One of the most celebrated film score composers of our time comes back to Australia this October with his concert extravaganza ‘Hans Zimmer Live’, where he will perform some of the most memorable pieces from his extensive body of work. If you’ve ever wanted to hear the Inception BRWAAAHM! played by a huge orchestra, this is your chance.
“My formal training was two weeks of piano lessons. I was thrown out of eight schools. But I joined a band,” he said about his musical education during his famous Reddit IAMA six years ago.
Having won Grammys, Golden Globes, Oscars and Tony Awards, with many of his compositions now part of the everyday language of popular culture, German-born musician Hans Zimmer is probably the most recognisable film composers of all time after John Williams and Ennio Morricone.
Very few artists have jumped from the solemn realm of orchestral music to become pop icons. Zimmer has managed to create his own app, performed along with rock stars at Coachella and even had his hand in MTV’s first music video, playing the synths on The Buggles’ mythic track ‘Video Kill the Radio Star’.
From the very beginning of his career, he has been characterised for incorporating with great success samples and digital synthesisers into traditional orchestra music.
Zimmer’s big breakthrough came in 1988 with the music for the Academy Award-winning film Rain Man and since then he has forged a prolific body of work that includes romantic comedies, historical dramas, and superhero romps. He has done it all, from indie films to animated features, from European productions to million-dollar tentpole blockbusters.
The Zimmer Style
Although he’s an incredibly versatile composer capable of tackling almost every genre out there, the “Zimmer style” is a recognisable brand in itself, with enough star appeal as any A-list actor or director.
His work is often devoid of intricate arrangements and complex structures, favouring instead the use of rhythmic sonic pulsations and discordant melodies from which he constructs incredibly expressive pieces throughout the use of effects.
Zimmer is a “minimalist composer with a maximalist production sense” as described by Christopher Nolan during the “making of” clip of Inception.
And a true maximalist he is. As few artists can, he can achieve an incredible emotional punch with an endless rotation of simple chords that pile up to deliver an almost unbearable intensity.
His work for Terrence Malick’s thoughtful meditation on war The Thin Red Line practically defined the way big-budget contemporary films sound like. One composition in particular titled ‘Journey to the Line’ – which serves as the backdrop to the film’s climactic scene – has turned into a go-to piece of music in Hollywood.
A simple movement built over a four-chord structure featuring dramatic strings and the Zimmer trademark reverb-heavy brass, it’s a piece that can add gravitas even to the lamest of cat videos.
It’s infamously known in Hollywood for being a common placeholder during post-production, with producers either asking their composers to replicate it or just purchasing the rights outright. Twenty years later we can still find it everywhere, from Steve McQueen’s critically acclaimed Shame to trailers for Pearl Harbor, Man of Steel and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
If there is something we can hold against Zimmer, is for being a bit too effective
His work for Inception has turned into probably the most “memeable” piece of music of all time, becoming an omnipresent cliché we can find over and over again in movies, trailers, commercials, PowerPoint presentations, and alarm clocks.
Yeah, we know you’ve used that BRWAAAHM! as your ringtone too.
Curiously, those immediately recognisable blaring trombones are actually an effects-ridden, slowed down version Édith Piaf’s iconic song ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’ from 1960.
“I had to go and extract these two notes out of a recording,” said Zimmer in a 2010 interview with The New York Times, “all the music in the score is subdivisions and multiplications of the tempo of the Édith Piaf track.
“So I could slip into half-time; I could slip into a third of a time. Anything could go anywhere. At any moment I could drop into a different level of time.”
To rave reviews, in 2017 he embarked on an ambitious project called ‘Hans Zimmer Revealed’, where he toured around the world playing his “greatest hits” with a live orchestra and an impressive light show.
“Performing a concert series like ‘Hans Zimmer Revealed’ was something I always wanted to do in Australia and I’m thrilled that I got to do that in 2017”, says Zimmer in the official press release, “I’m now beyond excited that I’m able to do it all again in 2019, with a new show, and the help of some very talented friends. We’re looking forward to seeing you again soon Australia!”
Audiences will be able to experience more than 50 musicians on stage performing uber-popular pieces from his catalogue that include themes for The Dark Knight trilogy, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, Interstellar, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
The show is a unique experience in which we will see Zimmer rocking on stage like a seasoned entertainer introducing emblematic pieces of cinema history with anecdotes behind their creation.
HANS ZIMMER LIVE ON TOUR 2019
Thursday, October 3rd
Brisbane Entertainment Centre Boondall, QLD
Saturday, October 5th
Qudos Bank Arena Sydney Olympic Park, NSW
Monday, October 7th
Rod Laver Arena Melbourne, VIC
For all ticketing information head to MJR Presents.