Amit Trivedi, Composer
My early memories of Star Trek are mostly associated with its score, the whole vibe of it. I did not know who the composer was, I was around six but crazy about the sound. It is engraved in my subconscious. That’s the earliest association I have with American composer James Horner. As I grew up, I learned that he was among the very best in Hollywood, at par with composers John Williams and Hans Zimmer.
There are many personal favourites among Horner’s works, such as A Beautiful Mind and The Amazing Spider-Man. On the top of my list, however, are his two mega collaborations with James Cameron — Titanic and Avatar. My heart will go on from Titanic is one of the timeless love anthems of our time and it made Celine Dion a star. Horner had an original voice with a focus on orchestral scores. I remember a sequence in Avatar where the characters are all flying. It had jungle sounds mixed with African choir and there was a bit of Hindustani classical, too. I am a fan of how he perceived a situation such as this and gave it his own musical interpretation. His work with Cameron — both of which were of huge scale — would elevate scenes to another level. I have seen Avatar a number of times, and wondered what must have been going through in his mind while composing the pieces for the film. I wanted to be in that place and time. His music has a transcendental quality. I have been waiting for the Avatar sequel.
I hear that today all the musicians in Prague have shut shop to honour Horner, and rightly so.
As told to Sankhayan Ghosh
Saluting a titan
I saw a 1994 film called Legends of the Fall and I remember going back to watch it again, just to see who has done the music. It was James Horner. I loved the score so much that I ended up compiling the names of all his films. I would go to the neighbourhood video library and hand the man there the list of movies. For a month, I would come back late at night from recording sessions and watch one of his movies. Horner’s great ability was to find an emotional moment even in a funny movie such as Jumanji.
– Salim Merchant, Composer
My Heart will go on is iconic. As fans, we have always heard the scores more than watch the movies. Avatar and The Amazing Spider-Man are favourites, especially the former for its soundscape. It has an amazing amalgamation of background score and sound effects. Horner doesn’t let you feel the shifts between a music piece and folly effects. He gives the best dramatic music in the most non-dramatic way. He knew the selection of notes to make music sound dramatic but not jarring.
– Sachin-Jigar, Composer