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JAMES HORNER FILM MUSIC | September 23, 2017 |

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THEY TALK ABOUT LEGENDS OF THE FALL

THEY TALK ABOUT LEGENDS OF THE FALL
Jean-Baptiste Martin
To celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the recording of James Horner's score to Legends of the Fall that occurred from April 6 to 19, 1994, we had the chance to collect the memories of Jim Henrikson and Jay Ungar, who participated in the creation of this music. It is a great privilege to publish their thoughts.
We also wanted to open our column to our visitors and give them the floor. Thank you to all for your participation.
 

 
Jay Ungar – Fiddle
"It was an honor to work as a soloist with James Horner on his score to Legends of the Fall and with music editor Jim Henrikson and engineer/mixer Shawn Murphy. The recording process was thoroughly enjoyable musically, socially and professionally and many fond memories remain. 
I was so impressed when James explained the setting and emotional content of each scene to the orchestra during the recording process. For several key scenes he invited orchestra members into the control room to view excerpts of the film along with the music they had just played. Including the players in the creative loop surely helped bring out their best and most heartfelt performances. 
At one point in the process director Edward Zwick asked James to move the peak of a musical cue later in relation to the emotional peak of a scene. James put the orchestra on break while he and Ed hashed out the change and James jotted the changes in his score. When the orchestra returned James dictated the changes to the players and the revision was recorded. We then heard it underscore this very crucial and emotional scene and to my surprise, though I'd already viewed the scene several times, this small and subtle change actually brought a tear to my eye. Timing, timing, timing!
While recording the first few musical cues with the orchestra for Legends of the Fall, I felt like I wasn't really nailing it pitch-wise, but I couldn't quite figure out why. During a break in the session one of the wind players told me that the orchestra was tuned to A-442, not the A-440 that I'd expected. Whew! Thank you! Things got a lot smoother for me from there out. 
My wife Molly and I loved the melodic themes that James had composed for each of the main characters in Legends of the Fall. We arranged them in a medley on our next album, "The Lovers' Waltz." That was in 1997. Fans still request those tunes at our concerts.
One afternoon after I was done for the day, Molly and I decided to stay a bit longer at the studio to watch and listen as the project progressed. We noticed three elderly gentlemen sitting in a far corner of the rather spacious control room and wondered who they were. A little while later James brought us over to meet them. They were three of our heroes, Anthony Hopkins, George Martin and legendary harmonica virtuoso Larry Adler."
 
Jim Henrikson – Music editor
"Having just listened once more to the score for Legends of the Fall I must admit I had mixed feelings. First, an overwhelming appreciation of the scope and beauty of James’ music and second, a sense of sadness and loss that today we have so few opportunities to record this type of music for a motion picture.
I believe it to be one of James’s finest efforts as it demonstrates his command of writing beautiful themes set in compelling orchestrations.
His use of Jay Ungar as a soloist is an example of another of his unique talents. Choosing a special solo player to feature in the score. For example; Branford Marsalis on Sneakers, Alasdair Frasier on The Spitfire Grill, Joshua Bell on Iris, and many others over the years.
We recorded the score at Air Lyndhurst Studios in London with the LSO and as always it was a pleasure to be in those surroundings with such gifted musicians.
Because of the overall size, scope and sweep of most of the music, in the sequence where Tristan seeks revenge for the assaults on his family, James chose to underscore this with a small group. After the orchestral sessions we repaired to a small studio just outside of central London to do overdubbs and create the music for this scene. Kazu Matsui on Shakuhachi, Tony Hinnigan and Mike Taylor on pan pipes and other ethnic instruments, Ian Underwood and Randy Kerber on synths and the voice of Maggie Boyle. There is percussion on the track but I can't recall who played it or if it was synth generated. It's a technique James' employed again on a similar sequence in Braveheart."

Tom Hudson (James Horner Film Music)

"I bought the soundtrack to Legends of the Fall on March 16, 1995—a full two months after its January 10 release date, and of the few instances where I didn’t snatch up a new Horner release immediately. The World Wide Web James Horner Shrine wouldn’t exist for another 11 months, so my enjoyment of Horner’s music was something I privately shared with my girlfriend and those who knew me best. Even my college roommates had heard great things about the music to the film, so when I brought it home, we—my roommate, my girlfriend, and I—all listened to it together over the speakers I had wired throughout our apartment. And strangely—on that first listen, it didn’t really resonate with us. Something about that setting though, probably dulled the emotional efficacy of this score. About 8 hours later, when I turned in for the night, I listened to this on headphones in the still darkness of my room… and I wept. I’d been a James Horner fan for several years by this point, but I’d never had music stir my soul quite like this. From that first duet of trumpet and fiddle, overlaid with shakuhachi and pan pipes, I felt like a small stream of steady rain drops was trickling onto the parched landscape of my innermost being.
Anyone reading this probably knows exactly what I’m talking about: Legends of the Fall is a landmark score, not only for its deep sense of Americana and for its spirit-souring, sweeping orchestral lines, but for being music that touches somewhere deeply in that ineffable wellspring of spiritual emotions, like a lightning rod draws the power of the skies into the ground. The score is not only beautiful, but at 75 minutes, in its conclusion, it is both satisfying and exhausting. After listening to it in its entirety, I feel spent, but it’s a good feeling: like when you finally allow yourself to feel grief after holding off for too long: and then you have hope for what comes next.
As host for the Horner Shrine, the most frequent request I received was if there was sheet music for “The Ludlows”. Dozens of people had hoped to play it during their wedding. I lamented for many years that there was nothing available. An then, literally three days before my wedding, Carla Baordman of Boardman Music emailed me to see if I could promote her sheet music of some of Horner’s music for which she’d recently acquired the rights—several arrangements of The Ludlows. As luck would have it, through a friend and family member I had contracted a string quartet, all members of the Hollywood Studio Symphony. I rushed the delivery of Carla’s very first order of her new sheet music prints, and had my bride walk down the aisle to a gorgeous string quartet arrangement of The Ludlows. Though that marriage did not endure quite like the music, that moment is something I still fondly remember of that relationship. Proof positive that James Horner’s music makes just about anything better!
As I write this, I am listening to the entirety of the Legends of the Fall soundtrack release, and I can’t believe it’s been almost twenty years since I first heard this music. It still stirs my soul, it still refreshes and then sweeps clean the broad landscape of my emotional being. So much has happened in my life over these two decades, and yet this music is all-encompassing, while also remaining a fragment entirely out of time. Yes, this music is timeless."

Asier G. Senarriaga (IFMCA / www.bsospirit.com)
"I remember myself back in 1994, a Friday after an intense week at the university, waiting with excitement to enter to the premiere of Legends of the Fall in Spain. What I discovered is now a beloved part of my life, a glorious story that moved and moves me to tears every time I rewatch the film (about eight times by now), an emotional tour de force of the highest caliber, one of the most beautiful works of photography in the history of cinema, and above all things, the greatest score of an era, a journey to the heart and soul of every person, a composition that reaches the Valhalla of magnificency, touching all the highest peaks of brilliance, emotion, sincerity, honesty and love. Love to a story, its characters and tragedies, love to the majestic landscapes of the stunning Montana, and love to the symphonic film music of the Master of Masters. Pure bliss, unforgettable melodies to travel to Helena, to fight the World War I, to ride the High Country and navigate the Seven Seas, to love with passion and fury, to defend your family, fall in love and become a legend.
That's exactly what this miracle of a score is, a legend, a wizardry of artistic mastercraft, a magical musical representation of greatness. Tristan, Alfred, Samuel, Susannah, The Colonel, The Legends of the Fall will always remain in my heart, forever.
Thank you so much Maestro James Horner, thank you very much for creating the eternal notes for The Ludlows."
 
Francesco Carbonaro
"The first time, I listened to this score I asked to myself, how is it possible? How the music can create these emotions? Suddenly I thought about the composer, James Horner, and I said this man must be a genius. I was surprised by the force and the emotions the music was able to convey. Today when I listen this music, the emotions and a deep feeling of beauty conquest me again and carry me in the beautiful world of James's music. This score is very important for me because it helped me many times, when I was despondent, sad. Every time I put on this music, a sense of peace and serenity invades me, and I love this music because it is the best way to be in peace with ourselves.
Thanks James, and thank you to have remembered this anniversary!"
Chodisetti-Ravi Chandra Shankar (James Horner Film Music)
"James Horner had given us wonderful soundtracks through the years but few of his scores were so intimate that we can sense that it is more than just music to a movie but a deeper connection to our heart and the score to legends of the fall comes first in that category of scores. Very intriguing and certainly a musical master piece from maestro."
MC Cadman
"I could listen to James Horner's Legends of the Fall every day for the rest of my life. Raw emotion and passion are what set this film score apart from so many others. Legends of the Fall is what film music is all about, for me. A true, undeniable classic and in my top 10 of all time. When I was in high school, I found this score and immediately fell in love with it. I enjoy playing "The Ludlows" on the piano, by ear. The atmospherics, textures and colors of this score are so haunting. I will never get enough of James Horner's classic, Legends of the Fall."
Brendon Kelly
"Simply put, this is James Horner's magnum opus. Thematic, rich, powerful, dramatic and epic. My favourite JH score and my second favourite score of all time. Genius.
Being with my beautiful wife and hearing The Ludlows performed live in Vienna with the Maestro present and witnessing his emotional reaction to seeing it performed was magical."
Raymond Juden
"This score cemented my love of Horner's music, and although not the first I bought, by far the most poignant and significant. The day I heard this score I made it a mission to collect everything of his I could get my hands on, and 'The Ludlows' was the first piece I taught myself to play on piano. I wish there had been fan pages around back then, I thought I was the only one who enjoyed this music so had to keep my passion pretty much to myself!"
Christophe Lescoutra
"Unquestionably one of the most beautiful musics by James Horner.
Illustrating, at the same time, the big spaces and the intimate moments as the most dramatic, the musician offers us a work filled with sensitivity which forces itself in the most painful moments (the hard sounds of the shakuhachi). The Irish references (that likes so much James Horner) are not lacking, even the most classic (the magnificent "Alfred moves to Helena" reminds a little the famous "In the Steppes of Central Asia" by Borodine. A real pleasure."
Pete Simons
"Legends of the Fall summarises everything I love about James Horner. The wonderful melodies, the rich orchestrations, the lengthy cues, the romance, and drama…
There is real story-telling happening on this score. From the homely feel of the piano on “The Ludlows”, to that cry of the shakuhachi during “Samuel’s Death”, to that glorious wide open sound on “Tristan’s Return”; and finally that magnificent closing suite.
From a long, prosperous and varied career, Legends stands as one of Horner’s absolute best."
Vlastimil Babický
"I´m one of James Horner´s fans and this score is one of my favourite. In 2004 when I got married I chose the theme from The Ludlows called Twilight and Mist to be our main wedding song played live by a string quartet orchestra. We got married in a church of a carmelite convent in Spain, we hired a little string quartet to play music during the wedding and Twilight and Mist (I bought previously Twilight and Mist sheet music with arrangement for a string quartet) was one of the songs played there just in the moment when we were exchanging the rings. It was great and so beautiful. Thank you James for making our lives happier… "
Photo credit: © TriStar / Sony Pictures

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