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The Rocketeer

Track List:
  1. Main Title/Takeoff 4:30
  2. The Flying Circus 6:30
  3. Jenny 5:10
  4. Begin the Beguine 3:36
  5. Neville Sinclair's House 7:20
  6. Jenny's Rescue 3:20
  7. Rendezvous at Griffith Park Observetory 8:10
  8. When Your Lover Has Gone 3:25
  9. The Zepplin 8:00
  10. Rocketeer to the Rescue/End Title 6:30

Total Time: (57:15)

Composed by:
James Horner

Conducted by:
James Horner

Orchestrated by:
John Neufield,
Elliot Kaplan,
Billy May,
Conrad Pope

Listening to the score to the Rocketeer is a magical and exciting ride. It combines the excitement of Horner's earlier Trek scores with the maturity of his 1990s scores and one of the best main themes of his career to create the one of the most satisfying listens of the its decade. This is certainly one of the more exciting scores that you will hear from Horner in his days of writing for mostly heavy dramas, which even adds more to the magic that this disc contains.

As mentioned, the main theme on this disc is definitely one of the best of Horner's career, and it's one that's difficult to get out of your head once you hear it. It is even supplemented by a great secondary theme and a terrific love theme for Jenny, played by Jennifer Connelly. Many have mentioned the main theme's ability to create the illusion of flying through sound, which is extremely noticeable, especially when Horner introduces the sound that is reminiscent of his earlier swirling strings, only this time generally played by woodwinds which sound different yet familiar all at the same time.

Though the entire disc is fun and engaging, it does go slightly downhill after the first two tracks which basically steal the show. Track two in particular is very loud and raucous, causing the listener to become less enthusiastic about the rest of the music on the album, though the final track contains a very exciting conclusion.

As for originality, the music sometimes borrows quite heavily from Horner's earlier two Star Trek scores. The main ostinato from the Trek scores is mutated into a lot of the work and some ascending horn motifs sound very familiar, as does some use of celeste, but it really doesn't reach the point of hurting the listening experience at all. In fact, it sometimes helps to create a nostalgic feeling for those familiar with the composer's early work.

Some don't like the inclusion of the two songs in the disc (tracks 4 & 8), but I actually like them, though I feel that it would've made more sense to put them at the end of the album, as opposed to random locations between the cues. And since the songs are placed in the middle of the CD it would have made me happy to have them labeled as songs instead of score.

The Rocketeer should be enjoyed by most fans of Horner's earlier work, though most typical people who dislike the composer had probably best stay away because it *does* contain unoriginal moments. People who appreciate the music even with the self-borrowings, however, will find this to be a fun and exciting adventure score to add to their collections. As far as Horner scores go, I nearly place this one in the highest regard.

The Rocketeer is Copyright 1991 Hollywood Records. This review is written by and is the property of Isaac Engelhorn and does not reflect the opinions of Tripod.