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Topic: Titanic Choir

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  1. #1

    Titanic Choir

    The topic of the synth choir in Titanic has come up several times and I thought I\'d relate this tiny anecdote.

    I just met Joe E. Rand the other day who has worked as music editor with James Horner, Mark Isham, James Newton Howard, Don Davis, Elliot Goldenthal, George S. Clinton and Graeme Revell.

    One of the films he worked on was Titanic and he said that the reason the choir is a synth sound is for budget reasons, believe it or not! Apparently it was originally meant to be recorded with a live choir but they decided not to because they didn\'t have the budget. Go figure. They didn\'t have the budget for half the movie anyway but it didn\'t stop them from spending it.

    Two other things he mentioned was that James Cameron told James Horner he didn\'t want any songs in the movie, at all! Horner went ahead and wrote/recorded the song with Celine Dion (sp? Sorry, had another long day at work) without telling anyone and played to Cameron who loved it. Apparently this also let Horner avoid unnecessary record label contractual difficulties.

    As well, the soundtrack was offered to quite a few record labels who turned it down before Sony said yes please.

  2. #2

    Re: Titanic Choir

    I can believe that about the budget reasons since the movie did go way over budget (200 million I believe) and Cameron had to put in his own money to finish the film.
    A real choir would have definitely done the soundtrack more justice or even just a few real singers to sing over the top of the synth choir sound and fatten it up in mixing.
    Call me a cornball, but I think the movie had some pretty cues in it especially the scene where Jack and Rose are on the tip of the ship at sunset holding eachothers hands.

  3. #3

    Re: Titanic Choir

    Hey Guys,

    I heard the same story although from a different source, but with a slight difference; that Cameron told Horner not to worry about doing a song because he was gonna get someone else to do it! It\'s scary that even at this level, the composer has to fight just to get an idea heard. Horner apparently produced the demo with an orchestra!! Well, he can afford to.

    I believe this is the version on the Soundtrack album, that also appears at the end of the movie. It is awful compared to the Walter A produced single that is also on Celine\'s album.

    It really made me realise what a difference a good record producer makes. Listen to the very basic string arrangement of Horner, and then the Bill Ross arrangement in the single. Ross\' arrangement breathes life into the song. The rest of the Horner production is equally awful! Listen to them side by side if you can. I think you\'ll be surprised!

    It\'s a good thing Horner knows what he\'s doing when it comes to film scoring, \'cause he would make a terrible record producer!

    Chris

  4. #4

    Re: Titanic Choir

    I totally agree Chris. The \"Heart Will Go On\" of Bill Ross\' version was waaay better then the Horner version. It was the strings that made me like it more as well, nicer arrangement and better drum programming. It does make a huge difference when comparing the two.

  5. #5

    Re: Titanic Choir

    Horner is pants.

  6. #6

    Re: Titanic Choir

    Wasn\'t the film originally temped with Enya? I thought perhaps that could have contributed to the choice for the choir sound in the end, since Cameron loved the temp a great deal. The choir does have that \"Enya\" sound, in my opinion so it must be for a reason. Otherwise instead of using stacked synthetic choir samples, they could have potentially used \"real\" choir samples to acheive a sound closer to that of a real choir recording. Or perhaps Symphony of Voices was not allowed for in the budget :-)

    Ryan.


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  7. #7

    Re: Titanic Choir

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size=\"1\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Synth2k:
    Wasn\'t the film originally temped with Enya? I thought perhaps that could have contributed to the choice for the choir sound in the end, since Cameron loved the temp a great deal. The choir does have that \"Enya\" sound, in my opinion so it must be for a reason. Otherwise instead of using stacked synthetic choir samples, they could have potentially used \"real\" choir samples to acheive a sound closer to that of a real choir recording. Or perhaps Symphony of Voices was not allowed for in the budget :-)

    Ryan.


    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    The Enya story is true from what I\'ve heard, and I would pay no attention to the budget stories. A live choir would not have cost enoug hto make a difference at that point.


  8. #8

    Re: Titanic Choir

    Tom,

    You would have thought that would be the case, but I remember reading an interview with Shawn Murphy, the engineer (who also does all of John Williams stuff) on the score(I believe it was him!), and I think he said he was very disappointed that they didn\'t get to put a real choir in. However, I think he implied it was more down to a lack of time than money.

    Chris

  9. #9

    Re: Titanic Choir

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size=\"1\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by ChrisAxia:
    Tom,

    You would have thought that would be the case, but I remember reading an interview with Shawn Murphy, the engineer (who also does all of John Williams stuff) on the score(I believe it was him!), and I think he said he was very disappointed that they didn\'t get to put a real choir in. However, I think he implied it was more down to a lack of time than money.

    Chris
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I spoke with Joe E again today and he was pretty definite that it was a matter of money. It would have cost them about $20,000 to record the choir and at that stage the studios weren\'t expecting to get much of their money back let alone dish out some more. $20,000 when you\'re talking about a $200 million film isn\'t much but I gues they decided enough was enough. Apparently everyone involved in the soundtrack was disappointed that it wasn\'t recorded with a real choir, especially the boy choir cues.

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