Hans Zimmer, the man of wonders
Hans Zimmer is, no doubt, one of my favorite soundtrack composers. On September 12th he celebrated his birthday, and what better occasion to grant him the permanent spot in Twin Peaks Gallery of Marvelous People? This entry is long overdue, but all good things come at the right time, no?
If I play you a piece of music, that’s when you can truly look inside me.
This is not the first time I am mentioning Hans here, though. He has been a guest on multiple occasions – almost always with Chris Nolan, with the Lion King story… But you deserve to know why and what and when and all the basics. Especially with Dune coming to us soon (well, technically it came to some of you out there, which is so damn cool!) and you know – he invented a whole new instrument for that score.
But I never got the real chance to express my true, raw feelings about Hans and his music. And each tune, each score is charged with emotional, electric impulse. It’s always personal. And in February 2022 I will have the one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and listen to him live, in Prague. Of all places, it will be in Prague! The city, where he recorded one of the most beautiful concerts.
So, put any of his records on and let’s begin. And let me first tell you about a dream I had, once I bought the ticket to his gig. And just as a context, you know how I feel about The Lion King and the soundtrack there. Seeing Hans Zimmer live was a dream of a 4-year-old girl. So, the dream makes perfect sense even though it’s completely ridiculous.
As the seconds of our lives are ticking away, you have to realize that life needs to be an adventure.
I was in Prague already. It was still winter, lots of snow in the main square. There was still time to get to the venue, so I decided to do some sightseeing. Prague was never my favorite city, but it is MY city when it comes to concerts. Plus, I’ve never seen it in winter so maybe this season will make it work? There is an artistic café I like to visit, because the interior looks amazing and coffee is damn fine. And you can never say no to a good coffee.
It’s warm inside, and I can roll up my hoodie sleeves. That makes me look at my left-forearm tattoo I made for my 25th birthday. Well, I made it in May but just in time for my cat to see it. The shape of Simba reminds me of Nicolas all the time. But this time I smile, because he lives in me. Just like Mufasa lives in Simba. A circle of life.
I don’t think there was a concert that made me so nervous. It feels like I am going to face all my demons – the soundtracks I listen to when I am sad, anxious, happy, excited, erratic, discombobulated, terrified… All feelings at once, in full brightness. Am I ready? Probably not. After all, during “Hans Zimmer Tribute” in Wroclaw, I basically cried the whole show. But maybe this will be different. Maybe I will get the closure I need?
It’s time to leave the café and stop overthinking it. I get going but freeze in my tracks, just as I open the doors. He was there, right outside. Hans Zimmer himself, wandering about Prague, sightseeing like I planned to. Should I approach him? This might be my only chance to tell him how much his music means to me; how his music helped me through the darkest times and how it lifted me in the lightest times. Now or never, I promised myself I will try. And then Yoda reminded me: “Do or do not. There is no try”. So I am changing my promise in silence, to do more.
I tackle the distance to hear his laugh and I just stop right in front of him. I think he must have noticed that awe on my face, the never-ending admiration, because he just smiles politely and waits. And my voice can’t make a sound, the words flow around my head, but they don’t make sense to anyone but me. So, I rolled up the sleeve again to show him. Hans Zimmer is a genius, so he understands. No words are needed, when you deal with man of wonders.
But he asks for the story and my messy head is making my mouth spit out words faster than the speed of light. And again he laughs, understanding there is more to the story, the words can express. But there is a remedy. His genuine kindness and one sentence: “It would be our honor to have you as a special guest during soundcheck”. And then my brain works on fast forward, because we are on the stage, surrounded by all these wonderful instruments. The orchestra members take their seats and the maestro shows me to the piano chair.
Fast forward again to the initial moments after the show. He asked me to wait, he is interested in my opinion. But again, my brain stops me from speaking. As if I am not worthy of sharing my love with this genius. But he smiles like a father to a child, whose dream just came true. And that wasn’t the end of this day of wonders. Because something I never expected happened. I can see that he is reaching for something and it takes me some time to realize exactly what it was. His only Academy Award for the score to “The Lion King”. And this was the closure I needed, even though I never realized it. And sure as hell, never deserved it. But his face says it all: I need it more than he.
The rules are: The more playful we get, the more we can get rid of the rules.
And that’s how I know it was a dream, even though Inception makes me question everything. As much as I would love to meet Hans Zimmer, I often think about the saying “Never meet your heroes”. I was talking with my friend Joaquin this week and I told him that I have these thoughts sometimes. Like the one, that I want to meet Chris Nolan and I don’t, because what are the chances he is an asshole? And I cannot live in a world where he is. I like “what if” but if some of them were true, my carefully built perfect image would be destroyed.
Let’s not go there, then. There are some things I would like you to know about Hans Zimmer! He is a German composer, who ever since the 1980 composed soundtracks for over 150 movies. He was mentioned in The Daily Telegraph list of Top 100 living Geniuses. So, this isn’t only my opinion Lot. What are the characteristics of Hans Zimmer’s music? Combining traditional orchestra with electronic music. Working with people like Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott, Michael Bay, Gore Verbinski or Ron Howard.
But I only started paying attention to his music in high school and it was a life-changing experience. Suddenly, watching movies 2 or 3 times made sense, because… The music changes everything. And then my mum reminded me, that ever sine I was a little girl, I wanted to meet the man behind my favorite soundtrack of all times.
So, what makes Hans Zimmer great? What made me fall in love, without any hesitation, doubt or questions?
I’ve spent my life trying to make things simpler. Because I find ultimately that complicated doesn’t reach the heart.
For me is the heart and soul he pours into the sound. For quite some time, he and Chris Nolan were inseparable but… The Dune came and this was Zimmer’s childhood dream. And Nolan understands, I hope. Hans agreed to do it because his daughter told him this movie will be cool. In 1988 he composed music for A world apart and was accidentally discovered by Barry Levinson’s wife. Barry Levinson? The director of Rain Man, a.k.a. Hans’ breakthrough movie.
One would say that he made it to the top by accident, but nothing happens without a reason. I believe that life finds a way, and Hans Zimmer proved that if you are motivated enough, you can succeed with anything. He is mostly self-taught, since he couldn’t handle regular, strict lessons. And… Now, he is one of the greatest soundtrack composers in the world!
He truly is a man of wonders; of many wonders actually. I try to imagine some movies without his music (X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Wonder Woman 1984) and how unwatchable they would be. For real, I am willing to see them again only for the soundtrack. And then I think about the lengths he went through to create chefs-d’oeuvre like scores for Interstellar or The Lion King.
All music is based in one way or the other, or influenced through the ages, on technology.
Hans composed music for Dune and being the excited kid he is, one score was not enough. He felt so inspired, when he saw the initial sketches from behind the scenes book “The art and soul of Dune”, he composed an additional soundtrack. For that book. Saying no to Chris Nolan could’ve been the easiest thing for Zimmer, since this sci-fi phenomena was a dream come true.
And Zimmer was quite similar to me when it came to actual work: he was annoying as hell, because of all the ideas pouring out of him with a speed of light. All of that resulted in creating a whole news instrument that will give the audiences a whole new experience.
But you can give yourself a glimpse of what’s coming, by listening to Hans’ work on Dune. This music flows inside your brain, just like the spice. It’s addictive, dark, moist and rich. And I just can’t get enough and I am both scared and excited; ready and under-prepared. But I am not surprised, as this is exactly how this soundtrack should make us feel.
Villeneuve and Zimmer bonded over their love for Dune and they were in agreement: this soundtrack will elevate your soul and change the blood flow in your heart. Dune is a science-fiction book, but also a spiritual journey, one of a kind. In a way, this movie will be a feast of love: Denis poured his artistic, cinematographic vision and interpretation and Hans used his imagination to add sound to that vision.
You’re going to fail a few times, because that is the only time you actually learn something.
I only now realize that trying to explain how much Hans’ music means to me is an impossible task. It’s deeply personal, because I often take pop culture personally. It’s who I am and I don’t think I am ready to change. Perhaps that is the best and worst thing about me?
What I can do, is leave you with a list of my favorite sounds and ask you to close your eyes. Let the music take you on an adventure. Just… Let his music do the talking. Hans Zimmer is now officially the third person to receive a permanent spot in the Marvelous Gallery. And I couldn’t be more proud to have him around!
Twin Peaks Café’s list of favorites – Hans Zimmer
- Rain Man, 1988
- Driving Miss Daisy, 1989
- A League of their own, 1992
- The Lion Kind, 1994
- Crimson Tide, 1995
- The Rock, 1996
- As good as it gets, 1997
- The Prince of Egypt, 1998
- The Thin Red Line, 1998
- Gladiator, 2000
- Black Hawk Down, 2001
- Pearl Harbor, 2001
- The Last Samurai, 2003
- Something’s gotta give, 2003
- King Arthur, 2004
- Madagascar, 2005
- Batman Begins, 2005
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, 2006
- The Da Vinci Code, 2006
- The Holiday, 2006
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, 2007
- Kung Fu Panda, 2008
- The Dark Knight, 2008
- Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, 2008
- Angels & Demons, 2009
- Sherlock Holmes, 2009
- Inception, 2010
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger tides, 2011
- Kung Fu Panda 2, 2011
- Sherlock Holmes: A game of shadows, 2011
- The Dark Knight Rises, 2012
- Rush, 2013
- Man of Steel, 2013
- 12 years a slave, 2013
- Interstellar, 2014
- The Little Prince, 2015
- Kung Fu Panda 3, 2016
- Inferno, 2016
- Hidden Figures, 2016
- Dunkirk, 2017
- Blade Runner 2049, 2017
- Dark Phoenix, 2019
- The Lion King, 2019
- Hillbilly Elegy, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984, 2020