Howard Shore's soundtrack for The Fellowship Of The Ring

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rob Gillespie, Nov 19, 2001.

  1. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    It's not often I feel the urge to start a thread about a new DVD or music title, but today is November 19th and that means one thing: Release day for the soundtrack CD of The Fellowship Of The Ring.
    One month away from the release date of the film itself, I find myself glad to have four weeks to absorb this album. It's a dense, meticulously layered piece of work that will take a lot of listening before really seeping in properly. That said, I've found in the couple of hours I've been playing the CD in the car that I'm hooked. This is gorgeous film music. Possibly some of the finest I've ever heard and certainly the best soundtrack CD I've listened to in a long time. Howard Shore has delivered the goods, and by no short measure.
    There is a broad range of music here. Light, dark, in-between and Shore is not afraid of going gung-ho with a full 106 piece orchestra (plus a 'massive' sounding choir) when he feels the need.
    What struck me most is the amazing feel of maturity to all of the pieces. This is a very 'grown up' soundtrack, not one to play endlessly with recycled tunes and flamboyant or overly emotional bursts of pretentious, false 'feeling'. There is a sense of scale, grandeur and downright seriousness to this soundtrack that makes you wonder if the visuals of the film will ever be able to deliver the same impression. If you could read fast enough, this would make a fine soundtrack to the book, never mind the film.
    There's little or no bombastic chest-beating. No real sense of 'hero' themes that John Williams and James Horner always seem to give. This is a very un-American sounding score in the sense that it's not overblown and 'patriotic' sounding (well, maybe a little here and there). There are themes, but they're not crammed down your throat at every turn and neither are they absent for so long that you forget about them. 'Noble' and 'dignified' are two words which spring to mind. The recurring Fellowship theme, heard in small pieces throughout much of the album just never gets tiring. It's a wonderful, cascading little melody that is absolutely beautiful to hear. Track 2, Concerning Hobbits, is a slightly playful, folky-sounding flute and violin led piece. There is a sense here of a Hobbit theme proper, but not long into the piece the Fellowship theme comes in (with string section) and the tone changes (almost) completely into something altogether deeper. Absolutely gorgeous.
    The darker pieces, of which there are several, succeed in portraying a sense of evil and desolation. I was really hoping that Shore would get this right because if the 'evil' music sucks, so do the 'evil' scenes. I was not disappointed. Damn, that serious tone really works. I haven't had time to really go through these tracks in detail yet so I wont go on about them, but the intensity of pieces such as A Knife In The Dark and The Bridge Of Khazad-dum, with full orchestra and a choir that can only be described as 'scary' is absolutely phenomenal. There is real brutality here, but high emotion at the same time. Exciting is not a word I like using very often, but it fits pretty well when trying to describe these pieces. And yes, the mail choir heard during Khazad.. really are singing in Dwarvish.
    The two pieces sung by Enya are surprising in that they actually fit into the context of the rest of the album. I wasn't that struck by the 'Aniron' love theme heard as part of the Council Of Elrond piece (which, incidentally, Enya sings in the high-Elvish language Sindarin) but the closing-credits track May It Be is very nice indeed and returns to the Fellowship theme heard throughout the CD. Certainly better than Celine Dion anyway [​IMG]
    I read a 'proper' review of this album a couple of days ago and the writer commented that Shore was setting himself up well for the next two movies. I agree. Not only has he delivered really beautiful, heartfelt music but he's managed to get it sounding like it really should be used for The Lord Of The Rings. This score just feels right. I've not heard a soundtrack so utterly satisfying - and almost relieving - to hear in godknowshowlong. It must have been a Herculean task, but I think Shore has done himself proud. Wonderful stuff. Bless my beard.
     
  2. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Excellent review, Rob! The advance reviews for Shore's score are adding to the growing impression that Peter Jackson may just have pulled it off and made a classic film.

    This isn't released here in the colonies until tomorrow (damn Tuesday release dates). I'll be picking it up for sure!
     
  3. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Superb review Rob!

    Guess I'll be hunting this down tomorrow as well.

    Thank you
     
  4. Frank_W

    Frank_W Stunt Coordinator

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    Great review. I assume that this is the same Howard Shore

    that started the SNL band as well as contributing to

    blockbuster movies of the past.

    If so, this should be a 'can't miss'.
     
  5. Michael Napier

    Michael Napier Stunt Coordinator

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    Argh...

    I went to Best Buy at lunch today to pick up the LOTR soundtrack and the Matrix Revisited DVD. I couldn't find either of them. I finally found the Matrix Revisited DVDs piled in a shopping cart in the aisle but never found the CD.

    Oh well, guess I'll look somewhere else. Anyone seen this at Wal-Mart by any chance?

    -Mike
     
  6. Stephen R

    Stephen R Stunt Coordinator

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    I checked at Best Buy, Circuit City, Wal-Mart, and Wherehouse. None had it.

    Then, I remembered someone saying that they found it at Target, so I checked there (expecting to find nothing -- Target is notorious for only carrying pop songtracks). But, low and behold, they had it, and with all selections of covers!

    Try Target, if you have one near you.
     
  7. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    Mine arrived from Amazon today. I've admired the work of Shore for many years, I beleive him to be a terribly underrated and overlooked composer and hope his scoring of the Lord of the Rings trilogy will alert his talent to the majority of the public.

    You know, reading over what Rob's written I can't really add anything more. The score for Fellowship of the Ring is elegant and operatic. Noble and dignified says Rob, and good grief, he is absolutely spot on there.

    I am delighted I have managed to keep myself away from 90% of media regarding the films, only allowing myself to see the trailers, buy posters and now the CD. You can imagine my expression when my CD showed up this morning with the Bilbo cover art (there are alternate character covers for the standard CD, and also a special limited edition book like packed version). This was the first time I've seen Holm in costume, and like the score, it truly put a smile on my face which I just can't shake off!

    If I was pushed to say I have a fave cue here, I'd have to go with 'The Breaking of the Fellowship'. This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cues of score I have heard in a long time. I know now that, hearing this upon the film's climax, fool that I am, I will most likely be reduced to tears of joy.

    Dan (UK)
     
  8. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Dan - I agree - 'The Breaking of the Fellowship' is going to signal a very emotional sequence in the movie.

    Definite goosebumps will be in order watching this movie.
     
  9. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    The Bridge of Khazad Dum is also a stunning cue I think. I like how a lot of the cues here are titled after the novel's chapters. I've not seen this done since the score for The Green Mile.

    I've been running the CD off my DVD player and through the HT on my Tag Mclaren AV32R processor. I've run it in straight stero and in Pro Logic II (Music mode) with absolutely astounding results both ways, especially with the former. Some seriously pounding bass on this CD, the mastering is of very good quality.

    Dan (UK)
     
  10. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    I picked up the CD at Best Buy yesterday (they only had one copy - what's up with that??), and after a single listen I can only chime in with everyone else - this is an extraordinary score, easily the best of the year.

    Dan & Lou beat me to it, but my favorite cue is also "The Breaking of the Fellowship". It just feels so right, working as an end, and a look forward to what's ahead. The unexpected choice of the song "In Dreams", beautifully sung near the end of the cue by young Edward Ross, is a master touch. And I love the seque into Enya's end credits song, which should work quite nicely.

    Unlike Rob, I'm going to put this CD aside for now. The next time I hear this music, I want to be seeing the images with it. It's going to be a long 4 weeks!
     
  11. Charlie_M

    Charlie_M Extra

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    Here's an interview with the man himself, Mr. Howard Shore, discussing his score. Among other things, I learned that Shore wrote the music for the movie The Score - which makes that music...
    ...Shore's Score score!
    [​IMG]
     
  12. AdrianOC

    AdrianOC Stunt Coordinator

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    Whats the running time on this score and what's so special about the limited edition version of the soundtrack??
     
  13. Richard_Huntington

    Richard_Huntington Stunt Coordinator

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    The running time is 71 minutes and sme spare seconds. The maximum you can fit on a CD. Shore said he had to try very hard to fit the score on a CD (much editing). I am betting a double disc set comes out down the road.
    I read The HOBBIT this week and as I was at the point where the dragon goes to seek revenge on the town, I popped in the CD and listened to "The Bridge of Khazad Dum" and my heart just raced. Man, I felt like a kid again. :b
    This is one of the best scores I have heard in a long time. I have not had such a strong reaction to film music since BRAM STOKERS DRACULA. [​IMG]
    And Sam Davatchi, thanks for the link.
     
  14. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    Agreed on The Breaking Of The Fellowship. If the music alone has this kind of effect, what on earth is the film itself going to do to people at that point?

    Another magnificent moment - at the end of Khazad-Dum (anyone who has read the book knows what happens here). Good god. The sense of loss portrayed through that piece is unparalleled. Awesome. Absolutely, unbelievably awesome.
     
  15. Charlie_M

    Charlie_M Extra

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  16. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    So is the special edition just in book form like the Star Wars SE LE Sountracks (if that makes sense) or is there extra stuff on there?

    I am dubious about buying simply because it's been cut down. They brought out a double-disc of The Phantom Menace after the original release which was pretty annoying.

    (Also, 80 mins is the maximum length of a CD, roughly).
     

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