Again we see the name of Hans Zimmer on the credits for a David Attenborough series. BLUE PLANET ll, contains a wonderfully lyrical and emotively rich soundtrack, BUT and you know with me there is always a BUT where Hans Zimmer is concerned, is this really the music of Zimmer, or is it the music of the other two composers who are credited, Jacob Shea and David Fleming, with Zimmer just securing the assignment and then once again giving the composing duties to composers who he has taken under his wing or has selected to do the job. It’s a difficult call as the music does obviously contain some distinct Zimmer trademarks, but is this Zimmer as a composer/producer or is it Zimmer as a supervisor, well I don’t know. All I do know is that whilst watching the series thus far, which itself is stunning, it is difficult not to notice the music and become caught up with the lilting melodies, the exciting rushes of energy and the ever present apprehensive undercurrents, that are all held together by some beautiful choral work and romantic sounding themes. Although the music is evident and noticeable throughout the programmes, it still does not encroach upon the subject matter to the point where the viewer is distracted, in fact the music is a compelling and integral component and a vital piece of the filmmaking. The richness of the thematic material is outstanding and also immensely alluring, the combination of symphonic, synthetic and chorale is indeed a great creative achievement, the score itself could be in parts the work of the late James Horner, this is prominent initially in the cue MOBULAR RAYS, which employs a delicate opening of chimes underlined by strings and enhanced by harp and woodwind, this is further embellished by shimmering effects and the introduction of Female voice, the Soprano performance becoming more pronounced and also supported by stirring strings, percussion and then driving string support, the strings build and rise into a crescendo of sorts to almost carry the Soprano performance along, gathering pace and momentum as they together then melt away. The choral sections of the score are almost celestial sounding, the orchestration is wonderful, and the overall sound achieved is phenomenal. Percussion and percussive elements also feature large within the work, gathering together a power and a commanding sound that is inspiring and satisfying. I have for many years listened and collected music from TV documentaries and pas series by David Attenborough, most being the work of composer George Fenton, but BLUE PLANET ll, stands out above the majority of these, and for me is probably the best of Zimmer in recent years, if indeed he has written the music, there is a richness and vitality to this work that I have not heard in a while, and a poignancy that can easily bring a tear to the eye.
The image of the Walrus Mother with her cub on the ice, accompanied by the fragile and delicate tone poem entitled WALRUS-THE RIGHT PIECE OF ICE, is mesmerising and beautiful. This touching composition which comes towards the end of the cue, is what good film music is all about, it works with the image and gives it a greater emotion, more depth and stuns the viewer into silence as they watch the magical moment and hear the music which is purveying and enhancing the tender moment. BLUE PLANET ll, contains a score that is filled with haunting themes and cleverly painted musical colours that will be returned to so many times, and on each listen we will discover new wonders and magical musical moments. It is an exhilarating listening experience that is, Highly recommended.