As I noted a few days ago, I've been recording some of my favorite film scores onto my hard drive for listening purposes when I'm writing. (Many times I like to listen to music on headphones when I write, unless I'm home alone.) One score that was a big favorite of mine in the late 90s, but which I hadn't really listened to much in several years, is James Horner's Braveheart. As much as I've become annoyed with Horner's constant, well, "Hornerisms", this score is still as good as I remember it, and the first half of it is downright extraordinary. It has a wonderful meditative quality that is almost otherworldly, particularly the track "The Secret Wedding", in which Horner plays out one of his longest and most intricate melodies. I think the second half of the score (the stuff after the Battle of Stirling) isn't quite as good, but man, those first nine tracks are sensational. I've long believed that James Horner reached his high point right around 1995, when he composed excellent scores to Braveheart, Apollo 13, and Legends of the Fall. Those three scores are why I didn't mind when he won an Oscar a few years later for Titanic, even though that score really wasn't all that great. Better a few years late than never, I always say.
I also picked up the score CD of The Matrix Revolutions yesterday, and I listened to most of it this morning. I've yet to see the film, and since I also missed Reloaded, I'll likely wait for the DVD, but as I've long maintained, seeing the film is in no way a requirement for enjoying the score. Don Davis turns in some really superb work here -- the disc is a fascinating blend of techno stuff and straight-forward orchestral writing, some of it purely atmospheric and some of it strongly melodic. This should tide me over until Monday, when the score CD to Return of the King hits the stores in what I am sure will be the film music event of all time. (Or at least November.)