“Collage” – The Last Work of JAMES HORNER – Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/ David Arnold & Royal Philharmonic/James Martin – Mercury Classics

by | Nov 11, 2016 | Classical CD Reviews

Collage” – The Last Work of JAMES HORNER [TrackList Follows] – Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/ David Arnold & Royal Philharmonic/James Martin – Mercury Classics 481, 64:00 (9/23/16), 64:00 ****:

A lovely tribute to the music of the late film composer James Horner.

If you see any films you’ve doubtless heard the music of James Horner. He wrote the music for Titanic and Avatar, two of the top- grossing films in history.

He had written  for another 130 or so films, before he tragically died in a small plane accident last year. Some of his other notable works include Star Trek II, 48 Hours, Cocoon, Glory, Field of Dreams, Braveheart and Apollo 13. He had an academic life before entering the world of film scoring, teaching at UCLA.

I didn’t consider him a first-tier composer, the equal of say Miklos Rozsa or Alex North, but he had an excellent sense of matching the music to picture, and the films he scored were helped immensely by his good musical taste.

This disc contains some symphonic arrangements from some of his films, including First in Flight and Aliens. It concludes with Horner’s last work, a concert piece called Collage, written in 6 movements. It’s lyrical and at times elegiac. One can hear the Horner of so many of his scores, but it’s a lovely work and a fitting close to his all too short career.

There are some oddities on the disc. His concert arrangement of First in Flight is the first track, and another set of themes from the same film appears as track 4, with other selections from other films between them. His symphonic Aliens seems quite subdued, compared to the raw music used in the film.

Still, this is a very listenable CD. The sound is smooth, with a lovely rendering of the strings and horns. Horner’s Collage is worthy addition to the late composers catalog. If you like Horner, you’ll certainly like this album.


First in Flight = 1 Conquest of the Air 5:26
Legends of the Fall =
2 The Ludlows 6:22 For Greater Glory
3 Jose’ s Martyrdom 4:00 First in Flight
4 Kitty Hawk 10:07 Wolf Totem
5 Little Wolf 3:42
6 Return to the Wild 9:47 Iris
7 Part 1 3:51 Aliens
8 Suite No. 1 =
Main Title & Ripley’ s Rescue 11:31
9-14    Collage (6 parts)

—Mel Martin

Related Reviews