'Star Trek' boldly going symphonic

Spock, Kirk and Scotty from the original Star Trek TV series, ready for action. Cue the music.

Spock, Kirk and Scotty from the original Star Trek TV series, ready for action. Cue the music.

JIM SLOTEK - Sun Media

, Last Updated: 5:38 AM ET

In the classic Star Trek episode Amok Time, Captain Kirk finds himself in hand-to-hand combat with a Spock driven mad by the Vulcan mating urge, the Pon Farr.

Cue the Star Trek soundtrack "fight music" -- "Dun-dun-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA-da-dun-dun-da-da..."

Now imagine that oh-so-'60s aural memory being revived live by our own Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

"The notion is you're coming there to listen to music that, for the most part, most people have only heard on three-inch speakers on their television sets," says John de Lancie, co-host with Robert Picardo of Star Trek: The Music, the TSO program that carries on today and tomorrow at Roy Thomson Hall.

"What's glorious is you get the full impact of this music in a way audiences have never heard before."

Trekkers know de Lancie as Q, the omnipotent and snotty alien from another continuum, who was introduced in the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and made appearances in subsequent Trek series Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Picardo played the holographic doctor on Voyager for six seasons.

But the wildcard Trekker in this project is Maestro Erich Kunzel, whose directorial performance tomorrow will be his 300th with the TSO. The eclectic de Lancie -- a sometime opera director who has experience writing monologues, narration and dialogues for orchestral pieces -- says he was contacted by Kunzel with a strange request.

"Erich handed me all this Star Trek music and said, 'Do you think you could do something with it?' And I listened to it all and it was all sort of arranged musically where it made sense harmonically. But it was very much out of chronological order," de Lancie says by phone from his L.A. area home.

"After listening to it, I thought the best way to approach this particular program was to consider that there would be two audiences out there -- the aficionado who knew far more than I ever would about Star Trek, and the person who knew nothing. With that in mind, Bob (Picardo) and I decided on an arc, which is, 'Let's take it from the beginning and all the way through (the various series and movies)."

To that end, Star Trek: The Music is very much a tribute to two soundtrack legends -- Alexander Courage, theme music composer for both the original Star Trek and The Next Generation (and who died a few weeks ago at age 89), and the late Jerry Goldsmith, who composed movie themes from Star Trek: The Motion Picture to Star Trek: Nemesis.

"We start from the TV music and then we go on to the movie music. Just because I did 10 or 12 episodes doesn't make me an aficionado, so I went out and found an aficionado who was able to lay a lot of stuff out that I didn't know. For instance, somewhere in the area of seven or eight years after the television show closed, Paramount was looking for a way to bring it back. Then Star Wars came out and Paramount said, 'Let's make that a movie.' So they needed a (Star Wars') John Williams type of composer, which is where Goldsmith came in.

"We go through that stuff and various sorts of trivia. For instance, you probably know that there were (never used) lyrics for the first theme. It was so (Gene) Roddenberry could attach half the royalties to himself.

"Bob actually sings it. I'm paid not to sing, believe me."

"We point people to episodes. We point to where the music was at that particular time in the development of the show. 'Listen to this part, this was a new way of approaching battle music.' It's little heads-up here and there rather than a lot of babble.

"We're not here to be talking a lot. This is a symphony orchestra and the best part of the program is listening to the music."


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