On a very personal note, I’m saddened this week to learn of the news of the death of the great film composer James Horner.

See him talk about his approach to scoring Field of Dreams at top for some of his approach. Best of all, you get to see him at the piano.

When I was a kid, Horner was one of the people who inspired me to investigate composition. I was entranced with the sweeping romanticism of the Star Trek II score that was his big break – an aching, yearning, but dreamy vision of the future, filled with tension in the right moments and fine details of inventive timbres, a panoramic view of space. (I expect I wore out my cassette tape of that soundtrack, and the almost unimaginably long litany of films that were the accompaniment to growing up as an orchestral music lover and young cinemagoer in the 80s.)

This interview regarding Aliens is perhaps the best fit for the case. He talks about the struggles of working with James Cameron up against the clock, and even the woeful inability of the vaunted Abbey Road studio to handle more complex ideas (or patching synths).


But most poignant is Maestro Horner talking about the collisions of passion and perfectionism with time and reality.

“We both felt life is too short … I only wanted the best score … It was very difficult, again because of the time, and because we’re both perfectionists.”

Indeed, at so many moments like this, we’re reminded that life is too short.

My condolences to Mr. Horner’s family, friends, and the many people with whom he’s worked.

With this sort of inspiration, if only we all had more time.

Fan site: http://jameshorner-filmmusic.com/