Clinton Cerejo, Music producer and singer
Composer James Horner was in no need of an introduction to a mainstream audience around the globe when the song, I want to spend my lifetime loving you from The Mask of Zorro, released. One of his more commercial scores in James Cameron’s Titanic had already dominated the charts for the last few months, so most people knew what to expect. But that love ballad by Marc Anthony and Tina Arena never found the huge success or attention that Horner’s other popular scores received.
Technically, I want to spend my lifetime loving you is one of my favourite tracks by Horner. The piece, with its perfect cinematic edgy-yet-pop approach, inspired me while I was creating music. It was a master stroke. The theme was everything and the melody was king. In those days, back in the ’90s, I would create music and slowly gravitate towards using similar chords from the song. Then suddenly, I would be like, ‘this movement is so Horner’. Tempted to go on, I would take a U-turn and move away from it. When I think of it today, a few hours after Horner’s death, it seems like the most perfect ode to him. His music made its appearance so naturally. Such was his greatness.
In most of Horner’s music, be it Avatar or A Beautiful Mind, the principle notes are extremely strong and prominent, which makes the compositions sound easy and effortless. But the moment you break it all down and look at the obbligato parts,
there lies so much complexity, so many little things and fantastic arrangements. The key change and that trademark time signature which goes from a 4-4 to a 4-3 in A Beautiful Mind, the understated score of Avatar, those haunting pieces in Aliens, for which Horner also received his first Academy Award nomination. In fact, the best part about Aliens was that you did not notice the score because it was woven so well with those thrilling scenes. Now, that is a perfect score. It does not need to scream in the hall and tell me, ‘listen to me’.
What also made Horner great was his past as a concert hall composer. Those classical influences made his music rich, edgy and an absolute aural treat.
His death may have left a vacuum but his scores will stay with us and inspire many generations.
As told to Suanshu Khurana