Alexander Courage

Last updated
Alexander Courage
Birth name Alexander Mair Courage Jr.
Born(1919-12-10)December 10, 1919
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died May 15, 2008(2008-05-15) (aged 88)
Pacific Palisades, California, U.S.
Genres Soundtracks
Occupation(s) Arranger, Composer

Alexander Mair "Sandy" [1] Courage Jr. (December 10, 1919 May 15, 2008) was an American orchestrator, arranger, and composer of music, primarily for television and film. He is best known as the composer of the theme music for the original Star Trek TV series.

Orchestration study or practice of writing music for an orchestra

Orchestration is the study or practice of writing music for an orchestra or of adapting music composed for another medium for an orchestra. Also called "instrumentation", orchestration is the selection of different instruments to play the different parts of a musical work. For example, a work for solo piano could be adapted and orchestrated so that an orchestra could perform the piece, or a concert band piece could be orchestrated for a symphony orchestra.

The "Theme from Star Trek" is an instrumental musical piece composed by Alexander Courage for Star Trek, the science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry and originally aired between September 8, 1966, and June 3, 1969.

Star Trek is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry that follows the adventures of the starship USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) and its crew. It later acquired the retronym of Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) to distinguish the show within the media franchise that it began.

Contents

Early life

Courage was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received a music degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, in 1941. He served in the United States Army Air Forces in the western United States during the Second World War. During that period, he also found the time to compose music for the radio. His credits in this medium include the programs Adventures of Sam Spade Detective, Broadway Is My Beat , Hollywood Soundstage, and Romance.

Eastman School of Music American music school; the professional school of music of the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York

The Eastman School of Music is the professional school of music of the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. It was established in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman.

United States Army Air Forces Aerial warfare branch of the United States army from 1941 to 1947

The United States Army Air Forces, informally known as the Air Force,or United States Army Air Force, was the aerial warfare service of the United States during and immediately after World War II (1939/41–1945), successor to the previous United States Army Air Corps and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force of today, one of the five uniformed military services. The AAF was a component of the United States Army, which in 1942 was divided functionally by executive order into three autonomous forces: the Army Ground Forces, the Services of Supply, and the Army Air Forces. Each of these forces had a commanding general who reported directly to the Army Chief of Staff.

<i>Broadway Is My Beat</i> audio drama

Broadway Is My Beat, a radio crime drama, ran on CBS from February 27, 1949 to August 1, 1954. With Anthony Ross portraying Times Square Detective Danny Clover, the show originated from New York during its first three months on the air. For the remainder of the series, the role of Detective Danny Clover was portrayed by Larry Thor. The series featured music by Robert Stringer, and scripts by Peter Lyon. John Dietz directed for producer Lester Gottlieb. Bern Bennett was the original announcer.

Career

Courage began as an orchestrator and arranger at MGM studios, which included work in such films as the 1951 Show Boat ("Life Upon the Wicked Stage" number) (Hot Rod Rumble (1957 film) The Band Wagon ("I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan"), Gigi (the can-can for the entrance of patrons at Maxim's), and the barn raising dance from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers .

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer American media company

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of feature films and television programs. One of the world's oldest film studios, MGM's headquarters are located at 245 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, California.

<i>Show Boat</i> (1951 film) 1951 film by George Sidney, Roger Edens

Show Boat is a 1951 American musical romantic drama film, based on the stage musical of the same name by Jerome Kern (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II, and the 1926 novel by Edna Ferber. It was made by MGM, adapted for the screen by John Lee Mahin, produced by Arthur Freed and directed by George Sidney.

<i>The Band Wagon</i> 1953 film by Vincente Minnelli

The Band Wagon is a 1953 American musical-comedy film directed by Vincente Minnelli, starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. It tells the story of an aging musical star who hopes a Broadway show will restart his career. However, the play's director wants to make it a pretentious retelling of the Faust legend and brings in a prima ballerina who clashes with the star. Along with Singin' in the Rain (1952), it is regarded as one of the finest of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musicals, although it was only a modest box-office success on first release.

He frequently served as an orchestrator on films scored by André Previn ( My Fair Lady , "The Circus is a Wacky World", and "You're Gonna Hear from Me" production numbers for Inside Daisy Clover ), Adolph Deutsch ( Funny Face , Some Like It Hot ), John Williams ( The Poseidon Adventure , Superman , Jurassic Park , and the Academy Award-nominated musical films Fiddler on the Roof and Tom Sawyer ), and Jerry Goldsmith ( Rudy , Mulan , The Mummy , et al.). He also arranged the Leslie Bricusse score (along with Lionel Newman) for Doctor Dolittle (1967). [2]

André Previn German-American pianist, conductor and composer

André George Previn, was a German-American pianist, composer, arranger, and conductor.

<i>My Fair Lady</i> (film) 1964 musical film adaptation of the stage musical of the same name directed by George Cukor

My Fair Lady is a 1964 American musical drama film adapted from the Lerner and Loewe eponymous stage musical based on the 1913 stage play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. With a screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner and directed by George Cukor, the film depicts a poor Cockney flower seller named Eliza Doolittle who overhears an arrogant phonetics professor, Henry Higgins, as he casually wagers that he could teach her to speak "proper" English, thereby making her presentable in the high society of Edwardian London.

<i>Inside Daisy Clover</i> 1965 film by Robert Mulligan

Inside Daisy Clover is a 1965 American drama film based on Gavin Lambert's 1963 novel of the same name, directed by Robert Mulligan and starring Natalie Wood. It follows an eponymous tomboy who becomes a Hollywood actress and singer.

Apart from his work as a respected orchestrator, Courage also contributed original dramatic scores to films, including two westerns: Arthur Penn's The Left Handed Gun (1958) and André de Toth's Day of the Outlaw (1959), and the Connie Francis comedy Follow the Boys (1963). He continued writing music for movies throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including the score for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), which incorporated three new musical themes by John Williams in addition to Courage's adapted and original cues for the film. Courage's score for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was released on CD in early 2008 by the Film Music Monthly company as part of its boxed set Superman - The Music.

Arthur Penn American producer and director

Arthur Hiller Penn was an American director and producer of film, television and theater. Penn directed critically acclaimed films throughout the 1960s such as the drama The Chase (1966), the biographical crime film Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and the comedy Alice's Restaurant (1969). He also got attention for his revisionist Western Little Big Man (1970).

<i>The Left Handed Gun</i> 1958 film by Arthur Penn

The Left Handed Gun is a 1958 American western film and the film directorial debut of Arthur Penn, starring Paul Newman as Billy the Kid and John Dehner as Pat Garrett.

<i>Day of the Outlaw</i> 1959 film by André de Toth

Day of the Outlaw is a 1959 Western film starring Robert Ryan, Burl Ives, and Tina Louise. It was directed by Andre DeToth; this was DeToth's final Western feature film.

Courage also worked as a composer on such television shows as Daniel Boone , The Brothers Brannagan , Lost in Space , and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea . Judd, for the Defense , [3] Young Dr. Kildare and The Brothers Brannagan [4] were the only television series besides Star Trek for which he composed the main theme.

<i>Daniel Boone</i> (1964 TV series) American action-adventure television series

Daniel Boone is an American action-adventure television series starring Fess Parker as Daniel Boone that aired from September 24, 1964, to May 7, 1970, on NBC for 165 episodes, and was produced by 20th Century Fox Television, Arcola Enterprises, and Fespar Corp. Ed Ames co-starred as Mingo, Boone's Cherokee friend, for the first four seasons of the series. Albert Salmi portrayed Boone's companion Yadkin in season one only. Country Western singer-actor Jimmy Dean was a featured actor as Josh Clements during the 1968–1970 seasons. Actor and former NFL football player Rosey Grier made regular appearances as Gabe Cooper in the 1969 to 1970 season. The show was broadcast "in living color" beginning in fall 1965, the second season, and was shot entirely in California and Kanab, Utah.

The Brothers Brannagan is an American crime drama television series that aired in syndication from September 24, 1960, to July 15, 1961.

<i>Lost in Space</i> 1965–1968 American science fiction television series

Lost in Space is an American science fiction television series, created and produced by Irwin Allen, which originally aired between 1965 and 1968. The series is loosely based on the 1812 novel The Swiss Family Robinson, and on a comic book published by Gold Key Comics titled The Space Family Robinson. The series follows the adventures of the Robinsons, a pioneering family of space colonists who struggle to survive in the depths of space. The show ran for 83 episodes over three seasons, the first year of which was filmed in black and white.

The composer Jerry Goldsmith and Courage teamed on the long-running television show The Waltons in which Goldsmith composed the theme and Courage the Aaron Copland-influenced incidental music. In 1988 Courage won an Emmy Award for his music direction on the special Julie Andrews: The Sound of Christmas. In the 1990s, Courage succeeded Arthur Morton as Goldsmith's primary orchestrator. [5]

Courage and Goldsmith collaborated again on orchestrations for Goldsmith's score for the 1997 film "The Edge."

Courage frequently collaborated with John Williams during the latter's tenure with the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Star Trek theme

Courage is best known for writing the theme music for Star Trek , and some other music for the series. Courage was hired by Gene Roddenberry to score the original Star Trek television show at Jerry Goldsmith's suggestion, after the latter turned down the job. Courage reportedly became alienated from Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry over the latter's claim for half of the music royalties: Roddenberry wrote words for Courage's Star Trek theme music, not because he expected the lyrics to be sung on television, but so that by claiming credit as the composition's co-writer, Roddenberry could receive half of the royalties from the song. [6]

Notably, after later serving as Goldsmith's orchestrator, when Goldsmith composed the music for Star Trek: The Motion Picture , Courage orchestrated Goldsmith's adaptation of Courage's own original Star Trek theme.

Death

Courage had been in declining health for several years before he died on May 15, 2008, at the Sunrise assisted-living facility in Pacific Palisades, California. [7] He had suffered a series of strokes prior to his death. [8] His mausoleum is in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.

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References

  1. https://www.esm.rochester.edu/sibley/specialcollections/findingaids/courage/
  2. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061271/fullcredits
  3. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0171982/fullcredits
  4. "Alexander Courage, Composer of the Original 'Star Trek' Theme, Dies". WCBS Newsradio 880 . 2008-05-30. Archived from the original on January 5, 2009. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  5. "Unthemely Behavior". Urban Legends Reference Pages . 1999-03-10. Retrieved 2007-05-20.
  6. Obituary
  7. Bernstein, Adam (May 31, 2008). "Alexander Courage; Composed Theme to TV Show 'Star Trek'". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 31, 2008. Obituary, Washington Post print and online editions, May 31, 2008, page B06