THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN: Composer Simon Franglen takes James Horner for a final ride – Interview

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN soundtrack | ©2016 Sony Classical Records

Few fans were aware of James Horner’s taste for daredevil thrills that made the soft-spoken composer rival just about any of the action heroes he scored. When Horner’s plane crashed into the desert far outside of Hollywood, a legion of admirers were at first astonished to find out how he perished, then swiftly overcome by the shockwave of just what the sudden loss of one of modern film scoring’s most notable signature voices meant. For where so many of Horner’s compatriots had fallen to the wayside over the decades when he first came to the fore, Horner had been on […]Read On »

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CD Review: A FAR OFF PLACE soundtrack

A FAR OFF PLACE soundtrack | ©2015 Intrada Records

Way before she trekked the Pacific trail, Reese Witherspoon braved 2,000 miles of the Kalahari desert in this surprisingly perilous 1993 adventure film from the family-friendly likes of Disney, who were certainly showing surprising bite at the time with the such movies as WHITE FANG. Having released that double score (along with a bunch of worthy soundtracks from other unlikely Disney pictures), Intrada dips again into the well they first dug for PLACE at the time of its release, now coming up with 75 minutes to fully show off James Horner’s relatively unsung, strikingly epic score. Even though he ventured […]Read On »

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CD Review: GORKY PARK soundtrack

GORKY PARK soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

James Horner’s career was taking off in 1983, due to a dynamic signature sound that often meshed impactful percussion with richly thematic melodies that paid homage to such modern classical Russian masters as Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky. So it was fitting that Horner’s music would journey to their Motherland with GORKY PARK, its unique story (by NIGHTWINGS‘ killer bat author Martin Cruz Smith) pitting a Soviet cop against a murderous American capitalist pig, with furry sables as the MacGuffin behind a skinned face triple slaying. One need not dig far to turn up Horner’s usual, impactful suspects with a score that […]Read On »

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CD review: CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER

CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER soundtrack | ©2013 Intrada Records

Horner fans will have a field day with this complete presentation for the composer’s second stab at Jack Ryan, Intrada’s two-CD set offering a virtual checklist of everything that’s great about the composer’s unabashed symphonic sensibilities. CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER offers the heroic outrage in full swing, from a valorous main theme to another mournful take on a classical piece (here reprising Aram Khachaturian’s “Gayane Ballet Suite” after ALIENS) and a organic-electronic mastery of world music – here tuned to the South American drug war. CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER was a welcome change of pace after Horner accompanied America’s favorite […]Read On »

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CD Review: The Best Scores of 2012

CLOUD ATLAS soundtrack | ©2012 Water Tower Records

THE BEST SCORES OF 2012 BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin / Cinereach Music) An adolescent’s ability to turn a dangerous world into a place full of fantastical possibility provides the subtext for this strikingly fresh, Cajun-cum-magical realism score by director Benh Zeitlin and co-composer Dan Romer. “Beast’s” flooded island is a palpable, dangerously enchanted place in this jambalaya of music box bells, fiddles and plucked strings, strongly melodic storytelling that dances with local flavor while taking listeners to a truly new, mythic land where giant prehistoric pigs can come to life. In the their native […]Read On »

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CD Review: FOR GREATER GLORY: THE TRUE STORY OF CRISTIADA soundtrack

FOR GREATER GLORY soundtrack | ©2012 Varese Sarabande Records

In an age when so many hypercritical film music fans rant about how every movie score sounds exactly the same, it’s to a composer’s credit if they have a musical signature that makes them stand out from the pack. But then, said golden age soundtrack devotees who are often the people mouthing these crotchety good old days generalities could easily say the same thing about their idols in a time when one could have easily interchanged the undeniably brilliant work of Erich Wolfgang Korngold with Max Steiner, or Dmitri Tiomkin with Victor Young for that matter. But there was certainly […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN soundtrack | ©2012 Sony Classical

Few movies set off the spider-sense like thoroughly unnecessary, or ill-funded pictures that have been made to cling onto a franchise, a la the dreadful Roger Corman FANTASTIC FOUR movie that’s thankfully never seen the light of day beyond bootleg VHS sellers at comic conventions. But even more problematic is when a huge-budgeted saga you would’ve liked to have seen continue with the original players (even if it had a lackluster last chapter) has broken down because of script issues and contract negotiations. With this being said, for a movie that has no real right to exist if those calamities […]Read On »

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CD Review: TITANIC soundtrack (2CD Anniversary Edition)

TITANIC soundtrack | ©2012 Sony Classical

“My Heart Will Go On,” and on and on and on with the popularity of the most waterlogged movie to win Best Picture, especially for the concurrent 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking and the 15th years since the movie’s release. So what better time to make hay of all things musically TITANIC than with multiple releases of its Oscar-winning score and song? While a four-disc soundtrack set offers copious source music and extra instrumentals, chances are TITANIC non-fanatics will be more than sated with this 2CD anniversary edition, which contains the lion’s share of Horner’s score, and, of course, […]Read On »

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CD Review: WOLFEN soundtrack

WOLFEN soundtrack | ©2011 Intrada Records

In the late 1970s and super early 1980s, James Horner had been clawing his way up from the low-budget likes of  THE LADY IN RED, HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP and BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS, giving 110% of his already formidable thematic talent to these enjoyable Roger Corman-produced flicks. It was only a matter of time before Hollywood would notice, and 1981’s one-two Orion Picture horror punch of THE HAND and WOLFEN would deservedly take Horner into the big leagues- even if these two thrillers remain cult items. Smong soundtrack fans, they’ve also been two of James Horner’s most-requested releases. Now […]Read On »

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CD Review: BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (1,000 Edition) Soundtrack

BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS soundtrack | ©2011 Buysoundtrax Records

Roger Corman has given breaks to such future Hollywood superstars as Martin Scorcese, Jack Nicholson and Jonathan Demme under the most pitiable budgetary circumstances.  What distinguished James Horner’s big musical break on 1980’s BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS is that it was Corman’s biggest budgeted-film yet, making it quite the step up for a 27 year old who’d impressed New World with his scores for UP FROM THE DEPTHS, THE LADY IN RED and HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP. Finally given a STAR WARS rip-off instead of some JAWS-inspired aquatic monster, Horner mightily rose to the challenge with this terrifically thrilling soundtrack, […]Read On »

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