But what really grips me more than anything about the complete version of the piece isn't the broken stairwell, it isn't the Fellowship running across the bridge... it's the amazing piece that follows that as the Fellowship escape the mines of Moria and travel to Lóthlórien. It is an evocation of the loss of Gandalf, and consists of material that might will develop over the course of the film series. The first part of it appeared on the original album, and it makes an impression there, but in the film and on the Complete Recordings it becomes its own fully rounded statement.
I'm also finding the evolution of Aragorn's theme to be fascinating. It is one of the most subtle aspects of the trilogy scores, although the boldest statements of it as it is being formed - on Weathertop, at the battle of Amon Hen, as Aragorn tracks Merry and Pippin, as Aragorn rides Brego to Helm's Deep - are some of the most arresting moments of the scores from Fellowship and The Two Towers.
I watched The Return of the King and, as with The Two Towers, began to chomp at the bit for the scores. There's so much music here I can't wait to hear on its own, most especially a lot of the music for the battle of Pelennor Fields. But then I put on Fellowship and get lost in it once again, finding new things and just damn enjoying the best parts all over again and I'm glad that these releases are being staggered. It gives me more of a chance to appreciate the scores for each one of the films individually. There's also a certain amount of greater perspective placed on the first score when I think about where a lot of these themes are going... in some ways, the interest in listening to Fellowship is not just in hearing how the score develops within itself but also in the potential that the material has. This continues in the next two films, as is illustrated by the music for the Rohan, which is built in a funereal decline and raises in power until its final statement as the Rohirrim charge Pelennor. and Éowyn, whose theme goes through so many variations from meandering string textures to solo Hardinger to Wagnerian brass statements.
Oh, and I love the boys' choir wordlessly singing the Hobbits Understanding theme after "The Breaking of the Fellowship." Beautiful.
I have to say that while I initially liked the theatrical cue "Concerning Hobbits" more than the version heard in the extended edition of the film (or the take used on the original album for that matter), I am finding that as music this plays out much better.