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Star Trek: First Contact
Album Cover Art
1996 GNP Crescendo
2000 Bootleg
Album 2 Cover Art
2012 GNP Crescendo
Album 3 Cover Art
Co-Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Co-Composed by:
Joel Goldsmith

Orchestrated by:
Arthur Morton
Alexander Courage
Jeff Atmajian
Labels Icon
GNP Crescendo Records
(December 11th, 1996)


GNP Crescendo Records
(April 3rd, 2012)
Availability Icon
The 1996 GNP Crescendo album is a regular U.S. release, eventually available for less than $1 on the used market in the 2010's. The bootlegs began circulating circa 2000 and continued to be available on the secondary market in many variants. In 2011, GNP re-issued the contents of their 1996 product in a set paired with their commercially existing album for Star Trek: Insurrection (and some "The Next Generation" television music as well, totalling the set at 3 CDs) for about $20. The expanded 2012 GNP product is a commercial offering but limited to 10,000 copies and retailed for an initial price of $20.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... on any of the available albums if you are a casual fan of the film and Jerry Goldsmith's work for the franchise, and especially if your interest in the music stems from the dramatically noble and pastoral "First Contact" theme.

Avoid it... on the 1996 album and seek the 2012 follow-up or one of the numerous bootleg variants of the 2000's if you are specifically interested in the occasionally interesting but generally not spectacular material missing from that initial product.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 12/13/96, REVISED 5/17/12
Star Trek: First Contact: (Jerry Goldsmith/Joel Goldsmith) After Star Trek: Generations proved to be a somewhat awkward transitional film connecting the two most popular series in the "Star Trek" franchise, Paramount turned to the first officer of "The Next Generation," Jonathan Frakes, to direct the highly successful solo debut for his ensemble. A decidedly darker film exhibiting all the traits of a horror tale, Star Trek: First Contact soared to critical and fiscal heights due to several factors, including the interpolation of the popular Borg villains into the story, the introduction of a sleek new Enterprise-E vessel, the return to the concept of time travel, and a number of improvements to the production qualities of the franchise. The script opens with a Borg attack on Earth that transitions back in time, dragging one Borg vessel and the Enterprise through a portal that threatens to disrupt humans' first warp flight and "first contact" with the Vulcan race, essentially an attempt to wipe the Federation from history. In addition to a more vibrant presence of superior art direction and make-up effects, the reemergence of composer Jerry Goldsmith to the franchise was a very welcome move, especially after a generally tepid response to television composer Dennis McCarthy's score for the previous film. For fans of the franchise and soundtrack collectors alike, Goldsmith's involvement would be a godsend, for his work on both the first and fifth scores in the series is considered top notch by both groups. Despite all the hype surrounding the project, however, the score's creation process suffered from Goldsmith's hectic 1996 schedule. With post-production on The Ghost and the Darkness proving to be a logistical nightmare, and an understanding that Goldsmith was investing significant attention to that impressive score, Star Trek: First Contact would receive back-burner treatment. Nevertheless, the director and producers made a specific point of budgeting Goldsmith into the production and the composer was not about to turn down the opportunity to reinstate his themes to the franchise. With only three weeks available in which to score the film, he employed the help of his son, Joel, to meet fast approaching recording deadlines for the project.

Ultimately, a relatively small amount of unique music was written for Star Trek: First Contact, with only 72 minutes of this material actually appearing in the film. Of that music, Joel Goldsmith wrote for entire sections of the film relating to the Borg, eventually contributing 22 minutes of score that utilize the themes outlined by his father. In it's entirety, the score proved itself to be adequate, but not much more than that. Despite many opinions to the contrary, Joel Goldsmith's involvement wasn't the primary reason for the problems; while some of his cues have a disconnected effect compared to Jerry Goldsmith's base material, it needs to be noted that Joel wrote some of the film's most interesting action and horror cues. Instead, Star Trek: First Contact didn't meet expectations because of its overall pastoral attitude despite the film's considerable horror-genre leanings. With Goldsmith focusing the score on the theme associated with only the finale, the prevailing effectiveness of the horror writing is diminished. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this criticism stems from the seemingly incongruent creativity with which Goldsmith crafts and reprises his multitude of themes. Some listeners have pointed to the over-abundance of these thematic ideas as the reason for the score's lack of overall focus, though even these fans would be hard pressed to find difficulty in the merits of each thematic idea apart from the whole. As expected, Goldsmith announces the return of this original theme for both the film franchise and "The Next Generation," utilizing both the opening and closing titles format that he had adopted in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The formula largely works, as it had in that surprisingly impressive earlier score for a terrible film, and this loyalty alone earns Goldsmith some kudo points. Quotations of both Alexander Courage's original series theme and his own prior themes litter the score; despite what the albums' packaging may say about where the incorporations exist, the usage is engrained throughout the score in both bold and subtle ways. Goldsmith also reprises two other themes from his original scores. First, the Klingon theme from both previous efforts returns here as the permanent representation of Worf (in the absence of Klingons in the franchise's solely "Next Generation" films), and is heard three times in the score.

The most interesting return of an existing theme in Star Trek: First Contact is that of the "friendship" theme from Star Trek V. While it's been referred to by many names through the years (including "the quest theme" commonly in more recent notation), this theme's first four notes become an interestingly dominant factor in Star Trek: First Contact's muted sense of heroism. Never does Goldsmith actually expand the usage of that theme beyond it's first four notes, and the reason for these constantly abbreviated statements remains unknown. In addition to these previously existing themes, Goldsmith constructs two new ideas and a couple of underlying motifs specifically for this picture. Most of these ideas represent the Borg themselves, which is why it's surprising that Goldsmith used the only non-Borg thematic idea and emphasized it as the identity of the entire score. The "First Contact" theme is foreshadowed in several short sequences in the film (outside of the titles), including "Welcome Aboard," but only receives its full, nearly religious performance in the actual "First Contact" cue. The noble and uplifting horn theme isn't one of Goldsmith's most stunning efforts, but compared to the more bombastic nature of his other 1996 ideas, it's a dramatically smooth powerhouse. Debate will continue about the merits of this theme and whether it makes for a better listening experience on album than in the picture, but there are few complaints to be made about the ideas conjured to represent the Borg. The persistent super-villains are identified by an almost ingenious four-note theme that is well managed throughout the score. It moves in a mechanical, rising three-note progression through an octave before falling to a minor accent in the final note, allowing the theme to roll consecutively in a mindlessly rhythmic format. The instrumentation employed for this theme hails back to the broad blaster-beam electronics of the first film, with the dominant bass synthetics harsh in their tones but oddly elegant in their clarity. Since the Borg are acting in smaller numbers and relative desperation throughout the score (compared to their usual brute presence), this theme receives several suspenseful treatments in mysterious, subdued parts. The one exception, of course, is the battle with the usual Borg cube at the outset of the film, which is accompanied by a multilateral brass performance of the theme in appropriately simplistic unison.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.62 Stars
***** 2,209 5 Stars
**** 2,976 4 Stars
*** 2,725 3 Stars
** 928 2 Stars
* 374 1 Stars
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FC extra music
ic170 - June 16, 2007, at 10:46 p.m.
1 comment  (2462 views)
Excellent score
Sheridan - August 28, 2006, at 7:46 a.m.
1 comment  (2478 views)
Excellent Main Theme
Mathias Sender - July 21, 2006, at 11:32 a.m.
1 comment  (2616 views)
If you want the opera by BERLIOZ 'Vallon sonore' I have it   Expand >>
Mr. X - September 6, 2005, at 1:24 p.m.
2 comments  (5298 views)
Newest: February 26, 2007, at 12:05 Mr. X
Star Trek 8 and The Ghost and the Darkness   Expand >>
Michael Arlidge - August 13, 2005, at 1:28 a.m.
2 comments  (2533 views)
Newest: August 13, 2005, at 4:41 Michael Arlidge
Track Listings For My Star Trek First Contact (bootleg)
Trenton - August 19, 2004, at 4:26 p.m.
1 comment  (2544 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1996 GNP Crescendo Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 53:40
• 1. Main Title/Locutus* (4:17)
• 2. Red Alert (2:13)
• 3. Temporal Wake (2:07)
• 4. Welcome Aboard (2:40)
• 5. Fully Functional (3:18)
• 6. Retreat* (3:59)
• 7. Evacuate (2:19)
• 8. 39.1 Degrees Celcius* (4:44)
• 9. The Dish (7:05)
• 10. First Contact (5:52)
• 11. End Credits (5:24)
• 12. Magic Carpet Ride - performed by Steppenwolf (4:25)
• 13. Ooby Dooby - performed by Roy Orbison (2:22)
* contains music composed by Joel Goldsmith
Sample Single CD Bootleg Tracks   ▼Total Time: 73:19
Sample 2-CD Bootleg Tracks   ▼Total Time: 117:32
2012 GNP Crescendo Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 78:55

Notes Icon
Goldsmith on the bridge
Spiner, Berman, and Stewart with Jerry Goldsmith on the bridge of the Enterprise-E.
The insert of the 1996 GNP Crescendo album includes notes about the score and film, a diagram of the Enterprise, extensive photography, production art, and an advertisement for other GNP products. Slipped into the insert is a magnet featuring the cover art of the product. The enhanced portion of the CD provides interviews with Goldsmith, Jonathan Frakes, and Rick Berman. Some computer CD players, as well as regular CD players, are fooled by the "enchanced" material into thinking there is an extra "phantom" 18-minute track at the end of the overall listings.

The bootlegs feature no uniform packaging. The expanded 2012 GNP album's packaging is strangely inferior to that of the 1996 product in terms of design, though it does offer extended commentary about the score and film. A track-by-track analysis has to be downloaded separately in a PDF file from the GNP website.
Copyright © 1996-2015, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Star Trek: First Contact are Copyright © 1996, 2000, 2012, GNP Crescendo Records, Bootlegs, GNP Crescendo Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/13/96 and last updated 5/17/12.
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