We send our design and tech boffin, Martyn Pitchford to the AO Arena to pursue his love of soundtracks

I’ve always been a fan of dramatic soundtrack music. There’s something ethereal about the combination of piano and strings. It makes for great motorway driving music; entertaining enough to distract from the monotony but not the movement of vehicles.

Despite the name of the show, the Oscar winning Hollywood heavy-weight Hans doesn't appear in person but he does make several appearances on screen having scripted (but very charming) banter with Gavin Greenaway, his long-trusted conductor and friend. Gavin is a charming and humble host and his passion for music as a foundation of culture is evident throughout his interlude chats with Hans.

The World Of Hans Zimmer – A New Dimension At Manchester Ao Arena Hans Zimmer 800X600
Hans having bants with Gavin Image: Confidentials

My favourite soundtrack from Hans Zimmer is from the Dark Knight trilogy. It invokes a primal sensation of being chased by something very hungry and very fast.

Lion King – Disney’s Lion King, in my opinion, is the last decent animated feature Disney released before mass produced computer animation took over and started stripping the soul out of children’s films. In the intro for this section, Hans explains that although he was initially reluctant to work on the film, he was won over by the idea of being excited to take his young daughter to a movie premier and reveals that his father died when he was just six years old. This moving personal detail gives an insight into the creative inspiration behind the brilliant Oscar-winning soundtrack; a story about a boy who learns to become a man without his father.

If that doesn’t get you welling up, the James Bond ‘No Time to Die’ score will. The Interstellar theme takes you on the journey from the quiet total isolation of being alone in space, to a sense of not really being alone at the end, whether you’re meeting your maker or becoming one with the void. Somehow this music makes more sense of this idea than the rather garbled ending of Stanley Kubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The World Of Hans Zimmer – A New Dimension At Manchester Ao Arena Lebo M And The Nairobi Chamber Chorus 22 27 48 800X600
Lebo M and the Nairobi Chamber Chorus showcase a full range of emotions from The Lion King Image: Confidentials

Hans' work on curation and musical direction of the show allow the musicians to become the stars, much like Jim Steinman was to Meat Loaf, he provides fuel for their fire (and at least Hans knows better than to attempt the singing himself).

The Odessa Orchestra performed flawlessly and with great gravitas throughout.

Pedro Eustache, the Venezuelan flautist's performance is remarkable. He manages to maintain a flute blowing without seeming to take a breath for several minutes at a time. At one point I was worried he might expire on stage. The man seems to be sacrificing his lungs for his art.

Alexios Anest is the epitomy of a cool guitarist - the type that Bill & Tedd, Jack Black and Dave Lister only ever dream of becoming. He has a steampunk, almost Rasputin-like style and if he gets any cooler, the British secret service might have to bump him off as well. He has a different guitar to match the moods of each score and manages to get sound effects out of these instruments that defy logic as to how they produce such noises.

Rusanda Panfili provides high energy violining theatrics. Her violin vs accordion duel with Aleksandra Suklar over a Sherlock Holmes theme is even more captivating than you might imagine.

Lebo M provides a bubbling and soulful introduction to the Lion King score and the Nairobi Chamber Chorus provide a fun and zesty performance.

Gavin’s closes the show with a touching message calling for politicians to take music in schools more seriously as he says “music is a fundamental part of what makes us human” and I’d sum his sentiments about music being a force for peace as “music is a good excuse to stop being shitty to each other”.

The World Of Hans Zimmer – A New Dimension At Manchester Ao Arena Hans Zimmer Sherlock Holmes Theme 800X600
Aleksandra, Rusanda, Alexios and Juan providing the drama from the Sherlock Holmes theme Image: Confidentials

The World of Hans Zimmer – A New Dimension is currently touring around Europe for upcoming dates see www.worldofhanszimmer.com

To see more of what's coming up at the AO Arena see https://www.ao-arena.com/event...

For more information on the artists see below:

The Odessa Orchestra and Friends @die_keitels

Rusanda Panfili @rusandapanfili

Pedro Eustache @pedroeustache

Mariko Muranaka @mariko_cello

Alexios Anest @alexios.anest

Juan García-Herreros @6stringowl

Luis Ribeiro @positivedrumming

Lucy Landymore @lucy.landymore

Aleksandra Suklar @aleksandra.suklar

Lebo M @therealLEBO_M

The Nairobi Chamber Chorus @nairobi_chamber_c

Eliane Correa @elianecorreamusic

Nokukhanya Dlamini @nokukhanyadlamini

Gan-ya Ben-gur Akselrod @gbga

Lisa Gerrard @lisagerrardvoice

Read next - Things to do in Manchester this April

Read again - Launch night: The Mezz at AO Arena

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