Typical for a Saturday, I was hauling the kids around town in the Landmaster (aka my minivan) listening to a big, fat mp3 cd of Star Trek music – TV and film scores. Tons of fun for me. As for my kids, well, they tolerate it. They’re still pretty young so I can get away with it for now. Besides, whenever I do play film music, they ask me to tell them what’s going on in whatever scene the music would accompany. They know (and can hum) the Star Wars theme, although they’ve not seen the movies, and they know Goldsmith’s Star Trek theme. At ages 5 and 3, neither of my kids have actually seen any Star Trek either. Well, I take that back. I showed them "The Trouble with Tribbles" a few weeks back (the only episode I could think of that would be non-violent enough for their temperaments). They loved it, although the bar fight scene got them nervous. Afterwards, they enjoyed hearing Fielding’s Tribbles music in the van. Sometimes, they’ll even request it.
Today, "The Mountain," the opening cue from Star Trek V, came on and my 3-year old son shouted “Yay, Star Wars!” as Jerry’s march played.
I gently corrected him and the cue went on. Pretty soon, the gorgeous mountain music began and my son asked, “Who’s sad?”
I mentally noted that he'd picked up on the reflective tone of the piece, then said out loud that no one was really sad in the scene. My 5 year old daughter chimed in.
“I think Kirk and Spock slowed down the Enterprise so they could see the pretty stars go by.” Boom. She nailed it. That was the point of the scene -- slowing the viewer down to appreciate the beauty of nature (and Kirk's conquering of same).
She knew, from the tone and tempo of the piece, the mood Jerry was trying to create. She’s never seen the film (and God willing, she never will) but she nailed the intention of the piece. That’s the power of film music away from the film. That’s the power of Jerry.