Zimmer’s Mantle

Riding the train to the city centre, I still had no idea where we were going. All I knew is that my girlfriend had blocked that particular date in my calendar for ages, never even giving a hint of where we were going. Thankfully, I’m not nearly as curious as she is, but in the days leading towards the big day my curiosity levels had been rising much more than I cared to admit. When we had to change trains, the crowd was getting bigger and I started to see people looking at tickets and flyers of the event we were attending. The crowd itself wasn’t very telling. It wasn’t the crowd of a popstar like Justin Bieber, Beyonce or Taylor Swift. It also wasn’t a nostalgia-laden crowd like those of The Rolling Stones, The Backstreet Boys or Take That. I was as close to the answer as we were to the venue but I still had no clue. Sure of the fact that I would find out any second, my girlfriend reached inside her purse and handed my two tickets. Hans Zimmer! We were going to see the legend himself!

What followed was one of the best concert experiences of my life. Mr. Zimmer is as good as his discography is large and his basement is full of awards. From Gladiator to Pirates of the Caribbean. From Inception to The Dark Knight. From The Last Samurai to Inception. It was masterful. Highlight for me was the moment I heard the iconic lyrics: Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba. Somehow I attributed The Lion King only to Elton John and Tim Rice. I had totally forgotten about Hans Zimmer. And to hear the famous Zulu lyrics being performed by none other than Lebo M. himself, was the icing on the cake.

Hans Zimmer finished the concert with music from Inception. It was fitting as it was a dream performance and both of us didn’t really want to wake up. On the train ride home I was thinking favorite composers. I listen to Film and Television scores quite often, especially when I’m writing. When you think of the older generation. People like John Williams, Danny Elfman, Thomas Newman and James Newton Howard, you are talking about decades on decades of amazing music going back as far as the 50’s. They are all greats in their own right, Williams especially, and thinking of those guys brought a question to mind. Who of the younger generation of composers have the potential to reach the same heights? 4 names came to mind.

Max Richter

I first heard the music of this German composer while watching the brilliant and underrated The Leftovers. I was a fan from the very first second. His scoring of that show was practically perfect and listening to more of his music gave me confirmation the he is truly something special. His credentials say it all. Richter graduated from England’s oldest conservatory, The Royal Academy of Music and he has written for screen but also for stage, opera and ballet. His own albums are equally stunning. He might not be as famous as some of the other composers on this list but he definitely operates on the same level.

Great Max Richter songs:

  • On The Nature Of Daylight (The Blue Notebooks, The Face Of An Angel, Arrival)
  • November (Memoryhouse, The Leftovers)
  • The Consolations Of Philosophy (Black Mirror)

Michael Giacchino

Along with Hans Zimmer, Michael Giacchino was the one who got me interested in film and TV scores. His season one score of Lost is still one of the best in the history of television. He rightfully won a Grammy for Lost and he went on to win a couple more Grammys for Ratatouille and Up and won an Oscar for Up as well. Giacchino has made many more beautiful scores since, including: Star Trek, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Inside Out and Zootopia. This guy is here to stay and I hope he will compose another great score for TV in the future.

Great Michael Giacchino songs:

  • Parting Words (Lost)
  • Moving On (Lost)
  • Married Life (Up)

Jóhann Jóhannsson

This Icelandic composer appeared on my radar because of his collaborations with one of my favorite directors, Denis Villeneuve. His work on Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival got him several awards and nominations. Jóhannsson is most famous for his brilliant score of The Theory of Everything. He won a Golden Globe for that one and it contains some of his best work. While recent collaborations with both Denis Villeneuve and Darren Aronofsky didn’t work out as planned, I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

Great Jóhann Jóhannsson songs:

  • Flight From The City (The Theory Of Everything)
  • The Theory Of Everything (The Theory Of Everything)
  • A Sparrow Alighted Upon Our Shoulder (Orphée)

Ramin Djawadi

Where do I start? This brilliant composer was already working with the likes of Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard before he did fantastic work on Prison Break and then truly took it to the next level in 2011 with brilliant work on Person of Interest and his true breakout score for Game of Thrones. I have been listening to everything he has made since and this man never disappoints. While Djawadi is most famous for his work on Game of Thrones, he has produced and composed over 100 scores and soundtracks and you can find hidden gems on all of them. His work on Person of Interest is among his best and his compositions for Westworld are among the songs of his I listen to the most. Looking at his pure talent and the fact that he has worked with Hans Zimmer himself, I think that this might be the guy who eventually will become as iconic as the man who gave us The Lion King soundtrack. Speaking of Disney, Djawadi’s next project is A Wrinkle in Time. Who knows, it might become his own The Lion King.

Great Ramin Djawadi songs:

  • The Winds Of Winter (Game of Thrones)
  • Dr. Ford (Westworld)
  • Memories (Westworld)

So if the mantle passed from John Williams to Hans Zimmer, who of these 4 guys do you think will take it up next?


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