I’m something of a soundtrack nerd. When I was a kid, in the increasingly distant 1970s, I was listening to the soundtracks to such movies as Star Wars, Alien, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Superman and movies like that. And this is while other people my age were getting into The Eagles, Pink Floyd, ELO, Boston, etc. Not me. Lock me in a room, give me a few scifi or fantasy books (no horror yet…that would come later), and I was a happy kid.
John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith were the big names…and, of course, James Horner.
My first exposure to his music was with the soundtrack to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan…arguably the best of the Star Trek movies and, arguably again, the best score. Great cues there, from the opening, almost nautical motif to the bombastic battles between the Enterprise and the Reliant.
But he had a lot more…Aliens, Field of Dreams, Avatar, Bicentennial Man, Titanic (ugh) and Glory, which I am listening to as I write this. Glory is sublime. I’m a bit of a Civil War nerd, too, and Glory manages to capture the Civil War perfectly. It is like the soundtrack to the actual Civil War, not just a movie.
Anyway, I was very sorry to hear that Mr. Horner died the other day in a plane crash. Horrible way to go, and horrible to lose someone so talented. Got me thinking of what it means to be an artist, at least at the level of an ideal. To create a thing of beauty that will outlast its creator. It’s like leaving little pieces of yourself behind for the world to appreciate after you’re gone. I think James Horner did that, beautifully.
Don’t know if I will reach that level, but it’s definitely something, as an artist, I aspire to.
Godspeed, James Horner