Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Best: Top 10 James Horner Scores

RIP James Horner: 1953-2015

Sadly, the great composer James Horner died a week ago.

He was one of the best film composers I had ever heard.  I only became aware of his name during the big Titanic craze.  But when I looked back at his body of work I realized that I had been an admirer of his for a long time, I just did not know it.

So in honor of him, here are his 10 best scores

10.  Apollo 13.

Horner captured the grandeur of spirit found in the Apollo astronauts while keeping things taught and tense.

9.  Swing Kids.

There is a haunting sadness to the light main melody that juxtaposes so powerfully against the intensity of the swing music.

8.  Aliens

That use of the metallic clanging in the chase scenes give it a unique and scary doom.  And even the final credits music stays with you as the credits roll.

7.  Star Trek II and III

There space battles in these great films are not very dynamic.  Horner's music gives it a thrilling and moving undercurrent.

6.  Glory

Even though the charge of the fort is not his original score, the rest of the movie captures the power found in its title.

5.  A Beautiful Mind

The movie is mostly about the interior of the mind, something very difficult to make tangible on film.  But Horner's score touches the intellectual and emotional reality of Nash's fractured genius.

4.  Krull

To this day, when I hear the march of the Firemares, I am transported to 1983 and I am a little kid again watching with wonder.

3.  Titanic

His most iconic score and rightfully esteemed.  His music was the emotional anchor that drove home to sad romance of this story.  He captured both the exhilaration and despair in such beautiful musical notes.

2.  Braveheart

The music for this movie is perfect.  The stirring use of bagpipes and strings touches something primal and noble in the human spirit.  Whenever I listen to the last 7 and a half minutes of score, I can't help but say the words of dialogue out loud: "You have bled with Wallace.  Now bleed with me."  Perfect down to the last chord.

1.  Willow

For years I had simply assumed that John Williams had written this score.  I know that sounds like an odd way to praise this music, but it might be the highest compliment I can give.  It is magical through and through.

Thank you, Mr. Horner, for all of the beauty you have us.  May you rest in peace.


1 comment:

  1. Aliens is #1. I don't care for Opie's film making.