The Music of James Horner

Performed By: The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

Distributed by: Silva Screen Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Think of some of your favorite movies over the past three decades and chances are that their musical scores have been written by an American composer named James Horner.  On July 26, 2011, Silva Screen Records released a two-CD, twenty-seven track album dedicated to The Music of James Horner.

            James Horner was born in Los Angeles, California in 1953 and began his foray into music at the age of five, studying the piano.  Attending the Royal Academy of Music in London, Horner moved back to California in the early 1970s where he earned a Bachelorís Degree in Music from the University of Southern California and eventually a Masters and a PhD in music composition and theory at UCLA.  His first break into film scoring came in 1978 with the AFI film The Drought.  James Horner had found his calling.  Since then, he has created musical scores for such blockbuster films as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Krull, Gorky Park, Cocoon, Aliens, Willow, The Land Before Time, Glory, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Field of Dreams, American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Patriot Games, Legends of the Fall, Braveheart, Apollo 13, Courage Under Fire, Titanic, A Beautiful Mind, Apocalypto and Avatar.

            The Music of James Horner features selections of music from some of James Hornerís most celebrated works performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.  The album begins with his most recent film compositions and travels backwards to some of his earliest successful works.  The first CD features fourteen tracks of some of Hornerís most dramatic pieces like War from Avatar, Remember from Troy, The Wedding from Deep Impact, My Heart Will Go On and Take Her to Sea Mr. Murdoch from Titanic, For the Love of a Princess from Braveheart, Legends of the Fall and more. 

            The second CD features thirteen tracks and contains a mix of some of his lighter work like A Special Story from Weíre Back: A Dinosaur Story, Willow and The Land Before Time.  Interspersed in these light-hearted tracks are some more dramatic pieces like Charging Fort Wagner from Glory, Prelude/Ripleyís Rescue from Aliens, the End Titles of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and more.

            Each of the works selected for this album have a unique feel.  Many have an exotic tone - a hint of the orient in I Want to Go Home from The Karate Kid, the Celtic sounds of the Titanic and Braveheart tracks, the Spanish feel of The Mask of Zorro.  All of the orchestral pieces put me in awe of the musical vision of James Horner and his ability to create such beautifully unique and dramatic scores for each movie he works on.

            Most of the tracks on The Music of James Horner are over 3 minutes in length and the whole album took me over two hours to listen to.  With that much beautiful music lovingly performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, the $19.00US price tag is definitely a bargain that no music aficionado can afford to pass up.


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