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David Poland

By David Poland

DP/30 – Avatar composer James Horner

mp3 of the interview

5 Responses to “DP/30 – Avatar composer James Horner”

  1. Josh Massey says:

    Was I the only one who noticed his Avatar score completely cribbed his work on Glory? I mean, it was note-for-note at times.
    I’m not necessarily complaining, as Glory has what’s probably my favorite score of all time. But it just seemed so blatant.

  2. Tofu says:

    Horner actually notes how that type of cribbing is less tolerated in his field, as compared to other forms of art.
    DP, I’d wager the Dark Knight score is actually quite memorable once listened to solely. With the film? Yes, not as much.
    Good discussion on melodies, by the way. John Williams is rightfully the king of such, and Horner recognizes this here. He should release all those themes he spoke of being cut out as a album itself.

  3. TheJackSack says:

    With all due respect to Horner’s prolific career, he is notorious for not only self-plagiarizing but also downright taking pieces from classical compositions. It’s not an uncommon practice, but Horner is more frequent a practitioner than others. Don’t get me wrong, even John Williams tooketh from Jaws and gaveth to Black Sunday, etc. (Jerry Goldsmith duplicated cues a lot as well) but there’s a fine line between a signature style and copying and pasting your work. Horner has done some great work in spite of this practice, but I think his legacy is diminished when compared to his contemporaries.

  4. palmtree says:

    Exactly, JackSack!
    But there are still good scores he did the first time around…when he was writing the music he would eventually self-plagarize.
    The three that come to mind are:
    Star Trek II (& III)
    Field of Dreams

  5. victoria says:

    I have a profound respect for Horner, and his musical instinct. I think he truly composes from the heart, and let it be said that the man knows how the music feels. There are certain chord progressions that create a particular mood. And if you have ever taken and analyzed a Horner score, you would see a weaving of counter melodies, that unless dutifully studied, would be missed by a simply hearing. Indeed, I worry that the generation of beautiful, thoughtful melodic contours in film will be lost to the new generation of “music.” Frankly, I like the lush scores that come from the mind and heart.

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