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The Search for Spock

by James Horner

Although not as exciting as Star Trek II, this is still a very good score.  Horner reuses all of his key themes and adds a very ethnic Klingon theme.  He also utilizes the original TOS fanfare many more times than in the previous album.  I think that the orchestra sounds much better on this CD, without the overpowering, out of tune strings.  However, the CD needs to be about twenty minutes longer, as it omits some of the best moments of the score.

Track by Track Analysis

1. Prologue and Main Title (6:27)
 Begins with an attention-grabbing chord and cymbal crash.  It continues with a quiet permutation on Spock’s theme underscoring a flashback of his death and funeral.  The music gradually builds and eventually hits Alexander Courage’ s fanfare.  This rushes into the last half of ST2’s end credits.  A short epilogue shows us the Enterprise’s current position.
2. Klingons (5:55)
 A full statement of the new Klingon theme.  To me, Horner’s theme, although not as easy to listen to as Goldsmith’s, more accurately depicts this savage race.  It also features a battery of ethnic percussion.  Don’t change the track after the climax of the piece, because after thirty seconds of silence, there is a great part underscoring the return of the Enterprise from the battle with Khan.
3. Stealing the Enterprise (8:33)
 The best track on the CD.  It is extremely lengthy and recalls the more memorable action sequences from ST2.  The opening violin run is the absolute highlight of the entire soundtrack.  After this, Horner rearranges his action motif and adds a percussion sequence from Krull.  I always call this the “nostalgia motif,” since it seems to conjure up memories of the crew’s past adventures.  Following this are a couple minutes of ambience, but then this motif returns as the crew is reunited.  An exciting orchestral “rush” underscores the return to the Enterprise, to retrieve their fallen comrade against the orders of Starfleet.  The famous Original Series fanfare bursts into the track, and builds to a bombastic treatment of another action motif.  More ambience plays as the Excelsior’s captain realizes what Kirk is doing, and tries to chase him down.  Back on the Enterprise, Scotty has a lot of trouble trying to force the Space Dock doors open, and the tension continues to build.  As he finally gets the doors open, Horner gives us an ecstatic climax to an immensely fulfilling track.  However, they are not out of danger yet.  The Excelsior follows them with advanced transwarp drive.  Scotty, however, has tampered with the drive, so the new ship is helpless.  The composer does one of his favorite chord progressions that has been used in almost all of his scores so far.
4. The Mind Meld (2:30)
 Basically a reprise of the cue “Spock” from ST2.  It has some ethnic instruments.
5. Bird of Prey Decloaks (3:37)
 An action sequence using the original motifs from ST2, but adding the Klingon theme.  Has a few very interesting variations.
6. Returning to Vulcan (4:49)
 A very emotional climax of Spock’s theme.  After a statement of the shortened version of Spock’s theme, the score has an epic conclusion to Kirk’s quest to restore Spock.  It also utilizes what sounds like an electronic Baroque cornet (weird, huh.)
7. The Katra Ritual (4:29)
 Underscores Spock’s reunification of his body and score.  Mostly boring ambience, and I usually skip it.
8. End Title (6:12)
 This starts with a statement of the complete Original Series theme, then segues into the exact same end credits as ST2.  However, I think the orchestration is much better in this version, and it also uses the Baroque cornet heard in Track 6.
9. The Search for Spock (3:43)
I don’t know whose idea this was, but it is certainly idiotic.  Imaging the epic-sounding Spock theme, but transformed into a 70’s disco mix.  I’m not kidding!  ALWAYS skip this track, unless this is you like this stuff, which I highly doubt.

All in all, this is a much more mature score than ST2, but not necessarily better.  However, it is still very good, and I recommend that you get it.

Star Trek III: The Final Score
Music Rating 7.5/10
Packaging/Liner Notes 7/10
Orchestral Performance 9/10
Sound Quality 9/10
Length 5/10

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Star Trek III is Copyright 1990 by GNP Crescendo.  Its appearance on this site is for informational, nonprofit use and does not intend to infringe on copyright.  Review Copyright 1999 by Andrew Drannon.  The views expressed here are mine, and are not those of Tripod, any composers, or other parties.