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James Horner's Top 10 Scores


Uni
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Someone in the "memorial" thread suggested we do our JWFan patented Top 10 poll for Mr. Horner, the same one we've done for Mr. Williams twice. No one else has volunteered yet to spearhead the project, and since I was always disappointed I couldn't put together the Film Composers' World Cup, I might as well be the one to kick things off on this.

The process should be familiar enough by now: Post your ten favorite James Horner scores (or the ones you consider his best) in order, starting with your favorite first, second favorite next, etc. You can number them if you like; if you don't, I'll assume the order you place them in is how you want them scored. That's pretty much it. If you can't come up with ten you've heard, list as many as you know and like; the top spot will still be given the same score as anyone else's.

We'll run this for a week or two. I'll try to keep up with the tabulation, so it doesn't take too long after time has been called to publish the results. (I haven't given deep thought to my own list yet, but I figured there's no reason not to let everyone start compiling their own.)

One more thing: you're welcome to just post a list of titles if you'd like, but feel free to add some commentary on why you've chosen any or all of your scores, why you've ordered them the way you have, or even just how you react to the music when you hear it. It would make another nice memoriam for the man if we expanded on how each of us reached our conclusions.

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Actually I volunteered to do it in the thread and said I was purposely waiting a little longer before starting it :P

But this is good, now I don't have to do the work :P

I won't be able to make a top ten list till I make my way through more of his discography. Only relistened to maybe 10 scores since it happened...

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Whoops--missed that part! Sorry. Didn't mean to step on your toes. I just recall it being mentioned, and I didn't want to have to go back through and search for it.

I figured we might take a little longer with this one for that reason. But I also figured that if people are listening through his works right now anyway, they might keep this ulterior motive bookmarked in the back of their mind while they're doing it.

And there's no reason people can't talk their way through it here, too--sort of let the discussion help gel things in their decision-making process. I actually think we could probably guess what scores will comprise the list right now; it's the order that'll be really interesting. Frankly, I know most of what'll be on my own list already . . . but choosing which one gets the top spot? That's going to take a little time.

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1) Titanic

2) Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan

3) Bicentennial Man

4) A Beautiful Mind

5) Field of Dreams

6) Casper

7) Avatar

8) Braveheart

9) Apollo 13

10) Star Trek III: Search for Spock

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I don't want to do a top 10 list yet but let me say how organic the Aliens score is. The music and sound effects begins and ends where? It's is brilliant and I don't think I am insulting a great Alien score by JG when I say Aliens is an even better score.

I've never seen or heard Braveheart but I will listen soon after I have digested on Aliens.

I can probably agree with I4 that Ti-Tanic is #1. It has earned it's place.

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1. Willow

2. Rocketeer

3. Land Before Time

4. Krull

5. Apollo 13

6. Star Trek II

7. Mask of Zorro

8. An American Tail

9. Something Wicked this Way Comes

10. Battle Beyond the Stars

Quite hard, except for the first 4 it could probably change if asked tomorrow

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1.) Titanic

2.) Braveheart

3.) Legends of the Fall

4.) The Land Before Time

5.) Balto

6.) The Mask of Zorro

7.) The Perfect Storm

8.) The Rocketeer

9.) Glory

10.) The Pagemaster

Very difficult, I left out a lot of great scores. The first four are pretty interchangeable, but Titanic was the first film score I fell in love with, so it has a special place in my heart.

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1) Apollo 13

2) Braveheart

3) The Perfect Storm

4) Brainstorm

5) The Name of the Rose

6) Star Trek III: The Search For Spock

7) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

8) Titanic

9) The New World

10) Cocoon

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1) Avatar

2) Titanic

3)Sneakers

4)The Amazing Spider-Man

5)Wolf Totem

6)The Land Before Time

7)The House of Sand and Fog

8)Star Trek 2

9)Black Gold

10)Legends of the Fall

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1. The Land Before Time
2. Apollo 13
3. House of Sand and Fog
4. Braveheart
5. The Spitfire Grill
6. Black Gold
7. Willow
8. Humanoids from the Deep
9. For Greater Glory
10. The Life Before Her Eyes

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My list (I don't have the stamina to add a lot of reasoning right now):

1. THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS

2. Avatar

3. Aliens

4. Legends of the Fall

5. Apollo 13

6. The Rocketeer

7. Braveheart

8. Titanic

9. The Mask of Zorro

10. An American Tail

Note that this is just today. It might change tomorrow, especially because I've recently acquired a lot more Horners to familiarize myself with; that may easily take a place in the top 10.

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You can change your mind right up until the polls close (which is at least a week or two away, so give those new scores a listen in the meantime).

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In no particular order:

Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan

Krull

Willow

Braveheart

Apollo 13

Legends of the Fall

Rocketeer

All the King's Men

Glory

The Spitfire Grill

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1. Brainstorm (it's probably his most evocative score, both terrifying and wondrous)

2. Apollo 13 (my first Horner album, one of his most memorable and inspiring themes)

3. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (big fan of the Spock and Spock/Kirk material, which this sequel has got in spades)

4. Cocoon (perfectly balanced, with light comedy, Horner sappiness and high s-f adventure)

5. The Legend of Zorro (actually both Zorro scores but this one is superior in many ways; he perectly nailed the character)

6. All the King's Men (weighty and conflicted, it's something else among Horner's drama works; plus, he orchestrated it on his own)

7. The Missing (of all the ethnic epics he's done, this is my favourite - combines many of the elements into one successful package)

8. Gorky Park (another interesting drama score, very different)

9. The Boy in Striped Pajamas (it's a non-cliched scores about Jewish Holocaust that doesn't resort to usual ethnic colours)

10. The Amazing Spider-Man (it's one of the few modern superhero action scores that puts character first and actually "gets" Peter Parker; it almost made the film look good and had a kick ass memorable theme).

My Sneakers album is on the way so I can't put it on this list yet (if it is indeed that good). Might change it later on, we'll see.

There are many scores that could have been on this list but I wanted to present some of my personal favourite that showcase Horner's versatility. The Name of the Rose is an excellent one but I've only heard it in the film and it's probably not a terribly good listen on its own (I'm guessing). That's why it's not here. Black Gold was high up, so were Flightplan, Willow, The Perfect Storm and Krull.

Karol

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Not a huge consensus so far.

Which is interesting, because I thought there would be. (I just figured everyone would agree with my choices, y'know. . . ?)

In casual order:

They won't be scored casually. STII will get the highest score on your list, followed by Cocoon, then Brainstorm, etc. If you have qualms about that, you'll want to rethink that ordering.

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1) The Land Before Time - my first Horner score, and still my favourite

2) Apollo 13

3) Willow

4) Brainstorm

5) Cocoon

6) Braveheart

7) Iris

8) The Missing - this is my Legends of the Fall, but with a more balanced and effective package than the celebrated score

9) The Four Feathers - Horner's instincts for ethnic writing were at his sharpest here

10) The New World

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I might add that while i think LEGENDS OF THE FALL as a proper score is a teensy bit on the mushy side it has three themes that Horner never bettered, at least in this idiom. Unfortunately the concert performances often omit the proper main theme for the first 1:20 of THE LUDLOWS on repeat which is a shame: it's Horner at his most ripe and i don't even think Williams has a match on him there.

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Wow . . . starting to tabulate things, and seeing some very interesting things. The score currently in 2nd-place is a mind-blower (well, to me, anyway), and some of the scores I thought were shoe-ins for the final 10 are nowhere near the top, at least not yet. This is turning out a lot differently than I figured it would—which is making it that much more fun!

In no particular order:

This is probably understood, but just in case . . . again, I can't make up the order, so it goes by the order you listed them in. Also, any "ties" will be counted as holding a single place in line, pushing the last score(s) off the end of the list.

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Didn't you get SNEAKERS signed when we had our session with Horner, Marian? I seem to recall so.

Absolutely. I even managed to form enough coherent words to tell him that it's my favourite of his scores.

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1. Braveheart

2. Krull

3. Legends of the Fall

4. Willow

5. Titanic

6. The Perfect Storm

7. The Mask of Zorro

8. The Land Before Time

9. The Rocketeer

10. Honey I Shrunk the Kids

The first 5 are set in stone.

The final 5 were tough to choose from, as there are a couple of other ones I rate just as highly, however the ones I chose are be the ones I enjoy the most from start to end.

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1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (the score that started it all for me)

2. Field of Dreams

3. Krull

4. The Name of the Rose (love his "borrowing" of Vaughn-Williams "Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis" during the Epilogue/End Titles)

5. Aliens

6. The Man without a Face

7. In Country

8. To Gillian...on her 37th Birthday

9. Legends of the Fall (the score that was robbed of an Oscar nomination)

10. Class Action (very under-rated and his "Memories of Mom" track really tugs at the heart strings)

As you can see from my list, I have delved into some of the gentler scores of James Horner as I find them to be his most intimate.

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I might add that while i think LEGENDS OF THE FALL as a proper score is a teensy bit on the mushy side it has three themes that Horner never bettered, at least in this idiom. Unfortunately the concert performances often omit the proper main theme for the first 1:20 of THE LUDLOWS on repeat which is a shame: it's Horner at his most ripe and i don't even think Williams has a match on him there.

Agreed. I don't dispute it's merit. It's a very fine score in the end that really helped define much of Horner's sound in the years that followed. I simply prefer The Missing as a whole, which I find a superior package of ideas.

Just heard Iris by the way. Lovely stuff. Might put in my top 10 even, can I revise my list Uni?

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Star Trek II

Rocketeer

Star Trek III

Aliens

Battle Beyond the Stars

Cocoon

Journey of Natty Gann

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Willow

Project X

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Star Trek II

Willow

The Land Before Time

Star Trek III

Legends of the Fall

Krull

Cocoon

An American Tail

The Rocketeer

Glory

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Getting ready to catch up on the last few entries. Before I do so—and see what changes it brings—I can report that the top 3 scores are separated by only 1 point apiece at the moment, as are the last 4 on the list. The surprise sleeper (again, in my mind at least) has dropped from 2nd to 4th, but is still contending strong. And one of the scores I thought would be in the top 10 for sure only has a handful of points so far.

So nothing's been decided yet, and there's plenty of opportunity for some shifting to come.

Just heard Iris by the way. Lovely stuff. Might put in my top 10 even, can I revise my list Uni?

Of course! Anyone can submit changes right up to the end—which still hasn't been absolutely determined yet. (I'll start a countdown in days when it seems like it's time to wrap things up.)

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  1. Apollo 13
  2. The Land Before Time
  3. Sneakers
  4. Brainstorm
  5. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  6. Willow
  7. The Man Without a Face
  8. The Rocketeer
  9. The New World
  10. Legends of the Fall
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1. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

2. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

3. Aliens

4. Krull

5. Battle Beyond the Stars

6. The Mask of Zorro

7. The Legend of Zorro

8. The Rocketeer

9. Titanic

10. The Amazing Spider-Man

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Horner is easily one of my favorite composers. I don't care that some of his music sounds like other music, or that he requotes Prokofiev often. Everyone has their own way to express emotion. Anyway, here are my top 10:

1.) "The Land Before Time" - my first introduction to Horner, and my #1 Horner score

2.) "Titanic"

3.) "Balto"

4.) "Legends of the Fall"

5.) "An American Tail"

6.) "Braveheart"

7.) "Willow"

8.) "The Perfect Storm"

9.) "Once Upon a Forest"

10.) "Jumanji"

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Does the Universal Pictures 75th Anniversary fanfare count? Because it would be in my list.

I actually prefer it to Goldsmith's (which is great too).

Karol

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Goldsmith's is good, of course. But Horner's, man...I could listen to that one all day.

I had it recorded on cassette with my Talkboy from Home Alone 2, from the beginning of the Back to the Future Part III VHS.

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1. Apollo 13

2. The Spitfire Grill

3. The Land Before Time

4. The Journey of Natty Gann

5. Sneakers

6. An American Tail: Fievel Goes West

7. The Mask of Zorro

8. Legends of the Fall

9. The Rocketeer

10. Searching for Bobby Fischer

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Does the Universal Pictures 75th Anniversary fanfare count? Because it would be in my list.

I actually prefer it to Goldsmith's (which is great too).

Karol

For the longest time I had no idea these two fanfares were Jerry's and James'. The perfect openings for any film IMO.

Tyler copying Jerry is testament to his inability to come up with something similarly awesome.

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Excuse me then for not wording it correctly. He recycled it, and made it sound generic.

Because Jerrald's fanfare was a hundred times better than anything he would've come up with.

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