sarcastic enthusiasm. The score is presented between the two versions, and features sub-par sound quality when compared to the crystal clear mastering of the Watson ballad. What is interesting about this score is that a recurring theme, dubbed “Archer’s Theme” is present. This noble theme was intended to be the main title for the series. The track entitled “Archer’s Theme,” as you may notice, is almost exactly the same running time as the “TV Version” of “Where My Heart Will Take Me.” This is no coincidence. Track 13 is indeed the original main title. Just out of curiosity, I cued it up with the main title sequence from the show, just to see how the two blend--I was shocked. This is the song that should be over the main titles. Even the editing of the opening coincides with the theme! I could live without the acoustic/rock midsection of the song, but it certainly beats Watson’s attempt, and provides musical coherency with the score. Other score tracks on the album are vintage McCarthy. Much of this material sounds very similar to his unrestrained score to Star Trek: Generations, using some of the same underscore motifs. Highlight tracks include “Phaser Fight,” a Goldsmith-esque action cue that sounds similar to the action cues of Star Trek: Insurrection, and “Klingon Chase-Shotgunned,” a percussive, driving track featuring some of the newer material on the album. “Temporal Battle” is a well-crafted cue, featuring many repeated motifs, and classic McCarthy strings/horns. “New Horizons” starts with the opening notes of the TNG theme, the only appearance of any previous Trek theme. Some tracks even resurrect McCarthy’s old harmonica, used during Captain Archer’s childhood flashbacks. Once again, the score is strong, and certainly would be entertaining for those unfamiliar with McCarthy’s work. However, veterans of his style will find next to no new material to savor, ultimately weakening the album experience.

Enterprise is going to be around for another six years and is already looking strong. I feel that this series is on track to being one of the stronger entries into the franchise. Its unconventional tone aids its potency. The style of the music for Enterprise has also departed from the ways of the past in its unrestrained style, but not in tone. McCarthy’s first entry is solid, yet old. Some of the scores from later episodes in season 1 have featured heavy electronic elements, and more driving textures and themes. Perhaps this is a glimpse of what is to come for the franchise, and future album releases. Until a main theme is hammered out, the music of Enterprise will stay below its potential, but will still stand out.


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track

Title Time

Rating

1 Where My Heart Will Take Me
(album version)
4:14  ** 
2 New Enterprise 1:42  *** 
3 Klingon Chase-Shotgunned  2:05  **** 
4 Enterprise First Flight 2:52  ***
5 Klang-Napped 2:12  *** 
6 Morpho-O-Mama/Suli-Nabbed 2:47  *** 
7 Phaser Fight 5:54  **** 
8 Breakthrough 2:02  *** 
9 Grappled 4:11  *** 
10 The Rescue 6:41  *** 
11 Temporal Battle 8:07  **** 
12 Blood Work 2:12  ***
13 New Horizons 1:27  ****
  14 Archers Theme 1:27  ***  
  15 Where My Heart Will Take Me
(TV version)
1:29  **  
 

Total Running Time

49:30  

Enterprise by Dennis McCarthy

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.

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