It wasn’t all that surprising to hear that James Horner would be composing the score for Avatar, as he had worked with James Cameron before on Aliens and Titanic. What was a bit surprising, however, was that Horner started working on the score in March last year. Usually scores are whipped up during post-production, but in this case they starting working on it nearly 2 years in advance. Does this mean our ears will be in for a treat in December?
Executive vice president of Fox Music Mike Knobloch recently spoke to Movie Score Magazine about Horner’s work, and it seems as epic as the movie itself.
“The recording of the score has been an ongoing process for months and it’s still in process. Electronic elements of the score are being recorded at a studio assembled specifically for this project. The orchestral component of the score is being recorded in groups of dates that started in June,” Mike Knobloch explained, adding that the orchestral sessions are being held at the Newman Stage at 20th Century Fox.
Talking about the stats and numbers of the score, Knobloch said that they “are still changing and evolving as James Horner is keeping up with James Cameron and the cutting room, who are still busy fine-tuning the film. The film will run the better part of three hours and there will likely be nearly as much score.” The main orchestra used for the score features over 100 musicians, including eight horns, four trumpets and five trombones. The string section is huge, comprising of 70 players. The music also features vocalists singing in the film’s Na’vi language, as well as a few other acoustic and electronic instrumentalists.
Mike Knobloch explained that there “is a great deal of acoustic and electronic rhythmic elements driving the score and vocalists singing and chanting in the fictional Na’vi dialect. Horner is doing a brilliant job of creating music that transports us to another world, but supports the film using the traditional orchestral conventions to make a sound that’s hugely cinematic.”