Tuesday, 23 June 2015


James Horner, who has died when the plane he was piloting crashed, first caught my ear with his score for John Sayles' wonderful pulpy The Lady In Red; he also did the equally fine Battle Beyond The Stars with Sayles, and the score for another pulp gem, The Rocketeer. His obits mostly led with his big, schmaltzy score for Titanic, and he did the schmaltzyesque scores for, just as a sample, Field of Dreams and Braveheart. But his schmaltz always seems to have an edge to it, more Nielsen than say John Williams' Sibelius. There's more than a little Copland in Field Of Dreams too. It's a quality which made him perfect for lots of sf, and for the many sequels and remakes which he did, especially pulpy ones like Legend Of Zorro or Mighty Joe Young where he was often able to suggest the best tone of the original while going in new directions.  which is OK. It also means he was able to do more off-beat epic scores for unusual films, like Apollo 13, Glory, Apocalypto, The Perfect Storm or Legends Of The Fall, where his music highlights the smaller tensions beneath the epic ones. And as I discovered when Nate was young, his How The Grinch Stole Christmas is a gem. Check out his credits: he could do any kind of movie and do it well. RIP.

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