In two new interviews, Simon Franglen shares valuable information about his experience completing The Magnificent Seven score, and working with James Horner.
This article provides insight into the beginning of Franglen’s career, his approach to the project, and tells the now-well-known story of the score’s origins.
“I’d spoken to [Horner] the day before he died. We’d been working on themes for the film a week before, and he was an incredibly close friend of mine…. We wanted to give Antoine the chance to hear the themes that James had written. We didn’t want them to disappear into the ether.”
Of the recording sessions, he says,
“The orchestra knew and loved James, and they played their hearts out. You can hear it in every note…. At the end of this, all I’m proud of is the fact that we did our friend proud.”
Most notably, the article contains the album’s final cue (not including the Elmer Bernstein track), Seven Riders, in which the two main themes can be heard. The cue can be played in its entirety. It is heartbreaking to think that this is the last James Horner piece ever written.
Franglen also discusses his work on the score for Terrence Malick’s upcoming film, Voyage of Time. (James Horner has previously worked with Malick on his film The New World.) The score is described as “avant-garde,” with “long passages of music.”
However, the article does contain some minor inaccuracies. The author writes, “Electronica elements, something of a hallmark for Franglen, were avoided at all costs.” While electronic elements are scarce, there are indeed brief moments with synthesizers, barely noticeable in the background. Also, the article mentions that “hand claps are a critical component of a theme that runs throughout the score.” There are several moments with hand claps, but they are not as frequent as is implied, and do not specifically relate to any theme.
In this video, we can hear the track Lighting the Fuse.
Pop Culture Tonight
In a telephone interview with Patrick Phillips, Simon Franglen discusses his relationship with James Horner, his work on The Magnificent Seven, and his collaboration with director Antoine Fuqua.
“I obviously wanted to make a score that reflected James’ wishes and his hopes for how it would sound, but I also had to respect Antoine’s need for a score that was part of his film, and therefore the score evolved with time…. Antoine took a big risk by hiring me to complete the score…and part of that was to respect where James had started, but also to make sure that we ended up where Antoine wanted to finish.”
For the first time, Franglen reveals that Horner was planning to write a score for director Yimou Zhang’s film The Great Wall.
“We’d met in London, and we had a very busy schedule coming up over the following year. We had not only The Magnificent Seven, but he was contracted to write the score for The Great Wall as well, the Matt Damon film, and also for an upcoming Mel Gibson film [Hacksaw Ridge]. I think he was expecting to do that in Australia, and there was a couple of other projects that I can’t talk about. But there was a lot of work going on. And as part of that, we wanted to get the jump on it. And he was also very excited by Magnificent Seven. It’s a western. And you don’t get to do westerns anymore.”
Franglen expresses his sorrow at losing one of his closest collaborators and friends.
“I remember speaking to him, I think about the day before he died. And he was in a really good place. Very happy, very, very enthusiastic about the upcoming work, and in particular about The Magnificent Seven.”
Among other things, Franglen discusses his work on Titanic, his experience working with James Cameron, and the upcoming Avatar sequel. When asked if there was any discussion of scoring Avatar 2, Franglen humorously answered,
“Absolutely nothing. No. And, um, if there had been I wouldn’t say anything.”