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Soundtrack Review

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The Magnificent Seven
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composers: James Horner and Simon Franglen
Label: Sony Classical
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 16 September 2016

Sony Classical release James Horner and Simon Franglen's score for The Magnificent Seven. With the town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue, the desperate townspeople, led by Emma Cullen, employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns. As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money...

The Magnificent Seven is the third, and final movie score posthumous release composed by James Horner - the previous two being Southpaw and The 33. While not up there with the great man's finest work, it's certainly a better way to bow out than the bland Southpaw.

Co-composer Simon Franglen explains the background to the project: “Composer James Horner was a close friend and music hero of mine. I was fortunate to work on at least a dozen of his films, including the monumental Titanic and Avatar. In the Spring of 2015, as we finished the score to Southpaw, director Antoine Fuqua and James were engaged in discussions about The Magnificent Seven, which was to be their next collaboration.

"In approaching The Magnificent Seven, James knew he’d have to write a score that related to Elmer Bernstein’s much-loved theme for the 1960 original, but he also knew that the film scoring language of that older film was not going to work in this modern retelling of Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece Seven Samurai. The challenges energized James; we met in London and he excitedly started working on themes while Antoine was beginning to film with his remarkable cast in Louisiana.

"A week later tragedy struck. James died in a private plane accident. We were devastated. In the aftermath, I couldn’t stop thinking about the powerful themes that were James’ final compositions. It seemed inconceivable that this music would never be heard. I was not alone with those thoughts. James’ trusted group of collaborators (including music editors Jim Henrikson and Joe E. Rand, and orchestrator J.A.C. Redford) were unanimous in encouraging [James’ longtime music scoring engineer] Simon Rhodes and me to finish prepping the London themes so they could be presented to Antoine. A couple weeks later I was on the set of The Magnificent Seven playing the music to the astonished director, who was overwhelmed by this unexpected gift from his departed friend, a gift that so perfectly ‘got’ the essence of the movie that Antoine was making, without having ever seen a frame of it."

It's not clear what the divide of composition was, but it's interesting to note that this, in places, is very similar to Horner's work on The New World (2006). This is especially true of the opening track 'Rose Creek Oppression'. Additionally I was reminded of Alan Silvestri's score for Predator when listening to 'A Bear in People's Clothes', and 'Horne Sacrifice' sounds very similar to something Danny Elfman might contribute.

The album contains 25 tracks (1 hr, 16 min, 39 sec). It's a beautiful, if a little sad, way for a great composer to bow out. He's brought us some beautiful melancholic scores over the years and it's sad he won't be delivering any more.


Darren Rea

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