Wednesday, September 18, 2019

embedding is back, so here's some Hans Zimmer

And we can embed videos again!

Hans Zimmer (whose name translates to "John Room," like the French surname La Salle, which also means "room"; a Zimmermann is a carpenter, i.e., a room-man) has been improving with age, although I'm still not the biggest fan of his music. I've enjoyed his scores for "Interstellar" and "The Dark Knight," but I hated his superficial-sounding work on "The Rock" and didn't think his work on the Pirates of the Caribbean movies was much better. With time, Zimmer has expanded the instrumental repertoire in his compositions, and he's gotten his often desperate-sounding strings under control, harnessing them and channeling them to create greater intensity of feeling. I don't think his score for "Man of Steel" dethrones the iconic (and infinitely memorable) work done by John Williams for the original "Superman," but Zimmer's piece is worth listening to:

Unfortunately, the use of modern instruments like electric guitars in the above piece makes me think of the moving-but-corny "An American Symphony" from "Mr. Holland's Opus," a three-minute piece that Glenn Holland, the movie's protagonist, supposedly spent thirty years writing. "An American Symphony"—which was actually composed by Hollywood regular Michael Kamen (who scored the Lethal Weapon movies alongside Eric Clapton) incorporates electric guitars, thus combining modern and classical instruments. The result is music that has a somewhat similar feel to Hans Zimmer's score for "Man of Steel." Here's the version of "An American Symphony" that appears in the movie:

There's a fuller, eight-minute version of the piece here. I still think that taking thirty years to compose an eight-minute piece is glacially slow. Mr. Holland's life, as portrayed in the movie, is event-filled and full of ups and downs, but surely he'd have had large blocks time to work intensively on his music, no?

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