I was chastised recently in an otherwise friendly letter. The remonstration? ‘Review more soundtracks.’ Just as I was feeling suitably scolded, this blast from the recent past showed up at the office. Soundtracks, you want? Here you go.
This is the ‘Anniversary’ Edition. It includes nice packaging (stickers, detailed notes, etc) and two discs. The original James Horner score on CD 1 and a recording by the splendid group, I Salonisti on the second. The second CD contains the type of repertoire played by the tragic musicians of the Titanic on the night it sank. ‘The White Star Line Songbook’. Lots of light classics in arrangements for string quartet (with double bass, not cello) and piano. The expert musicians make a case for the parlour music. The recording (mastered by Mark Wilder, Battery Studios, NY) and performances are exemplary.
The meat of the release, the full original score composed by James Horner has also been (re)mastered by Wilder. And a crackerjack recording, it is. The L.A. session musicians sound glorious and blend well with the electronic notes, Celtic instruments, and backing vocals. Audiophiles can spring for this CD if they want to demonstrate just what a quality hi fi system can do.
That’s where the praise ends, I’m afraid. The score is another almighty bore from Horner. Derivative, puerile, simplistic. Horner suggests the music in the reissue retains ‘the magic through “all” these years’. All fifteen! The notes on the page do not reflect the tragedy and the grandeur on the screen. Horner has not written a great score since Aliens 2, which, while much is cobbled Prokofiev, was at least exciting. This is musical Pablum.
I lasted until track 13 and turned it off before I sank along with the boat just as La Celine was about to chante her two chord Paean. Sorry readers, not even for you.