Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Hans Zimmer: Trending on Twitter?!

It did strike me as slightly odd when I saw that Hans Zimmer was trending on Twitter today. I must admit that it brought about a mild amount of panic as I considered that this may have been the result of an early and untimely death but on investigation, was relieved to find out that it was probably in fact linked to an appearance on BBC Breakfast News this morning.

It did remind me however of how much of a fan I am of Herr Zimmer. His musical scores filter their way throughout my childhood with a resonance that will stay with me for as long as I live.

In an interview with the German TV station ZDF in 2005, he said: "My father died when I was just a child, and I escaped somehow into the music and music and has been my best friend". As someone who also counts my love of music as one of my best friends, I found this to be an endearing quote and whilst it must have been a tremendous loss for one so young, Hans built himself up to join the ranks of John Williams as one of the 20th century's greatest film score composers.

He has composed and produced over one hundred soundtracks and film scores. Of them, about 50 soundtracks and songs have been nominated for awards.

My Hans Zimmer Top 5
At this unlikliest of junctures, I feel compelled all of a sudden, to pay my own homage to this most talented of men but please don't see this as my opinion on his whole repertoire - no, this is merely a personal recollection of my favourite moments from my childhood that happen to have been created by this fine gentleman.

No.5 - Gladiator
This isn't a film that I have seen and yet the score is well known to all.

No.4 - Pirates of the Caribbean
Oddly enough, I also haven't seen any of the Pirates of the Caribbean films but the stirring score is one that is often played on classical radio and is one that suited the films that it was set too perfectly.

No.3 - The Lion King
I would happily state that The Lion Ling is the best Disney film ever made.

It's haunting score, along with the moving story-telling, has a force that could move me to tears. There's a very basic story of good vs bad which is at the heart of all great Disney films here and with loveable characters that the viewer warms too.

Hans Zimmer's score is the icing on the cake of what is a truly magnificent film and the score itself won Zimmer his first and to date, only Oscar.

No.2 - Going for Gold
I know, I know, I know.

But please forgive me this indiscretion but you see, it's my age. As a 28 year old, Going for Gold was a staple part of my lunchtime viewing during the late 1980s and early 1990s on those days when I was absent from school (on average throughout my time in school, about once every fortnight).

I hadn't realised until years later that the famous theme was actually a Hans Zimmer concoction and if possible, it made me love it even more than I already did!

Here is the full theme which was almost but never quite, released as a single.

No.1 - Cool Runnings
I make no bones about it. I love Cool Runnings. I own the DVD and have watched the film countless times.

The fact that it was based (albeit loosely) on the real-life story of the 1988 Winter Olympics immediately drew me towards it and then of course, there is the legendary John Candy. This it would turn out would be his final completed film before his tragically early death.

I absolutely adore the sound track and even own it on CD also.

For me, when I think Hans Zimmer I think and will always think first and foremost above all else that he has composed and achieved, Cool Runnings. It is therefore only apt that it is my No.1.

I have therefore indulged myself in two pieces by Zimmer from the film. The first is the absolutely wonderful Countrylypso which has within it, every emotion imaginable. I bought the CD for this alone. I love that Jamaican sound which Zimmer brought to the fore and it has since I first heard it, made me want to visit that island nation. One day hopefully, it will be a dream achieved.

Finally, the climax to the film with the actual film footage which saw the dream achieved for our four unlikely heroes, is made that much more dramatic by the score in the background. No matter how many times I've seen it, the final scenes always reduce me to tears.

It's what an enduring film score should be about - that ability to take you in and make you feel a part of the story.

Thank you Hans Zimmer for the music. Trending on Twitter? Deservedly so.

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