December 15th, 2005

Shore (film composer)

It's here...

I've waited four years of my life, including two that were the most difficult I had ever experienced, to finally hear the complete original score from The Fellowship of the Ring and now not only do I get the music on CD, but also in 5.1 DVD-Audio!!!

It was so worth the wait.

I didn't know it at the time, but this is why I invested in a DVD-Audio player.

The irony being, of course, that the only purpose the CDs have is to provide fodder for the mp3s of them I'm going to put in my Nomad; when I'm playing this at home, I'll be listening to it on DVD-Audio.
  • Current Music
    Composed, Orchestrated and Conducted by Howard Shore
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Shore (film composer)

At long last...

...Gandalf researching the Ring...

...Strider's rescue of Frodo at Weathertop...

...Gandalf's escape from Orthanc...

...the Gondor theme heard at the Council of Elrond...

...The Bridge of Khazad-dûm, for real this time...

...the final battle at long last played out for true...

Those are only highlights of this set, which I have waited all this time to finally hear.

My only disappointments were that since this was only music from the extended version, the theatrical take heard on the original album of "The Great River" wasn't present. I put it between "The Fighting Uruk-Hai" and "Parth Galen" on my Nomad... where I also preserved the original album track of "Concerning Hobbits." I will soon be editing "The Road Goes Ever On... Pt 2" to include the gorgeous string passage only heard on the original album. I'm going to raid the Fan Club credits for some other stuff, too, but between them, the original album and this, that accounts for pretty much everything.

It was amazing. I know almost every note of this score because of my familiarity with the films and the original album, but to finally hear all these moments that I was so eager to hear... There are often cues that I like from a film that don't make it onto the album, but the sheer amount of music in this film meant that no single CD had a chance of containing it. The box set is glorious.

waystone and I met Howard Shore back in 1995 at a discussion at Queens College arranged by Royal S. Brown, who had just done the liner notes for the Silva album of Dead Ringers, The Brood and Scanners; he autographed my collection. It was a very nice talk, and he is a very nice person. I actually had a hard time juxtaposing his personality with so much of his more nightmarish music. What really struck me about him most was his approach to the craft. He truly enjoys scoring films. He gets most of his ideas from a sort of dream state that he enters into while composing, and in some ways the sustained intensity of his scores seem to reflect that to me. Of course, by him saying that, it made me look for that quality in his music, so I wouldn't call it a completely objective judgement.

While I have been enthusiastic about Shore's work for many years, The Lord of the Rings represents an achievement unparalleled in film score history... this is the first time that a trilogy film score was concieved as a whole. Shore wrote the music in stages for each part of the project, but a general shape of what the whole was always kept in mind. Each of the scores became enriched as the DVDs and films came out by the greater context they were placed in. I am enjoying Fellowship en toto tonight more than I would have had this set come out before I had heard the scores from The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Little motives and bits and pieces here and there foreshadow what is to come in the future sets. But the music at hand is more than impressive on its own terms as well.

"The Breaking of the Fellowship" (which is what I still call "The Road Goes Ever On... Pt. 1") is a piece that has tremendous significance to me on a personal level. In a way it sort of represents where I was in the stage of my life that I first heard it. I can't ever hear it without thinking about how much younger I was then than now.

* * *

I have to replace my center speaker.
  • Current Music
    Composed, Orchestrated and Conducted by Howard Shore
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