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The Wings of a Film - The Music of Hans Zimmer
Decent. - Isaac Engelhorn (9-6-2001)
Track List:
  1. Gladiator - Now We Are Free
  2. Gladiator - Am I Not Merciful
  3. Driving Miss Daisy - Driving
  4. Thelma & Louise - Thunderbird
  5. The Thin Red Line - Journey To the Line
  6. Mission: Impossible 2 - Nyah and Ethan
  7. The Lion King - Lea Halalela
  8. Power of One - Mother Africa
  9. Nine Months - Suite
  10. Rain Man - Main Theme
  11. True Romance - Main Theme
  12. The Lion King - Busa

Total Time: (71:45)

Composed by:
Hans Zimmer,
Lisa Gerrard,
Klaus Badelt,
Lebo M,
Jay Rifkin

Conducted by:
Dirk Brosse

Arranged and Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler,
Stever Jablonsky,
Jimmy Levine,
Henning Lohner,
Geoff Zanelli,
Elizabeth Finch,
Walter Fowler,
Ladd McIntosh,
Suzette Moriarty

Sometimes I feel split down the middle when it comes to Hans Zimmer. On one hand, he is one of the most genuinely talented composers working in film today. On the other hand, he is probably the single largest danger facing the orchestral scores of tradition. With he and his associates at Media Ventures constantly finding "cost-effective" (cheap) ways of scoring movies, many film score collectors are nervous about what the future may bring, and many (sometimes fairly) point to Zimmer when they think of poor film music. It's safe to say that I really like a lot of his music, yet when I hear his synths taking over, like many others, I cringe. Last year's Gladiator was one of the most overrated scores in recent memory, containing some of the most pretentious dramatic writing I've heard from Hans. Instead of quietly expressing the characters, the "dramatic" music of Gladiator instead decided to become loud and obnoxious, trying to overpower you while viewing the film.

Fortunately, in a concert setting, Zimmer's ordinary use of synths, apart from keyboards, is next to impossible. What is commonly associated with Zimmer that is possible is the use of guitars and rock elements that are common in his scores. These elements, rest assured, are contained and heavily used on this CD. The Thelma & Louise track is dominated by a rock guitar solo from start to finish, which I ordinarily wouldn't care for, but I somehow like it in this case. Perhaps it's the fact that the performance is very "heartfelt", and contains much emotion. I have never seen or heard the score for Driving Miss Daisy, but I like the track from that score very much. It begins quite softly, but eventually becomes rather fun light rock tune. Also, it's always a pleasure to hear music from The Lion King and the classical guitar music of Mission: Impossible 2 is enjoyable as well.

I have read in a review that it probably would have been best to have left out the track from The Thin Red Line which kind of boggled my mind. If you've read my review of that score, you know that I am a huge fan of it and the track used for this concert, "Journey to the Line", is my favorite cue from that score. I'm not exactly sure why I feel this way, but I think that it's one of the most beautiful and stirring pieces that I've heard in my life, and Zimmer's single best cue thus far to be sure.

The performance is really nothing special, but it suffices. The orchestra plays under the direction of conductor Dirk Brosse whose name I was introduced to through the London Symphony's recent performance of Goldenthal's Final Fantasy score. He does a decent job with what he has to work with, even though there is a picture on the back of the insert that shamelessly makes it seem as if Zimmer himself is conducting. Further regarding the performance, it seems that there was actually more music performed at the concert that did not make the disc due to Zimmer's less than enthusiastic reception of the orchestra's handling. I'm not completely sure this is true though (does anyone have confirmation on this?).

I'd say that the CD's most unfortunate downfall is the fact that it opens with its two difinitively weakest tracks. For me, Lisa Gerrard's performace of Gladiator music is more annoying than ever. I'm not exactly sure what it is that repulses me so from her music, but I just can't get into it. Every time I try to listen to "Now We are Free" and like it, it somehow becomes too much for me to bear and I end up skipping it. "Am I not Merciful" is a fine example of the pretense for the score that I mentioned earlier. I was also kind of bowled over by the concert's incredibly weak ending. While you may hear a large, grand coda to close out the concert of guys like John Williams or Jerry Goldsmith, Zimmer's concert ends with an african chorus that builds up to significant volume, but suddenly cuts off in a severely anticlimactic fashion.

Overall, I'd say that this CD is a good intro to Zimmer's music if you haven't heard that much of it before, but considering the prominance of Media Ventures in the word of film nowadays, I would find it hard to believe that anyone could not be familiar with his work. It is interesting to hear his music in a concert venue, when you consider how much Zimmer's music should *not* work in such a setting simply because of its fleeting nature. It's a shame that Zimmer's first large concert was merely decent, but hopefully we'll see something better in the future should Hans decide to pursue the idea of concerts further.


Hans Zimmer - Wings of a Film is Copyright 2001 Decca Records. This review is written by and is the property of Isaac Engelhorn and does not reflect the opinions of Tripod.