TOTAL TIME: (46:53)
Most will say that this is a pale imitation of Star Trek 2, while this is true to a certain extent, this is still a very enjoyable score from Horner's early works. The biggest problem most have with this score is the fact that it is not very original, which is quite true. The main theme from ST2 is back as well as Spock's theme. Both are overused without the introduction of much new material except for the new Klingon theme, used to replace Khan's theme from the previous movie. Horner's Klingon theme is not nearly as much fun to listen to a Jerry Goldsmith's from ST:TMP, but it does well in the movie, although one particular part sounds as if someone is trying to strangle the trombonist as he plays. I personally find it to be a decent theme, though most find it to horrible on it's own. Oddly enough the track entitled "Klingons" has more that just the new Klingon theme. After the theme has exhausted itself, there are several seconds of silence just before the music that underscores the Enterprise's return home appears. My favorite part of this particular section is when the crew catches a glimpse of the newly-built Excelsior. The main theme is given some new descending notes on bells just to give it a fresh sound.
Personally I find the track "Stealing the Enterprise" to be the best on the CD. It's a nice eight and a half-minute track with nothing but excitement. It opens up with a wonderful and furious string run. As our heros attempt to take the Enterprise from spacedock, the suspense builds as they find that the door will not open for them, the tension keeps increasing until Scotty finally manages to get the doors open and the gallant crew breaks free. A magnificent and triumphant rush is heard throughout the orchestra as the ship hovers above the Earth. The crew eventually takes off into warp and leaves the persuing Excelsior far behind. Another great track is "Returning to Vulcan" in which we finally hear a nice fully-orchestral playing of Spock's theme. "Bird of Prey Decloaks" provides some more playing of the Klingon theme, and a new triumphant fanfare appears.
Other tracks like "The Mind Meld" and "The Katra Ritual" are rather dull, but the worst aspect of this CD by far is the early techno fiasco known as "The Search for Spock." If you listen to it and actually like it, you oughta slap yourself. The end titles, while still great, are the exact same as they were in Horner's previous Trek score. The only difference is that Greig McRitchie's orchestrations are much better that Jack Hayes' from before.
Unlike the CD release of ST2, this has excellent sound quality with hardly any noticeable tape hiss at all, so there's no need to worry about that. In the end, this turns out to be a great listen which is unfortunately bogged down by a couple of lousy tracks, but overall this solid score earns a recommendation to fans of Star Trek and fans of film scores in general.