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Opinion of James Horner.


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Well; Williams, Zimmer, Elfman, etc. all have there own ways of composing. But in Horner's case, alot of his themes seem to use the same patterns. Horner is not my favorite composer but pretty good. I agree Titanic is a good score, but WAAAAAYYYY overated ;) , all the songs are like the SAME!!!

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What could I say about James Horner here that others have not already said about him and his music? He is (or was) one of the greats of Hollywood and is amoung my favourite composers despite his personal vice of recycling his old music in his scores. I love his openly dramatic and lush style of scoring that genuienly generates big feelings and moods. I feel that he is at his best in epic sweeping scores like Legends of the Fall, Willow, Braveheart and Rocketeer. Horner has a great gift for melody and his compositional voice is unique and instanly recognizable. That is not to say he can't be versatile or write music that deviates from his typical sound. Aliens, Name of the Rose are just two examples. A fine film composer.

:) Jenny from Rocketeer

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Yeah who in their right mind would not steal from master of action scoring and the man who wrote the original Alien score?:)

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It would be fine if he took from the original score. No, it would be quite commendable. But why on earth is Capricorn One in there? Maybe Horner is subtely hinting that this NASA is behind it all.

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I wish I were in the mood for the score more....since when I am, like today, it works like gangbusters. But, generally, I just put on one or maybe two of the action cues and skip the build up.

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Could a hack write the main theme to Honey I Shrunk the Kids? or the opening of 'Stealing the Enterprise? or the fanfare for Troy? or the motif that works equally well for Khan, Nazis, Greeks, Aliens, and several other bad guys? or the main theme for Willow? or the theme for the tale of Huey Long? I THINK NOT!

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Could a hack write the main theme to Honey I Shrunk the Kids? or the opening of 'Stealing the Enterprise? or the fanfare for Troy? or the motif that works equally well for Khan, Nazis, Greeks, Aliens, and several other bad guys? or the main theme for Willow? or the theme for the tale of Huey Long? I THINK NOT!

lol.. .I was being sarcastic. :)

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Could a hack write the main theme to Honey I Shrunk the Kids? or the opening of 'Stealing the Enterprise? or the fanfare for Troy? or the motif that works equally well for Khan, Nazis, Greeks, Aliens, and several other bad guys? or the main theme for Willow? or the theme for the tale of Huey Long? I THINK NOT!

A little heavy with the sarcasm today.

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No, he didn't. Wasn't nominated. IIRC, only the first and fourth were nominated.

And Horner has won two, for Titanic. Although it is a bit strange that he hadn't won before. His loss in 1995, for two great scores was one of the more ridicules. Cancelled himself out, so that a terrificaly unnotable Luis Baclav score won.

Other nominees were also not terribly notable. JW's Nixon is a good score, as is Doyle's Sense and Sensibility, but neither elevated their films nearly as much as Horner's scores did.

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And yet musically he has his own voice, far more then most of the new film composers of the last few years.

True. And his voice is so likable, I still enjoy listening to him (although I'm more interested in getting his older works than his recent output).

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I'm most interested in his 90's work. His 80's scores are generally too busy for my tastes, and they feel to me like Horner is in a 'I don't have a voice, so I'll steal from Prokofiev' mode, as opposed to, 'my voice IS stealing, from whatever works' mode. I just think he got better and better at film scoring. The mid-90's were his most satisfying years, to my ears. Sure, I enjoy a lot of the earlier fun stuff...but it doesn't leave me nearly as fullfilled as Braveheart, Apollo 13, or Legeneds of the Fall does.

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Yes, it does. Seeing it in the film makes the score better. You understand why Horner took that tone, and I don't find the vaguely Irish moaning lady that offensive to my tastes.

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I am a film score fan, not just a film music fan. First and foremost, the score needs to suit the movie. Which is one of the reasons why I find at least 80% of the most common criticisms of film music fans to be inherently flawed. I think it is rather pointless to like film music just for it's own sake, since there is a lot of better written music out there. I appreciate it as an art into on itself, the art of applying one art form to another, and how the two affect each other. And while that means that I may enjoy fewer of the supposed great scores to bad movies (because, often, a great score simply doesn't fit a bad movie), I enjoy the good scores (and there are far more out there, and far more composers doing it than people 'round here seem to think) all the more for this.

Thus endeth my mission statement.

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I am a film score fan, not just a film music fan. First and foremost, the score needs to suit the movie. Which is one of the reasons why I find at least 80% of the most common criticisms of film music fans to be inherently flawed. I think it is rather pointless to like film music just for it's own sake, since there is a lot of better written music out there. I appreciate it as an art into on itself, the art of applying one art form to another, and how the two affect each other. And while that means that I may enjoy fewer of the supposed great scores to bad movies (because, often, a great score simply doesn't fit a bad movie), I enjoy the good scores (and there are far more out there, and far more composers doing it than people 'round here seem to think) all the more for this.

Thus endeth my mission statement.

Film music's first and foremost requirement is that it fulfills the vision of the film makers and fits the film in whatever way it was intended by them. That is the functional side of that music. It is a collaborative art form.

It is true that critique of film music fans is mostly directed at the music itself outside the film, but any music can be judged out of its context. It is a different kind of evaluation and interpretation but it does not make it somehow pointless. It would be like saying that listening to film music differs significantly from other music. Which it doesn't on the basic level. You can enjoy it without knowing a whif about the film it underscores. Saying that film music is pointless on its own is like saying that all the operas are pointless on CD or ballets or any medium of music collaborating with other art forms just because you have not seen the performance of those pieces or don't know anything about the plot. You can of course appreciate film music more on the functional side if you hear it in the context of the film but in my opinion that certainly is not a requirement for you to enjoy it.

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There's a complete score for Patriot Games floating about..

Really? <_< Is it any good? Does it improve the OST or not? I must look into this. This is one of my very first Horner scores, and I like it a lot on its own.

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It is true that critique of film music fans is mostly directed at the music itself outside the film, but any music can be judged out of its context. It is a different kind of evaluation and interpretation but it does not make it somehow pointless. It would be like saying that listening to film music differs significantly from other music. Which it doesn't on the basic level. You can enjoy it without knowing a whif about the film it underscores. Saying that film music is pointless on its own is like saying that all the operas are pointless on CD or ballets or any medium of music collaborating with other art forms just because you have not seen the performance of those pieces or don't know anything about the plot. You can of course appreciate film music more on the functional side if you hear it in the context of the film but in my opinion that certainly is not a requirement for you to enjoy it.

I did not say it was a requirement, nor did I say that it was pointless to listen to it totally separated from the film. But from my experience, I like a well scored good movie's album more than an overscored bad movie's album.

And, frankly, film music does differ a huge deal from great classical music. It is written with specific goals, must contain very specific emotions, must hit certain synch points. Very, very, very rarely does a composer have cart blanche on these things. The composer is limited by the film, by the story, and, most importantly, by the director. Now, the greatest importance of film music, and the reason I love it and can defend it, is because, it gives composers a chance to access someone else's imagination. Gives them very strict constrictions, but gives them terrific challanges. It provides for tons of tremendous music of all kinds, music that they would probably never write if they hadn't have had to think about how to approach a given film. But, on the minus side, most compopsers have very little maneuvering space. There's rarely a chance to do something different, something original. We have no original action cues. The music is almost always based on other kinds of music, and no matter what kind of score a person has written, it's origins are practically never in the composer, and rarely from the genre. That is the wide view of things. None of John Williams classic 70's scores are original music. They are occaisionally original film scoring, to be sure, but the three Star Wars, Superman, The Fury, Close Encounters, Raiders of the lost Ark....these are all great film scores, and great music. But none of them started with John williams. One by one, you can chart the influences. Generally, they are music written to give the emotion of music written by concert hall composers.

The above are just random thoughts of the many, many, many conversations with people and long chats with myself that I've had about film music. The bottom line is, for me, the only guarenteed way for film music to truely be great, is in context of the film it was written for. That's the only way that none of the arguments I made above are relevant.

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That film and score have a lot of nostalgia for me too. It's a wonderful score, but I'm pretty sure there are classical rips in it (Prokofiev, in particular). That doesn't mean it's not a great Horner score, though.

Ray Barnsbury

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I'm not what you call a Horner follower, but I have enormous respect for him. True, he references the classics (sometimes liberally), and the same motifs or phrases sometimes show-up in multiple scores. But he is a consumate profressional, and his work uplifts and improves the films.

With more and more films being scored by "composers" who can't even read music and create everything on keyboard (then hand it to others to orchestrate because they have no idea how to do it themselves) composers like Horner -- who can do it all -- are increasingly rare and valuable commodities.

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Just listened to 'Land before time' yesterday.

Is there any classical pieces rip-offs in there?

If not, Horner can (or could...) write great an beautiful music.

It's always sounded like the beginning of the Bruckner 9th.

Anyways , I kind of like it.

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Personally, I admire Horner and his work. Yes, he has been unoriginal and copied his own scores and themes on many occassions, but some of his work is truly great film music and I like the man for that. IMHO, his absolute masterpiece, which he (or anybody else) will probably never surpass, is Aliens (especially since the Deluxe Edition has been published). Also Braveheart, Legends of the Fall, Zorro and Star Trek music.

All in all, Horner is a good composer, and I respect him for it, and keep looking forward to each new soundtrack that he writes.

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I've only enjoyed a couple of his albums since, but I've liked a bunch of his scores in the films. Even something like The House of Sand and Fog. The albums I have enjoyed include A Beautiful Mind and especially The Legend of Zorro. Don't know why the latter struck me so, I wasn't a fan of the original. But it's one hell of a fun album.

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