The Szczecin Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with conductor Torodd Wigum and the James Horner Film Music Association, is thrilled to announce a James Horner concert unlike any you’ve seen before: James Horner – The Emotionalist.
On May 13th 2022, James Horner´s virtually unknown concert works Spectral Shimmers and A Forest Passage will finally see the light of day, again. 44 and 22 years respectively, after those initial performances so long ago, the Szczecin Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra in Szczecin, Poland will give fans the chance of discovering these uncharted corners of Horner´s magical world of music.
The concert will be conducted by Norwegian conductor Torodd Wigum. A renowned and prolific conductor in Norway, he was chosen to be James Horner’s conducting partner in Stavanger, Norway for the Norwegian premiere of Pas De Deux in May 2015. Horner conducted suites from Braveheart, Titanic and Wolf Totem, while Wigum led the orchestra through the double concerto and the rest of the program. From the very first meeting they got along wonderfully, and you could easily get the impression that they had worked together for years, judging by how in tune they were with each other’s input and suggestions. After the stunning concert, Wigum found a thank you note from Horner on his desk. The final line read “I hope we get a chance to work together again”.
Sadly, James Horner passed away only six weeks later.
“The three days in Stavanger went by in what seemed like a heartbeat. Three days that were full of music-making, joy, good food, rehearsals, impressions, new friendships and even an adrenaline thrill of a boat-trip! I went home with memories of an amazing concert and the unforgettable experience of a warm meeting with a true artist.
I was certain we would meet again and that I would have the opportunity to conduct his music with him in the future. I expected our next meeting would take place in Los Angeles. But before I was able to think about looking at travel arrangements, with the magical feeling from Stavanger still there, we all got the shocking news.
Stavanger was our first meeting. And now it was also definitely to be the only one…”
Torodd Wigum reminisces from the summer of 2015.
In March 2018, James Horner Film Music was invited to visit Sara and Emily Horner in Calabasas, outside Los Angeles. In a very brief moment, the subject of James’ concert works from earlier years came up. When asked if she thought they would be performed again someday, Sara replied that she wasn’t expecting that they would.
Kim Spildrejorde was one of the three JHFM visitors, along with managing editor and founder Jean-Baptiste Martin and editor Tom Hudson. The remark about the concert works and their uncertain future stuck with him, and the next day he told Jean-Baptiste of his idea of a James Horner concert which would feature Spectral Shimmers and A Forest Passage as centerpieces of the program. Jean-Baptiste liked the idea and encouraged Kim to pursue it further, and that he could do so with the full support and confidence of both himself and the James Horner Film Music team.
Shortly after returning to Norway, Kim met Torodd Wigum in Oslo. They had kept in touch after meeting in Stavanger and would meet and catch up from time to time if Torodd visited Oslo. Kim told Torodd of his meeting with Sara and Emily, and of the tour of James´ studio. Next, he told Wigum of the two concert pieces.
In the February 4 1979 Boston Sunday Globe, Spectral Shimmers was once described as ‘the least pretentious’ piece of the 1978 program it was part of, and showed how the young James wanted to ‘write a piece that hasn’t been written before but who can’t get the unlikeliest batch of things out of his head’. The staff writer Richard Dyer also went on to say that Horner managed to connect in one sentence music from Pendrecki, and his own Roger Corman scores.
A Forest Passage was originally commissioned for the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area’s 25th Anniversary concert, and almost seemed to serve as a culmination of Horner’s career thus far, with nods to past music such as Journey of Natty Gann and a nod to his immediate future with a motif from The Perfect Storm.
“When Kim told me about James’ “unknown” concert works, I realized that this is it! Almost like a calling, it was immediately clear to me that this is how I would pay tribute to the great Master and honour the fantastic collaboration and unforgettable days with him in Stavanger: Present and perform these concert works, these “hidden treasures” and make sure they will live on along with the rest of James’ musical legacy”, explains Torodd Wigum.
While they would never meet again, in spirit Torodd Wigum and James Horner would indeed have their chance of working together again.
Shortly after their first meeting, the core team was expanded with the addition of film composer, violinist and concertmaster of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, Johannes Leonard Rusten. A close friend of Torodd Wigum, he is also a lifelong fan of James Horner´s music, and he even credits Horner for inspiring him to become a musician! His knowledge of Horner´s body of work, combined with his skills and talents as a composer and musician made him an obvious addition to the team and a vital resource in nurturing these concert works back to life.
Additionally the James Horner Film Music web site team have also contributed significantly and helped with things as varied as opinions on programming to chasing down contact information to key stakeholders. Jean-Baptiste Martin pulled double-duty as he was and remains actively writing our collaborative biography of James.
With the team assembled, the idea still needed to be pitched to Sara Horner. Without her approval, the entire project would be stillborn. An email was sent, containing a rough outline of what the concept was.
Her response came swiftly: “Yes, I’ll help out!”. This was quickly followed by scans of the conductor’s scores for Spectral Shimmers and A Forest Passage. From that point on, Sara’s support has been nothing short of spectacular. In September 2018, Torodd and Kim met with Sara Horner at James’ old apartment in London, to discuss the concert program and to meet face to face rather than only communicate electronically. During the better part of two hours, they discussed what kind of pieces would best represent James,what pieces or scores were most persona etc? Which orchestration techniques should be highlighted?
Torodd Wigum, Sara Horner, Kim Spildrejorde
Just under a month later Kim returned to London to meet with recording engineer and James Horner’s right-hand man for nearly 20 years, Simon Rhodes. Once more the goal was to get as much input and advice from someone who knew the composer both as a person and from working with him, which in turn would influence the content and structure of the concert. One cup of coffee turned into two while sitting in the control room of Studio One at Abbey Road Studios. Rhodes would mention scores that Horner considered his favorites, give advice to cues which might, or might not be well suited for concert performances. All in all the support from the people who knew and worked with James Horner has been invaluable.
Just before taking off from London after the final visit, Kim received an email from Sara where she expressed her appreciation and gratitude for the work done so far, ending the email with the best of endorsements: “This is all very “James”!”´
In parallel, Torodd was reaching out to colleagues and friends in the music business, pitching the idea, collecting feedback and hopefully at some point grab the interest of an orchestra that would be willing to have a go at doing the concert.
Late in 2018, fellow Norwegian conductor, Rune Bergmann was in talks with Torodd about having him conduct a concert in Szczecin, Poland, where Bergmann serves as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra’s home is the beautiful Szczecin Philharmonic Hall, completed in 2014, which has garnered international praise for its beautiful architecture.
When it was time to discuss the concept or theme for the concert, Torodd gave Szczecin several options, making sure that the Horner concert concept was one of them. The response: “Let’s do the James Horner-concert!”
Torodd first visited Szczecin in 2019 and he was pleased to see there was genuine excitement from members of the orchestra and administration about this concert. After the corona-virus pandemic caused the concert to be delayed a second time, from 2021 to 2022, Torodd was invited to conduct a smaller concert with a different program. This was a brilliant opportunity to get to know the orchestra, which set the stage for a wonderful collaboration when the day finally would come for the Horner-concert.
We at the James Horner Film Music Association are immensely proud to be a part of this creative endeavor, and together with Torodd Wigum, the Szczecin Philharmonic and of course the Horner Estate, we are truly honored and privileged to pay tribute to a man who has enriched our lives with his artistry.
Sara Horner shares these thoughts with us:
I am deeply indebted to the James Horner Film Music Society and Torodd Wigum for their commitment to the music of my late husband, James Horner. James had a profound affinity for the natural world, for science, and the beautiful crystalline structures of minerals. He would be deeply touched that these works, “A Forest Passage” and “Spectral Shimmers” are being shared at this time with so much of the earth’s natural wonders and beauty in such a flux of change. This music, which pays homage to the beauty and depth of life, is a reminder of all that we have lost and a hope for all that will yet be born.
Emily is really touched that all of you are so committed to her father’s work. She shared a unique world with him and mourns his absence and the mysterious magical reality he created in life. His music embodies these qualities and is all that she has left of such an extraordinary soul.
Originally scheduled for May 2020, the concert was postponed not only once, but twice. First to 2021 and then to May 13, 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Interestingly enough, the new date is exactly seven years after James Horner and Torodd Wigum shared conducting duties at the Norwegian premiere of Pas De Deux in Stavanger, Norway.
After much waiting and a lot of hard work, we are suddenly less than a month away from what is shaping up to be a James Horner concert experience not to be missed.
In addition to the virtually unknown concert works Spectral Shimmers of 1978 and A Forest Passage of 2000, it should come as no surprise that also the most famous of James Horner scores will have their time in the limelight. Some in familiar form, and others ready to be performed as never before seen in concert.
The concert core team of Kim, Torodd and Johannes has spent the two-year delay by refining the program and making the best of the extra time, to ensure the best possible end result. Throughout the process Kim has had the role of project manager, focusing initially on concept and program development, all while keeping an overview of the remaining tasks and the current status of all parts of the project. In the time after the pandemic delays he’s also coordinated the efforts to clear all the music rights, serving as a liaison between the orchestra and the Horner estate. He has also worked on some of the arrangements, including a new arrangement of Horner’s Titanic Suite. Torodd has served as the obvious musical and artistic director. Apart from the considerable responsibility of molding and shaping an artistic performance that will resonate with audiences, he also is responsible for the majority of the work related to contacting and pitching the project to potential orchestras for future concerts. Johannes has had the daunting task of preparing the scores and parts for Spectral Shimmers and A Forest Passage for performance, as well as arranging other pieces of the program, including Braveheart. All pieces in the program have been tailored to fit the orchestra, all the while having a religious reverence for Horner´s original sketches, always aiming to not dilute his artistic voice. Last month, J.A.C. Redford, James Horner’s orchestrator since Deep Impact (1998) reviewed and approved our custom written arrangements for the concert.
With only a few short weeks left, the team has worked closely with Concert Planning Director Kinga Rozkrut of the Szczecin Philhamonic Orchestra and the rest of the orchestra administration. The collaboration has been a wonderful partnership. It is clear that the orchestra views this concert as not just another gig. Just as it is for us, it is also seems to be a big event for them as well. We are grateful for the collaboration and for how everyone in the Szczecin Philharmonic is giving their all in making this as good a concert as can be. Time and time again we are reminded of what an incredible team effort this project has been, on many levels.
New Concert Suite and an unreleased tribute video
Renowned arranger Nikiforos Chrysoloras, of Greece, is no stranger to tackling the challenge of giving beloved film score classics the best imaginable concert presentation . He has prepared music for Hollywood in Vienna, the Krakow Film Music Festival and is Chief Arranger and Music Supervisor of the Prague Film Music Festival.
In Szczecin audiences will hear the world premiere of a brand new Concert Suite from Legends of The Fall, arranged by Nikiforos. The suite is being written as we speak, and in a close to 15 minute journey through the landscapes of Montana, the suite will explore all the themes from the score. We can’t wait to hear this suite!
“In our conversations there has been no doubt in my mind that Nikiforos really understands James Horner’s music and will treat the score with the utmost respect and reverence. I can’t wait to hear his take on this masterpiece of a film score”, says project manager Kim Spildrejorde.
During the concert we have a few more surprises prepared for you. You will also see the world premiere of a new and exceptional 20-minute tribute video directed by Eirik A Sandaker. In this three-part film, Sara and Emily Horner, wife and daughter of the composer, invite you into James’ world. Through exclusive interviews and a tour of James’ studio with Sara and Emily as our guides, for the first time audiences will get a glimpse of who James Horner was, not just as a uniquely gifted composer, but as a husband, as a father and as a human being.
As already mentioned earlier, there will be (not surprisingly) music from Titanic performed at the concert. The score for Titanic is so reliant on the sound of the Uillean Pipes, the penny whistle and last but not least Sissel‘s haunting vocals that it was unimaginable to do this concert without having these pieces in place. But not just any soloists would be good enough.
“When we started discussing who we’d like to perform these parts it quickly became clear that there really was only a handful of musicians we had any interest in”, explains Kim Spildrejorde.
The first soloist brought on board was Uillean Pipe and ethnic flute player Geza Frank. Some will recognize the Austrian as the soloist featured in the Hollywood in Vienna 2013 concert in honour of James Horner. Later Geza also has substituted for Eric Rigler on a number of Titanic Live concerts.
“Geza’s playing obviously moved James in 2013. With his experience from several Titanic Live concerts on top of that he’s without a doubt one of the most competent people in the world to play the music from Titanic”, says Kim.
The final soloist confirmed is none other than the ever-amazing Clara Sanabras, famous for her work on For Greater Glory and for being chosen by James himself to be the primary vocal soloist for Titanic Live. She also performed the Titanic Suite with James conducting in Stavanger, Norway, in May 2015. This performance marked the final time James Horner conducted an orchestra. Clara and James had a special connection and the composer trusted her completely in conveying the magic of Titanic around the world.
Stavanger and Szczecin concert conductor Torodd Wigum says of the pair of soloists:
“I am so happy that Clara Sanabras will take part in our concert! We met in Stavanger in 2015, and I experienced myself the close musical relationship with James and her. She and Geza Frank will be the perfect soloists, who will make this a really special occasion in the spirit of James, together with the Sczcecin Philharmonic Orchestra.”
“Apart from Sissel and Celine Dion, Clara Sanabras is the only vocalist in the world that James Horner personally chose and found worthy of doing Titanic for audiences around the world. With Clara performing in Szczecin, the concert’s level of authenticity and credibility is elevated by countless levels. She’s the real deal. Having anyone else than Sissel or Clara do the vocal soli of Titanic would feel inauthentic to the experience. Through Clara’s voice, Titanic comes to life. I could not be happier and it is such and honour to have her join our concert,” says a very enthusiastic Kim Spildrejorde.
Of her connection to James, Clara Sanabras writes:
“There’s a before and after meeting and working with James Horner. Our first collaboration was for the title song of the film ‘For Greater Glory’. At first I worried that he might want my performance to emulate something already existing…. He said ‘No, I need you to sound like yourself, like Clara, sing it from the heart’. When he then chose me to work on Titanic-Live, he said the same: ‘Don’t sing it like anyone else but Clara Sanabras’. That was a true gift from him to me, one that I shall never forget.”
The Emotionalist – The Concert
Finally, the concert itself is a collaborative effort between James Horner Film Music Association and Filharmonia Szczecin and a poster was crafted to illustrate the worlds of music and color that James so closely associated with each other. The title was suggested by Sara Horner, to emphasize the connection between the concert and JHFM’s ambitious Horner biography, which is currently being written.
Reminiscent of autumn leaves and splashes of paint emanating from the pages of James’ music, we will leave it to our readers to decipher the notes contained within. The artist responsible for coming up with the design was James Horner Film Music‘s own Javier Burgos Gasco. The poster will feature prominently in all promotion materials related to the concert. It’s our hope that as many people as possible get to see Javier’s wonderful, wonderful work. We are forever grateful for his contribution to the project!
To attend this exceptional concert you have 2 possibilities:
1 – Buy a ticket and join us on May 13th in Szczecin, Poland to live this moment together. Following the lifting of the capacity limits in connection with the health crisis in Polish concert halls, a hundred seats became available a few days ago. Take advantage of it before it’s too late!
Join us in the beautiful concert hall in Szscecin.
No, you are not dreaming! The concert will be broadcasted live on the internet for free!
The concert takes place at 7 pm in Szczecin, Poland, which corresponds to
10 am in Los Angeles
12 pm in Houston
1 pm in Toronto and New York
6 pm in London
7 pm in Paris
1 am on Saturday 14 in Hong Kong
2 am on Saturday 14 in Tokyo
3 am on Saturday 14 in Sydney
We are proud and excited to be able to share this unique event with as many people as possible. If for 44 years you have been wondering what Spectral Shimmers sounds like, if for 22 years you have been curious to hear A Forest Passage, your wait is soon over thanks to the James Horner Film Music Association, Torodd Wigum and the great team of the Szscecin Philharmonic.
This concert is part of our four-part series called James Horner – The Emotionalist:
The Concert: Organizing a series of concerts around the world
The Book: Write a reference book
The Documentary: Make a documentary film
The Album: release a CD album with all the unreleased works
To realize these projects we need your support.
Without you, these projects will not happen.
With you, they will become reality!
To help us, and to enjoy exclusive content, follow the behind the scenes of the projects, join us on our Patreon page.
We would like to thank our patrons. Without them this concert would not be possible.
Arthur Dairaine, Basil Böhni, Cyrille Bouin, Byron Brassel, Chris Nickel, Daniel Lima Azevedo, David Hocquet, David Ross, Dean Harrington, Dimitri Ntatsos, Etienne Walter, Ferdinand André Berentzen, Gary Wallace, Guy Martin, Henri Delecroix, Ian Baird, José Ramon Morata, Jean-François Belmonte, Jennifer Deyak, Jeremy Emmons, Juha Pääkkönen, Julian Francis Adderley, Katie Ohmes, Ken Wiggins, Kent Wheeless, Lee Wileman, Leif Sanchez, Louis Lenten, Marie Bouin, Nathan Blumenfeld, Nic Allardice, Niloufar Ahmadian, Orpheus Lee, Olivier Soudé, Paul Bontenbal, Peregrina-Xeni, Pete Simons, Quentin Jacquot, Rachel Adcock, Raphaël Hardy, Rebecca Rovny, Romain Paillot, Roselle Zubey, Ryan A. Potter, Sarah Brouns, Stefan Schuler, Stefan Voss, Steidle Soto, Tim Burden, Todd Smith, Paul Bouthillier, Victor Field, Véronique Bouin, Wayne O’Donnell.