The world of movie music lost a great composer on Monday, June 22 when 61-year-old Oscar winner James Horner became the lone victim of a California plane crash. Since I’ve been listening to a lot of film scores lately, his death came as quite a shock to me. His music touched so many movies and their viewers, and he will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, Mr. Horner, as well as other recent cinematic losses, including Sir Christopher Lee, Dick Van Patten, Ron Moody, and Patrick Macnee.
Your compositions made the movies grander than they were before.
We cried and smiled; all the while, you were present keeping score.
Your music was a character, invisible but always heard,
And moved the hearts of audiences, oft without a single word.
With Kirk and Spock, you battled Khan, and then with Ripley battled worse.
You helped to build a baseball field and make the Grinch’s heart reverse.
You launched to space, and sought a trace of missing children tucked away,
Survived a magical board game, if not a nuclear delay.
You marched to battle with Daikinis and the valiant 54th,
With Trojans, Navajos, Cristeros, and the Scots to England’s north.
With Russian mice, you emigrated; with a jet pack, saved the nation;
Found cocoons, and shrunk the kids, and morphed into an illustration.
You joined with hackers and Jack Ryan, fishermen and dinosaurs,
With androids, Fix-Its, apes, and Zorro, Ludlows, and Pandora’s wars,
With ghosts and faeries, housing feuds, and schizophrenic geniuses,
And grand Titanic’s tragic voyage. These adventures too were his.
Hearts will go on, like your music, every listener a mourner
And a witness to the talent of the late, great Mr. Horner.
(For those who don’t recognize all of the above references, they include many of the best-known films he scored: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; Aliens; Field of Dreams; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Apollo 13; both The Forgotten and Flightplan; Jumanji; Testament; Willow; Glory; Troy; Windtalkers; Cristiada/For Greater Glory; Braveheart; An American Tail; The Rocketeer; Cocoon (and its sequel); Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; The Pagemaster; Sneakers; both Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger; The Perfect Storm; both The Land Before Time and We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story; Bicentennial Man; *batteries not included; both Project X and Mighty Joe Young; both The Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro; Legends of the Fall; Avatar; Casper; The Spiderwick Chronicles; House of Sand and Fog; A Beautiful Mind; and, of course, Titanic, which won him his two Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song.)