James Horner, the visionary film composer behind such classic soundtracks like "Titanic," "Avatar" and "Braveheart," has passed away. The 61-year-old was piloting his private single-engine S312 Tucano on June 22 when the plane crashed in a remote area about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara.
"We have lost an amazing person with a huge heart and unbelievable talent," Horner's assistant, Sylvia Patrycja, wrote on Facebook on Monday. "He died doing what he loved. Thank you for all your support and love and see you down the road."
As someone who has enjoyed film orchestrations for several decades, I know Horner's passing is a great loss. He was one of the giants, keeping company with such other greats like James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Thomas Newman and Howard Shore. While film composers aren't widely famous beyond the movies they score, Horner was the exception. His soundtrack to the 1997 film "Titanic" earned him wide acclaim, selling 30 million copies, and going on to become the best-selling film score of all time.
In honor of Honor's contributions to the world of film, here are some of my favorite selections from his extensive catalog.
1. 'Titanic' (1997) - 'The Sinking'
The beauty of Horner's music was how expressive he could make a track sound without the necessary visuals. This is demonstrated with perfection in "The Sinking" from the "Titanic" soundtrack, offering a beautiful mix of tension and soft moments against a backdrop of complete destruction.
2. 'Braveheart' (1995) - 'Sons of Scotland'
Quite possibly my favorite film soundtrack from Horner, "Braveheart" is an awesome mix of bagpipes, drums, vocalsand wind instruments. "Sons of Scotland" captures the main themes of battle, love and loss from the 1995 war epic, which went on to win Best Picture at the 68th Academy Awards.
3. 'Field of Dreams' (1989) - 'The Place Where Dreams Come True'
One of the few soundtracks that still gives me goosebumps, "Field of Dreams" features a tear-inducing, sweeping soundtrack that fits, well, like a glove. "The Place Where Dreams Come True" is a beautiful, nearly 10-minute piece of perfection from the film. "Hey dad? Wanna have a catch?"
4. 'Cocoon' (1985) - 'The Ascension'
I remember watching "Cocoon" when I was only about 7 years old and absolutely loving the story and music. Some 30 years later, it remains a must-see film. "The Ascension," scored for the end of the film, still manages to turn on the waterworks.
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