• Announcements

    • Jay

      Donation time at JWFan   01/16/18

      Hello!

      For those who may not know, JWFan relies entirely on donations to keep running.  Donations pay for our server bills, as well as keeping our domain and Invision Powerboard fees.
      As an incentive to donate, I am offering a series of free CDS to anyone who donates over a certain amount!   Last time this was a modest success, where I raised $500 of our desired $1,000 and mailed out 3 free CDs to lucky JWFanners.  This time I'll be doing the raffling a littler different!   Our goal is $1000 once again, and I will have four tiers of free CDs you can win once again.  But this time, the more you donate, the more entries into each raffle you'll get!   Each $10 you donate gets your name put into the raffle mug once for the $10 pool, twice for the $20 pool, thrice for the $30 pool, and five times into the $50 pool.  Here is the list of CDs you can win - and I have more to add at a later time when I get a little more organized (I'll post what they are by Friday at the latest)   The $10 pool (Every $10 you donate gets you one ticket into this pool) - will be drawn as soon as we hit $250 donated Tyler Bates - God of War; Ascension (OST, La La Land Records) Danny Elfman - Planet of the Apes (OST, Sony) Danny Elfman - Taking Woodstock (OST, La La Land Records) Christopher Lennertz - Identity Thief (OST, La La Land Records) Christopher Lennertz - Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (OST) Michael Giacchino - Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (OST, Varese Sarabande) Dave Holmes & Various - Ocean's 11 (OST, WB Records) Joel McNeely & Various - Hollywood '94 (Varese Sarabande) Joe Kraemer - Jack Reacher (OST, La La Land Records) John Williams - Born on the Fourth of July (OST, MCA Records)   The $20 pool (Every $10 you donate gets you two ticket into this pool, must donate at least $20 to be eligible) - will be drawn as soon as we hit $500 donated John Barry - First Love (La La Land) Jerry Goldsmith - The Challenge (La La Land) Jerry Goldsmith - In Harm's Way (2009 Intrada edition) Jerry Goldsmith - The Red Pony (Varese) Alan Silvestri - Dutch (La La Land) Shirley Walker - Willard (La La Land) John Williams - Family Plot (Varese Sarabande) or, any of the above CDs if you prefer   The $30 pool (Every $10 you donate gets you three ticket into this pool, must donate at least $30 to be eligible) - will be drawn as soon as we hit $750 donated James Horner - Gorky Park (OOP Kritzerland Edition) James Newton Howard - Outbreak (2CD, Varese Deluxe Edition) Laurence Rosenthal - Clash of the Titans (2CD, Intrada) John Williams - The Fury (2CD, La La Land) John Williams - Jane Eyre (OOP, La La Land) or, any of the above CDs if you prefer   The $50 pool (Every $10 you donate gets you five ticket into this pool, must donate at least $50 to be eligible) - will be drawn as soon as we hit $1,000 donated Jerry Fielding - The Wild Bunch (3CD, FSM) Ira Newborn - The Naked Gun trilogy (3CD, La La Land) Shirley Walker and Various - Batman: The Animated Series Volume 3 (4CD, La La Land) or, any of the above CDs if you prefer     All shipping will be paid by me to anywhere in the world!   I will pull names from a hat for each pool, and you get to pick whatever CD set you want if I pull your name!   To be eligible, leave your JWFan username in the comments area of your donation.  If you want to donate but not be in the running for a free CD, mention that in the comment.   Use this link or the link on the mainpage.       Thank you!   Jason, Ricard, and Andreas.
Sign in to follow this  
MikeH

James Horner's synths

Recommended Posts

I've been on a Horner binge lately and I've noticed several cues contain sampled strings, woodwinds, and harps amidst an otherwise fully acoustic orchestral recording.  A few that come to mind are Braveheart, Bicentennial Man, and Karate Kid.   Some cues will have a totally live orchestra and others will have their sampled counterparts.  To me it doesn't sound like these choices were made for 'color' reasons, it sounds more like not enough budget or super-late rewrites.  Anyone have any thoughts on why he might have done this?  Funnily enough though I've never been bothered by the synth choir in Titanic, probably because it's a consistent color throughout and also works in the new age-y way the score is written.  But on the expanded Braveheart release it's a bit jarring and perplexing to go from the beautiful LSO strings to 90's synth strings and back from cue to cue.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Braveheart works very well that way. That previously unreleased cue "A Father's Final Return" is (my favorite) addition not heard outside the film prior to the LLL release, and a prime example of how to use the synth strings and choir effectively in place of the orchestra. It didn't need the grandeur of the opening LSO strings in "Royal Wedding". 

 

The still-unreleased film version of "Betrayal and Desolation" transitioned from orchestra to a synthesized ending. 

 

"The Pelican Brief" goes back and forth a lot, as does "Searching For Bobby Fischer" and "Clear and Present Danger". I'm sure some scores might have been done this way for budgetary reasons, but if you follow the reasoning of "Field of Dreams" and how the orchestra was held back until the end, but had synths and acoustic instruments all the way through prior, a lot of these could be, and in some cases sound like, creative choices. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all!  Yes, it's very interesting.  NL197 you mentioned Bobby Fischer and I just started listening to that again this evening.  Sure enough some cues are mainly synth and others are fully acoustic.  One cue will have a synth oboe, the next will have a real one, etc.  I didn't realize it was such a common pattern throughout his scores.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite honestly, this is the first time I have ever in my life seen this question asked. With JH it's always the same tired useless crap about borrowing and personal attitude nonsense.

Never have I seen anyone ask it, or give it any thought - I never gave it any thought before. I just started to think about what scores have a lot of synth cues and it all seemed to click together. 

 

Apollo 13 is another to add to the list. It's a LOT more electronic than most realize, and if the score ever goes get its proper (legit) album expansion, that will be very noticeable. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah some of the shorter cues from Apollo 13 are entirely samples.  It does seem as though they just didn't see the point of paying for the musicians to come in for anything not much more than a minute long. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was so avant-garde to combine these weird Enya-esque synth vocals with booming percussion in Titanic, for instance. I have no personal bias towards that score, by the way. The same goes for Apollo 13, where the synth choir is interpolated with this sort of militiaristic stuff. I wonder how he pitched it, or if he just sort of did it on his own and demoed it for these directors. I never had an issue with Horner using electronics. I thought he was quite skilled at it, actually. Goldsmith could go either way, Williams was in the middle (you don't notice the electronics a lot of the time), but Horner excelled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never taken to Goldsmith's electronics because they seemed to be so gimmicky and really stuck out. Aside from a synth tone in Empire Strikes Back I don't recall ever noticing electronics apart from the keyboards in Home Alone in a John Williams score. But I freely admit I don't listen to much of his music apart from their films. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone know the name of the first JH score to use synthesizers?

ST:III, perhaps, or SWTWC?

 

Synthesizers can be effective, if used well. In LOGAN'S RUN, JG keeps synthesizers for inside the dome, and a full orchestral pallet for outside. That illustrates the cold environment of the dome, compared to nature. It works.

As to why composers embellish their scores, who knows.

Personal choice? Illustrating a point, like Pub suggested? Director's preference? Product-placement? A mock-up that sounded good?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite synthesized effect Horner used was the 'air' effect, like a faint whistle in a huge amount of his scores, notably in "To Gillian on her 37th Birthday", "Deep Impact", "Braveheart", "The Forgotten" and many, many others. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, NL197 said:

My favorite synthesized effect Horner used was the 'air' effect, like a faint whistle in a huge amount of his scores, notably in "To Gillian on her 37th Birthday", "Deep Impact", "Braveheart", "The Forgotten" and many, many others. 

 

Example?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

House of Cards:

The cue "Distant Memories" is largely made up of this effect, which really shows itself in 1:30 into the cue. 
 

To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday:
In "Gillian" throughout the cue the effect plays underneath the piano solo. 
 

Deep Impact: 

In "Drawing Straws", you hear it at 2:20 into the cue underneath the high strings as a tension device. 

 

Braveheart: 

It plays throughout the cue "Revenge". Also, 30 seconds into "Wallace's Dream" but you hear it at various times in the score. 

 

The Forgotten: 

1 minute into "Remember..." the effect is used to show the change in perception for the character Ash. 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 13/09/2017 at 5:43 AM, publicist said:

Horner had crappy synth (parts), too, but he mostly stuck to his palette - basses, bells, high-pitched voices or piping sounds - that created often a more atmospheric color. 

Funnily enough, as he became more "sophisticated" in his synth arrangements in latter years, something was missing from the overall package. His usual palette might have been bit crude but it had certain atmosphere, as you say.

 

Karol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, MikeH said:

Over half of the Titanic score was synth only because there was practically no music budget.  

 

I can't help but wonder if such an over-dependency on electronics in what became the most popular film score ever (and shush about everyone buying it for the song) ushered in this dark age for film music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/13/2017 at 9:03 AM, Richard said:

Does anyone know the name of the first JH score to use synthesizers?

ST:III, perhaps, or SWTWC?

 

I remember both ST:II and Krull integrating synths (Jupiter 8, Serge Modular and Arp 2600).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Blanche Hudson said:

 

I remember both ST:II and Krull integrating synths (Jupiter 8, Serge Modular and Arp 2600).

 

Thanks for that. Did he use the Blaster Beam on BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS? That's not a synthesizer, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The last minute and a half of Death of Titanic features very memorable synth alongside a stunning death march where the snare drums sound like gun fire, swirling despairing strings and ominous horns. Horner interpolates what sound like ghostly moans as the ship makes it final plunge. One of his best moments. No one could have done it better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this