Frankfurt/Germany born Hans Zimmer is among the few composers of Hollywood whose name carries the same weight as that of the actors or the director.
He has had a hand in over 150 movies and has won over 100 awards including three classical BRIT awards, four Grammies, an Oscar™ for the Disney smash hit ‘The Lion King’ and two golden globes awards.
He is certainly no stranger to success.
The night in Birmingham was magical and we were told that Hans had never played outside of London and that we were the first to experience his music in a concert setting and, boy, were we in for a treat.
Zimmer performed with a 40+ piece orchestra and a 20+ piece choir and brought the house down.
He reminisced that the last time he performed in Birmingham was thirty years ago when he arrived in a Ford Transit and performed in a pub. The ‘rags to riches’ story doesn’t quite apply to Zimmer as even as a young man he could afford a stellar modular synthesizer and they are known to have been as costly as a house. In fact, there is a famous ad that says: “If you can afford a truck, you can afford a synthesizer” but nonetheless it is easy to see that the memories of performing in Birmingham some three decades ago and again tonight in a massive arena are worlds apart.
In his teens he’d moved to London and indeed it was in the UK where he had his first successes, especially as a member of ‘The Buggles’ whose hit ‘Video killed the radio star’ was the first ever video to be aired on MTV back in the day. Erasure’s Vince Clarke called that song ‘the perfect pop song’.
The Buggles were a really interesting proposition in their own right as other band members also made quite a dent in the world of music. Keyboarder Geoff Downes once played in the super-group Asia and Trevor Horn was in the Art Of Noise and even found himself as a reluctant vocalist of YES, having to fill the shows of the amazing Jon Anderson. But Horn is mainly known as a superb producer and production work includes Yes, Seal, ABC, Dollar and the Pet Shop Boys among others.
These days Hans Zimmer lives in the United States for obvious reasons.
Zimmer himself uses Synthesizers and combines it with an orchestra quite a lot and on stage he played the piano, synthesizer, banjo and guitar.
Due to the sheer amount of scores, many pieces were sort of semi-medleys and the night included music from the Tony Scott directed ‘Crimson Tide’, the Ridley Scott directed ‘Gladiator’ as well as music from ‘Rain Man’ , ‘The thin red line’, ‘The Da Vinci Code’, ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Pirates of the Carribean’ among others, all nicely interlaced with lovely anecdotes told by Hans himself.
It was an amazing experience to see so many top notch musicians come together to breathe some further soul into already existing, wonderful and memorable soundtracks.
Photo credits: Nicole Valentin