Greetings, Manic Fans. Les here to remember a film composer I loved:
He passed away in a plane crash yesterday at age 61, leaving behind an incredible legacy of music. Â A composer of symphonic film scores, James Horner had a signature sound that set him apart from other contemporary film composers. A composer who liked to incorporate choral work and synthesizer instruments with more traditional orchestral work and strong Celtic influences. His music had wonderful string sweeps and pulses, bold horn sections and wonderful percussion effects.
However, all my praising canâ€™t really do justice to his incredible work. Iâ€™ll let his work speak for itself as I list my top 12 favorite film scores by James Horner. Â I’ll list the films and give some selections from each to illustrate why they’re so great. Â These are not in order, theyâ€™re all wonderful.
#12. Â Battle Beyond the Stars(1980)
This oneâ€™s a purely nostalgic pick, as itâ€™s the first James Horner soundtrack I heard, and I loved it. One of his first soundtracks, itâ€™s weathered well, and is still awesome.
#11. Â Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
And, while I love the Star Trek scores by Jerry Goldsmith, I really love what James Horner did with his two films in the Trek â€˜verse.
Battle in the Mutara Nebula
#10. Â Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
And, I had to include his work on the sequel too, itâ€™s just so great.
Stealing the Enterprise
Returning to Vulcan
#9. Â Cocoon
Another outstanding work by Horner, you really feel the wonder and emotion in the music.
#8. Â Aliens
Talk about pulse pounding music? DAMN He really builds the tension and explodes with thrills and action in the music.
#7. Â An American Tail
One of my favorite Don Bluth films, this score just tugs at my heartstrings no matter how many times I hear it. The song, â€œSomewhere out thereâ€ was nominated for an Academy Award(lost to â€œTake my Breath away-Berlin,â€ but, I felt it deserved it more.
Give me your tired, your poor
Somewhere out there
#6. Â Willow
Using the John Williamsâ€™ trick of adapting existing classical music for a film score, James utilized some tracks by Janacek, Mozart, Bartok, Grieg and Shumann to â€œpepâ€ up this score and the results are amazing.
Willowâ€™s Journey Begins
Escape from the Tavern
#5. Â Field of Dreams
I love this soundtrack as it truly matches the scenes it scores. The emotional impact of dreams, regrets and redemption are at the heart of this outstanding film score.
Old Ball Players
The Place where Dreams come True
#4. Â The Rocketeer
You can hear a lot of ideas he used in other films throughout these two tracks, but the way he altered and enhanced them made for a new sound, a new feeling and itâ€™s gorgeous.
Main Title and Takeoff
You can hear a lot of ideas he used in other films throughout these two tracks, but the way he altered and enhanced them make for a new sound, a new feeling and itâ€™s gorgeous.
#3. Â Braveheart
Without this soundtrack, 50% of the soul wouldâ€™ve been missing from this accounting of the experiences of William Wallace.
#2. Â Apollo 13
How he managed to capture the raw emotional pride, terror, joy and utter adrenaline of this true story is astonishing. I cry every time that Saturn V lifts off the launchpad, and the music is a large reason why.
All Systems Go: The Launch
Re-entry and Splashdown
#1. Â Titanic
His most award winning soundtrack is magnificent, andÂ Iâ€™m including â€œMy Heart Will Go Onâ€ here-even if some of you are sick to death of this song. This was the song that won James Horner an Academy Award, and I love it too.
Never an absolution
Take her to sea, Mr. Murdoch
Unable to stay, unwilling to leave
My Heart Will Go On
Hereâ€™s to you, James Horner. My heart will go on loving the musical legacy you left behind. Thank you for some of the most beautiful music Iâ€™ve ever heard, my friend. Rest In Peace.