Intrada is unstoppable! Living in the Age of Airplanes (April), The Boy in Striped Pajamas (May), Batteries Not Included (September), Balto (October), Apollo 13 (January), and now An American Tail! In 10 months, Roger Feigelson and Doug Fake’s incredible label has released six James Horner albums! Six in 10 months! A big thank you to them!

1986 marked James Horner's first contribution to an animated film for young audiences. It was also the first time that Horner set to music (and songs!) a film with the mention "Steven Spielberg presents" (many others would follow), the director of E.T. was indeed co-producer of the film through his company Amblin.

An American Tail was Don Bluth's new film, whose previous film, The Secret Of N.I.M.H., was set to music by Jerry Goldsmith. However, the latter became unavailable because of other commitments, and Bluth turned to James Horner. With the director's agreement, Horner entrusted the songs to the lyricist Cynthia Weil while Barry Mann and Horner set them to music. Thus four songs are placed in the footage to advance the narrative. One of them, Somewhere Out There, caught Spielberg's attention and he proposed to make a pop version of it, with two stars of the moment, Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram. Spielberg's intuition was correct, the pop version heard in the credits at the end of the film was nominated for Golden Globes and Oscars and received two Grammy Awards. The song's single sold over a million copies in the United States alone.

James Horner led the prestigious London Symphony Orchestra and a choir to perform his score. The score is based on a solid theme, though nearly half-dozen themes and motifs are developed. Horner calls on Slavic influences to evoke the origins of the Mousekewitz family and then integrates, to recreate the New York melting pot of the film, French, Irish, Asian but also Blues accents, and even a nod to Gilbert and Sullivan, America's musical pioneers. In fact, the score is richly orchestrated by Greig McRitchie. There are violin solos, celesta, cymbalum, accordion and others. James Horner's moving score makes a strong impression and helps him win the favour of both professionals and the public. Horner will be called upon for the sequel, An American Tail: Fievel Goes West released in 1991.

Produced by Mike Matessino for Intrada, this 78-minute edition includes all the songs previously released on the original MCA album, but a LP-only (at the time) instrumental version of Somewhere Out There even concludes the album. It is above all the score that benefits here from an optimal exposure, both in terms of content and form. Not only has the music never sounded so good (Matessino produced, edited and mastered the CD) but the sum of previously unpublished music exceeds twenty minutes. The score becomes more coherent for an enchanting result.

As usual, find our exclusive analysis of An American Tail music here : [LINK]

Thanks to Roger Feigelson (Intrada).


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