The Music of James Horner

The Music of James Horner

by City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra



In 1999, when Silva Screen released an earlier version of this collection of re-recordings of film cues under the title Titanic: The Essential James Horner, the composer was at a peak in his career in the wake of director James Cameron's award-winning Titanic, released in late 1997 and in theaters for much of 1998. Horner is at another peak 12 years later, following the release of Cameron's Avatar in late 2009 and the film's presence in theaters for a good part of 2010. Horner's Avatar score is not quite as celebrated as that for Titanic, but it allows him, as of 2011, to claim musical credits on the two highest grossing films of all time. The martial "War" theme from Avatar is included here, one of several additions to what is now called simply The Music of James Horner, most of it played by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra with its usual efficiency. That dramatic passage is actually an exception to the rule on the disc, which tends to emphasize Horner's warm, lush, melodic side, even when the music is being drawn from an action or adventure movie like Deep Impact or Braveheart. Proceeding in reverse chronological order from the 2010 remake of The Karate Kid to 1980's Battle Beyond the Stars, the album traces backwards the musical trajectory of an A-list Hollywood composer at home with big budgets and big stars like Mel Gibson and Brad Pitt. He has certain recurrent tendencies, notably an affection for Celtic themes that is heard not only in Titanic, but also in Braveheart, The Rocketeer, Willow, and Cocoon. And, though John Williams is his most obvious influence, he also draws inspiration from Maurice Jarre, placing hints of the exotic sound of Lawrence of Arabia in Troy, The Mask of Zorro, and even Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Though three decades old, Horner's career in Hollywood probably is far from over, so Silva Screen may have to update this album again sometime in the future.

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