I have been home from Mexico for four days now, and sorry to say, I’ve been sick. I don’t know if it was the change in weather, or the fact that several of my family members were sick, but I got it too. Shortly after arriving in Mexico, I started sneezing—many times a day, a lot! People asked me whether it was allergies, or whether I was sick. Then my nose started dripping, like a leaky faucet. Now that it has been a couple weeks, I’m afraid it’s the common cold. Luckily I have had no fever or sore throat, just a lot of congestion and conjunctivitis.
Unfortunately I was unable to attend the German Vespers at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu on Saturday night, and gave up my ticket to the Hawaii Symphony concert yesterday. I just didn’t want to cough and spread my germs during the service or the concert. Yuck!
Outside from taking down all the Christmas decorations, I’ve been mostly just laying around, hunkered in front of the TV and binge-watching my favorite series at the moment, “The Crown” on Netflix. What is so mesmerizing about the program, I believe, in addition to the storyline and superb acting, is the music for the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer.
Zimmer is a prolific composer who has composed music for over 150 films. According to Wikipedia, “His works include The Lion King, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1995, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, The Thin Red Line, Gladiator, The Last Samurai, and The Dark Knight Trilogy.”
Surprisingly, Zimmer says that the full extent of his musical training was two weeks of piano lessons, which he hated because of the discipline. Other than that, he is completely self-taught.
“My formal training was 2 week(s) of piano lessons. I was thrown out of 8 schools. But I joined a band. I am self-taught. But I’ve always heard music in my head. And I’m a child of the 20th century; computers came in very handy…My mother was very musical, basically a musician and my father was an engineer and an inventor. So, I grew up modifying the piano, shall we say, which made my mother gasp in horror, and my father would think it was fantastic when I would attach chainsaws and stuff like that to the piano because he thought it was an evolution in technology.” In an interview with the German television station ZDF in 2006, he commented: “My father died when I was just a child, and I escaped somehow into the music and music has been my best friend.”
Director and producer Ridley Scott says, “I listen to [Zimmer’s] music and I don’t even have to shut my eyes. I can see the pictures. And that’s why, in many respects, I know I can talk pictures with Hans. He responds to pictures.”
I think what is so riveting about the opening theme music is that it is just a series of simple chord progressions: Dminor – Gminor – C – F – D – G – A – Dminor. According to Andrea Towers, “Netflix’s new historical drama series The Crown has a theme song worthy of a show about royals. In the opening credits of the series, which debuted Nov. 4, a haunting orchestral tune plays over a montage of artistic shots that eventually come together to create a brass crown and a chandelier.”
Here are some comments which have been posted on YouTube:
Regal yes, but his genius gives us the undercurrent touch of sadness portrayed in the series. Masterful. (Simon Bedden)
The Power of this arrangement is amazing…puts me into such a deep thought. (Randall Gates)
Apparently the theme was inspired by an aria by Henry Purcell, “What power art thou.” Here’s a video of Andreas Scholl singing this:
If you haven’t yet watched the “The Crown,” I highly recommend it! You, too, will love the music!