Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 10:53 AM   
 By:   David Sones (Allardyce)   (Member)

So how do y'all like or not like this early Horner score? I think it's one of his finest, loaded with exciting and interestingly orchestrated themes that never tire IMO. The beat, the rhythm, the twangs! Love it! I've heard some say that GORKY PARK reminds them of the COMMANDO score (which is actually backwards since COMMANDO came 2 years later). I don't remember COMMANDO though. Anyway, just wanted to show some love for an early Horner score that still delivers the goods today.

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 11:01 AM   
 By:   MikeJ   (Member)

I love this score. Great love theme by Horner, more 48 HRS action writing and there is probably some Giorgio Moroder on the temp track bleeding through.

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 11:02 AM   
 By:   Vincent Bernard   (Member)

So how do y'all like or not like this early Horner score? I think it's one of his finest, loaded with exciting and interestingly orchestrated themes that never tire IMO. The beat, the rhythm, the twangs! Love it! I've heard some say that GORKY PARK reminds them of the COMMANDO score (which is actually backwards since COMMANDO came 2 years later). I don't remember COMMANDO though. Anyway, just wanted to show some love for an early Horner score that still delivers the goods today.

I miss this rock/fusion style of his from the 80s. Gorky Park, 48 Hrs. and Commando were all done in this style and then... nothing.

What happened, Mr. Horner?!?

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 11:25 AM   
 By:   Sarge   (Member)

Two very adult books I shouldn't have been reading at age ten, but did... THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP and GORKY PARK. The former belonged to my mother, the latter to my father. Lest someone think I was a child prodigy, certain elements (i.e. sex) baffled me, but I loved them both.

When the film version of GORKY PARK came out, I plagued my parents to see it. Fearing a repeat of an earlier situation, where I had read the CONAN stories, begged to see CONAN THE BARBARIAN and sulked for days when they refused, my father took me at the fairly inappropriate age of twelve to see GORKY PARK.

The gruesome murders, the Russian setting, the complex mystery... again, my young mind couldn't process it all, but I simply loved it. Since films didn't appear on vhs back then for up to a year, if at all, I bought Horner's score on audio cassette to placate myself and played the hell out of it for years. In fact, pieces of it show up in the backyard action movies I made with my friends. And today I trace my love for film noir directly back to this film.

Yes, Horner cannibalized certain parts for COMMANDO and 48 HRS, but this is its best incarnation. And a somewhat daring approach, given the film's setting and tone. Another composer probably would have gone for a darker, more moody tone. Horner's music punched up what could have felt like a much slower movie.



 
 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 12:24 PM   
 By:   BrendonKelly   (Member)

I love this early Horner score. Although there are comparisons with Commando and 48 Hours this one is more accoustic and orchestral than the other two. The main theme is just fantastic played over that drum kit and Irina's theme is beautiful.
Some of the suspense material would later appear modified for ALIENS but it is a great score. The way Horner uses Swan Lake and 1812 Overture over the titles against the suspense is very unique and the unused Releasing The Sables is classic Horner.
Great little album, well produced and under discussed!!!

NP Superman 80s Cartoon scores - Ron Jones

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 12:24 PM   
 By:   jfallon   (Member)

One of my favorite early Horners... 48hrs is my biggest Horner Grail and this a close second... hope this gets a remastering onto cd... Terrific themes and love his "urban" rhythms...
JohnF

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 12:49 PM   
 By:   DeviantMan   (Member)

This score has Horner's trademark Russian action sound taken from COMMANDO and later revisited in RED HEAT.
Love the intensity of the urban fusion music which seems at odds with the exterior Russian backdrop.

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 1:11 PM   
 By:   David Sones (Allardyce)   (Member)

Two very adult books I shouldn't have been reading at age ten, but did... THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP and GORKY PARK. The former belonged to my mother, the latter to my father. Lest someone think I was a child prodigy, certain elements (i.e. sex) baffled me, but I loved them both.

Heh. I read GARP when I was a kid, too!

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 1:12 PM   
 By:   David Sones (Allardyce)   (Member)

Clearly, you all have exceptionally good taste. smile

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 1:25 PM   
 By:   Miguel Rojo   (Member)

I liked this film and score, bought the LP.

That sound you talk about - so prominent in this, 48 hours and Commando - was really something new. Im not sure what instrument it is but it sounds like high-pitched tinkling, a flurry of notes, then followed by a sharp deep blast on a tuba or something.
I liked it then and I remember thinking "This horner fellow is pretty useful"

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 1:58 PM   
 By:   Shaun Rutherford   (Member)

I used to have dreams (nightmares?) when I was in high school that our school's marching band performed an arrangement of "action" theme from this. After all of these years, I still cannot recall how they pulled it off, but apparently it was recognizable as Gorky Park in the dream!

I love the totally dated drum machine sounds in this, too. No joke, I broke down and bought a separate iPod for my soundtracks largely because I wanted to hear "Following KGB" whenever I felt like it, no matter where in the world I was.

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 2:03 PM   
 By:   David Sones (Allardyce)   (Member)

I love the totally dated drum machine sounds in this, too. No joke, I broke down and bought a separate iPod for my soundtracks largely because I wanted to hear "Following KGB" whenever I felt like it, no matter where in the world I was.

OH I like you!

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 2:06 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

I borrowed a copy of the album many years ago (public library, I think) but found it a difficult listen. I wanted much more melody and even the interpolation of Tchaikovsky's wonderful themes didn't overcome my negative views.

But time moves on, and tastes broaden, and when I started buying on eBay this was one of my early purchases on CD. I can't say it's now a favourite but I enjoy it a lot. I wish I liked the film but I do find it rather confusing (next time: no alcohol!) and I can't face the book (not after MCS's Red Square). So I think I'll stick with the OST and enjoy Mr. Horner's work.

NP: Ransom (James Horner)

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 3:21 PM   
 By:   MICHAEL HOMA   (Member)

ah , memories of the 80's come flooding back with this thread. had a friend who worked at FOOTLIGHT RECORDS and when this score came out , he would rush home every nite and put on GORKY PARK, for what seemed like weeks on end. i had read the novel and thought it was a great read. but the film , well thats a different matter. i stayed away because i just liked that book so much, but my friend made me listen to that wonderful score . i just couldnt stop playing it. i still do.

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 3:51 PM   
 By:   Trekfan   (Member)

That sound you talk about - so prominent in this, 48 hours and Commando - was really something new. Im not sure what instrument it is but it sounds like high-pitched tinkling, a flurry of notes, then followed by a sharp deep blast on a tuba or something.

Yeah, this is a good observation. He gives several orchestrational treatments to that idea of the "high-pitched tinkling" and then low-end stuff depending on the project (out of the scores you mention) - sometimes it's literally orchestral bells (glockenspiel-type, not tubular), sometimes it's a synth effect. In "Gorky Park" he used the cymbalum for effects at times as a color and combined with other textures it's quite effective. Here's what it sounds like:

Cymbalum:

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 4:07 PM   
 By:   Trekfan   (Member)

Love the intensity of the urban fusion music which seems at odds with the exterior Russian backdrop.

and from a different post:

The way Horner uses Swan Lake and 1812 Overture over the titles against the suspense is very unique and the unused Releasing The Sables is classic Horner.

I too love the way he "sours" and distorts "Swan Lake" and "1812 Overture", as well as that "urban fusion" music in a Russian backdrop. He once talked about (in the 1990s at a series of Australian seminars for film students) how these approaches were based on one idea he was always fascinated with as a student/composer going through composition programs in academia, a mashing of musical styles - he said sometimes on stage having different "pockets" of music playing at once and the way those interact (I can't recall his specific example, but I think it was something like a reference to a classical soprano diva on one side and an out-of-tune rag-tag gypsy ensemble of instruments on the other).

And I've always loved that "48 Hrs." main title sequence with the prison chain gang working and the feel that Horner immediately establishes with the recurring motif on synth. His collaborations with Walter Hill ( http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001353/ ) back in the day were always pretty exciting musically, I thought.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 4:13 PM   
 By:   Avatarded   (Member)


And I've always loved that "48 Hrs." main title sequence with the prison chain gang working and the feel that Horner immediately establishes with the recurring motif on synth. His collaborations with Walter Hill ( http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001353/ ) back in the day were always pretty exciting musically, I thought.


I haven't listened to this in forever. It was probably Hill's involvement as one of the executive producers that got Horner working on ALIENS, but Hill rejected Horner's score for Young Guns.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 5:12 PM   
 By:   Doctor Plesman   (Member)


I liked it then and I remember thinking "This horner fellow is pretty useful"


These days feal like some kind of a "Horner Revival".

The brilliant expanded STAR TREK II, which actually reminded me many years later how really, really great this score actually is and how good Horner was in his formative years.
GORKY PARK (listening to it right now) was always one of my favourites of his work - also due to the quality of the film - and of course WOLFEN, ALIENS, BRAINSTORM and some years later THE ROCKETEER, HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS, SNEAKERS (Wow! subtle and melodic, the last of the great innovative Horner scores, I think) and finally THE PELICAN BRIEF. And maybe TITANIC, for its sheer epic grandezza and melodical beauty. I think the man was REALLY good, from 1982 to 1997. But after that?

Looking forward to AVATAR, though. Maybe Horner turns out to be an actual comeback kid ;-)

Hope so. Really do.

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 5:28 PM   
 By:   Trekfan   (Member)

The brilliant expanded STAR TREK II, which actually reminded me many years later how really, really great this score actually is and how good Horner was in his formative years.
GORKY PARK (listening to it right now) was always one of my favourites of his work - also due to the quality of the film - and of course WOLFEN, ALIENS, BRAINSTORM and some years later THE ROCKETEER, HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS, SNEAKERS (Wow! sublte and melodic, the last of the great innovative Horner scores, I think) and finally THE PELICAN BRIEF. And maybe TITANIC, for its sheer epic grandezza and melodical beauty. I think the man was REALLY good, from 1982 to 1997. But after that?


Well said. And I agree on "Sneakers" - everyone of a certain listening generation will remember what a revelation that was at the time; Branford Marsalis on sax, inspired minimalism (the film was temp-tracked by Phil Alden Robinson with John Adams) and many parts of the score are just plain fun - from the Sneakers "theme" to the Whistler driving stuff (very Williams-ish). Almost enough to forgive some of it resurfacing in "The Pelican Brief" (not itself without its charms).

I've always considered my favorite Horner "era" to be 1982 through about 1996 or so, so roughly matches yours. His concentration of projects 1992-1994 alone had some beautiful scores - "Patriot Games", "Searching For Bobby Fischer", "Man Without A Face", "We're Back!", "Once Upon A Forest", "Legends of the Fall", even smaller efforts like "Jack The Bear", "House of Cards", "Bopha!", etc. It was a time where Horner was doing a huge number of projects and you knew you'd get something interesting each time out.

As for your "But after that?", I know what you mean on the larger scale and there's always ongoing debate (i.e. have films fundamentally changed, is Horner no longer really "trying", has he run dry as a composer, etc.) - but to a new generation of fans joining him after "Titanic", a lot of those scores post-"Titanic" are their reference point and "gold standard", so it's generational, too. I will say that although his more recent work lacks the passion, power and innovation of his earlier stuff, to me, there are some remarkable gems that emerge every once in a while - "Iris" is all stunning, shimmering beauty, and similarly "The New World" is jaw-droppingly beautiful at times. Something like "The Chumscrubber" is cool and innovative, and even "House of Sand and Fog" works amazingly within the picture. We will see on "Avatar"! smile

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2009 - 6:10 PM   
 By:   Avatarded   (Member)

I have always found the post-Titanic era to be my favorite, because while I've heard just about everything he's ever done, I've found he's got not only a lot of diversity in recent years (which, if people gave a chance would notice that, but instead people just find yet another reason to put him down by saying his music is simply boring compared to before) but also a lot of interesting things to say beyond the Big and Epic.

I am forever connected to Horner's emotional power, and I've found that aspect of his music to be on full display moreso now than in the past. In the past it was more for the music's sake, while now it's more for the story's sake.

I love the fact that his music plays every day, as part of the fabric of CBS News. I spent a lot of time recording as many variations of it as I could that have played over time - took me months and a lot of bits and pieces to stitch together two versions of the complete main theme, its initial building blocks found in his "Four Feathers" brass theme.

 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.