REMINISCENCES: THE WORDS OF JAMES HORNER
June 20, 1995, almost twenty years to the day before … Dreams to Dreams was born from a man’s passion for an artist and the vivid musical tableaux he painted film after film. The nascent fanzine displayed an unwavering affection for a musical oeuvre unique to the landscape of cinema. Other enthusiasts followed suit, the project took flight, the fanzine broadened its scope to all of film music until it became a standard in its field. But even then it proudly wore its origins on its sleeve. It was always about James Horner; he was the key influence, the one that lay at the heart of it all.
Spring 1998. A few months after James Horner’s Titanic success, Dreams to Dreams published its first interview with the composer. Five years later, the fanzine changed its title and became Cinéfonia. The interview was the first in a series that would eventually forge a link between the Maestro and his fans in a spirit of analysis, mutual understanding and even some degree of complicity. Each new album release would prove a welcome opportunity to continue this ritual and deepen the ongoing analysis of an oeuvre as it was unfolding. This project was unique in the history of film music as far as we know.
February 2006. James Horner again took a moment to express and share with us his ideas on movie music. Nobody knew back then, but it was to be the last time. And now, a decade later, we dive into this behemoth interview, measuring the extent of the musical legacy we learned so much about thanks to the tremendous efforts of Didier Leprêtre. The exchange prompted by the score for The New World appears today as the most comprehensive and the most accomplished, one in which the artist shares his emotions with an unprecedented degree of sincerity and generosity. James Horner showed himself to be a free spirit, demanding yet deeply involved in his art and equal to himself. After everything had come to an abrupt stop, things got off to a second start on …
January 19, 2011. Another enthusiast took over the torch, starting from scratch to build JHFM into what it is today: a project continued, the possibility of a dream, battered now by fate, but never broken. Contacts were established, meetings were held and bridges were built between people of all walks of life. That, too, is a testament to the magic of music as envisioned by James Horner. Since that fateful, absurd and tragic June 22, 2015, we have embarked upon a new mission: to spread the Maestro’s legacy through the Internet. It was a true honor to prepare interviews with James Horner and find words to appropriately express our passion for music. Above all, every moment of it has been a pleasure and I owe it to myself to share it with you.
This is the challenge all reviewers face: how to find a way to put into words a mode of expression that doesn’t use any, and which fundamentally transcends emotion as it is conventionally expressed by language? We decided to try and solve the conundrum by throwing at it liberal doses of passion, commitment, perseverance and also a touch of madness. By staying true to ourselves, filters or compromise be damned. And by allowing the reflections of James Horner’s soul to shine through the mirror of film music, an art form so rich, varied and full of hidden secrets that it still defies classification. By choosing to focus squarely and solely on the voice of James Horner, completely free of editorial comment. All the interview material will eventually be widely available and accessible. For it is the widest audience, not the elite, to whom the Maestro always spoke. It is the very reason why he chose cinema to express his love of music.
We still had a good twenty years of wonders to look ahead to, notes to cherish, albums to analyse and interviews to organise. But as it turns out, these twenty years were not to be. On the other hand, the future is not exactly an empty wasteland either, steeped as it is in a vastly charged past and a present that never dies. At the dawn of a new promising career in the concert hall, the poet’s life was cut short, leaving us stunned, horrified and inconsolable. But grace and hope have not died with the artist. They are there, at the heart of Horner’s vast legacy.
The love for this art which we have come to know so intimately could result in us taking it for granted. But one of the many lessons to be taught here is that it is important to value and preserve what stirs our hearts so vividly.
So thank you, James, for making us dream.
Thank you for contributing to the richness of our lives.
Thank you for helping us believe, today and in the years ahead, that beauty and hope exist and will endure.
Your music is eternal.
We will never forget you.
Interview with James Horner (updated list with each new publication):
– The Words of James Horner #1: The Genesis – Publication planned for June 22, 2017
This post is also available in: French