Show Review: Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage: A 50th Anniversary Celebration

by Chad Liffmann on July 18, 2016

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Starfleet uniforms everywhere, a few Klingons posed for pictures, and ‘live long and prosper’ hand signals were shared — yes, the crowds gathered in Davies Symphony Hall last Thursday and Friday for the CineConcerts produced performance of Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage: A 50th Anniversary Celebration. Fifty years ago, Gene Roddenberry’s incredible contribution to science fiction came to life in the form of Captain Kirk and crew on the starship Enterprise. Since 1966, Star Trek has taken on many forms of media — tv series, video games, feature films, books, and so on. These performances are as much a celebration of the progressive themes and groundbreaking stances in Star Trek as they are of the sense of human existence and exploration, and perseverance, that permeates through every incarnation of the original stories. Oh, yes, and a celebration of the music!

Composer and conductor, and CineConcerts founder Justin Freer took the stage and immediately led the room in a rousing rendition of the Star Trek original series opening title. Then, the Michael Dorn (‘Warf’) narrated video re-introduced the audience to the many themes that made Star Trek such a monumental cultural phenomenon. The next few hours (plus an intermission) were spent listening to the music from the expanded Star Trek catalog — from each of the television series (the original series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise) as well as cuts from many of the twelve feature films. Montages of villains, the Enterprise, the wide variety of alien creatures both campy and terrifying, and more were shown on the large screen over the symphony as the iconic music from legendary composers such as Jerry Goldsmith, Alexander Courage, Michael Giacchino, Dennis McCarthy and James Horner.

The program even featured the inclusion of some full scenes from each television series accompanied by the score. From the original series, we got to watch the famous fight between Spock and Kirk in the second season episode, “Amok Time”, and hear the thrilling notes played with each lirpa swing! From The Next Generation, one of Captain Picard’s final encounters with Q. From Deep Space Nine, Commander Sisko’s monologue to his Captain’s log (aka us) about all his wrongdoings for the greater good. From Voyager, Captain Janeway sending off her crow so she can go down with the ship. And from Enterprise, Captain Archer consoling a sad crew member. The scenes were varied and provided a good perspective on the tremendous spectrum of human emotion that the Star Trek universe covered. And of course, a few scenes of tribbles.


The San Francisco Symphony continues its summer series with Final Symphony: Music from FINAL FANTASY VI, VII and X. Info and tickets here.

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