Gig Review by Sara Reynolds with Gig Photography by Wayne Fox

Film scores. We can be forgiven for forgetting to check the credits for the composer at the end of a brilliant film. The very best are so seamlessly put together with film, that they are an integral part of the process. Ever since the very beginning of movie making, with the advent of silent films, film scores have played a very important role in eliciting profound emotions in movie goers.

9/18 The World Of Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer, the German film score composer and record producer, has been creating astonishing film music since the early 1980s. His career beginning first in the UK with music for unusual British productions such as ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’. The subsequent notoriety soon took him to Hollywood – writing for Oscar winning films such as ‘Rain Man’ & ‘Gladiator’. He’s worked with many of the very best directors in movie making: from Ridley Scott and Ron Howard, to John Woo and Christopher Nolan.

I have to admit the genius of Hans Zimmer only fully came to my attention, with the release of the brilliant film ‘Inception’ released in 2010. A dramatic, and unforgettable soundtrack it was impossible not to seek out further knowledge on. Zimmers brilliant career has taken him to Dreamworks studios as the head of the film music devision. Hans Zimmers prolific career rivals the likes of John Barry, Ennio Moricone, and John Williams.

13/18 The World Of Hans Zimmer

11/18 The World Of Hans Zimmer

Tonight at the Birmingham Arena we are treated to an amazing back catalogue of some of Zimmer’s finest moments. Well known for his use of electronic instrumentation, tonight though this fresh arrangement employs a full symphony orchestra – the world famous Belarusian Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra, and choir. They are music all rounders with a contemporary and dynamic stage presence.

The evening is led by Zimmers most favourite conductor Gavin Greenaway who has worked with the composer for over 25 years. Greenaway, Zimmer says, he trusts with his music – even more than himself.

5/18 The World Of Hans Zimmer

We start with ‘The Dark Night’ soundtrack accompanied by floor to ceiling visuals projected onto the orchestral back drop. The composer hand picked just the right scenes from each movie – every part of tonights performance has been directed behind the scenes by Zimmer. Although not in attendance you really get the sensation that he is there in mind body and spirit and at several points during the show. The composer is on screen describing his creative processes to the audience, and he chats with directors and artists that worked on his productions.

I had not previously thought about how much darkness there is to Zimmers music. Many of the movies he has written for, do have dark and dramatic themes, but are often offset with emotion and lightness too. We hear the music to ‘King Arthur’ ‘Rush’ ‘Pearl Harbour’ and move through the truly beautiful soundtrack to Mission Impossible – with dramatic back drop action filled and romantic scenes starring of course, Tom Cruise and Thandie Newton. Accompanied on stage by flamenco guitar – performed by the talented multi instrumentalist Amir John Haddad.

6/18 The World Of Hans Zimmer

4/18 The World Of Hans Zimmer

We are also introduced to Lisa Gerrard – Zimmers collaborator on Mission Impossible and other film scores (including Gladiator – for which they won a Golden Globe Award). Lisa’s extraordinary voice and varied vocal range, known as Dramatic contralto, I recognise. She is the singer and co- founder of the UK/Australian musical duo ‘Dead Can Dance’. Her deep and dark low tones and yet at the other end, high operatic notes, blend so perfectly with the dramatic contrasts in Zimmers music.

For light relief, at the beginning of the second part, Zimmer describes his love of working on children’s animation. He wanted to create music for films that he could share with his children. We are treated to amusing and sunshine filled scenes and sounds from ‘Kung Fu Panda’, ‘Madagascar’ and ‘The Lion King’ – for which Zimmer won his Oscar for best musical score.

14/18 The World Of Hans Zimmer15/18 The World Of Hans Zimmer

Featured is an extremely talented cast of world class performers, too many to mention in this review, but you can read about them in full here.

For me, some very memorable performances come from Pedro Eustache, a multi woodwind soloist, and Rusanda Panfili a very dynamic performer on solo violin.

Towards the end of the evening we are treated to more memorable film scores including of course that of ‘Inception’, ‘The Davinci Code’, and a beautiful rendition of the music to ‘Hannibal’ by solo Cellist Marie Spaemann. Zimmer via the screen ,describes how he had a different take to the idea of ‘Hannibal’, and how he saw it as actually in some way, “a love story” between the warped serial killer Lecter and the detective Clarice Starling – and this, is how he started to conceive this piece – with this unique idea in mind.

10/18 The World Of Hans Zimmer

8/18 The World Of Hans Zimmer

For an encore we are treated to ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’ soundtrack, vocalist Lisa Gerrard is joined by the other female vocal leads of the evening (all sopranos), Amir John Hadad on electric guitar, Rusanda Panfili on violin, Marie Spaemann on cello, Pedro Eustache on woodwind, and Elianne Constrea on Keytar. Joining forces like the very crew of Pirates of the Carribean to give a swash bucking and rousing rendition, instruments aloft instead of cutlasses, swaying before pirates ships on the open seas.

This was a truly wonderful evening, full of light and shade, and never to be forgotten.

3/18 The World Of Hans Zimmer

Leave a Reply