My thoughts on James Horner


Confirmed:  James Horner, Dead, in a Plane Crash.Shocking.  I couldn't believe it.I needed a few days to gather my thoughts on the sudden death of James Horner.  He couldn't be gone.  Slowly, speculation turned into a reality once his assistant confirmed his passing.  The entire film music community was in utter shock.  How could a man of such passion, of such beautiful music be taken from us so soon?  I feel for his family and closest friends - he was a man that left us a legacy like no other and created the soundtrack of our childhood, at least for me.Even before considering a career in film scoring, I've always been avid fan of film; even more growing up as a child of the 1980s with films scored by John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, and James Horner.  I would have my parents take me to the video rental place down the corner to find films that would make my imagination run wild.  I remember watching Willow on VHS, and enjoying the film and music immensely.  Little did I know it was James Horner.  All I knew was that I whisked into a fantastical place and I totally loved it.  The Land Before Time and An American Tail were no exceptions.  In the latter, I would hum and sing "Somewhere Out There" so many times - we even sang it in my elementary music class.  (Later on, as an orchestra director, I had the privilege of arranging that song for my orchestra students with a fantastic young singer singing the lyrics - just had to share my love for Horner's music with them).  I also stumbled upon *batteries not included and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids during the same time, and remember being moved by Horner's ability to change styles and capture the dramatic moment and heart of each scene.  The same thing occurred to me as I watched Aliens - it was a masterpiece of stunning visuals, acting, and of course, music.  I was fascinated on how Horner created such a dark, gruesome, and ominous action score, so I started buying cassette tapes and I would listen to them over and over, eventually wearing them out.As I moved into my teen years, I decided one Saturday afternoon to watch Titanicin the movie theater by myself, since I remember none of my friends wanted to see it.  It looked silly and sappy to them.  I sat through the film, enjoying every shot, taking in the beautiful story - then at that moment, when Rose realizes Jack is dead and the haunting vocals of the main theme moves in - I was in tears; I was totally sobbing and it was perfect.  I then knew the power of film music and James Horner was a part of it.  I distinctly remember purchasing the CD to that score and playing it over, and over.Moving forward, I was also affected by his score to The House of Sand and Fog.  An incredibly, dramatic and small film (compared to his previous big budget ones) with a wonderful score to match.  I was in college at the time and studying violin performance, and I was fascinated by film music even more during this time, and this film moved me along that path as well.  I wanted to play film scores, but even more importantly, I was interested in writing film music since it was so incredibly moving.  When I wasn't practicing violin, I took some time to listen to this score in particular and I analyzed it as much as I could - even playing along on my violin.  One could feel the emotion of the film flow through Horner's notes.Whether I realized it or not, and after some deep reflection, James Horner's music has been a huge part of my life and has profoundly influenced my sense of drama as a composer.  His death impacted me in a way I could hardly control.  Although I never met Mr. Horner in person, I've felt a connection, like so many others, through his many memorable scores.  His legacy as a musical dramaturgist, and commander of emotions shall forever live on in the history of film and music.Rest in peace, maestro.[facebook][retweet]