If you read my blog frequently, you know my opinion of composer Hans Zimmer. In short, I think he’s mostly overrated. Much of his recent work hasn’t been spectacular or original- save for a single piece many overlook because Zimmer didn’t write it for a film.
Many of us- especially movie fans- remember the tragic 2012 Aurora, CO shootings. The cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises, and the rest of the nation, gave out stunned condolences. According to the composer he was in London the day after the shootings and hadn’t heard about them until a reporter mentioned them. That night he went to work. A few days later Zimmer released his original composition entitled “Aurora” as his tribute to the victims.
What makes “Aurora” stand out, makes it powerful, is its simplicity. Gone are the usual Zimmer composing cliches, instead all you hear is an a cappella choir. A single voice is met by numerous voices, and towards the middle of the piece (which is over six minutes long) you hear the familiar chords of The Dark Knight Trilogy theme. However, I’ve never heard it sound as dark before or since. The voices continue overlapping each other, until after a pause, the lone voice sounds out the melody again, and ends on a fading note.
“Aurora” proves when a composer, no matter how often we hear their work, has time to work they can still surprise us. This one piece doesn’t change my overall opinion on Zimmer, but it does tell me that he can write powerful, original music when given the opportunity. I highly recommend listening to it, however you have to be in the right frame of mind to do so. This isn’t a typical Zimmer piece but it just might be his best.