Hans Zimmer is one of the most respected and sought after composers in the entertainment industry today. With credits reaching all the way back to 1982’s Moonlighting, which starred Jeremy Irons, and as recent as 2017’s Genius, which recently aired on National Geographic Channel and starred Johnny Flynn and Geoffrey Rush as the young and adult Albert Einstein respectively, Zimmer has successfully worked on dozens of movies television programs and even music videos throughout his career. This coming Friday, Nov. 3, audiences will get to experience some of Zimmer’s work firsthand in a new live setting thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new live recording Hans Zimmer Live in Prague. Originally recorded live May 7, 2016 in Prague during Zimmer’s successful European concert tour, this two-hour, 18-minute concert is a clear example of why Zimmer is considered one of the entertainment industry’s great musical minds. That is due in part to the songs and movies that make up the concert’s set list. The visuals that are incorporated into the concert are just as certain as the set list to keep audiences entertained and engaged. They will be discussed later. The recording’s companion booklet rounds out its most important element. Each element is important in its own right to ensuring audiences’ engagement and entertainment. All things considered, the noted elements make Hans Zimmer Live in Prague a solid example of why Zimmer is one of the entertainment industry’s most respected figures.
Hans Zimmer Live in Prague is a concert experience unlike almost everything that Eagle Rock Entertainment has released in recent years. That is because unlike so many of the company’s previous recordings, this is a full orchestral performance rather than a performance put on by a band, act or group. It is a modern classical concert that through its snapshot of Zimmer’s career, shows why Zimmer’s is such a respected musical mind. That is due in part to that snapshot. The concert features songs used in some of the key moments in Zimmer’s career including Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy and Driving Miss Daisy as well as some of the lesser-known movies to which he contributed. Those lesser-known movies include Crimson Tide (1995), The Thin Red Line (1998) and True Romance (1993). Simply put, the movies and songs selected for the concert are but a glimpse into an otherwise extensive concert, yet still serve collectively to paint a clear picture of his career despite this fact.
On another level, the concert’s set list proves important to the concert’s presentation because of the thought put into its ordering. Audiences will note that the concert starts off on a light-hearted note with ‘Driving,’ from Driving Miss Daisy, a gentle composition centered around Zimmer’s work on piano and Richard Harvey’s work on clarinet. From there, the concert’s energy gradually builds more and more with each song until finally relaxing again late in its run in the performance of ‘You’re So Cool’ from True Romance. The set list becomes even more reserved – albeit momentarily – as Zimmer and his fellow musicians make their way into the theme song from the hit 1988 Dustin Hoffman/Tom Cruise hit Rain Man before building back again as it moves into ‘What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving The World?’, taken from the 2013 Superman incarnation Man of Steel. The energy remains high for quite a while from here before pulling back noticeably in the tribute to the victims of the 2012 Aurora, CO movie theater shooting in the aptly titled ‘Aurora.’ Once again, the energy builds back again following that deeply moving composition as the organization makes its way through a pair of medleys from Interstellar and Inception to close out the show. The way in which the whole show closes is the perfect accent to that final crescendo as it closes out the concert in expert fashion. It is just one more way in which the set list proves pivotal to the concert’s presentation. Keeping all of this in mind, it becomes clear why this concert’s set list is such an important piece of its whole. If any one thing can be said negative to the set list, it would be that considering his extensive resume, it would have been nice to have received more than just his most recent blockbuster action flick compositions. It would have been nice to have seen August Rush (2007), the 2010 TV mini-series The Pacific and maybe even The Simpsons Movie since he had a direct hand in that movie, too. While it is nice to see as many classics as are represented here, it would have been nice to see them balanced with more of his body of work rather than so many of his major blockbuster work. That is not to say the set list should have been longer, but rather just more representative of Zimmer’s current body of work. Even with this in mind, the set list still proves regardless to be its own important part of the recording’s whole. It is only one of the key elements to note in examining this recording. The visuals incorporated into the concert are just as important to discuss as the concert’s set list.
The visuals incorporated into this concert are so important to discuss because of the impact that they have when coupled with the music. Rather than just putting the scenes to which each composition was connected in its respective movie, Zimmer and company instead chose to use more random visualizations to illustrate the songs’ energies. The visuals used in partner with ‘Journey to the Red Line’ (from The Thin Red Line) is one of the are among the hardest hitting because of their simplicity. A dotted red line pulses behind the orchestra in time with the pulse of the song’s beat, and grows in its intensity along with the arrangement’s intensity. This simple approach goes a long way toward illustrating the song’s emotional depth and power. Whether or not audiences have seen The Thin Red Line, the use of that visual, when coupled with the equally engaging arrangement, lets audiences know that this arrangement obviously was meant to illustrate a very tense situation. It does an impressive job of illustrating that emotion, too. In the same vein, the strobes and flashing colors used in ‘The Electro Suite’ (taken from The Amazing Spiderman 2) couple with the song’s guitar-driven, almost rock style arrangement to give audiences a vivid picture of how Electro came to being in that movie even without having seen the movie. It is yet another truly intense moment that is certain to keep audiences engaged and entertained. On a serious side note, moments such as this may be considered dangerous for any viewer who might suffer from epilepsy because of the constant flashing of the lights. That must be noted. Even when the visuals are as simple as changing colors, such as in the theme from Crimson Tide, that minimalist approach proves useful, too. That is because the colors themselves serve to illustrate the mood created first through the music. It is just one more example of why the visualizations incorporated into this concert are so important to its presentation, and is hardly the last example that could be cited. Keeping this in mind, the concert’s companion booklet rounds out its most important elements.
The companion booklet included with Hans Zimmer Live in Prague is important to the recording’s whole because of the background that it offers audiences before they take in the concert from the comfort of their homes. Jeremy Thomas writes in the recording’s liner notes the reason that Prague was chosen as the site for this recording – he notes the country’s history played a big part in that choice – Zimmer’s willingness from one song to the next to not stick to just one type of musical grouping, allowing electric guitars to be married with pan flutes and other non-traditional instruments in some points while using other more traditional groupings in others. As if this is not enough, Thomas also gives a concise summary of the concert and much more through his liner notes. Between the items noted here and those not discussed, the whole of the material discussed throughout the booklet’s liner notes offers its own enjoyment for audiences. When that enjoyment is considered along with the enjoyment offered through the concert’s set list and visualizations, the whole of those elements shows why this one-of-a-kind recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment will “score” with Zimmer’s fans and movie buffs alike.
Eagle Rock Entertainment’s forthcoming recording Hans Zimmer Live in Prague is a work that is certain to “score” with Zimmer’s fans and with movie buffs alike. That is due in part to the recording’s set list. Despite lifting liberally from the most recent blockbusters which Zimmer scored, the set list does include songs from some of the lesser-known movies on which Zimmer worked, too. The visualizations used in each song (and medley) adds its own touch to the recording. Rather than relying on footage from the songs’ associated movies, random visualizations are used throughout, allowing audiences to create their own scenes in their own minds. The liner notes included in the recording’s companion booklet put the finishing touch on the recording. Each element is important in its own right to the recording’s whole. All things considered, they make this recording one that will, again, “score” with Zimmer’s fans and movie buffs alike. It will be available Friday, Nov. 3 in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:
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