BSX PIANO COMPILATION: INTERVIEW WITH DAN REDFELD
Whenever we stumble across new recordings of James Horner music, we wonder: why bother? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Re-recordings have invariably been a mixed bag, ranging from the good (Collage: The Last Work) to the not-so-good (the 2011 Silva Screen album). Now Dan Redfeld and BSX bring us a new compilation for solo piano.
Right off the bat, it is impossible to compare full symphonic recordings and interpretations for solo piano. No fewer than 15 of the Maestro’s scores are on tap here, and as explained by Dan Redfeld, it was obviously necessary to set aside such luxuries as counterpoint and secondary lines.
Moreover, James Horner’s music is nothing if not a story told in color, and to limit oneself to just one instrument inevitably means to expose oneself to the risk of musical impoverishment. On the other hand, it also means melody can be placed front and center. All things considered, this compilation allows for a fresh stab at music we all know so well and love so much and, if nothing else, proves once again that James Horner was a fantastic melodist.
Braveheart: The Film Music of James Horner for Solo Piano is an enjoyable listen for those preferring emotionality rather than virtuosity. The re-recordings exude a sense of sincerity, not sensationalism. The album is a fine way to while away an hour, whether actively listened to or playing in the background.
JHFM) How did you decide which pieces to perform?
DR) The whole project started off when I recorded Darby’s Theme (from The Pelican Brief) and Mask of Zorro as stand-alone tracks for Buysoundtrax. We (EP’s Ford Thaxton and Mark Banning) were happy with how they translated to the piano and we started talking about doing a whole Horner album. This was in early 2014.
We then put together a list – I knew we had to do Star Trek, Braveheart and Rocketeer. I adore all three so they were musts. We decided to hit the most famous stuff and then I mentioned doing Krull. Ford really wanted Battle Beyond the Stars but no sheets existed. So I did a takedown but realized the track was really short. So we all opted for me to create more of a fantasy and expand the tune in a variation form. We recorded whenever I had free time between conducting and writing gigs.
After James’s passing, we were all kind of hollowed out and knew we had to include Willow and Field of Dreams. So I created new arrangements for those and we recorded them exactly a month after he left us. The lump in my throat recording Field of Dreams was tremendous and we had to do about 5 takes before I could hold it together. Obviously that movie has incredible resonance with so many of us, as does the score. And the metaphysical aspects are clearly embedded in his magical themes.
JHFM) What is in the future for you? Any more Horner-related projects? Anything else you would like to add
DR) No Horner projects at the moment. I’m currently conducting Peter Pan in Los Angeles and then I moving on to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat this fall along with conducting a new piece at the LA Opera. There are a few concert commissions to fulfilled and a movie to be scored in the winter. We have talked about a second Horner disc, so we’ll see if that happens and what we’ll tackle!
Dan Redfeld Official Website: http://danredfeld.com/
Specials thanks to Dan Redfeld, Ford A. Thaxton and John Andrews.