Three and a half hour drive both ways for me last night. Worth it? Absolutely! The symphony has six movements, two per movie score. Most of the parts are titled just like they are on the soundtrack CDs, with a couple of exceptions. A few of the pieces are a little shorter than they are on the CDs, but for the most part I think they're the same. Here's what was in the program: The Fellowship of the Ring Movement One The Prophecy - Concerning Hobbits - The Shadow of the Past - A Short Cut to Mushrooms - The Old Forest - A Knife in the Dark Movement Two Many Meetings - The Ring Goes South - A Journey in the Dark - The Bridge of Khazad-Dum - Lothlorien - Gandalf's Lament - Farewell to Lorien - The Great River - Amon Hen* - The Breaking of the Fellowship** INTERMISSION The Two Towers Movement Three Foundations of Stone - The Taming of Smeagol - The Riders of Rohan - The Black Gate is Closed - Evenstar - The White Rider - Treebeard - The Forbidden Pool Movement Four The Hornburg - Forth Eorlingas - Isengard Unleashed - Gollum's Song The Return of the King Movement Five Hope and Memory - Minas Tirith* - The White Tree - The Steward of Gondor*** - Cirith Ungol - Anduril Movement Six The Fields of the Pelennor* - Hope Fails* - The End of All Things - The Return of the King - The Grey Havens - Into the West *Not listed in the program, but surely by mistake, they were definitely part of the performance. ** Includes "In Dreams" *** Does not include "The Edge of Night" Howard Shore was conducting the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, with the Otterbein College Concert Camerata Choir and Concert Choir, along with the Columbus Children's Choir New World Singers. The vocal soloist for all of TTT and ROTK was the Norwegian singer Sissel. OK, those are the basic details, onto more detailed impressions. First off, the concert hall, the 75-year-old Ohio Theatre in Columbus. The bad--a theater that old wasn't designed with people as tall as I am (6 feet) in mind. The lack of leg room in my mid-balcony seat was dreadful. The show was sold out, so I was worried that I'd be packed in there like a sardine for the whole time, but the two rows behind me ended up being almost totally empty through the whole concert, so I moved back a row where there was somewhat more leg room, and that was tolerable. The good--everything else! That theater is spectacular, what a beautiful place to see a concert. A couple of slight disappointments regarding the music. Some of my favorite parts of the LOTR scores involve pounding percussion and quick tempos. Specifically, the march of the elves in The Hornburg from TTT (which is a military march arrangment of the Lothlorien/Lament for Gandalf theme from FOTR), and the sweeping rendition of the Gondor theme in The White Tree from ROTK (corresponding to the lighting of the beacons in the movie). In the concert, the cymbals weren't too strong in The Hornburg, which adds such an ominous feel to that great march on the CD, and the tempo for both of these tracks felt slower as well. Still very good, but not quite what I'd hoped. OK, enough negative vibes, everything else about this concert was TOP notch. All of the singers, in particular, were unbelievably good. The young boy who sang the fellowship's cry for Gandalf at the end of Bridge Of Khazad-Dum flat out nailed it; I felt like I was watching that scene in the movie all over again. The woman from the Otterbein College choir who sang the Lament for Gandalf was also wonderful. Now, this might be just my own idiosyncratic way of thinking about this piece, but in the movie and on the CD, Elizabeth Fraser's rendition of the lament feels very distant to me, not quite what I normally associate with a funeral dirge. What I love about it is that, for me, it emphasizes the difference between elves and humans--whenever I listen to the CD or watch the movie, I feel that I'm hearing a different sort of grieving, something from a type of being who doesn't experience grief in the same way that humans do. But in the concert last night, it absolutely sounded like what a person would sing in remembrance of someone who's just passed away, and it was also wonderful. My guess is that the sort of detached feel of the movie/CD version might not come across quite as well live in concert, so I liked the way they went with that. The main solo singer for TTT and ROTK, Sissel, was remarkably good. Her range is amazing--if I hadn't known that the person singing Gollum's Song and Into The West was the same one singing on Evenstar and Isengard Unleashed, I never would have guessed it. Her voice is very sweet, so on Gollum's Song in particular, that was a contrast with the sharper sound of Emiliana Torrini on the original. This is not at all a complaint regarding either version, I love the original and also really liked this other rendition. On Into the West, she had a subtle approach that was very nice, not quite as "big" a sound in the chorus as in the original. I like both versions of that as well, just an observation about the differences. The choirs were really rocking the house all the way through. The deep chanting in Khazad-dum, the swelling sounds of The End of all Things, all of it was awesome. The lead violinist was great, as the beautiful solo rendition of the Rohan theme in the movie and CD was excellently realized. Finally, I have to give major props to the lead flute, particularly for The Grey Havens. I do like that track, but it's not really one of my favorites from the ROTK score. However, the version last night was astonishingly good, absolutely on a higher level than the original. I definitely missed The Black Gate Opens, one of my two or three favorite tracks from ROTK, which they didn't play. The brilliant flute work and the great chorus would surely have made it a highlight. Overall, a great success, and unquestionably worth a major effort for any fan of the LOTR music to see this show wherever possible.