Varèse Sarabande, in partnership with Tomek Productions, will release a very special Blu-ray marking the first anniversary of the passing of Academy Award-winning composer James Horner. Hollywood in Vienna: The World of James Horner was recorded in Vienna, Austria, as a part of a celebration of his life and music. At the annual film music gala, celebrating the world's leading film composers and produced by Sandra Tomek, Horner was awarded by the City of Vienna with the "Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award."
"For days following James' death, while fans of his music were utterly consumed by their grief and understandably inconsolable, I began hearing from many of them how much they were helped by seeing footage of the Vienna concert," said Varèse Sarabande producer Robert Townson. "James called the experience 'the most memorable moment in my life.' We could see how his eyes were glistening and that the reality of what his music truly meant to people might actually be sinking in for the first time."
"I am very glad that our concert celebration in Vienna was so special for Jamesand it's lovely that we can share this special evening with many more thanks to this Blu-ray release by Varèse Sarabande," said Tomek.
The ORF Vienna Radio-Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Newman, paid tribute to Horner on October 3 and 4, 2013, with two concerts at the Vienna Konzerthaus. It was the first time in his career that Horner was an audience member at an orchestral concert of the beloved themes that he wrote. This setting reinvigorated Horner's love of concert music and opened the composer up to exploring this new frontier in the years before his passing.
The repertoire performed included music from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Avatar, Titanic and The Amazing Spider-Man. Featured in a medley were Horner's themes from Willow, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Aliens, The Mask of Zorro and The Rocketeer. Singer Deborah Cox was joined by pianist and singer Jeremy Schonfeld on a beautiful performance of "Somewhere Out There" from An American Tail. Geza Frank performed the Irish bagpipes on the always-riveting music from Braveheart. No retrospective of Horner's work would be complete without Titanicfeaturing vocals by soprano Ildikó Raimondi.
This special weekend also included a symposium with Horner. "I cherish the time and opportunity I had with him at Hollywood In Vienna in 2013," remembered Townson, who conducted the 75-minute discussion, also featured on the Blu-ray release. "We discussed James' memories of certain films and the creative process of composing. He teared up three times during our talk and he told me that the concert tribute to him there was the first time he had heard his film music in a concert hall. The whole trip to Vienna was a very emotional experience for James, who had a special tie to the city through his father because he had spent his youth there."
"Our symposium was held at the 'Max Reinhardt Seminar' of the Vienna University of Music, where James' father, Harry Horner, studied stage design. It was the first time James came back to these locations. Those days were just magical, for him and for all of us," Tomek stated.
Varèse Sarabande will release the Hollywood in Vienna: The World of James Horner Blu-ray through major platforms and retailers in June 2016.