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The Music of Hans Zimmer at the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra

Last weekend was the first ever for MPO in re-creating what Hans Zimmer gave to the world through the soundtracks of award-winning movies.

By Culture Editor

Do you love movies like The Dark Knight? Inception? Interstellar? If you do, chances are that you remember their fantastic soundtracks. They all have one thing in common: they are made by the same gentlemen. And the music of him has landed in Kuala Lumpur last weekend.

Saturday 29th September, we had the privilege of going to watch The Music of Hans Zimmer live at the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Kuala Lumpur. It was a hard-fought privilege, since the event was basically sold out already in July, and to buy one of the few remaining tickets we had to shell out an arm and a leg. But we had to do it: we are the one who suggested to MPO to organise the Hans Zimmer show, and we are a big lover of movie soundtracks, especially Hans Zimmer’s work.

One of the most prolific film composers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Hans Zimmer was known as the ‘rock star amongst film composers’. He is one of the musical geniuses of our times - "the modern Mozart". Incredibly versatile as a composer – able to go from religious music to electro-techno in a blink – he is also a capable polystrumentist, and live on stage he plays the piano, synth, guitar and a banjo.

His career took off in 1988 when he composed the score for The Rain Man – which won the Best Movie Oscar for that year. Since, then, it’s been one amazing hit after another, with The Last Samurai being his 100th score, until his most recent work with “Batman vs Superman”, it's soundtrack is just another masterpiece that completely hits the spot.

Was it worth it? Absolutely YES – without a doubt!

Conducting the orchestra for that night was Gerard Salonga, director of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra in Manila and has been leading several concerts with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Gerard welcomed the audience and presented the players and stated that the intention to provide visual scenes from the movies while they play was quickly dismissed in order to ensure that the audience would be fully immersed on the performance on stage.

Gerard on stage reveals himself as a real performer. He talks and interacts a lot with the audience, telling behind the scene stories about each of the music. Every such moment is just pure pleasure for any movie fan.

The concert opens with a mash-up with Driving Miss Daisy, The Thin Red Line, and Sherlock Holmes

The orchestra opens with a mash-up with Driving Miss Daisy, The Thin Red Line, and Sherlock Holmes. What strikes from the beginning is the faithful reproduction of Hans Zimmer sounds, performed together by the instruments of from piano to keyboard to guitar, together with a very respectable violin and cello section, an impressive drummer. Then Gerard moved to The Last Samurai, eventually leading to the impressive voice and orchestra melded into the score from Inception.

Hans Zimmer - Chevaliers de Sangreal

After the interval, the orchestra performed the music from The Da Vinci Code - Chevaliers de Sangreal. This is arguably the greatest movie-ending music of all time (in that moment, Tom Hanks, in character, kneeling like a true Knight would do to a King, with reverence at what he believes to be below him The Holy Grail; the sarcophagus of Mary Magdalene) Immediately we felt goosebumps the whole bodies!

And then for something completely different. The score from The Dark Knight was really able to evoke all the atmosphere of Nolan’s Batman trilogy: mystery, fear, dark powers. The audience was ecstatic at this point. The orchestra was beyond expectations, with every suite arranged in an original way that mixed influences from rock, pop, classical and electronic music. The suggestions from the original movie soundtracks were all in the right places, but the live concert was able to give unexpected pleasant surprises. Great, great!

Towards the end of the show, due to the unwavering support from the audience (they clapped for a good three minutes), Gerard made a decision to come back on stage and play Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean which was not listed in the programme.

And so that was it. Two hours of live music full of suggestions, emotions and stories. A memorable experience. We leave MPO fully satisfied and electrified, very happy to have witnessed the orchestra of such highest calibre composer. Thank you for reading!

Picture: Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.

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