RIP: James Horner

Academy Award-winning composer James Horner has died, according to multiple news outlets. James Horner was piloting his small plane when it was being reported as having crashed in California. Sad news for film today.

James Horner is probably best known to film audiences as the composer for the film Titanic; for which he won an Oscar. Along with composing the score, James Horner also wrote the song "My Heart Will Go On", which also won an Oscar for Best Song. Surprisingly, Titanic is the only film in James Horner's entire catalog of film scores and songs that ever won him an Oscar.

My personal favorite scores from James Horner, though were early in his career. I grew up watching the film Commando and love the instrumental score that James Horner brought to the film. It's unique and distinctive. Though sounding similar to Commando, the score for 48 Hrs. is another instrumental score that I really enjoy. The scores for these 2 films really invoke a character shot into what could have been just run-of-the-mill action films.

Though not even garnering an Oscar nomination, James Horner's work on the 1989 film Glory is a personal favorite of mine. The score uses some of James Horner's most familiar tropes, but comes together into a very classy score with some added bravura for good measure. Especially outstanding is the track "Charging Fort Wagner" wherein the heroes make their last charge. The track evokes so much all the emotion that has been building throughout the film and really provides the listener with something to remember the film by.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention, what could possibly be, James Horner's most iconic work: Aliens. Composed with the urgency that James Cameron shot Aliens with, the score to Aliens is frantic, yet never really feels cluttered. James Horner was interviewed for Aliens about his score and he mentioned that he did not want to work with James Cameron again as he was put under extreme pressure to complete the score in a short period of time. James Horner may not have enjoyed the conditions to making the score of Aliens, but he delivered one of the most iconic film scores of all time; including the track "Bishop's Countdown" which is a staple for many film trailers.


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