Thursday, May 23Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Hans Zimmer Revealed

There have been a handful of film composers whose scores have entered the public consciousness, becoming more than just scores but rather an entrenched part of modern culture. Hans Zimmer is one such composer, and on the 10th and 11th of October, he hosted performances of his work in London.
He walked on stage to instant applause, picking up a banjo to pluck away the score to the recent Sherlock films, clearly using the opportunity to live out his dreams of being a rock star. He then introduced the score to Crimson Tide, mentioning how Tony Scott was the man who brought him to Hollywood for the first time. It seemed like a way for him to thank and honour the now tragically deceased Scott, a touching and subtle moment which made the lengthy playing of the superb, bombastic score that much more memorable.
In a ground-breaking decision Zimmer wrote the music to the battle scenes as a waltz to reflect the poetic nature of the script for Gladiator. It is impossible to imagine the film without the music, and hearing that aching wailing live was an emotion-wrought experience full of goose-bumps. It may have come better at the end of the first half, with it feeling as if you needed the break of an intermission to compose yourself after such an emotional score, but instead Zimmer followed with crowd favourites The Lion King and Pirates of The Caribbean, closing the first half leaving the audience buzzing.
The second half was where Hans pulled out all the stops, introducing the atmospheric Thin Red Line score, coupled with sumptuous light effects, a thin red line slowly drawing across the theatre, overflowing at the crescendo, bathing the entire room in a dripping red. A change of pace brought arguably the most memorable moment of the night as Pharrell and The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr joined the stage for a star studded version of Happy, causing the audience to go crazy. But then came a dark fluttering. Almost like wings. Almost like a bat.
And so came the Batman scores. A piercing, almost never ending note from the violinists, flushed in bright red and green light to reflect their owner: The Joker. This cut straight to chanting, the language foreign, but the words most definitely “The Fire Rises”, the chant of Bane and his followers. Before ending on the emotional theme of Bruce Wayne’s arc, “Why Do We Fall?” a piece that builds and builds till that inevitable, uplifting fluttering. However after the build-up, there was no pay off. Instead Zimmer introduced a touching tribute he wrote the day after the Aurora shooting, saying the music reflected both the violence of the tragedy, but also the beauty of the lives that had been lived and, sadly, lost.
And then the curtain fell, to rapturous applause. But it seemed too early. Too premature. As if the show had cut before the conclusion could be fully revealed, the audience applauding till their hands and arms ached. But their hopes and expectations were met with a single sound, summing up the way in which Zimmers work has entered the social consciousness.
A fog horn.
And so he played his bombastic, pounding Inception score, closing finally with its final number “Time”, a tune quickly becoming Zimmer’s most popular. At its heart it’s such a simple tune, starting with those basic but instantly recognisable chords. The tune builds and becomes more complex, before dying down, and once again it is just the piano. So after all the loud noises, all the emotional, uplifting tunes, all the riveting cameos and immersive light shows, it all ended with the lights going down leaving a single genius sitting alone at a piano, playing a combination of simple chords. It was a fitting end to a fantastic evening.