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JAMES HORNER FILM MUSIC | November 19, 2017 |

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JAMES HORNER'S 62ND BIRTHDAY: ALL IS THERE

JAMES HORNER’S 62ND BIRTHDAY: ALL IS THERE
Photo credit: © Sylvia Wells
 
James Horner left this world, leaving us stunned and inconsolable. It was the day after Father's Day, the second day of summer.
After this tragic and absurd June 22, we ran as our headline, "All is Lost,” a track title from the beautiful The New World. Since the departure of the composer, we must learn to live in this new world. A world without James Horner. So many notes will not be written.
 
In an interview about The New World (and for now only available in French), James Horner said:
"Timelessness is not what we are but what we remain. My music will be for me, on a scale that I still hope to climb."
Now that James Horner is with us no more, we still have his music. And when we look back to this vast filmography that leaves us a grand legacy, one thing is obvious: All is There.

Even with so many notes left unwritten, so many notes have already been and we will prove throughout our lives, we who have the chance to yet live, how James Horner was and will remain a great composer. All is here, in front of us, such a gift he left us. From start to conclusion, spanning thirty-six years and comprising hundreds of hours and millions of notes, it is a work that is undeniably finished, and therefore: complete. Whole. Entire. And there for us to enjoy until sound no longer reverberates through the vaults of our cathedrals and the halls of our museums and the walls of our canyons.  It is eternal.
 
James Horner also said:
"Somewhere I am spiritually this tree, this bird, only to believe in Mother Nature. And I believe it. But more than Nature, there is Love and Nature."
Let us love his music, this priceless gift, a real connection with his mind. He is in all of us. Free ourselves from the past and the future. Listen and live fully in the present moment. Develop our spirituality and awaken us to the emotions, feelings that run through us to listen to his incredible music. Open our hearts and love. All is there. James Horner is there.
 
We wanted to bring together on one page all the homages written by James Horner’s collaborators. Some were released days following the tragedy, so we indicate the source. Others are previously unpublished and we warmly thank those who responded to our call.
In the second page you will find tributes written by our readers.

James, these two pages are for you. All is there for you. Happy Birthday, Maestro.
 
"I was privileged to work as James’ music editor on over 75 films spanning 28 years. Losing him is like losing a limb.
He loved movies and his understanding and sensitivity to the role music plays in the soundtrack was unparalleled.  His spirit was communicated in the beautiful and emotional melodies he wrote for so many of the films that defined his era.  Whether using the full orchestra or a single piano line he always got to the heart of a scene without overpowering it.  
Working with James allowed me to work with the finest musicians, playing his incredible music, in the finest studios in the world.  We also shared a deep personal relationship and I will always be grateful for his kindness and his friendship."
 
Jim Henrikson
Music Editor
 
"We are in shock and grieving the loss of a great artist and great friend. His craftsmanship was incredible, his dramatic sense was unique, and his music touched people around the globe. He was also a very smart, funny, considerate man. He made an unforgettable impression on me, and I'm so grateful for the many adventures and opportunities that he included me in. My deepest sympathies go out to his family and loved ones."
 
Joe E Rand
Music Editor
 
"James Horner was born to score films. His action music was not only energetic; it was exciting.  His love themes were not only memorable and beautiful; they were emotional. His music invariably elevated any film of which it was a part. Indeed, in the films James scored, his music reached out beyond the screen, allowing we in the audience to feel with our hearts what we saw with our eyes: all the joy, all the heart break, exhilaration, thrills, humor and humanity that images alone could not bring to life; with James’ music, not only were they brought to life, they were brought into our lives and made unforgettable. His music made all our lives richer, the films he scored deeper and more human. His legacy as a composer and filmmaker will endure as his work continues to be heard and experienced. James’ untimely death is a tragedy, but his work will engage, delight and move audiences forever. Vale et gratias James."
                                                                                                                           
Conrad Pope
Composer
 
"James Horner was a sincere, warm, honest and courageous man.  It was an honor to be his principal french horn on over 50 projects in the USA and to play his concerto "Collage" in England. The audience, at Royal Festival Hall, loved his piece. I believe it is due to the way he always wrote from his heart and that feeling resonated throughout the world. I have lost a musician brother and I look forward to our continued association in the eternities."
 
James Thatcher
French Horn player
 
"What a terrible, shocking event. My abiding memory of James is his professionalism, his humour and his humanity. He was one of the most gentle souls one could ever hope to meet. His music, for me, has been inextricably linked with my life as a horn player, and I feel huge sadness that no more magic well flow from his pen. I will miss him as a friend, and the music world is left that much poorer from his loss."
 
David Pyatt
French Horn Player
 
"He was a wonderful and exceptional film composer, and he was a very nice man. Very gentle man, very soft-spoken chap and he was very supportive of all the musicians he worked with"
 
Hugh Seenan
French Horn Player
source: FSM Online
 
"First time I met James was in Universal studios in L.A back in 1997. I was asked to meet him in connection with his future recording of the score for the Titanic movie. He sat down by the piano in this big orchestral room, and asked me to sing along as he played.  He played me the tunes that the film is so well known for today. I remember I got goose bumbs and burst out. «That is so beautiful!» When he asked me after we sat there humming through the lines: «So you would like to do this?»  I immediately said yes!  I simply loved the music from the first time I heard it, and I  thought that James must be so wonderful to work with. And he was!
As from the first meeting I became a great admirer of James.  He made it so easy and joyful to work. I felt we cooperated in a very relaxed and fruitful way. No stress, much laugh in combination with mutual respect. I loved the idea he had that my voice was an instrument. And that it in a way was the voice of Rose. He gave me time and space, as well as a good feedback, to work out the sound and emotions in the lines.
I have over years met James several times and my admiration for him increased every time we met. James was an extraordinary person – not only as composer, but also as human being and as a friend. His warm heart, his calm, his smile and his ability to inspire was special. When we had dinner together I felt he filled the room with his low, soft voice in a way that made me feel uplifted. He was a special and wonderful person. No one can replace him. One can find bits and pieces with others but nothing like James.
I will miss James very much. Always. Ideas we discussed will only be that….  ideas – not to be realized in this world. So, one can only hope to meet him again, where the ideas can be fulfilled."
 
Sissel
Singer

 

"So saddened by the tragic loss of James Horner, an incredible inspiration and a brilliant composer. He was a legend, an artist and a great friend. I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to work with him in 2002, on the soundtrack of the movie The Four Feathers which has such special meaning to me and happens to be my favorite collaboration. It was also an honor for me to be the feature vocalist for his composition for the movie Apocalypto released in 2006. Working with him was such a wonderful experience for me.
He was a brilliant composer and a true filmmaker.  We have lost a special soul who through his music and film, touched so many people. He has left us with the gift of incredible music to be cherished forever. We’ll always remember you. He will be missed."
 
Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
Singer
 
"I first met James early in his career – working on the score of a little film called The Stone Boy, very simple score with mostly vocal solo, guitar and vey small ensemble…on the Disney scoring stage…everyone called him Jamie in those days.  He was a bit nervous, it seemed to me, as it was early in his career.  But he was sweet. In the years to follow I worked on many scores for him as a singer – Apollo 13, Sneakers (two sopranos, Darlene Koldenhoven and I did a lot of solo cues featured in this score and it was quite a thrill) and then later I contracted for him – Beyond borders, Mighty Joe Young…and other scores.  He worked so often eventually in London, that he came back called our “American” eighth notes “semi-quavers” which I always thought was darling! When we worked on the Todd-AO scoring stage, (a wonderful space which is no longer there – replaced by office space cubbyholes!) he always filled the control booth with fun items like those bubbling lamps, and other artifacts – it felt like an amusement park!  I listened to James’ score the other night for Field of Dreams, which is one of my most favorite films and scores – it brought me to tears.  I did not work on it, but its perfect marriage to the emotions of the film touched me so deeply.  We will miss him, his magnificent music and his sweet smile."
 
Sally Stevens
Singer – Choir Contractor
 
"James had a gift which stretched beyond his outstanding musical talent, the power to better people's lives. He did this through his art, but also in the everyday, turning the ordinary into something rather sublime, just by being present and open. He filled the air with magnificence and fine humour, a reflection of his undying  "joie de vivre".  I will never forget his generosity and the trust he put in me from the very first moment we met – and I feel so lucky to have known him, to have sung for him, and so grateful for our conversations about life, love and flying."
 
Clara Sanabras
Singer
 
"Rene and I are shaken by the tragic death of James Horner, whom we considered a friend. We will always remember his kindness and great talent that changed my career. We send our prayers and deepest condolences to his family and friends."
 
Céline Dion
Singer
source: celinedion.com
 
"I am happy and sad at the same time. Happy to know that I have met one of the greatest composers of our time. Happy to have worked close to a man who told so many stories through his music. Happy to have got compliments when conducting his Pas de Deux. Happy to have seen the Maestro himself conduct his music from Titanic, Braveheart and Wolf Totem. Happy to have seen his joy and smile during a boat-trip in the Norwegian fjords. Happy to enjoy all the music he made.
Sad to know he is gone.
Very sad."
 
Torodd Wigum
Conductor
 
Still trying to wrap my head around the loss of James. Thanks to everyone for the fb posts, they have brought back some really great memories of our time at Todd-AO. It's amazing that so many people's lives and paths changed due to his music, but I think I speak for the crew and I when I say, the music was just the bonus. We got to see a side of James that people just didn't get to see. So thought I would share some of the good stuff.
Sylvia and I tagged him J-Ho…. he loved it, Salah H. asked if he could call him Jimmy….yeah, not so much. His standard lunch order…two orders of miso soup for 15 years, Teru Sushi didn't make rent after we closed. 10 Cadbury chocolate bars, a box of PG tips, binder clips, and the key to the vending machine was a given…Finding a Christmas tree in September, ten fiberglass airport chairs for the percussion, and 3 lava lamps for the control room, that took a little coordination. James, Ian, Randy, Jim, Joe, Jay, David, Andy, and Shawn….the Original Gangstas of the control room..with the synth rigs, toys, and the film decor provided by Joe, navigating my way to the machine room was easier when I did the mud run at Pendleton. But man did we have fun. I remember buzzing into the vocal booth 3 times during a red light on Charlotte Church's solo (I thought they were ignoring me), watching Z and Fisher play taiko drums on an empty stage for Mighty Joe Young, telling Ron he had to tune five Steinway pianos for a 10AM downbeat…."yes Ron, I said FIVE." Here's a good one….James would always ask me to listen to the lyrics when he had a song in the movie to make sure I understood the words…in other words, fresh ears. It was a Friday night, I had plans, and just wanted to get the heck out of there when the intercom came on "Kirsten, can you come in here please" so I run in and sit down at the console and he played back that song in A Perfect Storm….I had no clue what the hell she was singing, all I could think about was how I would make Rosarito Beach by 12AM. So song ends and I'm like "yeah….understood every word" and James goes "really? even the line after the chorus?" ….I said "yup" as I started to stand up, "every word". as I reached for the door I hear….. "what did you think the words were in that line because Simon thinks its completely different than what I had her sing." Needless to say, I was so busted….I ended up getting the menu book instead hightailing it to Mexico. James had quick timing and a wicked sense of humor, and we all would double over at some point in the day. You just wanted to be in the room and watch him create, mimic the boys, tell dirty jokes, and watch as he would tell Gebauer that he needs to sync up the hopping human brain toy with timecode. I miss the faces, the long days, taking tens, and telling Raul that Horner's Genex machine rental was $850/day…. I have a ton of memories just like this that I will always always keep close.
Sylvia, I hope your heart heals soon, Jim and Joe – it wasn't a Horner gig until I heard the word "Skippy" and saw Joe in fatigues…Si, I still can't hear you but I miss you, and Ian, I loved when you came in for set up days and Dennis Ryder would show up 3 hours too early..HA! Kidding! I truly miss you Ian Underwood.
 
James, thanks for the laughs and the music….and make sure your posters in the lobby never change.
 
Kirsten Smith
Manager of the ToddAO scoring stage
source: facebook.com
 
James, forgive me, but I lost count of how many movies we did together and had to count them up. 35! How did that happen? Not to mention all that other wonderful stuff!
Now I can’t believe you’re not with us anymore.
I loved your big musical heart, your choice of notes and colours that made up your own uniquely identifiable sound. I loved your sense of humour that sailed ever so close to the wind. I loved the amazing place you created with its whizzing machines and strange collections, stimulating your boundless curiosity.
You were a great man, so gifted, warm & generous. You will be sadly missed by us, Team Horner, and everyone in the music and film world you touched.
You meant the world to me, it was an honour to be your friend and I shall miss you so much.
 
Simon Rhodes
Sound Engineer – Producer
source: facebook.com
 
James,
You were wonderful, warm, funny, insufferable … and a thousand other adjectives that don’t come close to describing you and the contradictions that made us love you and throw our arms up in the air at the same time. You were a guy who’d skied well enough to be on the snow patrol in Utah, flew aerobatic aeroplanes, went down caves searching for rare crystals, obsessively collected wooden toys and perspex lights… and somehow managed to fit in a job as a composer of some of the best music ever written for film. Working with you was an education in everything that I loved about the link between emotion and music.
You loved your daughters above everything and were as devoted a father as one could imagine and my heart goes out to Sylvia who has been such a wonderful part of your life.
I spoke to you yesterday and you were in such fine form and great spirits, really enjoying life at the moment, I can’t believe you’re gone.
You were a dear friend to Angela, Luca and I and were part of our family. You were a great musician and it was an honour to know you. I am going to miss you terribly.
With love,
 
Simon Franglen
Arranger – Producer
source: facebook.com

 
"It was an honor and pleasure working with and getting to know this great musician."
 

Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann
Songwriters
 
"James,
Your music was the window in to the soul of our movies and it touched the hearts of audiences around the globe. You will always be a part of my soul and forever in my heart."

 
Jon Landau
Producer
 
"James came to the rescue and did the score for ‘Spitfire Grill’ totally on spec, giving all the money to the 70 local union musicians who performed his magnificent music. He was amazing to watch work, conducing the orchestra without a ‘click track,’ and making modifications to the score, as needed, on the spot! Could not have been more gracious or inclusive, and was more thrilled than anyone at the success of the film and its Sundance Audience Award.”
 
Jonathan Dana
Producer
Source: facebook.com

 

"Like all of you I was shocked and saddened to hear about the tragic accident that took the life of one of the world's most creative composers and collaborators. One of the highlights of my career was working with James on The Rocketeer. He was very excited to write the score for a film that featured one of his great passions, aviation. James had watched a rough cut of the film and invited me into his studio to hear his idea for the main theme. He sat down at the piano and played the very simple and eloquently beautiful melody, playing the keys with one hand. With a few simple notes he somehow captured the essence of the story and set to music the romance and adventure of another time. After he finished scoring the film I asked him to autograph the sheet music for the Main Title. It is still one of my cherished possessions and his score for The Rocketeer is my all time favorite. It was an unforgettable honor to work with James and I will miss him and all the wonderful scores that we will never be allowed to enjoy. Thank you, James, for all you have given us."
 
Joe Johnston
Filmmaker
 
"The loss of James Horner is a profound one for all who loved his music and the movies he elevated so brilliant through his work.
Those of us who had the opportunity to work with and befriend James will miss his wit, his intelligence, his fascination with the world and his remarkable talent and taste.
I was fortunate to collaborate with James on seven movies, none of which would have been the same without his genius.
He will be missed, though his remarkable music will live on. My heart goes out to his loved ones.
Rest In Peace, James."

Ron Howard
Filmmaker
source: facebook.com
 
"He was my friend and the closest collaborator. One of those people I thought I would be working with forever. I never guessed that he would go first. I love you, James! You genius, mensch and friend.
One of the few people in this world, who "got" me. Now there are almost none left. He gave me his talent and generosity. I am absolutely broken over this."

 
Vadim Perelman
Filmmaker
source: facebook.com
 
"We became close friends and he was often at our place. He was warm, caring and always had time for the people he met. It was a fantastic experience working with him. He was a genius in all his simplicity. He made it sound beautiful without having to use unnecessary effects."
 
Harald Zwart
Filmmaker
source: NRK
 
"A rare artistic genius. He did not merely augment the image he was presented with, he was able to transcend its matter and logic & travel straight to the heart and soul with his magical gift … a gift that truly reflected his own heart & soul. I will miss him."
 
Mel Gibson
Filmmaker
source: people.com
 
"James is – he was an incredible human being. He was a filmmaker through and through. He was one of the most gentle people I've ever met. Even the way he spoke was very soft and thoughtful. He was magical. And he had this childlike wonderment in his eyes, but he was an amazing artist, an amazing poet."
 
Antoine Fuqua
Filmmaker
source: npr.org
 
"I was doing a lot of thinking about James when I heard the news and I checked online. The beginning and end of his filmography are films that he did, or would have done, with me. It’s a curious bookend. We both started out on the same film in 1980, and his last listed films are the Avatar sequels, which he would have begun later this year.
We only worked together three times, and each time it was a decade apart — Aliens in the mid-eighties, Titanic in the mid-90s and Avatar in ‘08 and ‘09.
I met him on Battle Beyond the Stars, which was my first film getting a paycheck. I entered as a junior model builder and ended up three months later as production designer, which could only happen on a Roger Corman production. The score was absolutely the best thing about the film. It was a full-on orchestral score, not some rinky-dink synth score. After that I ran into him a few times and Gale Hurd and I, being Corman alums, watched him skyrocketing.
He was the obvious choice to do Aliens but we got off to a bad start. It was a time in his career when he was overbooking himself. He recorded the whole score in a day and a half in London and then he was gone. We wound up editing the score ourselves. He got an Academy Award nomination, so he thanked me afterwards but we both allowed that was not the best way to do things.
When I was doing Titanic, he had just done Apollo 13 and Braveheart. I thought, “I don’t care what happened, I want to work with James.” We had this very cautious meeting where we were falling all over ourselves to be polite. We laughed about it so much in subsequent years. But we developed a very transparent means of communication which made for a great working relationship. He totally committed himself to the movie. He blocked out his schedule and sat down and watched maybe 30 hours of raw dailies to absorb the feeling of the film.
I asked if he could write some melodies. I believe that a great score really consists of something you can whistle. If that melody gets embedded in your mind, it takes the score to a different level. I drove over to his house and he sat at the piano and said, “I see this as the main theme for the ship." He played it once through and I was crying. Then he played Rose’s theme and I was crying again. They were so bittersweet and emotionally resonant. He hadn’t orchestrated a thing, and I knew it was going to be one of cinema’s great scores. No matter how the movie turned out, and no one knew at that point — it could have been a dog — I knew it would be a great score. He thought he had done only five percent of the work, but I knew he had cracked the heart and soul.
My one regret after that production — or the one I remember in this context — is that I didn’t get to go to most of the orchestral scoring sessions. I made it to one. But the orchestra loved him. He always worked with a lot of the same players. Unlike most composers, he also conducted. He was classically trained. It was his room and they were sure to make something great. If I thought maybe there was something that wasn’t supporting the picture, he could turn on a dime and make it work.
Avatar was in some ways the trickier film. It didn’t lend itself to big, sweeping themes the way Titanic did. He did a lot of research with an ethnomusicologist to find different sounds. He did an awful lot of experimentation. The score is a bit richer than maybe people perceive. You start layering in all the sound design and some of the texture of the score gets lost in the mix. I wound up having to fight for the score, as you typically do. Composers always think the score should be more prominent.
A couple of months ago, in April, they did a night at the Royal Albert Hall where the orchestra did the entire Titanic score live to the movie. James was there to take his bows. Jon Landau and I went to London just for the concert, and we had a kind of reunion. It was emotional and I'm glad that was my last personal memory of James."
 
"James was a close friend and an inspiring collaborator, When we worked together he drove me and I drove him to be the best we could be. With his music, he elevated my films and all those he scored. In the music of cinema he stands with a tiny group of masters. His scores were soaring, majestic, pulse-pounding, richly textured and above all, emotional, he wrote music from the heart, and he had a big beautiful heart.
Our work together spanned 30 years, with the ups and downs of a married couple – and what was left in the end was love, vast admiration and a giddy excitement about doing it all again. The only thing he loved as much as music was aviation. Just as he would soar among the clouds with his music, he did it for real in planes and helicopters. He was uncompromising in his pursuit of excellence, both in the creation of a new score, and in defying gravity with his aerobatics. And although gravity sometimes wins, nothing will ever extinguish the soaring of James' mind and heart, which will live on forever in his music.
I will miss his humor and intelligence, his genuine warmth as a human being. And I will miss the music that never gets written now, the scores I longed to hear. I will miss the give and take of two artists working together, as two opinionated guys who always managed to get the best out of each other and remain best of friends afterward.
Thank you, James. Fly brother."
 
James Cameron
Filmmaker
source: people.com
 

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Comments

  1. On this very special day, I would like to say how magical it has been to spend the day listening and reading so many wonderful writings and music from James’s family of friends from all over the world. His own family must be so touched by the work people have provided for this wonderful date, how sad it truly is that James cannot witness the love he has been shown. I feel so sad and yet so happy at the same time to be a part of it in my own little way. I can only add to the tremendous amount of writings today that Remember Me from Troy is very significant…Remember, I will still be here, if you will only Remember Me. I have placed a prayer of remembrance for today in James’s honour, on my visit to london, in a church quite near to the Royal Albert Hall, as that evening on the 27th April gave so much pleasure to so many people, and I signed it from “your friends from all over the world”. We will always Remember You.Pamela.

  2. Zoe Potter

    On that horrible June 22nd I sat at home still on summer break and I just listened to his music. My head is still wrapping around the concept. My heart has already begun the slow process of healing. I am a young musician and it was my dream to work with him on a score or at least perform in the orchestra he had conducted. On August 14th, which is just a few months away again, I also celebrated my birthday. It was a true honor to share a birthday and a true love of films and film music.
    When he died he was really truly doing what he loved to do with life. His passion wasn’t just the music, it was up in the clouds, which was where his heart was. This is my tribute to him now after his half birthday.

    James, though I never got the honor to actually meet you I just want to say thank you. Thank you not only for the music but for the memories you helped create for people like me and so many others. When I was 9 I had this fascination with Titanic and the movie was on one night and my mother was out for a show so I decided to watch it. Then I cared little about the music and more about the ship and the acting between Kate and Leo. I watched it again many days later and payed closer attention to the score and thought ‘Who made the music for this amazing movie? I just have to know.’ And I did have to know. When I found out it was you I just had to become a musician and that’s what I did. In 5th grade a couple years later I tried for the violin and I loved it. I had been playing it no less than 3 years when I heard you had left us. My life had changed the second day I saw Titanic. I don’t own it but I own Avatar which I truly love. For fans around the world August 14th is a day to celebrate you, for me, it is more of a sad day because I don’t get to share it with the wonderful man who created such amazing music. Thank you for everything James. I hope you are at peace where you really belonged. Zoe

  3. Zoe Potter

    Will there be another topic like this for his birthday this year.

    • Jean-Baptiste Martin

      No sorry Zoe …

  4. Pamela Read

    One year has past by so fast, and James would now be 63. I have been away on holiday and had a detour on the way to spend a day in Liverpool. I found the Philharmonic Hall, where Mari and Hakon played and had my photo taken by the Titanic plaque as James had done. Then nearer his day, a visit to Cobh to the Titanic Memorial Gwrden where I lit a candle in honour of his birthday. God Bless yiu James. Pamela.

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