Brian Tyler Played with the London Philharmonic last week in the UK. I had the honour of seeing it live and meeting Mr Tyler afterwards..
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If there is a pantheon of great film score composers..who might you place there? A Mount Rushmore counterpart? Well: John Williams, naturally. John Barry, for sure! And Hans Zimmer.
And there is a new kid on the block to add to that distinguished list. He’s BRILLIANT! Meet BRIAN TYLER.
You will know his work because it has graced all the major movie franchises and whilst he is a young man, his style is timeless. EVERY kind of musical beauty is captured in his compositions. Classical, choral, jazz, rock: all there and rolled into truly distinctive tunes.
The key to a great film score is whether it can both enhance the scenes onscreen and stand on its own terms. I am pleased to report that Brian’s work hits both marks. His sublime sea of sound filled the arena in the Royal Festival Hall and whilst each piece took you to the movies and television shows / other contexts inspiring them, they were simply a transcendent listen in themselves.
The choral works were a real standout.
A divine voice! Featured on THOR:THE DARK WORLD. It’s a name to watch, given that her vocal magic now graces many a super-hero adventure. Her vocal style and pitch are deeply moving; especially given the context of one of the pieces (a funeral elegy for Thor’s mom). It was a delight to meet Tori after the concert. A pleasant surprise also to discover her own love for the comic book movie genre. I did try and get some gossip for the forthcoming WONDER WOMAN 84. An exquisite, mesmeric singer: thank you, Ms Letzler!
Also a pleasure meeting Angela Hicks (soprano), Joanna Goldsmith-Eteson, Lucy Cronin and Harry Binns.
DOMINIC COOPER popped into the after-party and I am pleased to report he is a lovely chap. We talked playing young Howard Stark, his excellent work on The Devil’s Double (you MUST see it: a masterclass in acting) and whether or not he would like to be in the running for the next 007, given that he has also played Ian Fleming.
I met Brian’s family, too. To hear, first hand, from the composer’s beloved architect Dad, about the early years of sound-proofing the house to enable his beloved son to play drums; and see his paternal pride, as years later, the Tyler name is synonymous with the biggest of Hollywood hits? Priceless! Absolutely lovely. YELLOWSTONE was perhaps his favourite tune from Brian, as they have a shared love of westerns and landscapes in general. Good choice: that piece truly captures the dust, toil, adventure, spurs and gallops of the old (and new) west.
And of course, I met the man himself: Brian Tyler.
Accessible, approachable, professional: a gentleman. A measure of the man is the personal touch and he genuinely took an interest in what I loved most about his works. Knowing him to be a Harvard scholar, I mentioned my own beloved Alma Mater of New College, Oxford. He ‘got’ it, instantly: that his music took me to a place in my imagination /subconscious and that happened to be my most beloved and beautiful University town.
It’s that litmus test of great film scores: taking the listener to the films in question but, in that moment where one shuts their eyes and just feels..the notes take on a very personal life of their own. ‘Transcendent’ is the word I would state again. Tyler’s music captures both the softly feminine head tilt and the masculine blast of testosterone; the first kiss of a romance or the bittersweet Goodbye of death; the thrill of the chase and the philosophical contemplation of its aftermath. Right up there with the classical masterminds (Haydn, Mozart, Vivaldi).
Timeless. Majestic. Beautiful. Brilliant.
Brian was an excellent compère as well as conductor during the concert itself. He also played the drums as an encore. We were treated to some splendid anecdotes between tunes; notably that TOM CRUISE himself had attended one of the concerts and asked him personally, mid interval to score his next movie. Typical Tom! A man of taste, clearly. A Tyler theme TENDS to make one run faster when out training. My playlists begin and end with one of his thrilling tunes. My weekly #PARKRUN times sped up, considerably, in consequence.
Cruise of course is famous for his running styles so maybe he too uses a bit of Brian music as a secret weapon?
I loved hearing all my favourite tunes, live. FAST AND FURIOUS was a particular blast; ditto the FORMULA ONE and ASSASSINS’ CREED 4 themes and TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES. The pieces from CRAZY RICH ASIANS were charming. It was also interesting to hear about Brian’s collaborations with the late, great BILL PAXTON (much missed). And we were treated to a unique insight on how one scores a MARVEL movie (THOR: THE DARK WORLD; AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON; IRON MAN 3).
CHILDREN OF DUNE was a standout, because Brian’s own compositions in fact started, as a kid, when he read the DUNE novels and decided to write some music for them. Many years later? He found himself scoring the television films for real. The main theme was used in the first ‘teaser’ for INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. It’s a triumphant moment in cinematic history. I can still remember seeing that trailer and feeling the magic: Harrison Ford’s world weary yet eternally charming and dependable hero announcing his return in style, enhanced by the rousing Tyler/Dune music, blending seamlessly into John Williams’ familiar ‘Raiders’ themes.
Incidentally: Williams and Tyler are friends. If John ever decides to retire and take it easy (he’s earned it!) then Brian is a natural successor to pick up the baton.
Obviously, you cannot have EVERY piece of music in a back catalogue played in one concert. But next time, Brian: PLEASE do ‘CAN YOU DIG IT‘ 😉 .
That track (which frames the closing credits for IRON MAN 3) is simply one of the greatest big bad film themes of ALL time: right up there with John Barry’s ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE. In fact, I would not be surprised if the lovely 007 Producer, Barbara Broccoli, one day gives Brian Tyler the call to score a Bond movie. A match made in music and movie heaven!
Thank you, Mr Tyler. It was an honour, a privilege and a pleasure to see the concert and meet you. A great and happy memory. I look forward to listening to more of your music in the years and movies ahead of us all. And of course to catching your next concert in London. A full interview is also on the cards too, once we can diarise something.
Meantime? Brian Tyler’s great compositions can be accessed via official Spotify, YouTube and Amazon channels as well as I-Tunes. You MIGHT even try going old school and listening on actual CD / Vinyl player! And needless to say: all the movies mentioned can be purchased / watched, across multiple media platforms.
I recommend his work highly: it’s always a rewarding listen whether you love music, movies or a bit of both. Bravo!