Blue Planet II, the David Attenborough-narrated nature documentary on life in the oceans, was the most watched TV programme of 2017, with a peak audience of over 14 million viewers. As well as presenting fantastic footage of marine life, and raising awareness of conservation issues – most notably plastic pollution – the series was accompanied by an especially good musical score, created by one of my favourite film composers, Hans Zimmer. Yesterday, my dad and I headed to the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool to experience that music in the form of a live concert, which is currently on tour across the UK.
The blue globe that appeared on the main screen before the show started was beautiful on its own, and gave us a good idea of what we were in for. Then the City of Prague Orchestra took their places onstage, and quickly launched into the programme’s opening theme, accompanied by vivid and dramatic clips. It felt truly epic, especially once the choir kicked in.
The show was fairly simple overall. Some of the best scenes from the series were shown on the screen with accompanying music from the orchestra: these included orca hunting herring in Norway, giant trevally leaping after young sooty terns, and a walrus mother and calf struggling to find an ice floe to rest on (a reminder of the effects of climate change). In-between clips, the host, Anita Rani, would come on stage and give some brief narration leading into each new clip.
The live performance, and the absence of Attenborough’s narration, certainly allowed us to appreciate the music even more than when it was on TV, as well as the spectacular wildlife footage it was complementing. Musical highlights for me included the surfing dolphins, the hopping Sally Lightfoot crabs, and the Portuguese man o’ war, whose theme was highly reminscent of the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack (which Zimmer was a composer for). Overall, it was a really wonderful experience!