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James Horner and the intersection of classical and kitsch


James Horner, "Collage: The Last Work" performed by the Royal Liverpool and London Philharmonic Orchestras conducted, respectively, by David Arnold and Jaime Martin (Mercury Classics)

Where does classical music end and kitsch begin?

Listen to this record and you'll hear that transition often.

Popular film composer Horner ("Titanic," "Avatar") died in a plane crash in June, 2015 at the age of 61. He was, at the time, increasing his identity as a composer of classical works for the concert hall. "Collage" was his last orchestral work. The virtues of the music on this disc are those of his film music - heart on sleeve Romanticism and an ingratiation that is completely unashamed of itself.

"Collage" was a concerto for four horns. Horner was a horn player himself. Greatness was never Horner's lot as a film composer - not like Herrmann or Morricone - but the music here makes for a worthy epitaph.

3 stars (out of four)

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