Star Trek: Discovery concluded its first season with a surprise appearance by the USS Enterprise. As a finishing touch, Alexander Courage’s original Star Trek fanfare played over the season finale’s end credits.
However, Star Trek: Discovery didn’t simply lift the original recording of Courage’s music used in Star Trek: The Original Series. Instead, Star Trek: Discovery composer Jeff Russo orchestrated a brand new recording of the iconic fanfare.
“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” Russo tells Variety. “It is the Enterprise, so I must play the Enterprise’s theme.”
The music was played by a 74-piece orchestra, which is more than double the size of the 29 musicians Courage used in recording the fanfare originally in 1965.
The idea came about when singer Ayana Haviv was working with Russo on recording the Kasseelian opera music from episodes 12 and 13 of Star Trek: Discovery. Russo was inspired to ask Haviv to perform the wordless soprano notes from the original Star Trek fanfare.
“I filmed it on my iPhone,” Russo says. “I thought it sounded great, so I just texted that to [executive producer] Alex Kurtzman with a note like ‘Isn’t this the coolest thing?’ He immediately texted me back.”
Kurtzman suggested that Russo create an “an updated, modernized version of the original,” and have Haviv sing the solo.
Haviv called it “an amazing thrill. You can’t help having heard [the original] a million times,” she adds. “It’s a part of pop culture and one of the great TV themes. I felt a responsibility to be true to that iconic ’60s feel. My training is classical voice [but] you have to color it in a certain way to make it sound like that ’60s style.” Haviv previously sang the song as part of the chorus in Star Trek Into Darkness, but this was her first time performing the solo.
“Conducting a pretty large orchestra in the music of one of my favorite shows as a kid was like a dream literally coming true,” Russo said. “It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had on the podium.”
Kurtzman says it was always the plan to record Star Trek: Discovery’s score with a full orchestra because “We wanted it to feel epic.”
“Whether or not you’re totally conscious of those themes, it affects your emotional reaction to the storytelling. In a way, it’s another part of the screenwriting process.”
Star Trek: Discovery begins production on Season Two in April.