Image courtesy of Fever: Candlelight Concerts

Immersed in Candlelight: A Night with Hans Zimmer

After seeing many adverts about Fever’s candlelight concerts (and a range of views regarding them!), I decided that I wanted to form my own opinion. I spent Friday evening at the Royal Victoria Chapel in Southampton, listening to the Alani Quartet perform an assortment of Hans Zimmers best. 

On arriving at the Chapel, we were greeted with genuine warmth before being ushered to our seats. This was a personal touch; and one that acted as an invitation to start the experience. As advertised, thousands of candles decorated the stage and travelled through the entire aisle. Although artificial, these appeared realistic and did not taint its intimate ambience. 

After a final curtain call, the audience drifted from the bar back into their seats. The setting was romantic and naturally the crowd was formed by many couples of all ages. Backstage, a soft murmur of strings hinted at the harmonies to come as the quartet readied themselves to perform. With anticipation in the air, hearts stirred as the performance was about to begin. 

Image courtesy of Fever: Candlelight Concerts

It started with a brief message, in which we were informed that recording is not permitted until the final song. I was pleased to hear mention of this, a glaring screen would not belong amongst the warm glow of candlelight. In today’s music scene, the pervasive use of mobile phones during performances has sparked debate. Critics argue that it both detracts from the live experience and hinders genuine connection, as audiences prioritize documenting the moment over fully immersing themselves in it. I was impressed by the power of a gentle reminder and there was no interruption from digital displays. Even when permitted during the final song, there was a genuine awareness and unanimous respect to be discrete.  

A myriad of compositions led us through ‘Hans Zimmer’s Best Works’:

Inception – Time 

Lion King – Medley

Madagascar – Once Upon a Time in Africa 

Dunkirk – Supermarine 

The Pacific – Honor

Interstellar – Cornfield Chase

Dune – Medley 

The Dark Knight – Main Theme 

Wonder Woman – Main Theme

Gladiator – Now We Are Free

Sherlock Holmes – Discombobulate

The Holiday – Maestro

Pirates of the Caribbean – Main Theme

Man of Steel – Flight

Planned throughout the show were breaks from the music where we’d be presented with bursts of information about Hans Zimmer and his compositions, before gracefully transitioning into the next segment. Did you know that he composed all the scores for Lion King?

I steer my gaze from the stage to the sea of candles, to the beautiful ceiling of the chapel. The flicker of light illuminates the altar, I close my eyes and become lost in the sound. An hour felt like a minute, and before I knew it the room was emptying to mark the end of the night. 

I overheard a comment about how it was impossible to choose a favourite, and I agree with this. From animation classics to superhero soundtracks, the most beautiful sounds filled the chapel. Despite Fever hosting these events in over 100 cities across the world, no authenticity is lost. The musicians were local and extremely talented. The venue felt meticulously selected, and the spaces within it were utilised effectively. 

Image courtesy of Fever: Candlelight Concerts

As highlighted by a short clip played before the performance, Fever’s goal is to make cultural experiences more accessible. I was hesitant about this at first; although enchanting, this seemed like a challenging goal. Having said that, I was truly impressed. From start to end, the night was seamless. It felt as though every tiny part had been genuinely considered to the finest of detail. 

In addition to ‘Hans Zimmer’s Best Works’, other parts of the Candlelight Concert Series pay homage to artists such as Adele, Coldplay, and Ludovico Einaudi, as well as other themes such as ‘A Night at the Opera’. I am unsure whether pop songs would be as powerful of a performance as they are typically not initially arranged for classical instruments and are missing the vocals to accompany the instruments. That being said, their inclusion achieves what Fever aims to do. By appealing to a wider demographic of those who aren’t necessarily interested in orchestral music, cultural experiences are made far more accessible.

Although I was initially sceptical about the credibility of the Candlelight Concert series, I am now planning my next, and inviting everyone I know… that includes you. In the meantime, I will listen back to that final song (‘Flight’) to try and recreate the euphoria. 

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