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Section Header
Star Trek: First Contact
1996 GNP Crescendo

2000 Bootleg

2012 GNP Crescendo

Co-Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Jerry Goldsmith

Co-Composed by:
Joel Goldsmith

Orchestrated by:
Arthur Morton
Alexander Courage
Jeff Atmajian

Labels and Dates:
GNP Crescendo Records
(December 11th, 1996)


GNP Crescendo Records
(April 3rd, 2012)

Also See:
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Star Trek: Generations
Star Trek: Insurrection
Star Trek: Nemesis

Audio Clips:
1996 GNP Album:

1. Main Title (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

2. Red Alert (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (251K)
Real Audio (156K)

10. First Contact (0:28):
WMA (256K)  MP3 (320K)
Real Audio (199K)

11. End Credits (0:34):
WMA (218K)  MP3 (274K)
Real Audio (171K)

2000 Bootleg:

CD1: 14. Assimilation (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

CD1: 17. Definitely Not Swedish (0:30):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

CD1: 25. The Starship Chase (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

CD1: 26. Resistance is Futile (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

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.


Star Trek: First Contact
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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.

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.

Several other rhythmic and thematic ideas for the Borg are explored in Star Trek: First Contact as well. A dramatically downbeat motif for their threat is exists in "Retreat" and elsewhere, a manipulation of the primary four-note theme. The death and despair associated with the mechanized species is afforded a somber motif introduced in "Battle Watch" that returns after the climactic struggle that kills the Borg queen. A high-range, almost whimsical synthetic subtheme for the queen adds to her allure. The rest of the Borg and their methodical movements are handled with highly mechanical bass rhythms by Joel Goldsmith. Most of these ideas are rendered with an electronic tilt, though the score on the whole doesn't have as much blatant and trademark Jerry Goldsmith use of synthesized elements as the composer's other entries in the franchise. Taken as a whole, the work is, like the beloved android Data, fully functional, but its action material isn't Goldsmith's best and the title theme seems out of place. Individual cues in the film are impressive, including the "Red Alert" sequence that accompanies the wholesale battle sequence at the start. Why Goldsmith decided to identify "Deep Space Nine"'s Defiant vessel with the Klingon theme, despite Worf's command of it, is a minor mystery. It makes for good listening on album but doesn't match the entirety of the scope of action on screen. More effective is the use of that theme in "Retreat," during which Worf personally leads a portion of the crew in haste. Many confrontation cues provide the percussion section with plenty of action, forcing rhythms into the frenetic levels of Capricorn One stomping and leading to some highly nostalgic Goldsmith pomp in "The Dish." Perhaps the best incorporation of Goldsmith's "Next Generation" theme is an exciting, propulsive adaptation in "Flight of the Phoenix" (also referred to as "The Starship Chase"), a nod to the famous identity by the composer's son. Individual moments of high drama, usually in reference to the desperation of the retreating Starfleet crew, provide several satisfying harmonic string crescendos. One such occurrence exists near the start of "39.1 Degrees Celsius" and another powerful sequence spans the conversational cues of "Objection Noted" (a.k.a. "Bridge Argument") and "Not Again" (a.k.a. "A Quest for Vengeance"), the latter featuring a brass version of the title theme early in the cue that leans heavily upon Executive Decision from earlier in the year.

As mentioned before, Joel Goldsmith was initially accused by fans of writing some of the less interesting filler cues for Star Trek: First Contact and, to an extent, this is true. But he also provided the score with a few of its most effective sequences, and these should be noted for fairness. Most of the scenes during the Borg's spread through the ship (everything from "39.1 Degrees Celsius" to "Retreat," as well as "Assimilation") are Joel Goldsmith's work, as are the three climactic cues ranging from "The Starship Chase" to "Victory Over the Borg" that constitute what is more commonly known as "Flight of the Phoenix." Most important in that bunch is the "The Starship Chase" sequence that makes up the first third of "Flight of the Phoenix" as the Enterprise is pursuing the primitive vessel, arguably a highlight of the score sadly missing from the first commercial album. Most fans who make the complaint about its absence on that album fail to realize, however, that the cue was written by the son and not the father. Some of Joel's material, such as "Battle Watch/Starfleet Engages the Borg" and "The Phoenix" (a.k.a. "Greetings"), does represent, however, the score's weakest points. Like the score, the 1996 commercial album from GNP Crescendo had its fair share of flaws, starting with a non-chronological ordering of tracks. Early pressings of the album suffered from problems with obnoxious digital pop sounds in several tracks, including three pops in "Temporal Wake" and two in "First Contact." The product was an enhanced CD that didn't function across a number of computer systems at the time (including Mac OS 7 and Windows 95). Most collectors believed that the more egregious problem with the album was its omission of several notable cues, a necessity given re-use fees at the time. Like Star Trek: Insurrection, GNP's early album for Star Trek: First Contact is missing a few important tracks, enough to render the products frustrating. The most notable of these in the case of the 1996 score is clearly the much-discussed early portions of "Flight of the Phoenix" by Joel Goldsmith. Also of dramatic importance to the score are the tense "Objection Noted" and "Not Again" underscore cues, as well as the conciliatory "New Orders" (a.k.a. "The Escape Pods") cue, though this last sequence is overrated. It's likely that GNP Crescendo could have covered itself with only the inclusion of the critical portion of the "Flight of the Phoenix" cue, though the label and its representatives maintained for years that doing so would have been too expensive to make the album viable.

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Ultimately, the commercial options for GNP's releases of the Goldsmith scores in the "Star Trek" franchise were less than appealing to score collectors, many of whom did not care about the inclusion of the film's two songs and the "enhanced" content in relation to Star Trek: First Contact. The fact that a handful of relatively poor filler cues was chosen instead of missing action highlights didn't help the label. Fans solved their issue as anyone would expect in the early 2000's; they got hold of session recordings and distributed them in bootleg form. It took many years for the Star Trek: First Contact bootlegs to make the full rounds, preceded by Star Trek: Insurrection equivalents because of the latter score's higher demand in the late 1990's. Several versions of the Star Trek: First Contact bootlegs did eventually saturate the secondary market. First came a 73-minute single CD bootleg of the complete score, followed a few years later by a 2-CD bootleg set that also featured several alternative mixes and takes from the sessions. Only true fans will be interested in these alternative, unused versions (they don't differ much from the finished cues), and few people will be amused by Jerry Goldsmith chewing out his son over the studio announcement system and telling him to get back to work. These presentations did feature the film versions of some major cues rather than their album siblings. At any rate, all of the leaked bootlegs of this complete score feature strong sound quality, though still not as vibrant as Star Trek: Insurrection. Comparing the two scores' bootlegs, the Star Trek: Insurrection one is still superior all around, though even casual fans will find some interesting material on the far less essential Star Trek: First Contact bootlegs. Despite the fact that most serious film score and "Star Trek" collectors had acquired these bootlegs over their first dozen years of their existence, GNP revisited Star Trek: First Contact in 2012 and pressed a 10,000-copy expanded edition with the complete score and three token alternate takes. The presentation of this product is not as professionally attractive as the concurrent re-releases of the franchise's other scores by Film Score Monthly, La-La Land, and Intrada at roughly the same time, but at least it exists as a legitimate alternative to those who don't require the extra 40 minutes of extraneous material on the bootlegs. Overall, Star Trek: First Contact is a consistent score with outstanding cohesion, but a handful of questionable thematic attributes outside of the Borg material restrict its ambitions. It's generally well-liked by the collecting community but not a common favorite. Price Hunt: CD or Download

    Music as Written for the Film: ***
    Music as Heard on the 1996 GNP Crescendo Album: **
    Music as Heard on the Various Bootlegs: ****
    Music as Heard on the 2012 GNP Crescendo Album: ****
    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 137,984 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.61 Stars
Smart Average: 3.45 Stars*
***** 2204 
**** 2975 
*** 2725 
** 928 
* 374 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   FC extra music
  ic170 -- 6/16/07 (10:46 p.m.)
   I dont have it anymore
  Mr. X -- 2/26/07 (12:05 a.m.)
   Excellent score
  Sheridan -- 8/28/06 (7:46 a.m.)
   Excellent Main Theme
  Mathias Sender -- 7/21/06 (11:32 a.m.)
   Re: Magic Carptet Ride, Steppinwolf.
  Debby -- 4/21/06 (8:32 p.m.)
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 Track Listings (1996 GNP Crescendo Album): 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

 Track Listings (Sample Single CD Bootleg): Total Time: 73:19

• 1. Main Title (2:55)
• 2. Locutus* (1:31)
• 3. The Enterprise-E (0:28)
• 4. Battle Watch (aka Starfleet Engages the Borg)* (1:13)
• 5. Red Alert (2:15)
• 6. Temporal Wake (2:08)
• 7. April 4th, 2063 (1:46)
• 8. The Phoenix (aka Greetings)* (1:05)
• 9. First Sign of Borg (0:26)
• 10. 39.1 Degrees Celsius* (4:46)
• 11. Approaching Engineering* (1:52)
• 12. Retreat* (4:00)
• 13. The Borg Queen (aka Data Awakens in Engineering) (1:33)
• 14. Assimilation* (1:01)
• 15. Welcome Aboard (2:41)
• 16. The Gift of Flesh (1:03)
• 17. Definitely Not Swedish (1:26)
• 18. Watch Your Caboos, Dix (1:34)
• 19. Fully Functional (3:20)
• 20. The Dish (7:14)
• 21. Bridge Argument (1:56)
• 22. A Quest for Vengeance (2:41)
• 23. Evacuate (2:22)
• 24. The Escape Pods (2:52)
• 25. All the Time (1:06)
• 26. Flight of the Phoenix (aka The Starship Chase)* (2:59)
• 27. Resistance is Futile* (1:46)
• 28. Victory Over the Borg (aka The Future Restored)* (1:36)
• 29. First Contact (6:02)
• 30. End Credits (5:27)

* contains music composed by Joel Goldsmith

 Track Listings (Sample 2-CD Bootleg): Total Time: 117:32

CD1: (72:11)
• 1. Main Title (2:55)
• 2. Locutus* (1:31)
• 3. The Enterprise-E/Captain's Log (0:28)
• 4. Starfleet Engages the Borg* (1:13)
• 5. Red Alert (2:15)
• 6. Temporal Wake (2:08)
• 7. April 4th, 2063 (1:46)
• 8. Greetings* (1:05)
• 9. First Sign of Borg (0:26)
• 10. 39.1 Degrees Celsius* (4:46)
• 11. Approaching Engineering* (1:52)
• 12. Retreat (Film Version)* (4:00)
• 13. Data Awakens in Engineering (1:33)
• 14. Assimilation* (1:01)
• 15. Welcome Aboard (2:41)
• 16. The Gift of Flesh (1:03)
• 17. Definitely Not Swedish (1:26)
• 18. Watch Your Caboos, Dix (1:34)
• 19. Fully Functional (3:20)
• 20. The Dish (Film Version) (7:14)
• 21. Bridge Argument (1:56)
• 22. A Quest for Vengeance (2:41)
• 23. Evacuate (2:22)
• 24. The Escape Pods/Into the Lion's Den (2:52)
• 25. The Starship Chase* (2:59)
• 26. Resistance is Futile* (1:46)
• 27. The Future Restored/Victory Over the Borg* (1:36)
• 28. First Contact (Film Version) (6:02)
• 29. End Credits (5:27)
CD2: (45:21)
• 1. Main Title (Alternate) (3:01)
• 2. Greetings (Alternate)* (1:08)
• 3. 39.1 Degrees Celsius (Insert)* (0:44)
• 4. 39.1 Degrees Celsius (Alternate)* (4:47)
• 5. Retreat (CD Version)* (3:59)
• 6. Assimilation (Alternate1)* (1:03)
• 7. Assimilation (Alternate2)* (1:19)
• 8. Fully Functional (Alternate) (3:21)
• 9. The Dish (CD Version) (7:08)
• 10. First Contact (CD Version) (5:55)
• 11. All the Time (Unused) (1:06)
• 12. End Credits (Insert) (0:20)
• 13. Raw Sessions (11:30)

* contains music composed by Joel Goldsmith

 Track Listings (2012 GNP Crescendo Album): Total Time: 78:55

• 1. Main Title/Locutus* (4:19)
• 2. How Many Ships (0:32)
• 3. Battle Watch* (1:13)
• 4. Red Alert (2:17)
• 5. Temporal Wake (2:12)
• 6. Shields Down (1:49)
• 7. The Phoenix* (1:04)
• 8. They're Here* (0:29)
• 9. 39.1 Degrees Celsius* (4:48)
• 10. Search for the Borg* (1:54)
• 11. Retreat* (4:02)
• 12. No Success (1:34)
• 13. Borg Montage* (1:04)
• 14. Welcome Aboard (2:43)
• 15. Stimulation (1:08)
• 16. Smorgasborg* (1:31)
• 17. Getting Ready (1:37)
• 18. Fully Functional (3:23)
• 19. The Dish (7:09)
• 20. Objection Noted (1:57)
• 21. Not Again (2:44)
• 22. Evacuate (2:25)
• 23. New Orders/All the Time (3:52)
• 24. Flight of the Phoenix* (6:23)
• 25. First Contact (6:04)
• 26. End Credits (5:33)

Bonus Tracks: (5:24)
• 27. The Phoenix (Alternate)* (1:10)
• 28. Borg Montage (Alternate) (1:21)
• 29. Main Title (Alternate) (2:55)

* contains music composed by Joel Goldsmith

 Notes and Quotes:  

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.

Goldsmith on 
the bridge
Spiner, Berman, and Stewart with Jerry Goldsmith on the bridge of the Enterprise-E.

  All artwork and sound clips from Star Trek: First Contact are Copyright © 1996, 2000, 2012, GNP Crescendo Records, Bootlegs, GNP Crescendo Records. 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 12/13/96 and last updated 5/17/12. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1996-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.