On January 15, I was invited to the recording session for episode 15 of Star Trek: Discovery, the season finale of the CBS series. It was all very mysterious. All we were told was that something special would happen and that we could not give anything away until after the show aired on February 11. It turned out that the Discovery would encounter the USS Enterprise in the closing minutes of the show; that composer Jeff Russo would, appropriately, invoke Alexander Courage’s original Star Trek fanfare; but even more importantly, Russo was going to conduct 74 musicians in a fresh new version of Courage’s famous Trek theme (complete with wordless soprano solo, beautifully performed by singer Ayana Haviv) that would play under the show’s end credits. Here is that story, published in Variety the next day.
The upcoming L.A. stop on the national tour of Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage, a two-hour concert of Trek music commemorating the franchise’s 50th anniversary, offered an opportunity to examine the long history of Star Trek scores and the many composers who contributed along the way, from Alexander Courage to Jerry Goldsmith. Comments by veteran composers Gerald Fried, Dennis McCarthy and Jay Chattaway, along with concert conductor Justin Freer and even William Shatner himself, are included in this Sunday Los Angeles Times piece.
Not so much a book as a journal: The July/October 2013 issue of The Cue Sheet, the quarterly publication of The Film Music Society. Utilizing nearly four dozen never-before-seen photographs, this 64-page booklet goes behind the scenes to tell the previously untold story of the greatest film-music concert in history, Sept. 25, 1963 at the Hollywood Bowl.
That night Elmer Bernstein, John Green, Bernard Herrmann, Henry Mancini, Alfred Newman, Alex North, David Raksin, Miklos Rozsa, Dimitri Tiomkin and Franz Waxman conducted their own scores — with Percy Faith conducting Max Steiner and Nelson Riddle conducting a medley of TV themes, plus guest artists Jack Benny, Mahalia Jackson and Andy Williams. It was the largest-scale public project ever attempted by the Composers and Lyricists Guild of America. (Amateur photographers Raksin, composer of Laura, and Alexander Courage, later the composer of Star Trek, documented the rehearsals.) In addition to the photographs, images of the posters, tickets, even parking passes and newspaper clippings of the reviews, accompany my 9,000-word chronicle of this once-in-a-lifetime event (and its April 1964 sequel, with fewer participants, that was taped for later TV showings).
Editor Marilee Bradford — who originally discovered Raksin’s previously unseen Polaroids — did a stunning job of preparing the photos and laying out the issue. Here’s an overview and a link showing how to order it.
This is one of many writing projects that I’ve done for The Film Music Society of which I’m very proud. (Another is my 52-page biography of Revue/Universal music director Stanley Wilson, published in 2001 and shown here in the hands of Quincy Jones, Wilson’s 1960s scoring protege.)