Order the 4-CD set from La-La Land Records
The long-awaited release of the limited-edition Star Trek: Voyager soundtrack collection from La-La Land Records has finally arrived in the Alpha Quadrant, and it only seems like it took 70 years – because now that this epic 4-CD collection has docked in Sector 001, it’s clear that it has been worth the wait.
It’s been decades since the original “Caretaker” soundtrack disc was released, and after all this time, this first-ever expanded release of music spanning all 168 episodes of Voyager’s seven-year run does not disappoint. The unique, soaring themes so expertly featured throughout the series are extremely well represented in this collection, which comes in at a whopping 5 hours and 7 minutes of music. (You can find the whole track listing at our earlier report.)
Through 50 years of televised Star Trek, music has always been a critical element of the show. Whether it was designed to just add atmosphere in a specific moment or to direct the viewer emotionally across a major event, the music in Trek has run the gamut from sweeping to tinkling.
However, it is safe to say the scoring on Voyager, more than in any other Trek, is the most cinematic in how it not only helps influence what you are seeing on the screen, but consistently can stand alone as a piece of classical music.
The composers featured most prominently on this CD set are Trek legends Jay Chattaway (“Scorpion”) and Dennis McCarthy (“Year of Hell”), while the lesser-known Paul Baillargeon (“Lifesigns”) and David Bell (“Dark Frontier”) have their work showcased as well.
Chattaway, of course, is best known for scoring The Next Generation’s “The Inner Light,” while McCarthy composed the opening theme for Deep Space Nine and the soundtrack for Star Trek: Generations.
As expected with any La-La Land special edition, the Voyager Collection comes with a detailed 36-page booklet of liner notes featuring specific details on literally every suite selection on the release.
The notes are written by Jeff Bond, the Trek music authority, and they do not disappoint. Here’s a sample:
Chattaway’s “Scorpion” references Jerry Goldsmith’s First Contact in tone and orchestration, particularly in the teaser (“Borg Meet Their Match”), as two Borg cube are destroyed by an unseen attacker.
Chattaway scores a montage of the Voyager crew preparing to navigate through Borg territory militaristically (“Getting Ready”), emphasizing tension and suspense as Kes experiences prescient visions of Borg corpses (“Kes Senses Dead Borg”), and shifting to ominous brass as a horde of Borg cubes prepare to threaten Voyager, only to flee from an unseen force.
The reference above to Trek mastermind Jerry Goldsmith’s original theme for Star Trek: Voyager and how it consistently influences so many different Voyager scores is found throughout the notes. From “Scorpion” to “Q and the Grey” to “The 37’s,” you’ll find echoes of Goldsmith’s iconic theme inside the music throughout these discs.
The booklet also includes dozens of photos from the series, as well pictures of all the great composers featured on the CD. It is expertly organized to easily reference your favorite selections or answer a question you may have while listening.
The clear star of this release is Chattaway, who has quite possibly created the best body of work of any Star Trek composer this side of Goldsmith. From the moody “The Haunting of Deck Twelve” and “Night” to the amped-up escape from “The Void,” Chattaway’s strengths are featured everywhere in this set.
Of course, the piece de resistance for Chattaway is the 31-minute, seven-track suite from Voyager’s two-part classic, “Scorpion,” found on Disc 4. You know the cue. Every time those bioships show up, the thundering, repetitive brass swells memorably. That distinctive note is instantly recognizable and is definitely among Trek’s all-time great scores.
Beyond “Scorpion,” five other popular two-part episodes are featured in detail, with Chattaway’s “Equinox,” McCarthy’s “Year of Hell” and Bell’s “Dark Frontier” all standing out for their distinctive, movie quality treatments.
“Year of Hell” is a more muted and somber score than the dominating “Scorpion” and has some powerful, moving pieces of music, including “The Watch” and “The Captain.” The two haunting tracks capture the drama of the episode with swirling, emotional highs and lows.
McCarthy’s “Basics” and “Workforce” are also featured with a number of tracks, but don’t resonate quite as strong.
Throughout the four discs you will continually land on unique musical frameworks for select episodes. Chattaway does it with Irish mandolins and flutes on music from “Spirit Folk” as well as with a classic sci-fi theremin in the single “Captain Proton” track. And McCarthy’s unique takes feature distinct Civil War-era cues on “The Q and the Grey” and a Renaissance-tinged suite of tracks from “Concerning Flight.”
The collection would be stronger, however, with more of Chattaway’s moody, powerful score that opened up Voyager’s fifth season with “Night.” The dark brooding episode has only one track included beyond the ‘50s era sci-fi themed “Captain Proton.” It would have been great to hear more.
The same is true for the surprising omission of any music from “Bride of Chaotica,” a rousing score that would have added a blast of fun to the music showcased across these four CDs – while there are about 12 minutes from that episode included in 2000’s The Best of Star Trek: Volume 2, there must still be more of that wild score still in the vaults!
Additionally, the inclusion of more than 19 minutes from “Lifesigns” is not very successful. Paul Baillargeon’s score certainly provides for a contrast in style, but ultimately it is not among Voyager’s strongest. The eight tracks from “Lifesigns” include three nearly identical accordion renditions from Sandrine’s totaling almost nine minutes.
It’s an odd choice with so much great Voyager music to choose from.
This collection includes a number of distinctive and powerful scores, most of which could translate unchanged straight to the big screen. The music is organized extremely well, with select composers across multiple episodes.
Ultimately, this massive collection is definitely a must own for any fan of Star Trek: Voyager or Star Trek music in general, even if you aren’t a completist.
And for those of you hoping for music from other great Voyager adventures, like the series finale (“Endgame”), there’s already word of a second soundtrack collection expected from La-La Land in the next year or so — so stay tuned!
This long awaited Star Trek: Voyager soundtrack collection can be purchased directly from La-La Land Records’ website, and is limited to 3,000 units.