Tuesday 15 September 2020

pon farr

One tune that I keep in my mental play-list, like the Tetris song or the Night on Bald Mountain or any number of Sophisti-Pop melodies, has been the scherzo that is the Star Trek fight motif. Composed in 1967 by Hollywood arranger Gerald Fried in first for the episode “Amok Time” airing on this day in that year in which Captain Kirk indulges the mating rites (the incidental music sampled from, informed by Igor Stravinsky’s 1913 riot-inciting symphony) of his otherwise completely logical first officer, Mister Spock, by defending his insubordination in diverting the ship’s course to Vulcan to spawn as it were and fulfil the obligations of his arranged marriage, both for biological and societal reasons.
Spock’s betrothed T’Pring has fallen in love with another during his absence and invokes her right to a ritual duel, the kali-if-fee, between Spock and a pugilist of her choosing, which to the surprise of all assembled is Kirk, who agrees to enjoin in hand-to-hand combat despite Spock’s warning against it. After accepting his role as champion, Kirk learns that it a duel to the death. In order to level the playing field, Doctor McCoy convinces the referee, the overseer to allow him to inject Kirk with a compound to counteract the thinner atmosphere of Vulcan. It is permitted and the fighting ensues, underscored by Fried’s incidental music called The Ritual/Ancient Battle/Second Kroykah.
Fried also scored numerous other television programmes (the episodes to his credit are quite extensive) including Gilligan’s Island and created the signature leitmotifs for the characters. Kirk is beaten down and McCoy pronounces him dead and the two beam back to the Enterprise immediately. Spock renounces T’Pring, released of his obligations, who then explains her strategy, afraid of losing her beloved in battle to Spock, she chose Kirk as her second in order to ensure she gets her choice regardless of the outcome of the challenge. Spock compliments her flawless logic and issues a warning to T’Pring’s new mate that “having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting,” giving the Vulcan salute and motto of “Live long and proper” for the first time. Expecting to be charged for killing the captain, Spock returns to face justice and is visibly relieved to find Kirk alive and well and merely drugged by McCoy to simulate death in combat.