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JWFan James Horner Listening Party


Jay
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Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan

Man this is a great score.

You're not kidding. I was listening to tracks from this the other day, and was unexpectedly blown away. (I've had this thing for 30 years now, so I'm probably a little inured to it.) I just sat and shook my head, thinking, "A kid in his twenties, writing for his first big studio picture, had no business composing a score this sophisticated." The complexities in the writing are sometimes easy to overlook—especially, again, if you've seen the movie 100 times and have listened to the score ten times more than that—but when you stop and really listen, even just to the opening credits sequence, you can't help but see what a prodigy Horner was. It's no coincidence that this is the one that launched his career into the stratosphere.

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Considering the high quality of TWOK, and what it meant for its composer, and compared to what the standard is these days in Hollywood, you'd think none of these newbies would get lots of work. Yet they do, and seem to appreciated for it (not by me).

How the times have changed.

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Titanic

Man, I had not listened to this at all in YEARS now - probably not since college. Almost as soon as it started, I think I remembered why: Those vocals! The first half of the CD actually features some nice music, but the awful synth choir comes as close as it can to completely ruining it. I'd love a re-recording with a live choir! The second half of the CD, though - bloody amazing! The one-two punch of The Sinking and Death of Titanic is amazing, but really the entire second half shines with great action music which makes frequent use of the love theme and a strong wrap-up. I'm realizing lately that Horner is the best at ending his scores! So many of his scores end with such STRONG final tracks!

At 70 whatever minutes I didn't feel like I had enough; This film truly deserves a specialty label treatment of the complete and chronological score. Here's hoping it can happen now....

I look forward to listening to Back to Titanic tomorrow!

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THE PAGEMASTER: Long time no see...at one time in the early 90's it seemed that there was an inexhaustible well of colourful Horner animation scores, and while he sadly never got much recognition out of it he obviously so craved it really was his most magnificent forte: bold thematic writing, master class orchestration, clever eclectic nods to classic and jazz, long and sustained pieces that are doubly amazing if you consider the sketchy nature of what he was scoring - and despite the sometimes poor quality of the movies at hand (like indeed THE PAGEMASTER), Horner saw that obviously as even greater challenge to lift the whole affair.

The transparent sham of the movie - in classic Hollywood tradition it fakes its ode to the magic of classic literature by weaseling through Melville's MOBY DICK or Stevenson's TREASURE ISLAND with no loftier aspirations than a second-rate funfair ride with dimwitted sailors and blustery har-har pirates out there just as pastime for Macauley Culkin stranded in Cartoonland - means no defeat for Horner.

In his most broad and painterly style he gets from sweet sugar (the main theme, a bow to a secondary theme in GLORY) to russian saber-rattling (some of Williams' POTTER music makes its first appearance in THE LIBRARY) and bright english swashbuckling channeling Farnon (CAPTAIN HORATIO HORNBLOWER) and Rózsa.

Probably a hard sell today - it is, after all, no TITANIC, BRAVEHEART or whatever heavy drama score people usually prefer - but in light of Horner's passing it's more than worth a discovery for the sheer fun of the orchestral writing that has all but vanished because what would/could you attach it to?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkBj3Rg3Ixg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRdkSpXq2tA

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Titanic

Man, I had not listened to this at all in YEARS now - probably not since college. Almost as soon as it started, I think I remembered why: Those vocals! The first half of the CD actually features some nice music, but the awful synth choir comes as close as it can to completely ruining it. I'd love a re-recording with a live choir!

You should check out The Ultimate Titanic album. That has some recordings of tracks with a real choir.

indy4 - always preferred the synths

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I find that choir really grating. The other day I was listening to the album and I though and had stumbled on some crappy re-recording by mistake. And that theme really, really, really reminds me of this:

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The Legend of Zorro

Holy crap! I had never listened to this before at all... dare I say its better than the first? It's very similar, but to me seemed more focused and followed a more narrow path from start to finish. Features all the great themes from the first and the same sound pallette, with more action music. That track "The Train" is awesome! Can't believe I never listened to this before.

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What the hell Jay?! I swear I remember telling you to listen to it on this very forum!

It's one of Horner's best. The Train is sublime.

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It was "Preparations for Battle" for me again. Just can't separate that music from the man. I think it's his best moment all the way around.

Now preparing to upload a tribute video for that score (I'd hoped to have it finished by the deadline, but couldn't quite get it done. . . .).

just re-listened to it -that moment at around 6.53 when the pace quickens.

"Give 'em hell, 54!th"

during my recent listens of his music this past week can't help but think he had a way with drumbeat that set him apart from others. In Glory, Enemy at the Gates, Perfect Storm etc.

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The Perfect Storm

Starts out with sugary America broadly similar to Apollo 13, with elements of threat and danger added into the mix slowly. Culminating in some fina action music and the 4 note danger motif getting a work out.

I wouldn't rank this among his best, but its a fine example of why Horner was so good at what he did.

A few excellent themes presented in wonderfully undulating orchestrations. Perfectly capturing the emotional heart of the film.

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The Perfect Storm

Starts out with sugary America broadly similar to Apollo 13, with elements of threat and danger added into the mix slowly. Culminating in some fina action music and the 4 note danger motif getting a work out.

I wouldn't rank this among his best, but its a fine example of why Horner was so good at what he did.

A few excellent themes presented in wonderfully undulating orchestrations. Perfectly capturing the emotional heart of the film.

It's way too long, but the theme is fun, and it has its moments. Coast Guard Rescue has good stuff, and includes a direct tip from the coda to Bruckner's 4th.

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The Perfect Storm is the Perfect Horner (or at least one of many).

It presents his musical ideas at his very best, emotionally satisfying and extremely exciting in places, some of his best action music where I'm concerned.

A killer theme which gets a tremendous workout.

Long tracks where he developed all these ideas. I just love long developed cues, especially from him.

79 minute length feels just right. I've never ever felt it was too long, not even a minute.

The song is the icing on the cake.

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Cocoon

Another OST I had never listened to before, and I dunno why. This was very good! The Genesis Countdown appearance in The Chase was kinda funny :P but overall this is a solid album (minus that awful pop song, which admittedly I skipped after about 30 seconds in). The three main themes are all very good. One of them reminded me of the love theme from Zorro. The triple punch of Sad Goodbyes / The Ascension / Theme from Cocoon is one awesome way to end an album!

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This one has grown on me immensely. Time was when I didn't give it a second thought. Now it's a semi-serious contender for that Top-10 list (though not likely to make the final cut). There's a deeper passion at work here than might be immediately obvious to some. Really moving stuff.


What the hell man... it took you for the man to die to start listening to his greatest music. I'm disappointed. :nono:

Seriously! Cocoon was the first score to feature many of the sounds he would later replicate, and which still work brilliantly today.

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The Perfect Storm

Starts out with sugary America broadly similar to Apollo 13, with elements of threat and danger added into the mix slowly. Culminating in some fina action music and the 4 note danger motif getting a work out.

I wouldn't rank this among his best, but its a fine example of why Horner was so good at what he did.

A few excellent themes presented in wonderfully undulating orchestrations. Perfectly capturing the emotional heart of the film.

like the Decision to Turn Around and Rogue Wave but as has been said, the film is a bit of a dud. Petersen doesn't seem to have had much luck in recent years.

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Back To Titanic

Wow, what an interesting CD! I had basically forgotten what's on here; I've had it since it came out but haven't listened in a very long time. I LOVED the way it started - great Titanic music with an actual live person singing.... shame the suite then segues to the same Southampton cue that was on the first CD, with the same fake choir..... overall, the suite was good though. Then you get an odd mix of source music for a while, with annoying dialogue over it. Then some more nice Horner cues, the dialogue version of My Heart Will Go On, and it all ends with another nice suite of Horner material. So overall a mixed bag; Some great, worthwhile music worthy to be added to a playlist with OST stuff, and then a bunch of source stuff I never have a reason to listen to again.

I already said this, but its past due time for a comprehensive soundtrack release of Horner's score! Hopefully soon!

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I remember mixing that album in with the Titanic album to make a chronological playlist that I actually never listen to. The original album has a flow and personality all to itself, though the Back album adds a few decent tracks that are good add ons.

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Yea, "The Portrait" is an excellent track, as is the beginning of the suite

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listened to Wrath of Khan late last night and as always Khan's Pets got me thinking, incredible I know. During when Khan is talking there's an echoey sound that sounds like music that cropped up in Space Seed (and I think later episodes). It sounds quite close to it, to my ears. Either a stroke of fortune or did Horner try to link the episode to the film? Or am I reaching... :)

I've not read much about how the score was done beyond what Meyer said on the commentary.

This all aside, the expanded score sealed the deal for me when I got it a couple of years ago. The latter half of Chekov Lies which accompanies the shot of the Enterprise just before Kirk speaks to Carol, Genesis Cave etc. And though he didn't want Amazing Grace, it's inclusion here all the more potent now just prior to teh statr of Epilogue/End Title.

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listened to Wrath of Khan late last night and as always Khan's Pets got me thinking, incredible I know. During when Khan is talking there's an echoey sound that sounds like music that cropped up in Space Seed (and I think later episodes). It sounds quite close to it, to my ears. Either a stroke of fortune or did Horner try to link the episode to the film? Or am I reaching... :)

I heard the similarity too. I think it's possible it's supposed to be a brief nod to that episode's score (at least, it would make sense).

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It's not like most Horner scores, even if it shares certain DNA elements. It's quite elegant and subtle.

There's a wonderfully fluffy lightness to its lighter parts. Works perfectly in the film as well. The spotting is fantastic. Cosmo... Old Friend is as haunting as anything, and Too Many Secrets is one of the best buildup sequences I've seen in films.

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and Too Many Secrets is one of the best buildup sequences I've seen in films.

Love how that scene starts with a few people playing scrabble and turns into something very ominous.

"There isn't a government on this planet that wouldn't kill us all for that thing."

Le Dernier Loup (Wolf Totem)

This is really outstanding!

Very solid theme and Horner's usual flair for dramatic writing. Track 4 has a few Hornerisms (Sneakers/Apollo 13, Aliens, TWOK) and the 4 note danger motif turns up a few times, surprisingly sudued.

Not a single dull or uninteresting track on this release. And that closing 10 minute cue really is ace! Horner knew how to finish up a score

Can't wait to see the film!

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shame the suite then segues to the same Southampton cue that was on the first CD, with the same fake choir.....

It doesn't sound like the same performance to me. I'd guess it was recorded with the rest of the suite, but it's a weird choice not to use the real choir they had.

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I appreciate that fact and prefer the synth choir, but part of my curiosity with the suite was hearing it with a live choir. It just seems strange they would only use the real choir for some of the music.

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I guess I never paid close attention to "Titanic Suite" but you're right...its none of that synth choir--its the real deal. :o

Perfect Storm - the thing I remember most about that one is the six note french horn line that repeats. I was a horn player in high school, so I'm partial to them. :)

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and Too Many Secrets is one of the best buildup sequences I've seen in films.

Love how that scene starts with a few people playing scrabble and turns into something very ominous.

"There isn't a government on this planet that wouldn't kill us all for that thing."

Le Dernier Loup (Wolf Totem)

This is really outstanding!

Very solid theme and Horner's usual flair for dramatic writing. Track 4 has a few Hornerisms (Sneakers/Apollo 13, Aliens, TWOK) and the 4 note danger motif turns up a few times, surprisingly sudued.

Not a single dull or uninteresting track on this release. And that closing 10 minute cue really is ace! Horner knew how to finish up a score

Can't wait to see the film!

Black Gold is another cool recent Horner epic that's worth investigating. Check it out, if you haven't already.

Karol

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A Far Off Place

Another Horner OST I'd never listened to, to a film I've never seen. It was quite lovely, I enjoyed it a lot.

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Hadn't Horner's synth choir already been used in Apollo 13?

The synthesized choir parts in Titanic just do not sound right when performed by a real choir.

No the choir in that one is real. There may be a few instances of sweetening with a synth choir but that's all.

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