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Star Trek Nemesis
  • Composed by Jerry Goldsmith
  • Varèse Sarabande CD Club / 2013 / 115m (score 86m)

The Patrick Stewart generation of Star Trek films staggered to an end in 2002 in Star Trek Nemesis, a film which isn’t nearly as bad as many make out – in fact its problems are similar to the problems with the other films featuring the Stewart cast, and its plot is eerily similar to the phenomenally successful J.J. Abrams reboot a few years later.  The problem was probably just that people were bored with it all by then.  Jean-Luc Picard and co had never permeated popular culture the way Kirk and Spock did so there was never much of a mainstream audience for this cast’s films; and even the diehards were about ready to give up by this time.

Very ill at the time, but returning to the Star Trek universe for one last adventure, was composer Jerry Goldsmith.  Nemesis would end up being his penultimate film score.  His regular self-effacing dismissals of his Star Trek music (“I never understood it”) were obvious baloney; if truth be told, he seemed to understand it rather better than most of the other major contributors to the last couple of films in the series he worked on.  His magnificent, soaring main theme gets it in just a couple of minutes – elegant, stately, optimistic.  Impressively, he managed to give each of the five films in the series on which he worked a unique sound of its own while remaining within the same sonic universe; for Nemesis he wrote the series’ darkest, most aggressive score but still found room for a couple of beautiful musical subplots.

Jerry Goldsmith, Stuart Baird and Robert Townson in the booth at the Nemesis sessions

Jerry Goldsmith, Stuart Baird and Robert Townson in the booth at the Nemesis sessions

The soundtrack released at the time of the film was a relatively generous 50 minutes in length and featured the majority of the highlights, but was widely-dismissed at the time (not by me, I hasten to add) as a much weaker entry compared with its predecessors.  It’s been over a decade now since Goldsmith was lost and I don’t think we have seen anyone come close to matching his skill in that time – you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, and with Jerry Goldsmith we had an outstanding composer, an outstanding dramatist, someone who instinctively got what the film needed and managed to rise to the challenge – time after time – with music that was so brilliantly-constructed it usually fit its film like a glove and usually stood alone as pure music without any difficulty whatsoever.  Star Trek Nemesis is hardly one of his greatest scores (the bar is just so high), but I imagine the passing of time has allowed the music to become rather more widely-appreciated by more people than it was when it was first heard.  This new album from Varèse Sarabande’s CD Club features the complete score – almost twice as long as the original album – along with a handful of alternate takes and mixes.

The extremely malleable new theme for the score (effectively for the villain, Shinzon) is transformed to an astonishing degree through the film.   In the opening cue “Remus”, after the familiar Alexander Courage fanfare, Goldsmith presents it in hard-hitting action guise, a twirling, descending motif heard on this occasion in the strings, with strident synth percussion accompaniment.  The action continues in “The Box”, a clever hint of the Shinzon theme heard in the lowest brass registers giving way to a period of brooding suspense before the cue’s explosive finale.

By contrast “My Right Arm” features a very warm version of “The Barrier” theme previously used in both Star Trek V and First Contact; then the brief “Star Field” presents the score’s first airing of Goldsmith’s familiar main theme for the series.  “Positronic” is a subtle version of Shinzon’s Theme now in its main form for the first time, mournful and strangely beautiful.  “The Argo” combines the motif that famously introduced the finest piece of music the composer wrote for the franchise (“The Enterprise”) with a new fanfare-type theme that is very similar to one he used previously in Executive Decision, a film which was also directed by Nemesis‘s Stuart Baird.

“Odds and Ends” is a piece of dark action/suspense, Shinzon’s Theme flitting in and out of some muscular action music in the familiar later-career style from the composer who did it better than anyone else before or since.  The way he uses his main theme in this way is so impressive, binding the whole score together.  “Your Brother” is a much gentler piece, a calming version of “The Barrier” theme which leads into another airing of “The Enterprise” motif in “Course Plotted”, a passage which culminates in a dynamic burst of the Star Trek march.  New age synths open the lengthy “Repairs”, pleasantly echoing Total Recall, sandwiching the Barrier Theme and then leading into a particularly warm arrangement of the march before action returns to the fore with a set of dark, dark hints at Shinzon’s Theme.  “The Knife” is a much more low-key suspense track, but there’s a captivating feel to it which is very effective.  The atmosphere continues in “Perfect Timing / Allegiance”, a growing sense of calm before the storm – you could cut the tension in “Secrets” with a knife.  A partial release finally arrives in the more urgent “The Mine”, before one of the score’s standout non-action pieces, “Ideals”, which features a stunningly downbeat version of Shinzon’s Theme, absolutely full of sadness.

It’s straight back to the tension in the brief “Options”, which leads into the dynamic “Bed Time / Transport”, but the subdued feel returns in “Blood Test”.  “The Mirror” has more life to it, particularly (perhaps surprisingly) from the synth accompaniment to the orchestra early in the piece, which creates a great sound, then later in the piece there’s some vintage Goldsmith action, the xylophone bringing back pleasant memories of all those outstanding 1970s thriller scores.  This is followed by probably the best action piece in the score, the thrilling “The Scorpion”, a breathlessly exciting piece which culminates with a glorious action version of the Star Trek march (the first and only time it was ever used in such a context?)

“His Plans / Data & B-4” is a more reflective piece, featuring some shimmering, almost elegiac strings perfectly in keeping with the fairly sombre mood which permeates so much of the score.  “Battle Stations” introduces a new theme, heard nowhere else in the score, and it’s a beauty – a full-bodied, dynamic, adrenaline-pumping anthem of heroism.  In “Attack Pattern”, the action begins to develop again, with a real purpose to it, as the brass and percussion pound away with real intensity.  The beautifully-titled “The Invitation / True Nature / Let’s Go to Work” doesn’t add much until it nears its end but it leads into another action frenzy in “Lateral Run”, a great piece which sees the whole orchestra given a workout, leading to a series of pounding variations on Shinzon’s Theme.  The first disc ends with the extremely brief “The Viceroy” and then there’s a return to the suspense style which dominated earlier portions of the score as the second disc begins with “Engage”, but it’s not long before the action returns in the second half of the piece.  The thrills continue in “Full Reverse”, another well-rounded piece of action, before a brief respite comes in “Not Functional”, a brooding piece of dramatic underscore.

The score moves into its final act with “Final Flight”, a glorious piece which opens with just a hint of The Blue Max, a brief feeling of thrilling aerial combat which quickly moves into this score’s signature action sound.  There’s an added sense of desperate urgency to the piece, as one beloved Star Trek character’s journey reaches its end.  “Firing Sequence” offers a brief reprise of Shinzon’s Theme, then there’s a beautiful version of the Barrier Theme in “A New Friend”, which echoes of its frequently lovely use in First Contact.  A gorgeously warm version of the Star Trek march makes up “That Song” before a lovely heroic melody in “An Honour” leads into the end titles, “A New Ending”, a couple of bars of Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies” (makes sense in context!) leading into the Courage fanfare and then the magnificent Goldsmith theme.  The version of the cue on this album is the film version, which edits in the most thrilling portion of “Final Flight” before one last piece of Goldsmith magnificence graces the world of Star Trek, a full-bodied elegiac version of Shinzon’s Theme which is quite outstanding.  Of course, the credits end with a reprise of the wonderful march, the fifth and final film to do so.

Jerry Goldsmith wasn’t just a master – in terms of Hollywood film music he was the master.  I’ve lost count – as, I’m sure, have you, the poor reader – of the number of times I’ve harped on about expanded albums making lesser listening experiences than the more considered originals.  But there’s something about Goldsmith – the technique, the attention to detail – that makes listening to his scores in complete form almost always a pleasure, far more than any other film composer.  Those little touches, the way themes are developed – it’s just breathtaking.  Star Trek Nemesis is far from being one of his very best scores, but even here there is so much to explore, so much to discover.  There’ll probably never be another Jerry Goldsmith – so let’s be thankful that he left behind such an extraordinary body of work.  There was still one more film to come, but really I see this score as his swansong, his last chance to work on the series with which he was so associated, his last chance to amaze us with his incredible action music, his last chance to develop those themes.  A serious re-evaluation of this score’s merits is surely called for, and this deluxe album offers the perfect opportunity.  Here’s to Jerry Goldsmith, whose surname could hardly have been more apt.

Rating: **** | |

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  1. Cindylover1969 (Reply) on Sunday 9 February, 2014 at 19:48

    “The problem was probably just that people were bored with it all by then.”

    It can’t have helped that it opened alongside the new James Bond movie (even if said movie was “Die Another Day”); it must have been embarrassing for Paramount that it lost in the US to a Jennifer Lopez movie (“Maid In Manhattan”); and then along came “The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers”…

    “Of course, the credits end with a reprise of the wonderful march, the fifth and final film to do so.”

    It’s also the FIRST “Star Trek” movie to have editorially-aided end credits music, alas (and the edit is really noticeable, double alas).

  2. James Southall (Reply) on Sunday 9 February, 2014 at 19:51

    Wasn’t the Star Trek V end titles piece also edited (in the film)?

  3. Solaris (Reply) on Sunday 9 February, 2014 at 21:22

    Yeah, it briefly segued into a short segment of ‘A Busy Man’ before the statement of the Klingon-Theme.

    Anyway, what *was* Goldsmiths’ last Score? “Timeline” or “Looney Tunes back in Action”? Personally, I consider it to be “Timeline”, with its final Battle Cue being Goldsmiths’ Swansong (it perfectly encapsulated all that was great about his Music in 10 Minutes) while I interpret ‘All my friends’ as him bidding farewell.

  4. Jens (Reply) on Monday 10 February, 2014 at 10:07

    My understanding is that the recording order was Nemesis, Timeline, Looney Tunes.

  5. Faleel (Reply) on Monday 10 February, 2014 at 15:09

    “a breathlessly exciting piece which culminates with a glorious action version of the Star Trek march (the first and only time it was ever used in such a context?)”

    First Contact’s Red Alert had a action statement of the theme I believe, and I think Final Frontier did as well.

  6. Chris Avis (Reply) on Monday 10 February, 2014 at 16:51

    To be honest James, I’m surprised you’ve ranked this higher than Insurrection, which manages to be a completely engaging experience through out its run time. Nemesis isn’t a terrible score, but the full score has so many moments of droning atmospheric cues that are just deadly dull. For much of its run time, it plays to my ears as if Goldsmith just saw this as another shitty action movie that he scored over the course of his career and this time didn’t have the energy or the inclination to elevate the score to the level he often did.

    The new release is an improvement sonically and in that it presents the full score, allowing us to pick a better sampling of cues in a playlist than Varese did with their initial release. It goes without saying, that if most modern day composers wrote this, we’d be talking about something approaching a career best, but as a Goldsmith score (and especially a Trek score), this one’s merely OK.


  7. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Monday 10 February, 2014 at 22:31

    I find the tendency to overly canonize Goldsmith to be rather irritating sometimes. Nemesis is a solid score, no doubt about it. But it most certainly does not equate “something approaching a career best” for modern-day composers, at least, not 80% of them. I think in the decade or so we’ve gone without Goldsmith there’s been a tendency to retroactively treasure every single score he wrote almost no matter the quality, and while there’s nothing wrong with that at all, I think it’s unfair to the newer crop of talented composers to suggest that Goldsmith on an OK day is better than them at their best.

  8. James Southall (Reply) on Monday 10 February, 2014 at 23:19

    I don’t think there are many younger film composers who could write an action score quite like Goldsmith on an OK day, to be honest. John Powell, Michael Giacchino, Brian Tyler… and..?

  9. James Southall (Reply) on Monday 10 February, 2014 at 23:23

    Postscript: I’m sure there are plenty who COULD, but we’ll never have any proof, because everything these days is Jablonsky/Djawadi/Jackman bollocks.

  10. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Monday 10 February, 2014 at 23:30

    Powell. Giacchino. Tyler. Arnold. Lockington (which you won’t agree with, but whatever). Young. Beltrami. Elfman. Hell, even Zimmer.

    I’m not saying that all or any of them have the same level of consistency as Goldsmith. But all of them at their best have most certainly managed to beat out Goldsmith at his third- or fourth-best.

    It’s when people say things like “Executive Decision would have been the best score of the year if it came out in the 2010s!!!” that I start rolling my eyes.

  11. James Southall (Reply) on Monday 10 February, 2014 at 23:53

    Well, yes. Even I don’t particularly like that one. Young and Elfman are both old enough to draw their pension, Arnold doesn’t work on films any more and Zimmer – well, Zimmer. I’ll give you Beltrami though!

  12. Jens (Reply) on Tuesday 11 February, 2014 at 01:45

    There are quite a few contemporary composers out there that have the potential to approach Goldsmith (to name a few: Chris Tilton, Chad Seiter, Austin Wintory and Olivier Dereviere all have the chops). The question is, will they be afforded the opportunity to do so?

    Seiter’s Star Trek: The Video Game is, I feel, the closest we’ve come to a great, Goldsmithesque action score in the last decade or so. And that was written for a terrible video game!

    Seiter & Tilton’s Fracture and Giacchino’s John Carter also come close. Giacchino is, of course, brilliant, but I feel the JJ Abrams movies he scores these days don’t give his music the opportunity to breathe.

  13. James Southall (Reply) on Tuesday 11 February, 2014 at 07:55

    Agree about those names, Jens (and I’ll add Scott Glasgow as well). All waiting for that big opportunity to show everyone what they can do, in terms of films anyway.

    It’s worth mentioning that my intention was not to suggest there are not any decent film composers around – just that Goldsmith was something special. He set the bar, as far as I’m concerned, and nobody else has even come close to reaching it – yet (in Hollywood, as I always append – Morricone has been and still is extraordinary outside Hollywood).

  14. Jens (Reply) on Tuesday 11 February, 2014 at 13:50

    James, as I’m sure you already know, I couldn’t agree more with you. To me personally, Jerry Goldsmith IS film music. There will never be anyone else like him. I didn’t think you were disparaging other composers, and agree wholeheartedly with your review. Scott Glasgow and Conrad Pope are both favorites of mine as well – I shouldn’t have omitted them.

    My comment was actually meant for Edmund. I don’t much agree with his list. As someone who responds specifically to Goldsmith’s action style, none of the composers Edmund mentioned scratch that itch for me. Chris Young probably came closest with Hard Rain. That’s not to say I don’t love Arnold, Giacchino, Powell, or Beltrami – they’re each excellent composers with distinctive styles.

    When was the last time Danny Elfman wrote a great action score? Sleepy Hollow is the last I recall, but I’ll happily be corrected.

    While I have warmed up considerably to Hans Zimmer over the years, the suggestion that his manner of action scoring could hold a candle to Goldsmith’s still makes me laugh. Sure, it gets the blood pumping (I listen to The Peacemaker more frequently than I care to admit), but it’s simplistic, interchangeable and subtle as a sledgehammer. This is a man who pummels you with music.

  15. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Tuesday 11 February, 2014 at 17:39

    Jens, it’s not about whether any of those composers can fill the gap left by Goldsmith’s passing. I’m not suggesting that any of them have, or will, or should. My initial comment (aimed at Chris Avis) was to refute the notion that those younger-gen composers at their best are unable to reach the level of second- or third-tier Goldsmith. That’s nonsense to me. Powell’s How to Train Your Dragon is as good as, if not better than anything Goldsmith wrote in the last decade or two of his career. James won’t agree with me on this one either, though. :p

    The last great Elfman action score, to me, was Wanted. Alice in Wonderland has some good action cues as well, though it’s not an “action score” per se (and he hasn’t done a straight action score since probably Terminator Salvation, which is only one after Wanted).

  16. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Tuesday 11 February, 2014 at 17:49

    And, re: Zimmer, I’d probably say the same thing about At World’s End as I did about HTTYD. It’s not Goldsmith, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t as good as Goldsmith.

  17. James Southall (Reply) on Tuesday 11 February, 2014 at 18:00

    Neither Dragon (which as you know I don’t think is that special, though it’s certainly pretty good) nor At World’s End (which is one of Zimmer’s best) would get anywhere near my Goldsmith Top 100. Maybe 150.

  18. Luc Van der Eeken (Reply) on Tuesday 11 February, 2014 at 18:50

    I think you guys are forgetting Fernando Velazquez…Have you heard ‘Zipy et Zape’ or the samples for ‘The Adventurer: Curse of the Midas Box’?

  19. Jens (Reply) on Tuesday 11 February, 2014 at 20:52

    Edmund, since this discussion purely comes down to taste, I don’t know what to say other than I disagree. The last two decades of Jerry’s career include such classics as First Knight, L.A. Confidential, Mulan, and The Mummy. As much as I love How to Train Your Dragon (unlike James I think it is a 5-star score), to me it is simply not “as good as, if not better than” those works.

    At World’s End is my favorite Zimmer score by a wide margin, but again I couldn’t possibly put it on the same level.

    Regarding Elfman: I ate my words the moment I recalled the existence of those first two Spider-Man scores. Superb.

    Luc, I am not familiar with Fernando Velazquez at all, but will remedy this oversight!

  20. Jens (Reply) on Tuesday 11 February, 2014 at 21:17

    I’d also like to add that I hate the notion of “2nd or 3rd tier Goldsmith” or “Goldsmith on a bad day.” 99% of the time, Goldsmith simply wrote the appropriate score for the film at hand. Sometimes this resulted in a great soundtrack album, sometimes it didn’t. That is not how one should judge film music anyway. The only times I’ve ever thought to myself “This could be scored better!” during a Goldsmith film was when he experimented and made a bad creative call, like his all-synth scores or when he decided to use Tommy Walker’s Charge in Mr. Baseball. God, how I loathe Charge!

    Do I enjoy Star Trek: Nemesis – on album – as much Goldsmith’s other Trek scores? Not quite. Is it the perfect score for that film? Yes.

    I realize I’ve now slipped into full-on “All Goldsmith is Great!” fanboy mode, but that is genuinely how feel.

  21. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Wednesday 12 February, 2014 at 10:38

    That’s fair enough, Jens. I think, having never been a fan while Goldsmith was alive and active, I just don’t have the same (for lack of a better term) “fanboyism” for him as I do for John Powell (who’s admittedly the only modern composer that can still whip up that sort of unfettered enthusiasm from me). Obviously I love Goldsmith, have nothing but respect for him and think he’s among the five greatest film composers who ever breathed, easy. But his music in and of itself doesn’t carry quite the same emotional weight with me. Of the scores you listed, the only one that has a ghost of a chance of rivaling HTTYD for me is First Knight, maaaaaaybe The Mummy – the others range from good to great, but not in the same play-it-over-and-over-again top-10-favorite-scores-of-all-time kind of way.

    And you raise a good point about the third-tier thing. Goldsmith was known for being baffled that anyone would ever want to listen to his film music. I guess we film score fans just have a slightly skewed view of things overall. 😉

  22. ANDRÉ - CAPE TOWN. (Reply) on Wednesday 12 February, 2014 at 14:50

    I suppose Edmund that GOLDSMITH could be BOTH “baffled that anyone would ever want to listen to his film music” and then be very curious about how many people were buying his albums. In the liner notes of ‘Tech Talk from the CD Producer’ {of Intrada’s expanded CONGO} Douglass Fake explains that “after the original CD was released in 1995 he [JERRY GOLDSMITH] phoned Intrada’s store to ask how well the album was selling with his fans – something he often did in those days….”. Like most of us, JERRY had to pay the bills and, when a dud score arrived here among all those glittering musical gems, a friend would remark “oh well, another score done just for the heirs.”

  23. Jens (Reply) on Wednesday 12 February, 2014 at 18:48

    Edmund, I think it’s essentially true that everyone has a “golden era” that forever colors his or her tastes and preferences. For many people, it’s their teenage years. The literature, music, or films they consumed during this formative period is the yardstick against which they judge new work. I became a film music fan in the 90s, thus it is the scores of the 90s and prior that will forever be most meaningful to me. (Of course, I also think many are clearly superior, but therein lies a tedious and pointless argument.)

    My golden era, by the way, includes John Powell’s early work at Media Ventures. I followed his career since Face/Off, a score which still gives me the nostalgic fuzzies in a way that better, more recent Powell scores do not. I also have a curious affection for his Adventures of Pluto Nash, for some reason. Again, it is all highly subjective.

  24. Mikal (Reply) on Wednesday 19 February, 2014 at 19:38

    There’s a lot in this thread that I would like to respond to, but grad school is more pressing at the moment. So, I’ll just respond to your most recent comment, Jens. A few weeks ago, I watched Face/Off for the first time since I was 10 (I was at a friend’s house, and his parents didn’t really believe in censorship), and found it very entertaining, due in large part to the music. Regarding Powell’s score, I found myself particularly enamored with that music box motif, and the gorgeous finale cue when John Travolta’s character reunites with his family and surprises them with a newly adopted son (seriously, it rivals “Forbidden Friendship” from HtTYD for me, which is high praise, indeed!). But the classical pieces that were incorporated into the soundtrack, were equally striking, if not more so; immediately after watching the film, I had to download ‘Miserere’ by Gregorio Allegri.

  25. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Wednesday 19 February, 2014 at 19:58

    Thanks for mentioning that cue, Mikal; I rarely hear talk about it but I’d actually agree that it’s among Powell’s most grippingly emotional. I wouldn’t quite stack it up against Forbidden Friendship but it’s pretty close. The rest of the score is fun; I like hearing traces of Powell’s voice poking their way through the MV stylings, but it’s the quieter emotional cues that steal the show. Underrated score.

  26. Nate U (Reply) on Sunday 2 March, 2014 at 04:37

    Nice thread, guys. Edmund, you should have tried fighting Jens on these fronts a decade ago….. he has since mellowed with age believe it or not 😀 Jens, you are always welcome back at the scoreboard. We need you! My posting is much milder out of necessity, but nonetheless….

  27. Jens (Reply) on Sunday 2 March, 2014 at 23:48

    Nate, I think in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s I railed against Media Ventures because I felt they were categorically ruining film music. I saw brilliant symphonic artists like Robert Folk or Bruce Broughton get fewer and fewer assignments, while an increasing number of scores sounded like discarded demos from The Rock. I was scared of change.

    The sad thing is I was absolutely right about film music being ruined, though I blamed the wrong people. As Jerry himself said: “The decision about who’s going to score a film or what that film’s going to contain is that of the film maker. That’s where the blame or the kudos lie. If one complains about the quality of film music today, it isn’t the so-called people who claim to be composers who are writing this crap, it’s the film makers who will allow it in their films in the first place. Film makers don’t realize what a difference a good piece of music can make to their film. There’s a lot of ego in the film makers, too – some of them. Oh, we don’t want anything to override what we’ve done.”

    Of course now that film music as a genre has reached a nadir, it’s much easier to look back on those early Media Ventures scores and appreciate them for what they accomplished. In retrospect, I now like scores like Crimson Tide, The Rock, Broken Arrow, The Peacemaker, or Gladiator. Even Con Air or Armageddon. At least they have recognizable themes one could hum coming out of the theater. At least there’s some complexity and variation to their action pieces. Though I heavily criticized them at the time, compared to the generic mush of today, those scores are positively exquisite.

    Another thing that adds much-needed perspective is that each of Zimmer’s house composers has at least a couple of genuinely excellent scores under their belt. Jablonski did Steamboy, Djawadi did Pacific Rim and Game of Thrones, Badelt did Invincible and The Promise, Henry Jackman did This is The End, etc. They’ve all shown that they are absolutely capable of writing fine scores, it’s just much of the time they are asked not to. It is, after all, a job rather than a purely artistic endeavor, and composers gotta eat.

  28. Nate U (Reply) on Thursday 6 March, 2014 at 06:57

    The challenges of the contemporary film composer in crafting a score of high creative merit are many.

    I agree with much of what yourself and Mr Goldsmith are saying. However, in my experience its actually not as specific or simple as blaming any certain film-maker. There is no simple answer, because large or even medium-budget films are complicated creatures, but I would venture to say its the whole process itself of making a film which renders it so difficult to write a film score of high creative merit, rather than any of the people involved. The way films are being made has changed with time, and I would say its technology that is the driving motivator for that. These changes present serious challenges to the film composer who intends to write a great film score.

    That being said, I also put forth the idea that because the art form is always changing, we may not be able to fully appreciate contemporary film music until time has eased our prejudices and clarified context, as you describe your change of heart to MV-styled music of a decade ago. Give it another decade and see where the film scores of 2014 lie….

    Had a great time discussing these topics with Broxton, Craig and Kuhni over some wine on a rooftop last summer. Let me know the next time you find yourself in LA and we can continue! 🙂

  29. Jens (Reply) on Thursday 6 March, 2014 at 23:55

    Sure. In another decade, when all film music is written as a fusion between grindcore and dubstep, we may look back on Zimmer’s Man of Steel or Bromfman’s RoboCop and say to ourselves, “This really wasn’t so bad, you guys!”

  30. ANDRÉ - CAPE TOWN. (Reply) on Sunday 9 March, 2014 at 12:50

    The film industry, Nate-U, has always been synonymous with vast changes in the creation of movies….silent to talkies..mono to format to digital…. and creative teams have never balked at new innovations. Creative artists [naturally I’m including musicians] & technos always encourage change > they grasp the opportunity to explore any new development in the industry that allows their creativity to constellate to new heights. Filmmusic devotees in another decade will probably question [as we are doing] the boring similarity in style, rhythms, orchestrations & electronic textures that permeate so many of Cinema’s 21st Century scores. They will ponder why, until the mid 1990’s, there were so many distinctive musical signatures from composers such as GOLDSMITH, JARRE, NORTH, DELERUE, BERNSTEIN, BARRY, PORTMAN,MORRICONE, ROTA & WILLIAMS….and from filmmusic pioneers such as STEINER, NEWMAN, ROZSA, YOUNG, KORNGOLD et al. These composers were compelled to write music in their own unique & individual style REGARDLESS of the technological experimentation within the film industry and the requirements of directors. There are, thank the Gods, a number of new composers [MALO, BANOS, McCREARY, NEVEUX, PINTO, MONTES, NAVARRETE] who, while minimally utilising Pro Tools & Sibelius technologies and incorporating the dictates of producers [who want a JABLONSKY copycat], are able to project their unique signatures into their scores.

  31. Nate U (Reply) on Wednesday 12 March, 2014 at 06:08

    Jens, that is indeed what I am saying.

  32. Jockolantern (Reply) on Tuesday 16 September, 2014 at 05:02

    I’ve been rediscovering Goldsmith’s ‘Nemesis’ score recently on the original 2002 album presentation and am now eagerly anticipating purchasing the Deluxe Edition. I know I listened to the 2002 album a lot when it first came out but probably haven’t touched it in the past decade since.

    The score popped out at me while I was searching for something to listen on my drive to work and I’m quite startled by how much better this score sounds to my ears today. Perhaps it’s my unending fondness for Goldsmith and the memories I have associated with his being the reason I fell in love with film music in the first place or how I still vividly remember the day I came home from work during a between-college-semesters summer to have my mother inform me of Goldsmith’s death, but the score to ‘Nemesis’ is genuinely and astoundingly good. James is quite right when he says it deserves another look.

    I had many of the “popular” thoughts about the score at the time: That it wasn’t as good as Goldsmith’s other Trek scores, that the much hyped applause during the recording sessions was just such, that Goldsmith just didn’t have his heart in it during that difficult portion near the end of his life. Yet no one is writing film music even close to the level of Goldsmith today and not even at the level of one of his “weaker” scores, assuming that to be ‘Nemesis.’ There is so much energy in this music, so much beauty, so much gravity, so much of the little details that defined Goldsmith’s sound throughout his composing years. Jens nailed it regarding Goldsmith’s intuitive ability to give a film exactly the score it needed and his unending ability to raise even the stodgiest material to grander heights than it probably deserved.

    On the whole, I think ‘Nemesis’ is a far better score than ‘First Contact’ or ‘The Final Frontier’ and though ‘Insurrection’ features my favorite non-Enterprise Goldsmith Trek theme, the ‘Nemesis’ score overall just has so much more energy, suspense, and dramatic heft. Hearing that blaring, desperate french horn motif scream out during ‘Engage’ is just one of the many musical moments in this score which are so utterly lacking in the majority of today’s film music. Many moments of this score took me aback and forced me to pay attention– a demand for attention span which is even more severely lacking in many of today’s film scores.

    ‘Nemesis’ is a damn good score and I am even more excited to hear the remaining music I’ve been missing since 2002.

  33. Jens (Reply) on Wednesday 17 September, 2014 at 21:33

    Jocko, it’s a pleasure to see one of your posts again – really makes me realize how much I missed your measured, well-considered thoughts these last few years.

    Since this expanded release came out, I’ve been listening to Nemesis a lot, and I’ve come to similar conclusions as you. I was once lukewarm on this score, but personally I blame the original release for omitting some of the best material (to me, Battle Stations is as revelatory here as Wall of Water is in Deep Rising). Nemesis’ action material is simply killer and though the score does lack a strong central theme, it is full of wonderful little thematic flourishes. As far as Trek scores go, I’d definitely put it up there with Insurrection and First Contact, though it’s a more direct relative of Deep Rising and U.S. Marshalls, scores I similarly adore.

  34. Jens (Reply) on Wednesday 17 September, 2014 at 21:53

    Sorry, I meant “Not Every Day” rather than “Wall of Water.”

  35. tiago (Reply) on Thursday 18 September, 2014 at 02:05

    One of the best discussions I’ve read about Film Music. You guys should do a podcast about it!

  36. Jens (Reply) on Thursday 18 September, 2014 at 04:10

    Rereading this thread, I cringe at how I sound like a pretentious ass through most of it. Apologies to everyone.

    Thanks to Luc for making me aware of Fernando Velazquez. I picked up Garbo: The Spy and The Impossible recently, and they’re first-rate.

  37. Jockolantern (Reply) on Monday 26 January, 2015 at 23:39

    No need to apologize, Jens. I never once read “pretentious” or “ass” –much less “pretentious ass”– in any of your opines during this thread. Thank you for the kind words, though; I’m grateful to have my input on the subject valued even if I often feel like I’m simply unleashing the fanboy inside while typing such long-winded comments. I’ve done my damndest to improve on my discussive nature since my more confrontational and dopey teenage years and it warms me to hear that I’ve at least done a passable job of doing so thus far.

    Being that Stuart Baird directed both U.S. Marshals and Nemesis, I suppose there was some inevitability to the similarity in scoring approach, the overall direction of Nemesis as a film being quite different in tone and approach from the prior Frakes-led entries. Perhaps Baird even requested Goldsmith highlight the action in a similar fashion to their prior two collaborations. That’s entirely speculative, of course, but it seems at least reasonbly plausible, if only at a comparative level.

    I’m still holding out for that eventual complete Intrada release of U.S. Marshals and I still need to pick up the complete Deep Rising– a dearth in my Goldsmith collection which has always nagged at me. Perhaps I shall pick that up soon now that the complete The River Wild is available, the rejected Jarre score inclusion also being of great interest. To be honest, the more complete Goldsmith scores I hear, the more curious I find his insistence on truncated album releases while he was alive. I know there’s a lot more that goes into the decision-making process (financially and otherwise) where album length is concerned but the man often wrote at such a high level that hearing all the music he wrote for a given film was more narratively enlightening and analytically exciting then being given perhaps just those cues he viewed as the highlights. For me, the Deluxe Edition release of his Star Trek Nemesis cemented that particular viewpoint.