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Heart of the Ocean (Soundtrack) Music by James Horner

Tracksounds Rating = 7/10

Heart of the Ocean (Soundtrack) Music by James Horner

Composed by James Horner
Performed by various 
Released by Sonic Images

Track Title Time Rating Sonic Images Horner Compilation
by Christopher Coleman

Heart of the Ocean is the first of the onslaught of James Horner compilations released since the "Titanic" success of…well, you know. Sonic Images compiled some of Horner’s best works and a couple of his worst. Unfortunately, only one of them is actually conducted by Horner himself. The nice packaging of the CD mercilessly lured me. The striking blue box wrap around the jewel case just begged me to buy it and so dove into the Heart of the Ocean.

The CD starts out with the solo piano version of the main theme from Titanic. The first thing I noticed was that the recording was not very crisp.  The next track is one of my favorite Horner themes, The Rocketeer. This rendition is played a little slower tempo than the original version or Kunzel’s version found on "The Sci-Fi Fantasy Adventure Album." It was much clearer and cleaner than the first track, however.  Commando is next.  As this track started I thought, "Oh my." This is a very unimpressive mostly electronic composition. The first half of the track is absolutely horrible, while the second half has a bit of a nice string theme that would have sounded a thousand times better with a "real" orchestra playing it. I don’t know about the rest of the score, but if this one track is a fair representation of it, Commando borders on the worst Horner score to date.

The next two tracks are among my favorites as well. Legends of the Fall and Apollo 13. These two scores were definitely a part of Horner’s newer style. The performances here are adequate, but not nearly as impressive as the original soundtrack. Apollo 13 is done by Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and is done very well. It is the very same track from "The Big Picture."  The main theme from "Where the River Runs Black" is track 6. It also is not one of James’ best works, but this is the only track on the CD that is actually conducted by Horner.  The Epilogue from The Name of the Rose is a pretty mellow cut and fairly unremarkable.

Sonic Images chose "The Journey Begins" from Vibes next. I was surprised to hear such similarities to portions of Willow and even a bit of Braveheart. What I found funny was that as this track played, I found myself looking up into the trees lining the road I was driving on to see if I could see any Ewoks!  I know this isn’t a Williams cut, but it sure does bear some similarities to the closing celebration sequences in the original Return of the Jedi.

Wolfen returns me to Horner’s most listenable style. I was quite pleased as I absorbed the sound of this track. It has vestiges of the Klingon theme form Star Trek III: The Search for Spock lingering in the trumpet section. 

Cocoon.  It is the typical beautiful Horner style found in The Land Before Time, The Pagemaster, and Legends of the Fall.  A suite from Field of Dreams follows Cocoon nicely, since it is quiet, unassuming, and pretty. It is in the flavor of Searching for Bobby Fisher

Braveheart is my all-time favorite score from Horner, so it’s inclusion on this CD is welcome! This track is the end credit track from the movie, done superbly by Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.  The best rendition of this particular piece of music outside of the OST.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn is considered to be one of the scores that propelled Horner into the film score limelight. This Oveture is performed by the Cincinnati Orchestra and is one of the "brightest" and heroic of Horner’s themes. It makes a wonderful note to go out on, even though it has been recorded and re-recorded so manhy times.

If you are new to Horner and want to get some sort of idea of some of his best and worst compositions, this is the CD for you. 

1

Titanic: My Heart Will Go On

3:50

**
2

The Rocketeer

6:57

***
3

Commando

3:50

*
4 Legends of the Fall 4:20 ****
5

Apollo 13

6:59

****
6

Where the River Runs Black

5:30

**
7

Name of the Rose

4:51

**
8

Vibes

5:00

***
9

Wolfen

6:00

***
10

Cocoon

6:38

****
11

Field of Dreams

6:04

***
12

Braveheart

4:46

****
13

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn

5:20

***
14

Swallowed Alive!/ The Wonder in Books

7:56

****
15

New Courage / The Magic of Imagination

4:03

****
  Total Running Time      

  Category

Score

 
  Music Selection 6  
  CD Length 7  
  Track Order 6  
  Performance 7  
  Final Score 7  

See Also:
The James Horner Compilation Showdown


Other reviews:

I am looking for opinions on this album to publish here.  If you would like to contribute please e-mail me your thoughts.  Keep in mind I am limited on space here so I can't publish everyone's comments...but do send them!  Thanks!

James Horner
Composer
 James Horner

Heart of the Ocean (Soundtrack) Music by James Horner

CD available through

Heart of the Ocean (Soundtrack) Music by James Horner

All artwork from Heart of the Ocean is exclusive property of Sonic Images (c) 1998.  Its appearance is for imformational purposes only.

 

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