Life is yet full of surprises. A recent sale on La La Records swayed me into ordering a James Horner soundtrack, an expanded edition of his 1993 score for a rather obscure film, Searching For Bobby Fischer. It’s a film I have never seen or heard of other than for the fact that it had an Horner score, so I was completely unfamiliar with the music.
All I can say is- wow, what a beautiful and sensitive score, vintage Horner at his very best. Haunting and tender and sweeping, its obviously the kind of film that suited him and brought out his most heartfelt music. Many people like his big epic scores but I really prefer his quieter, more intimate scores; this is very much in the vein of Field of Dreams. Which isn’t really a surprise, I suppose, considering the film likely does for chess what Field of Dreams does for baseball. If someone were to hear the music without knowing the film it was from, or what the track titles were, it would be so easy to imagine it being the score for a Field of Dreams 2.
The score actually dates to something of a sweet spot in Horner’s career- a few years following 1989’s Field of Dreams and Glory, and just before his monumental scores for Legends of the Fall, Braveheart and Apollo 13. 1993 was the year he also composed the scores for House of Cards (one of my favourite Horner scores) and The Man Without A Face. What a career the man had- just thinking of those films and his scores for them, it just reminds me of the sadness of his untimely passing last year.
Its amazing that this score remained unknown to me for so many years, only to get my attention with this expanded release and of course even then, to my embarrassment, only eventually swayed by the sale. Guess I was lucky, these releases are always limited and as it came out last summer, I could have missed it completely (its obviously, due to the obscurity of the film, a score unknown to many). I’d urge anyone who likes Horner’s scores who is unfamiliar with this film to get a copy while they can, they won’t be disappointed.
I’m sure had I seen the film and heard its music I would have been rushing to buy a copy long before now. Oh well. I’m making up for lost time by playing this score over and over. Its that good, I think this is easily in the top ten of all the scores of his that I have ever heard (hey, there’s a subject for another post someday…). It does make me wonder though how many other scores of his are waiting for me to yet discover…