A Quote from Hans Zimmer

For “This Land” – the whole Lion King soundtrack is really me dealing with my father’s death, which up to that point I had never really done, because children suppress things, and I was rather surprised that, in a cartoon with fuzzy animals, I was suddenly confronted with my past. The other thing is, because I wrote it for my daughter, it connected the generations over time through music.

My favorite composition that I wrote…I find fault with all of it, nothing is ever finished, that’s why I carry on writing, and part of what I like is influenced by the people I am working with. So some of my favorites have more to do with process than the actual end result. So a Zack Snyder or a Chris Nolan seem to bring out some pretty good things in me.

For Man of Steel you can expect hope. Hope and no cynicism. The opposite of The Dark Knight. Trying to celebrate hard-working, simple, blue-collar people in the Midwest who never get celebrated.

– Hans Zimmer, from his AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit.
Who knew that the music of Lion King was Hans dealing with his father’s death? It adds a much deeper layer to appreciating the music.

Good Ol’ Pirates

A few days ago in band we sightread a Pirates of the Caribbean medley. Generally loved by the public, the music was fun to sightread. The arrangement could have been better, but this is one tune from that day that stuck with me. I had of course heard the theme previously, but I gained a renewed appreciation for it after playing the syncopated accompaniment part on the bassoon.

WISE – Learning from the Best

There’s no doubt you’ve heard this theme somewhere at some point in your life. I don’t remember the very first time I heard it, but I do know that Zimmer’s music from Pirates was one of my biggest early inspirations in starting to compose music.

Years later, I still come back to the piece because it’s such a great research material. It’s short and sweet, making it the perfect length for me to quickly analyze the structure of the piece. The two themes presented in the piece flow seamlessly together thanks to a masterful transition, and the upbeat tempo, along with the masterful orchestration, makes the piece sound epic all the way throughout.

Most importantly, this is the kind of feel that I’m hoping to emulate with my orchestral piece. I’m no Zimmer, but we’ll see what I can do.

The Dark Knight Rises

Deshi deshi basara basara!

That is the chant that you will hear at the full height of Bane’s glory in the newest Christopher Nolan Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. Having loved the previous two films, especially The Dark Knight, I was thrilled to go see the Dark Knight Rises with my friends at the midnight showing.

Hans Zimmer, having scored the previous two films, scored The Dark Knight Rises as well. For The Dark Knight, he used the shrill sound of the high notes on an electric cello, slowly escalating in pitch, to convey the tension created by the Joker (the villain):

So I knew that he would do something just as iconic for this new film, and he certainly did. The Dark Knight Rises starred the antagonist Bane. This massive figure of solid muscle exuded strength and power, not only physically but mentally as well. Hans embodied this character in the chant:

This chant, meaning “He rises,” was actually created using the voices of the fans who recorded themselves doing the chant. A quote from Wikipedia:

When asked about the chant for clarification, Zimmer said, “The chant became a very complicated thing because I wanted hundreds of thousands of voices, and it’s not so easy to get hundreds of thousands of voices. So, we Twittered and we posted on the internet, for people who wanted to be part of it. It seemed like an interesting thing. We’ve created this world, over these last two movies, and somehow I think the audience and the fans have been part of this world. We do keep them in mind.”

Throughout the film, Hans uses the easily recognizable rhythmic motif to signal the listeners: Bane is coming. As soon as I heard that motif, whether it would be low and slow or furious and loud, Bane would appear. The repeated use may seem overdone if you consider the fact that the film is over two and a half hours long, but somehow Hans managed to find a different way to present the motif each time.

Of course, Bane’s chant was not the entire score. There were numerous other cues throughout the film for Batman and some even for the new Catwoman. The soundtrack did not disappoint, and nor did the movie. It truly was an epic conclusion to a grand trilogy.

The Prince of Egypt

Perhaps I’m past the age for Disney movies, but this movie’s a different story. For some reason I find the music in this movie better than any other Disney movie I’ve seen. Perhaps it’s because the music is the work of Hans Zimmer, but I still hold, after all these years, a particular liking to the music of this movie. I’m not religious, but I don’t think that really matters for you to enjoy these songs.