Trekkies may know who Gerald Fried is, and the casual “Star Trek” fan will recognize his work.
The 88-year-old composer is known for -- among other things -- writing the famous “Star Trek” fight music, first heard in 1967 in the second-season television episode titled, “Amok Time.”
In it, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) returns to his home planet, Vulcan, to participate in a mating ritual. When Spock’s betrothed-to-be selects Spock’s captain, James T. Kirk (William Shatner), as her champion, the two friends are forced to square off in a battle to the death.
The music accompanying their fight is now iconic.
“When you approach an assignment, you use your entire background to do your best for a particular (project),” Fried said in a phone interview to promote Tuesday’s “Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage” at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. “Sometimes you get lucky; sometimes you don’t and it doesn’t catch fire. I was glad to be aboard on that project.”
The fight song will be among the orchestral pieces played during a touring concert celebrating “Star Trek’s” 50th anniversary. The evening will feature compositions written for the franchise, including music from the original series, the movies and spin-offs such as “Star Trek: Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Voyager.”
Film and TV footage will be simultaneously “beamed” in high definition to a 40-foot-wide screen above the orchestra conducted by Justin Freer.
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In addition to “Star Trek,” Fried’s prolific career included scoring five films for Stanley Kubrick, whom he knew as a teenager, and such TV credits as “Roots,” for which he won an Emmy, “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”
Fried, who still composes, said he still gets a kick out of hearing his fight music.
“That whole ancient ritual scene (from ‘Star Trek’) was more than just the fight scene,” he said. “It was like a 15- to 20-minute episode. I loved the way it turned out. In a world where pop songs usually dominate. It’s nice that this jagged, ragged bit of music got some kind of substance.”
When asked why he thought “Star Trek” became such a phenomenon, he credited creator, the late Gene Roddenberry, and his people.
“For one thing, the show had quality,” Fried said. “There was some thought behind it. They hired these great writers to do the script.”
And some great composers to do the music, too.