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THE ESSENTIAL HANS ZIMMER FILM MUSIC COLLECTION

"All Zimmer takes don't come that well, but the surprising thing is, some others outdo their originals!"


Review by Thomas Glorieux:

Like so many that came before it, Silva Screen continues its trend to bring out the biggest compilation of the best composers in the business. And while for many John Williams, Alan Silvestri and Jerry Goldsmith are the "easy" assignments to re orchestrate, Hans Zimmer is most definitely not. After all, he is the composer who blends real orchestra with samples of his synthesizer to make defying film music adored and hated by all. So the challenge and probably the wait for an album as this was Silva Screen's biggest problem. However now that it is here, it couldn't come at a better time. After all, Hans Zimmer is perhaps one of the top composers at his game, but as well one of the best selling and above all biggest names. All film music fans know his name, and he is either hated or adored for his contributions. And here his contributions (known to unknown) are brought forward by the always reliable City of Prague Philharmonic. While some of his biggest projects are destined for a performance, some weren't and it are those that were the real treats to discover. Gladiator isn't that surprising to discover on a disc like this. One of his all time best selling projects and Oscar nominated entry is one of gritty raw power and over conquering beauty. Sadly that gritty raw power is missing in the 'Symphonic Suite'. Also strange is the use of a female instead of a male choir to state his big main theme in the end. However performances are meant to be different even if not all pay off that well. For 'Now we are Free' the biggest difference is the middle where a basic completely different voice tonal takes over, which doesn't work that well. The basic singing is however very close to Lisa Gerrard's mesmerizing tonal clarity. Its lovely to find something else than the brilliant 'Journey to the Line' of The Thin Red Line here, and so 'The Village' is restrained, beautiful and captivating. With Thelma and Louise you have a good beat and use of harmonica but the electric guitar doesn't come off that well, and that is just the central instrument in this score and ultimately track. However with The Da Vinci Code Hans Zimmer went for a full orchestral score and so it doesn't come as a surprise that both pieces come off really good.
Yet as I feared the more pop based / synthesized efforts are not what they are supposed to be. Rather than re orchestrate the synthesizers for real instruments, they re ape the synthesizers and this is their biggest flaw. It sounds stupid, dated and basically childish. In Rain Man the pieces without the synthesizer work and for Days of Thunder they make it totally ridiculous. I hope people don't take these pieces for the original because it lacks completely the drive, charm and effect those originals possessed.

Pearl Harbor's nice, nothing more and The Last Samurai is better than I expected, the rise of strings in the first part and the trumpets in the second even somewhat outdo the original version, and this is why these performances must be heard. To hear almost exact versions yet those that change in the smaller details. And that is where Crimson Tide basically fails in. Everything is so good around it, the main theme just isn't powerful. The choir is brilliant and the rest as well, the main theme just doesn't pump, blows you away or mesmerizes you. This is sad because this could have been the best performance of all. With Green Card you however receive the biggest discovery of them all. What a great orchestral enjoyable take, it makes the original synthesized effort sound so much better and you know why? Because they used all real instruments and nothing more. Green Card, a real treat. So is Regarding Henry which is extremely lovely. With Batman Begins you have a very good version that however lacks a bit of pace at times. Driving Miss Daisy is truly the charming affair that is the original and True Romance is good too, even though it misses to capture that magical ending the original possesses time and time again. And then we come to his big scores. With The Rock you have a hit and miss approach, basically miss hitting notes and theme performances and then sounding cool after it, strange. With 'The Kraken' of POTC: Dead Man's Chest you however get a piece of orchestral carnage that really pumps and excites. The thing missing is the pace because that made the piece so memorable. Yet its nice to discover a piece like this. With 'Symphonic Suite' of Klaus Badelt's (not Zimmer's even though the themes are his) POTC you get a jolly good version, fun, orchestral enjoyable even though it doesn't bring an entire rousing approach by deleting several action pieces that could have shivered you silly, and the last version of the main theme isn't that well performed either. The instrumental version is a bonus track to accept and enjoy. Its strange that they haven't gone for full orchestral pieces, because his more synthesized efforts sound 100 times better than their version here while other versions sound so brilliant in an orchestral jacket. And I'm not gonna comment on scores that aren't here, because I think its a combination of the loud meets the pleasant meets the diverse. Altogether this CD and the Zimmer's selections are for those who don't know a thing of Hans Zimmer. But they mustn't believe that everything is that good or bad like its presented here.

\1/2/


Tracks Double Disc

Disk One: 51.21

Gladiator

1. Symphonic Suite (7.18)

2. Now We Are Free (4.21)    Excellent Track

The Thin Red Line

3. The Village (6.11)    Excellent Track

Thelma & Louise

4. Main Title (2.54)

The Da Vinci Code

5. Chevaliers De Sangreal (4.07)    Excellent Track

6. Kyrie For The Magdalene (3.53)    Excellent Track

Rain Man

7. Las Vegas (4.21)

8. Main Theme (3.10)

Days of Thunder

9. Main Title (4.41)

Pearl Harbor

10. Heart Of The Volunteer (3.49)

The Last Samurai

11. Suite (6.29)    Excellent Track

 

Disk Two: 55.47

Crimson Tide

1. Roll Tide (4.07)

2. Eternal Father, Strong To Save (1.21)

Green Card

3. Restless Elephants (6.13)    Excellent Track

Regarding Henry

4. Walking Talking Man (3.34)

Batman Begins

5. Eptesicus (4.52)

Hannibal

6. Vide Cor Meum (3.00)

True Romance

7. You're So Cool (3.43)

Driving Miss Daisy

8. End Title (4.55)    Excellent Track

The Rock

9. Main Theme (5.06)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

10. The Kraken (5.01)    Excellent Track

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

11. Symphonic Suite (7.40)

Gladiator

12. Now We Are Free (Instrumental Version) (6.08)

 

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=== Link to Composer Site: Hans Zimmer ===

Original Compilation of Soundtracks by Hans Zimmer

Produced by by James Fitzpatrick
Executive Producer: Reynold da Silva

Orchestrations by Nic Raine, Gareth Williams, ...

Performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic & The Crouch End Festival Chorus

Recorded at Barrandov Studios, Smecky Soundstage; Prague