James Horner – An appreciation

James Horner, 61, died in a plane crash in California.
James Horner, 61, died in a plane crash in California.

The first movie soundtrack I remember obsessing over was Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. It’s a powerful cacophony of thumping brass and strings.

I listened to it incessantly. The years that followed led me to many other soundtracks, and very often they’d turn out to be by James Horner.




Apollo 13

Many had sweeping instrumentals and clever nuances. It’s sad to know that we’ll never hear another original Horner composition again.

What I also found interesting about Horner was something that perhaps others have used to criticize him – that he sometimes recycled his music. Similar themes from Star Trek II can be found in Aliens. Similar motifs from Sneakers found their way into Bicentennial Man.

I don’t know that this was a bad thing. His music was a life’s work, with repeated noted and similar themes.

James Horner was a wonderfully talented musician, who brought the stories and visuals alive with an emotional sound that served to make even the most pedestrian work resonate.

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