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Composed by
JAMES HORNER

Rating
****

Album running time
49:35

Performed by
UNNAMED ORCHESTRA
conducted by
JAMES HORNER

Orchestrations
THOMAS PASATIERI
JAMES HORNER

Engineered by
SHAWN MURPHY
Music Editor
JIM HENRIKSON
Produced by
JAMES HORNER

Released by
BIG SCREEN RECORDS
Serial number
9 24532-2

Artwork copyright (c) 1993 Paramount Pictures; review copyright (c) 2003 James Southall

 

SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER

Wonderful multi-layered score

A review by JAMES SOUTHALL

James Horner's best scores (apart from some of his early, big efforts) have often come for smaller films in which he has exercised restraint and not gone overboard with dolloping on the emotion, and such is the case with the gorgeous Searching for Bobby Fischer, one of his most attractive works.  The movie is about a young chess-playing child prodigy who wishes to emulate the success of the legendary Bobby Fischer though without picking up his eccentricities.

Horner's opening theme is wistful, longing, nostalgic and really quite beautiful.  "Early Victories" presents probably the standout theme, a brilliant piece for strings that is a perfect example of just why Horner is so popular.  "The Castle" is a brilliant piece, introducing a simply wonderful piano theme almost identical to that Horner would go on to use in his revered A Beautiful Mind score.  It's an ingenious device, wonderful to listen to on CD.  "Trip to Chicago" is a delightful piece, a piece of light piano-based jazz, highly-attractive stuff.  "Start Your Clocks" presents a different side of the score, with very subtle synth chords playing for a minute or so before a piano melody begins to take over, but it's strangely compelling stuff.

This is an unusually subtle score from Horner, but is all the more rewarding for it.  He may have written scores which are more instantly satisfying but very few which have the long-term appeal of Searching for Bobby Fischer.  It's an intelligent, grown-up work that should satisfy any of the composer's serious fans.  It's never repetitive - there are so many themes that the CD stays fresh and interesting throughout.  Excellent stuff.

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Tracks

  1. Main Title (3:03)
  2. Early Victories (3:30)
  3. Contempt (2:40)
  4. The Castle (2:04)
  5. Josh vs Dad (3:18)
  6. Josh's First Lesson (2:38)
  7. Trip to Chicago (3:24)
  8. Washington Square (2:45)
  9. Start Your Clocks / Master Class Points (4:06)
  10. Josh and Vinnie (3:31)
  11. The Nationals (3:25)
  12. Final Tournament (7:55)
  13. Epilogue (7:10)