Whether you're a Trekkie or not, chances are you can name at least a few of the major crew members who've served aboard the starship Enterprise over the past five decades. Everybody knows Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and the gang, but some of the groundbreaking sci-fi series' biggest heroes remain largely unsung: the composers. "Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage," a touring multi-media experience featuring a full symphony orchestra, docks at the Orpheum Theatre this week to celebrate 50 years of going boldly where no man has gone before while underscoring the role music has played in defining the films and TV shows.
Composers like Gerald Fried and Sol Kaplan had very little time to score the original Trek episodes. They would often create original sounds for up to 30 minutes of footage a week and score as many as two episodes in a month. Haste called for broad strokes, and, as Star Trek historian Jeff Bond has noted, the result was theatrical, "very expressive and thematic." It was all in accordance with the wishes of Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who told title theme composer Alexander Courage that he wasn't interested in a bunch of space age-sounding bloops and bleeps. He wanted big romantic orchestrations like you might find accompanying an Errol Flynn swashbuckler like Captain Blood.
"The Ultimate Voyage" concert considers Trek's music in and out of its original context. Many of the pieces will accompany video montages with themes like "2 B Human," "Close Bonds in Space," "50 Years of Life Forms," and a tribute to Leonard Nimoy's Spock titled "Always Will Be."