Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Snippet of James Horner

James Horner wrote some remarkable film music back in the 1980's, which was the prime of most all cinematic music. Film music today just stinks. It's computer-rendered garbage written by music majors with no understanding of how to utilize the components of a full orchestra (let alone the fundamentals of music theory.) Horner scores a couple of the Star Trek films in the 80's (thankfully not the "whale" one) and strangely, I've not enjoyed much by Horner over the last several decades. I thought his Avatar music was boring, and his Titanic stuff was just too overshadowed by that awful "near-far...wherever-you-are" stuff. Beyond that, I'm not sure what else he's even written since the 1980's. I think of him as one of those composers trying, and coming a little close, to following the John Williams mold and then, falling short, branched into doing more of those maudlin, simple-piano tripe. Still, it beats most of the generic, amelodic garbage padding most films these days.

Here's a theory: the more cinema branches into the digital, the greater the decline in musical quality in the soundtracks. Or maybe I'm just not keeping up with films and I'm missing the good stuff, but with what I've seen/heard lately in cinema, it just isn't happening anymore.

Skip the first :25 seconds of this short track and enjoy Horner's succinct cover of the principle Alexander Courage theme:

Another very energetic piece of work, with a touch or two of Prokofiev:

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