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by Cliff Eidelman

This is one of the most unusual Star Trek scores.  It is very dark, and doesn’t have many heroic moments, except for the end.  I really like the theme, for it is very new and refreshingly different.  However, the score tends to bog down somewhat in the middle, being no more than subtle, dark rumblings.  But still, most of it is very exciting, and overall, Cliff Eidelman scores a hit.
Track by Track Analysis
1. Overture (2:57)
 Played as the main title, this piece introduces the new theme.  Underscored with a motif straight out of Holst’s Mars, it perfectly describes the desperate situation of the movie.  Parts of it remind me of Danny Elfman’s Batman, but nothing is directly lifted.  The spacious-sounding choir perfectly adds to it.
2. An Incident (:53)
 Characterized by ambient rumblings.
3. Clear All Moorings (1:39)
 Here, the secondary heroic theme is introduced.  It gives a large dose of nostalgia, since this is the final mission of the original Enterprise crew.  This cue has an uneasy feeling to it, giving hints of what is to come.
4. Assassination (4:45)
 This piece introduces another theme, sounding vaguely like James Horner’s Spock theme.  Played quietly on the synths, it underscores a quiet moment in Spock’s quarters.  This segues to an action sequence, as the Klingon Chancellor of the High Council is assassinated by Federation conspirators, hence the name of the track.  Of course, the Klingons think that Kirk is behind the whole thing, except for one (Chang) that is a member of the conspiracy.  This part is a permutation of the main theme, complete with choir.  It segues into:
5. Surrender for Peace (2:46)
 Kirk formally surrenders to the Klingons, hoping to straighten this mess out.  Unfortunately, the Klingons have other plans.  They arrest him for the assassination.  More permutations of the main theme.  I like this part better than the corresponding one in the previous track.
6. Death of Gorkon (1:10)
 Nothing special here, just more ambience.
7. Rura Penthe (4:22)
 A tone picture of Kirk’s and McCoy’s new prison.  Very disturbing, complete with Klingon chanting.  Some may see this as boring, but I like it.
8. Revealed (2:38)
 See Track 6.
9. Escape From Rura Penthe (5:34)
 A complete orchestral statement of the epic theme at the beginning of Track 4.  The best parts can be heard again in the Suite.
10. Dining On Ashes (1:00)
 A slow statement of the heroic theme.
11. The Battle For Peace (8:03)
 This is the best track on the CD, complete with an oxy moron for a title.  It begins with a statement of the main theme over the Holst ostinato.  After this is some tension on the synths and a slow statement of the main theme, followed by orchestral tension.  Then the action begins with a fast build up to an exciting variation on the main theme.  The pattern is repeated, but this time, doesn’t stop.  As Chang fires a torpedo, a pounding string ostinato begins, later joined by the brass.  The Mars motif eventually takes over.  Later the main theme returns for a large, brassy climax.  However, it’s not over yet.  The brass start playing the Mars motif, followed by a part of the main theme.  Suddenly, everything comes to a screeching halt, and ambience takes over.
12. Sign Off (3:13)
 A full statement of the heroic theme.  The Enterprise is decommissioned.  Alexander Courage’s fanfare plays on the horns in a bittersweet moment.  The theme plays again, and we are given a huge triumphant version of it as each of the actors sign their names on the screen.  Truly touching.
13. Star Trek VI Suite (6:18)
Basically an extended version of the end credits.  The triumphant theme from the previous track is played faster with chimes.  Then comes the Escape From Rura Penthe theme, followed by a recap of the main title.  Another great track.  However, the ending completely ruins it.  It is played much too fast, as if Eidelman can’t wait to get off the conductor’s platform.

Overall, satisfying score.  Like I said earlier, it bogs down in places, but is still very good.  It sounds completely unlike the rest of the Star Trek scores, and is a worthy addition to anyone’s collection.  The liner notes are by Nicholas Meyer, the director of the film, and the performance and sound quality are admirable.  Most of the score is on the CD.

Star Trek VI: The Final Score
Music Rating 8/10
Packaging/Liner Notes 8/10
Orchestral Performance 9/10
Sound Quality 9/10
Length 10/10

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Star Trek VI is Copyright 1991 by MCA Records.  Its appearance on this site is for informational, nonprofit use and is not meant to infringe on copyright.  Review Copyright 1999 by Andrew Drannon.  As always, the opinions expressed here are mine, not those of Tripod, MCA, or anyone else.