Guest Post By: Brendan
The 1997 soundtrack to James Cameron’s Titanic became the highest-selling primarily orchestral soundtrack ever. A remastered “Anniversary Edition” of the soundtrack has been released to coincide with this week’s Titanic 3D movie release. Two versions of the Titanic: Anniversary Edition are now available: the 2-disc package contains James Horner’s original score (including Celine Dion’s smash “My Heart Will Go On”) accompanied by a previously unreleased disc of music recorded for Titanic by chamber music ensemble I Salonisti, while the 4-disc Collector’s Edition also includes a remastered Back to Titanic (the second volume of Horner’s orchestral score) and a disc of public domain songs from the Titanic period.
In the 1990’s, I was an avid collector of Film music, and a cornerstone of my collection was composer James Horner. Horner’s work was amazing and his prolific mid-90s film score catalogue included Legends Of The Fall, Apollo 13, Braveheart, the underrated and sublime To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday and, of course, Titanic.
The music of Titanic remains impressive. Horner made an inspired choice to emulate the music of Enya by using the angelic vocals of Norwegian singer Sissel, resulting in a heartbreaking nostalgic sound. Some of the more remarkable tracks include “Never an Absolution” and “Unable to Stay, Unwilling to Leave.”
The previously unreleased I Salonisti album is a pleasant set predominantly comprised of violin waltzes arranged and produced by John Altman. I first became aware of Altman from his gorgeous suite of music on the Beautiful Thing soundtrack, which features several Mamas & Papas hits along with solo work by Mama Cass. My favorite track on the I Salonisti album is “Blue Danube.” Unfortunately, the rest of the disc doesn’t rise above pleasant background music for me.
The review copy from Sony was the 2-disc edition, but I’ve heard Back to Titanic before. I actually enjoyed Back to Titanic more than its predecessor, perhaps due to the increased Irish influence. “An Irish Party in Third Class” and “Jack Dawson’s Luck” both include sets of traditional Irish music, while Maire Brennan’s voice and Eileen Ivers’ fiddle respectively appear on “Come Josephine In My Flying Machine” and “Nearer My God to Thee.” The beautiful solo piano track, “The Portrait,” is also featured.
I have not yet heard Popular Music From the Titanic Era from the 4-disc edition, but any album that promotes the music of John McCormack is good in my book.
James Horner was interviewed about his Titanic work in a recent Classic FM podcast.
Buy 2-Disc Titanic Anniversary Edition
Buy 4-Disc Titanic Collector’s Edition