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Director Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight was one of the most challenging projects Hans Zimmer has ever worked on. The German-born, Hollywood-based composer, known for his epic scores for Pirates Of The Caribbean and Gladiator, told Classic FM that it took him a year to complete the score.
“We had so many ideas and never enough hours in the day,” he said. “Put it this way, I got to hang out with some of my demons for a while.”
The sequel to Batman Begins is “a darker ride”, according to Zimmer, and therefore required a different style of music.
”In the last movie, I wrote a two-note motif that was very distinctive,” he said. “In this movie, I figured out a way to make the motif darker, too.”
Zimmer made his name in film music, but he was actually brought up with classical. In Germany, he went to his first opera when he was two, and his family would have string quartet or piano recitals at their house. But when he hit his teenage years, Zimmer rejected it completely and, in his own words, “hit rock and roll hard”.
After working through his rebellious phase, he came back to classical music via film. His trademark technique balances orchestral and electronic sounds, and The Dark Knight is no exception.
“It’s about fifty-fifty,” he told Classic FM. “I never segregate a violin from a synthesiser – both are ways and means of making music.”
Zimmer is wary of proclaiming The Dark Knight a hit – “When you work on something you lose perspective” – but believes it’s one of the best films he’s been involved with.
He’s also proud of his arrangements for the concert hall. “Figuring out how to use orchestras in a more modern context has become an obsession,” he said. “Classical concerts have that image of someone with his back to you and everyone else reading the paper – I’m trying to find a way of approaching it differently.”