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Section Header
Star Trek: Nemesis
2002 Varèse

2003 Bootleg

2013 Varèse

Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrated by:
Mark McKenzie
Conrad Pope

Performed by:
The Hollywood Studio Symphony

Labels and Dates:
Varèse Sarabande
(November 26th, 2002)


Varèse Sarabande
(December, 2013)

Also See:
Star Trek: TMP
Star Trek V
Star Trek VI
Star Trek: Generations
Star Trek: First Contact
Star Trek: Insurrection

Audio Clips:
2002 Varèse Album:

1. Remus (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

9. The Scorpion (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

12. Final Flight (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (251K)
Real Audio (156K)

14. A New Ending (0:28):
WMA (184K)  MP3 (226K)
Real Audio (140K)

The 2002 Varèse Sarabande album is a regular U.S. release. The expanded bootlegs circulating around the secondary market starting in 2003 sometimes existed on two CDs. Others crammed the contents onto one CD with one less track at the end. The expanded, limited 2013 set is limited to 5,000 copies and sold initially through soundtrack specialty outlets for a price of $25.


Star Trek: Nemesis
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Buy it... only if you seek to complete your collection of all five of Jerry Goldsmith's feature Star Trek scores, for this entry is by far the least dynamic and engaging without good reason.

Avoid it... on the expanded album presentations if you expect more than just a couple of minutes of memorable material; the rest of the additional music is largely redundant and compounds the stylistic weaknesses of the work.

Star Trek: Nemesis: (Jerry Goldsmith) This tenth installment of the famed Star Trek film franchise was met with all the grand anticipation of a finale feature, advertising a tagline that suggested that this movie would depict the final voyage of the starship Enterprise with an established crew that fans knew and loved. Those fans had to endure an abnormally long wait for this film, with a Star Trek record four years in between motion pictures, raising hopes and expectations beyond franchise norms. Producers for the film promised the pinnacle of quality for several elements of the plot, including a fantastic villain and superior battle sequence, for Star Trek: Nemesis. Talent from outside the franchise's typical crew infused the series with edgier subject matter, including a notably grittier sexual component. The reintroduction of the Romulans to the equation allowed for superior starship designs and an extended series of impressive combat shots represented a significant improvement over the lackluster equivalents in Star Trek: Insurrection. The early promises of greatness also came from those involved with the production of the music for this tenth film. Hailed in post-production as one of composer Jerry Goldsmith's most memorable achievements in the latter stages of his career, the score was said to have inspired a Rudy-like standing ovation from the studio orchestra players when recording was complete. Little could anyone have known that Star Trek: Nemesis was not only a send-off for the "Next Generation" crew, but also for Goldsmith, who would not enjoy an accepted, solo effort for the big screen in the remaining two years of his life. Musically speaking, Goldsmith had defined the "Next Generation" films with the same popularity that James Horner utilized to define the height of the original crew's journeys in the early to mid-1980's. This being his fifth Star Trek feature, Goldsmith had solidified his grip on the "Next Generation" sound, acting as almost the most expected piece of the franchise's production team of that time. His previous score for the series, Star Trek: Insurrection, had been commonly considered by film music critics to be the strongest Goldsmith "Trek" score since his original, Oscar-nominated entry in 1979, sending collectors on a mad scramble for lengthier bootleg albums of that music.

With Star Trek: Nemesis, however, the situation became a cloudier mystery. The dark and more complicated nature of this final Goldsmith venture opened new doors to the composer. This time around, he'd have the ability to score a larger epic that depicts the struggles of the Remus slaves against their Romulan cousins. He would also be able to dig deeper into the well of musical emotions, offering a psychological twist to a series of otherwise straight forward "Trek" films in the recent past. The introduction of a super villain, Shinzon (a younger, evil mirror of Captain Picard), his massive warbird, the Scimitar, as well as the unveiling of a beautiful new Romulan warbird design all led to opportunities for Goldsmith to whip up a frenzy of creativity and theme. Likewise, the promotion at last of Commander Riker to his own ship, his long awaited wedding, the loss of a friend, and fate of the Enterprise called, to an extent, for Goldsmith to compose both a triumphant and bittersweet farewell to the beloved crew with a culmination of harmonic force consistent with what Cliff Eidelman had done with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. It was Goldsmith's chance to neatly wrap up the music of the ten films by revisiting many of his favorite motifs of times past. Everything pointing to this project indicated it as a winning proposition for Goldsmith. But the end result of his efforts, unfortunately, sadly missed many of these opportunities. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly why the music for Nemesis underachieves so thoroughly; it is loud, suspenseful, pounding, and electronically diverse, but it is also, ultimately, tired and unoriginal. Given the amount of stimulating action music presented (as promised) in this effort, the reason for some people's major disappointment with it needs to be delicately considered and analyzed from a neutral standpoint. There is an intangible sense of enthusiasm and adventure that always balanced the gravity of drama in Goldsmith's (and Horner's) music for this franchise. In Nemesis, you hear the gravity in weighty doses, but the sense of adventure has been compromised. The spirit of the final frontier is muted as the composer recognizes the bittersweet nature of this conclusive chapter, forcing most of the components in the score to express themselves with resignation. It is a score that could be described as being among the awkward few that offer all substance and no style.

Silly comedies often flourish with scores that have all style and no substance (like The 'Burbs) and straight action films often flourish with scores that feature all substance and no style (like the Rambo works). But the Star Trek films are a different breed. They have required both style and substance ever since Goldsmith introduced the elegant themes of the first film alongside the substantively creative blaster beam effects and the memorable fanfare. For Nemesis, Goldsmith created an abundance of substance: hard, relentless, driving action cues that will knock around the walls a few times. The amount of pounding timpani alone in this score is overwhelming. But Goldsmith's keen sense of style is minimal, if non-existent, and most of it is tied to electronic effects that had matured enough by this point to keep them particularly interesting. The first half of the score is built around the zipping, panging, and swooshing electronics in an effort to address the suspense of an approaching adversary of great horror and power. This meandering underscore is largely uninteresting in its lack of base, lack of strong theme, and lack of creative instrumentation. The latter half of the score is led by the kind of stale, non-engaging action material heard in films like U.S. Marshals and The Last Castle, not the rousing partnership of rhythm and theme that fans heard in The 13th Warrior and even, to a lesser extent, in Star Trek: Insurrection. The thematic development for Shinzon, his warbird, and the greater Romulan Empire is restrained to a basic, cascading five-note theme that occasionally develops into a 10-note extension of surprisingly dull simplicity. As opposed to the uniquely devised and performed four-note Borg theme in Star Trek: First Contact, this Shinzon theme doesn't have the same gripping power or fear-instilling quality. At least the composer does attempt to manipulate the theme greatly throughout the score to mirror the villain's appeal, often transferring the idea to solo woodwinds for early conversational scenes. To his credit, Goldsmith does express the idea with increasing anger as the work progresses, a cue like "Odds and Ends" traversing most of this spectrum within four minutes, taking the idea from soothing string shades to trademark Goldsmith action rhythms of almost a heroic personality. Perhaps more creative would have been a Picard-oriented sense of pensive elegance and allure with the idea, a thought only touched upon in the end credits suite.

One of the moderate successes of Star Trek: Nemesis, to a limited extent, is Goldsmith's attention to the established Trek themes of the past. The title theme for the series (which he created in 1979) is sparsely used, with two fleeting performances with a hint of that original film's elegance accompanying the opening and closing shots of the Enterprise. Otherwise, despite the eruption of the theme late in "The Scorpion," it doesn't receive the many subtle variations that the score could have used with great effectiveness. Reportedly, this decision to mute the theme was intentional, Goldsmith's recognition of sadness in this final film. Here or elsewhere, there is no thematic tribute to the Romulan race or even to the composer's favorite old Klingon theme, which isn't even applied to Worf in this picture. Goldsmith does resurrect the four-note theme representing both adversity and friendship that was the centerpiece of his work for The Final Frontier. Heard extensively in First Contact and only once poignantly in Insurrection, this optimistic idea is used for various friendship-related purposes, including Riker's wedding to Troi and Picard's friendship with Data in Nemesis at the start and end of the film, though these passages are usually restrained to soft woodwind performances. More intriguing is the return to the original Starfleet motif from The Motion Picture in "Argo" and "Course Plotted," the former a literal restart of that rhythmic effect that is extremely welcomed in this context. The end credit sequence is an odd case of conflicting attributes. In some ways, it is poorly conceived and performed, with a strikingly melodramatic and lush variation on the Shinzon theme that doesn't fit with any of the material heard prior (hardly an appropriate farewell to these characters). It's a beautiful comment on what could have been for Shinzon, but it's simply out of place. Goldsmith had been using the same end credit suite format since Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and while some superb sound quality for its performances in the previous two films revived its appeal, the same equation sounds stale, forced, and awkward in Nemesis. Granted, the three final Goldsmith scores' credits suites had an awkward and sudden drop-off from the fanfare to the secondary theme, but none is so bizarre as the shorter version of this one. The fuller version of the cue (with over two minutes of full Shinzon battle material added) alleviates this problem to an extent, but there still exists an odd disconnect at that juncture.

The unfortunate failure of the Star Trek: Nemesis end titles suite, titled "A New Ending," may also be due to the fact that its performance of the main theme is uninspired and distinctly too slow in tempo, nearly crawling compared to the previous few films. It is also overshadowed by the incorporation of the popular 1929 song "Blue Skies" to commemorate an emotional turn at the end of the film, in addition to the seemingly out of place performance of beauty for the Shinzon theme. Several smaller motifs and recognizable singular structures from The Final Frontier and First Contact exist in the late battle sequences of Nemesis, and the combination of timpani, pulsating basses, and noble brass will be friendly tones to the ears. It becomes evident rather quickly that Goldsmith decided to take no chances with this project. Other than his attempt to underline the dramatic weight of the story, he injected no new life into the series and ended up with a functionally suspenseful and action-packed but stylistically void result. The frustrating aspect of Nemesis is, of course, that it was a perfect opportunity for Goldsmith to take a chance. Imagine the power that he could have harnessed had the money been budgeted to use a full chorus for the score, or even a single operatic male voice for the Shinzon character (we all know that Picard appreciated his musicals and operas). Perhaps a seductive element of lyricism, or even the introduction of something different from the same old zipping electronics, could have played better to the emotions in this installment. It is also possible that producer Rick Berman, who had been known to prefer understated and conservative scores for the series (hence, the involvement of Dennis McCarthy in so much of the "Trek" franchise), refused to allow for more creative liberties to be taken with this score. It's difficult not to get the impression, however, that Goldsmith was simply going through the motions in Nemesis. The synthetic effects are alone good proof of this theory; the electronic sounds normally applied to the franchise are accentuated with a prominent role in this score that they cannot adequately fill because the composer did not develop them into any memorable new form. What happened to the creativity of the Blaster Beam? When these generic effects were a rhythmic accompaniment, as they were in Insurrection, they functioned well. Here, they collapse when put under pressure, offering nothing more than the notion that the villains in this particular film have more technological savvy than the heroes. These sounds, like the other elements in the score, are sadly two-dimensional.

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Compounding the problem with Nemesis is its considerably dampened sound quality. For a performing group of over 80 members, the score doesn't resonate with the same life as the previous two scores in the franchise. The sound quality on the final track in particular is considerably muted. The dynamic mix and extra reverberation in Insurrection is especially missed, though this sense of vivaciousness alone would not have saved this score on album. As had been the case with Insurrection, however, a substantial portion of the music that provided a more rounded experience in the film was simply left off of the original commercial product by Goldsmith's choice. That Varèse Sarabande album release is not as attractive as the previous entries by GNP Crescendo, which had gone defunct by 2002. No extra artwork, enhanced features, third-party essays, or production photos for this album were offered, and producer Robert Townson's overblown claims of this score's greatness in the liner notes are very dubious in opinion and offer little of interest about the creation process of the score. Not surprisingly, almost immediate bootlegs of Goldsmith's score squeezed in at about 80 minutes of material, featuring identical sound quality. The bootlegs did have some attractions that Goldsmith chose not to include on the 48-minute retail product, including the gentle and elegant performances of the title theme for the ship. Most curious is the fact that the very strong tandem of "Preparing for Battle" (or "Battle Stations") and "Team Work" (or "Let's Go to Work") weren't chosen for Varèse's album, because the prior establishes an attractive singular theme of determination that was memorable in the film; it was this major omission from the album that caused so much initial interest in the bootlegs. In 2013, Varèse finally rectified the problem by pressing a 2-CD set for the score that included all pertinent recordings. Most interesting for fans of the score will be the Starfleet motif cues and the alternate mix of the whole score for the film that is featured on the expanded, limited product. For casual listeners, the difference in between the two mixes (in mainly percussion and synthetics) won't be significant. On the whole, however, the longer albums mostly expose redundant material that suffers from the same problems as the rest of the score. It's easy to be sentimental about Star Trek: Nemesis because it largely marks the end of Goldsmith's career, but that can't excuse the score's many faults. A tired, procedural attitude gives the work a mechanical personality that stifles its minimal attempts at creativity in tone. This music boldly goes nowhere, and it remains a major disappointment. Price Hunt: CD or Download

    Music as Written for the Film: **
    Music as Heard on the 2002 Album: **
    Music as Heard on the 2003 Bootlegs and 2013 Set: ***
    Overall: **

Bias Check:For Jerry Goldsmith reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.26 (in 113 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.25 (in 138,058 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

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 Track Listings (2002 Varèse Album): Total Time: 48:31

• 1. Remus (1:58)
• 2. The Box (2:20)
• 3. My Right Arm (1:02)
• 4. Odds and Ends (4:37)
• 5. Repairs (6:26)
• 6. The Knife (3:09)
• 7. Ideals (2:15)
• 8. The Mirror (5:21)
• 9. The Scorpion (2:21)
• 10. Lateral Run (3:54)
• 11. Engage (2:12)
• 12. Final Flight (3:47)
• 13. A New Friend (2:36)
• 14. A New Ending (6:08)

 Track Listings (2003 Bootleg): Total Time: 79:35

• 1. Remus (1:59)
• 2. The Box (2:19)
• 3. My Right Arm (1:01)
• 4. Enterprise Flyover (0:32)
• 5. Catching a Position Signal (1:25)
• 6. The Argo (1:16)
• 7. Odds and Ends (4:35)
• 8. Assembling B-4 (1:00)
• 9. To Romulus (1:06)
• 10. Repairs (6:24)
• 11. The Knife (3:05)
• 12. Shinzon and the Senate (0:26)
• 13. Donatra and Shinzon (1:26)
• 14. The Dilithium Mines of Remus (1:28)
• 15. Ideals (2:12)
• 16. "We Are Wasting Time" (0:53)
• 17. Shinzon's Violation (0:50)
• 18. B-4 Beams to the Scimitar (0:44)
• 19. Capturing Picard (1:22)
• 20. The Mirror (5:20)
• 21. The Scorpion (2:21)
• 22. The Senate Changes Attitude (1:01)
• 23. De-Activating B-4 (1:37)
• 24. Preparing for Battle/Battle Stations (2:39)
• 25. The Battle Begins (2:21)
• 26. Meeting in the Ready Room (0:21)
• 27. "Our True Nature" (1:30)
• 28. Team Work (2:47)
• 29. Lateral Run (3:52)
• 30. Riker vs. Viceroy (0:20)
• 31. Engage (2:08)
• 32. Riker's Victory (1:40)
• 33. The Thalaron Matrix (2:53)
• 34. Final Flight (3:44)
• 35. "Good-Bye" (0:53)
• 36. A New Friend (2:33)
• 37. Remembering Data/The Enterprise (0:50)
• 38. Riker's Farewell/"It's Been an Honor" (0:34)
• 39. A New Ending (6:08)

(The above contents are only a sample of the bootleg variations. Some include a 40th track of two minutes in length called "Nemesis," bringing the total time to 81:31 and requiring 2 CDs)

 Track Listings (2013 Varèse Album): Total Time: 114:50

CD 1: (60:45)
• 1. Remus (2:01)
• 2. The Box (2:21)
• 3. My Right Arm (1:04)
• 4. Star Field/Positronic Signal (1:57)
• 5. The Argo (1:17)
• 6. Odds and Ends (4:39)
• 7. Your Brother/Course Plotted (2:07)
• 8. Repairs (6:27)
• 9. The Knife (3:10)
• 10. Perfect Timing/Allegiance (2:21)
• 11. Secrets (1:28)
• 12. The Mine (1:30)
• 13. Ideals (2:16)
• 14. Options (0:55)
• 15. Bed Time/Transport (1:38)
• 16. Blood Test (1:23)
• 17. The Mirror (5:23)
• 18. The Scorpion (2:24)
• 19. His Plans/Data & B-4 (2:39)
• 20. Battle Stations (2:40)
• 21. Attack Pattern (2:22)
• 22. The Invitation/True Nature/Let's Go to Work (4:38)
• 23. Lateral Run (3:55)
• 24. The Viceroy (0:20)

CD 2: (54:05)
• 1. Engage (2:14)
• 2. Full Reverse (1:41)
• 3. Not Functional (2:54)
• 4. Final Flight (3:49)
• 5. Firing Sequence (0:54)
• 6. A New Friend (2:38)
• 7. That Song/An Honor (1:24)
• 8. A New Ending (8:30)

Source Music:
• 9. Riker's Strut #1 - performed by Mike Lang (1:07)
• 10. Riker's Strut #2 - performed by Mike Lang (1:09)
• 11. Blue Skies - performed by Brent Spiner (3:17)
• 12. Blue Skies (Instrumental) (2:37)

Additional Music:
• 13. Secrets (Alternate Mix) (1:29)
• 14. The Mine (Alternate) (1:33)
• 15. Options (Alternate) (0:57)
• 16. Options (Alternate Mix) (0:58)
• 17. Data & B-4 (Alternate) (1:39)
• 18. Battle Stations (Alternate Mix) (2:44)
• 19. Attack Pattern (Alternate Mix) (2:24)
• 20. True Nature (Alternate Mix) (1:30)
• 21. A New Ending (Alternate) (6:11)
• 22. Director and Composer (2:35)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The 2002 Varèse product's insert includes a short note by album executive producer Robert Townson and a list of performers in the Hollywood Studio Orchestra. No extra information about the film or production of the score is provided. The bootlegs feature a wide range of fan-created art. The insert of the 2013 expanded set includes detailed notes about the film and score.

  All artwork and sound clips from Star Trek: Nemesis are Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2013, Varèse Sarabande, Bootleg, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/10/02 and last updated 2/2/14. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2002-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.