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Titanic Anniversary Edition by James Horner

Titanic Anniversary Edition

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Titanic Anniversary Edition (Soundtrack) by James Horner
Titanic Anniversary Edition (Soundtrack) by James Horner
Titanic Anniversary Edition (Poster and Memorabilia)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Titanic Anniversary Edition (Soundtrack) by James Horner

Titanic Anniversary Edition
Composed by James Horner
Sony (2012)

Rating: 8/10

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“The majority of JAMES HORNER’S music is nothing short of astounding in this release, and while the lack of even more additional music is a great disappointment this is a release that a film of such magnitude is surely deserving of.”

One Hundred and Fifteen Years Later
Review by Richard Buxton


 

 

The RMS Titanic was said to be unsinkable, a passenger liner capable of ascension beyond the grasp of mother nature’s many hazards, but on that fateful night of April 15th 1912, the hubris of mankind was once again punished and consumed by a vast, unforgiving ocean. Yet, in a final act of arrogance, what was once one of man’s finest creations has risen again to prove that it was in fact unsinkable from its resting place in history. The Titanic was not the first vessel to sink and was certainly not the last, but the ship has lived on as something more than just that. It has almost become legend through the many stories of its survivors and victims, and of course through JAMES CAMERON’S epic romantic drama, a record-breaking film that was accompanied by one of the most endearing and heart-breaking scores of them all.

JAMES HORNER is no stranger to the effect that the purity of music can have on the emotions of an audience with LEGENDS OF THE FALL, APOLLO 13 and many others proving to be amongst the most evocative scores in a generation. TITANIC stands above them all. The magnetism of his oceanic score is undeniable, his tone and themes unforgettable. Even the mere reproduction of the first three notes of his famous theme for the ill-fated centerpiece romance will surely be met with overwhelming recognition and remembrance, such is its raw power and emotional pull. It comes as no surprise then that the 15th anniversary of the film’s release, and the 100th anniversary of the ship, sees an anniversary rerelease of both the film and the score. The TITANIC ANNIVERSARY EDITION provides a four-disc set, the first two discs being the original soundtrack release and BACK TO TITANIC, with the third and fourth providing music by artists other than JAMES HORNER. This will undoubtedly be met with a mixed reception from those yearning for more from HORNER’S Academy Award winning score, but will at least satisfy those in desperate need of more TITANIC.

The original soundtrack release of TITANIC (Disc 1) is one of the defining moments in modern film scoring. Few composers can claim such a success both commercially and critically, as TITANIC swept the board in almost every way possible and deservedly so. From the deeply evocative opening of “Never An Absolution” (1), to the utterly gorgeous “Rose” (4), the sweeping optimism of “Leaving Port” (5) and the overwhelming “Hymn to the Sea” (15), TITANIC will never let go and you won’t want it to. TITANIC is clearly a fictional tale within a non-fictional event, yet hearing the motifs of HORNER’S score makes you want to believe it all happened, if only for those fleeting moments of happiness before fate cruelly intervened.

TITANIC was a showstopper of a score, rooting itself deep in the mind of all those it touched, never to be left behind. BACK TO TITANIC realistically had no chance of making such an impact, but provided a more than welcome helping of additional score by HORNER. Tracks including brief moments of dialogue such as “An Irish Part in Third Class” (2) and “Come Josephine, In My Flying Machine” (8) will certainly transport your mind back to now immortalised scenes of CAMERON’S film, but is in HORNER’S additional score where the true worth of BACK TO TITANIC is found.

The two suites that bookend BACK TO TITANIC (Disc 2) contain within them almost limitless sources of sentiment and memories, as if HORNER himself had been on the ship almost a century ago. “EPILOGUE – The Deep and Timeless Sea” (13) is surely a contender for being one of the composer’s most breathtaking and arresting compositions to date. Beginning with the vocal calls that will be familiar to anyone, the piece extends to a healthy twelve minutes that becomes more and more stirring with each passing second. There’s something unexplainable about the mixture of instruments and vocals here that just consumes the heart and mind, gently gliding into realms of unequalled beauty and romance. “Titanic Suite” (1) does exactly what you would expect by summarising the main themes of the score in stunning fashion. Despite the strength of the opening cue, “Epilogue – The Deep and Timeless Sea” is in a league of its own, making the original release of BACK TO TITANIC worthy of purchasing almost singlehandedly.

The strength of BACK TO TITANIC should only improve with “The Portrait” (4) providing a piano rendition of Rose’s theme, but the criminally weak recording of the performance is a startling misstep. The piece, regardless of sound quality, is still undeniably beautiful in both composition and performance, but it is in its otherwise wholesome quality that the disappointment is confounded.

Additional JAMES HORNER music beyond the original TITANIC score release and BACK TO TITANIC (Discs 1 & 2) must be well hidden, as there is none to be found in this Anniversary Edition. Which begs the question, why? It’s hard to imagine, when looking at the track list for the 3rd and 4th CD’s in this collection, that a significant amount of people ever showed noticeable interest in hearing more of the diegetic music scattered throughout the film. Most buyers of the original TITANIC score CD could be sorted in to three groups: 1) James Horner/general film score fans. 2) TITANIC fans looking to prolong the film experience. 3) Fans of the CELINE DION single. This release serves none of these groups. That’s not to say that people within those groups can’t enjoy this release, it’s just that none of them are targeted specifically with the music on offer here. Looking at HORNER’S extended AVATAR release, it can surely be assumed that there is a significant amount of music floating around somewhere, waiting to be heard, and surely this anniversary rerelease would be the prime moment for just that.

Still, there’s some new music here, at least new to the TITANIC soundtrack family and there are sure to be many eager to buy the soundtrack purely for the association it carries. Disc 3 is entirely performed by ensemble I SALONISTI, whereas Disc 4 is graced by an assortment of artists.

The major problem of this release containing no new HORNER music is that it becomes an impossible task to recommend it to almost anyone that may have expressed interest in it beyond the recognition of the film’s title. The music in no way resembles HORNER’S score and therefore can’t be suggested listening to fans of the composer. So ultimately, whether this additional music is worth your time is entirely dependent on taste for alternative musical genres. The music here is generally pleasant enough, and consistently so during the I SALONISTI phase as the tone wavers between the serenity of “Wedding Dance” (3) and the frantic optimism of “Poet and Peasant”(4). By the end of the third disc, the music on offer might become ever so slightly monotonous in its overly consistent nature, rarely providing sparks of inspiration or any surprises.

Almost exactly the same can be said for the 4th and final disc. The first two discs give no indication of the music to be heard in the fourth such is the disparate style between the compositions and songs. Songs such as “Oh! You Beautiful Doll” (5) and “My Gal Sal” (4) might seem somewhat familiar, perhaps epitomising the entirety of the styles on offer here.

Again, it becomes increasingly difficult to judge this release because of the starkly contrasting styles of music on offer. Had the 3rd and 4th discs shown at least some resemblance to HORNER’S score, it might not be such a difficult task, but there really is no point of reference here making it nigh on impossible to judge the entire four disc collection as a whole. As a film score fan I lean heavily towards discouraging anyone thinking of purchasing this edition as an extension of their score and TITANIC collection. On the other hand the music here will certainly appeal to a certain, perhaps small, section of the public. It’s just a little insulting seeing an Anniversary Edition consisting of half already released music, and half almost completely unrelated music, stylistically speaking at least.

The stark contrast between the first two discs and the final two cannot be understated. Those already embedded in the romance of Jack and Rose are likely to have purchased the first two discs long ago and it’s debatable as to whether the additional music here is likely to be an attractive proposition to most. The majority of JAMES HORNER’S music is nothing short of astounding in this release, and while the lack of even more additional music is a great disappointment this is a release that a film of such magnitude is surely deserving of.

Titanic (Disc 1) – 9/10
Back to Titanic (Disc 2) – 9/10
Gentlemen, It Has Been a Privilege Playing With You Tonight (Disc 3) – 6/10
Popular Music from the Titanic Era (Disc 4) – 6/10

Rating: 8/10


Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
  TITANIC    
1 Never An Absolution 3:05  ****
2 Distant Memories 2:24  ****
3 Southhampton 4:01  ****
4 Rose 2:52  *****
5 Leaving Port 3:26  *****
6 "Take Her to Sea, Mr. Murdoch" 4:31  ****
7 "Hard to Starboard" 6:52  *****
8 Unable to Stay, Unwilling to Leave 3:56  ****
9 The Sinking 5:05  ****
10 Death of Titanic 8:26  ****
11 A Promise Kept 6:02  ****
12 A Life So Changed 2:13  ****
13 An Ocean Of Memories 7:58  *****
14 My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme from Titanic) 5:10  ****
15 Hymn to the Sea 6:25  *****
  Total Running Time (approx) 72 minutes  
       

Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
  BACK TO TITANIC    
1 Titanic Suite 19:05  *****
2 An Irish Party in Third Class (Gaelic Storm) 3:47  ***
3 Alexander's Ragtime Band (I Solanisti) 2:29  **
4 The Portrait 4:43  ***
5 Jack Dawson's Luck 5:38  ***
6 A Building Panic 8:08  ****
7 Nearer My God to Thee (I Solanisti) 2:49  ***
8 Come Joesphine, In My Flying Machine (Maire Brennan) 3:32  ***
9 Lament 4:35  ***
10 A Shore Never Reached 4:26  ***
11 My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion) 4:42  ***
12 Nearer My God to Thee (Eileen Ivers) 2:22  ***
13 Epilogue - The Deep and Timeless Sea 12:35  *****
  Total Running Time (approx) 79 minutes  
       

Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Valse Septembre 3:57  ***
2 Marguerite Waltz 2:42  ***
3 Wedding Dance 2:40  ****
4 Poet and Peasant 6:53  ****
5 Blue Danube 7:18  ***
6 Song Without Words 2:45  ***
7 Estudiantina 3:26  ***
8 Visions of Salome 2:47  **
9 Titsy Bitsy Girl 1:45  ***
10 Alexander's Ragtime Band 2:36  ***
11 Sphinx 4:01  ***
12 Barcarole 3:58  ***
13 Orpheus 8:54  ****
14 Song of Autumn 4:04  ***
15 Nearer My God to Thee 2:50  ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 58 minutes  
       

Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 It's a Long Way to Tipperary (John McCormack) 3:10  ***
2 Let Me Call You Sweetheart (Halfway House Dance Orchestra) 3:04  ***
3 Vilia (Guy Lombardo & His Orchestra) 2:43  ***
4 My GAl Sal (Chick Bullock & His Levee Loungers) 2:56  **
5 Oh! Your Beautiful Doll (Chuck Foster & His Orchestra) 2:53  **
6 Martha (Adrian Rollini Trio) 2:57  **
7 In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree (Duke Ellington & His Orchestra) 3:10  **
8 Waiting at the Church (Beatrice Kay) 2:38  ***
9 Frasquita Serenade (John Kirby & His Orchestra) 2:40  ***
10 Shine on Harvest Moon (Hal Kemp) 3:05  **
11 From the Land of the Sky Blue Water (Mildred Bailey & Her Orchestra) 2:45  **
12 Loch Lomond (Maxine Sullivan & Her Orchestra) 2:51  ***
13 A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight (Miff Mole's Molers) 2:45  **
14 Nearer My God to Thee (Nelson Eddy) 3:10  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 41 minutes  
       
  GRAND TOTAL RUNNING TIME 250 minutes  
       

 

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