Nov. 15: Klingons


“Bird of Prey Decloaks” by James Horner

For the first time, I’m going to give a list of Honorable Mentions at the end, because it’s so hard picking just one cue here. And yes, I know I already picked this score before but I honestly love it so much, and I love this cue so much that I can’t not pick it for today’s prompt.

Goldsmith’s Klingon theme from STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE rightly gets a lot of attention and praise. Maybe because of that or because he would later re-use a modified version of this theme for ALIENS, James Horner’s theme for the Klingons in STAR TREK III just doesn’t seem to get as much attention. I think that’s a shame because , while it doesn’t capture the nobility and honor of the Klingons quite like Goldsmith’s theme, its banging and clanging and blaring horns embody the brutality of Klingon warriors in a way that a) Goldsmith’s doesn’t and b) better fits Kruge’s “off the books” mission as we see it in the film.

While Horner’s introduction of his theme during the sequence where Kruge destroys the freighter carrying Valkris is quite excellent, my favorite use of it occurs later in the film as Enterprise, having been stolen by Admiral Kirk and company, arrive at the Genesis Planet. Looking for USS Grissom (unknowingly destroyed by the Klingons), Kirk recognizes a distortion, which turns out to be Kruge’s ship cloaked and lurking in orbit.

May all your guesses be right!

Leonard McCoy

Horner scores this sequence with a riveting back-and-forth between the Klingon theme and his theme for Kirk from STAR TREK II. As Maltz calls out the closing distance to Kruge, we hear the blaring horn of the Klingon theme ominously as they prepare to strike with, what they thing, is no warning1With a hat-tip to Jenn Tifft, this is our first time hearing of kellicams (qell’qam), the Klingon unit of distance..

When Kirk guesses correctly that the bird of prey must decloak before firing, the music erupts with a triumphant fanfare of trumpets playing counterpoint to Kirk’s theme…before we realize that the jury rigged Enterprise has crippled itself in the attack. The cue then rounds out with a revival of the Klingon motifs as Kruge ultimately prevails over Kirk. At least in that moment…

“Bird of Prey Decloaks” by James Horner

Honorable Mentions

  • “Klingon Battle” by Jerry Goldsmith (from STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE)
  • “Rura Penthe” by Cliff Eidelman (from STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY)
  • Ron Jones’s scores to “Heart of Glory” and “The Emissary” from Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Chris Westlake’s Klingon stings from Star Trek: Lower Decks

#Notevember was created by Chris (aka @ShelfNerds) on Twitter.

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