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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (The Complete Recordings) Soundtrack, Box set, Collector's Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 123 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, Box set, November 20, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The final film in the Lord Of The Rings blockbuster trilogy features the climax of the epic journey that brought Tolkien's world before our very eyes. The Complete Recordings series featuring the soundtrack albums have been hits and award winners. Now with The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King featuring Into The West by Annie Lennox, this album from the series' composer Howard Shore is sure to score with movie fans. For fans of The Lord Of The Rings films, and those who purchased last year's The Fellowship Of The Ring The Complete Recordings and The Two Towers The Complete Recordings, this incredible package completes a now classic set of soundtracks.

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This five-disc set caps off the "complete recordings" series, which offers extensive versions of Howard Shore's score for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The main problem lays in its being the last installment: Most of the main characters, along with their themes, have been introduced in the previous two sets, creating a certain sense of familiarity. But there is still plenty to please fans here, and then some. Though it includes the climactic trek to Mount Doom, the overall mood is less dark than in The Two Towers. The London Philharmonic Orchestra handles the heavy lifting, with help from adult and children's choirs, and well-selected guest stars. Soprano Renée Fleming, for instance, lends a particularly eerie, otherworldly touch to disc 1's "The Grace of Undómiel," and disc 4's "Mount Doom" and "The Eagles." Meanwhile, flutist James Galway provides a quasi-spiritual counterbalance, a musical ray of hope on tracks such as disc 3's "The Mouth of Sauron." And of course, Annie Lennox's Academy Award–winning "Into the West" is here, incorporated in disc 4's "Days of the Ring." Finally, the fifth disc is a DVD-Audio that includes the score in super-duper surround sound. It may seem like overkill, but too much is never enough for LOTR fans--and besides, people buying this set are exactly the kind of people who own the type of equipment required to make disc 5 explode. Finally, the packaging includes new artwork and liner notes written by Doug Adams, an expert on the music from LOTR. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 20, 2007)
  • collectors_edition edition
  • Original Release Date: November 20, 2007
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Soundtrack, Box set, Collector's Edition
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Reprise / Wea
  • ASIN: B000V6BE6M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,431 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By G. Kroener on November 20, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Four years it has been now; four years since The Return Of The King graced our theatres, destined to become the second most successful film of all time, garning eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Peter Jackson. And, not least of all, two for Howard Shore and his never resting mind. Four years full of studying Tolkien, labouring over dozens of different cuts and scrutinising every thematic approach in each scene, making absolutely sure it relates correctly and pushes all the right buttons, Howard Shore's labour of love comes to a glorious, and well- deserved end.
The End? Not really. For three years now, Howard Shore himself supervised the production of these Complete Recordings, and it speaks for his character that he didn't give this project out of his hands.
So, here we are, holding The Return Of The King in our hands, and the question is today as relevant as it was four years ago - maybe even more, since we can now judge the full vision of Howard Shore: does it hold up? Did Shore do justice to his own brilliance, did he actually manage to bring the full spectrum of themes to a logical, conclusive, satisfying end?

If the last 20 years of film making have taught us anything, then it's certainly a strong reluctancy to set our hopes for sequels or prequels too high. How many times did we have the highest hopes for a single project, and it didn't only fail, but also had that uniquely ability to not only tarnish the film itself, but all previous entries as well?
That is the most important lesson, and it also reveals a very important aspect of creativity: dazzling the mind with a lot of flash is easy; illuminating the mind with structure demands far more from any artist.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have been greatly looking forward to a complete "Return of the King" soundtrack ever since the movie came out, and I realized how wonderful Howard Shore's music was. What sheer delight, being able to sit in my living room for two hours last night, and again this afternoon, with two cats vying for space in my lap, the sound of knitting needles softly clacking nearby, during lulls in the music, while listing to the heavenly strains of melody wafting from the speakers. The only thing missing was the fireplace and a couple of burning logs.

I would argue for this being the greatest score ever written for a film sequel, except that technically it isn't. Peter Jackson set out to produce a single, gigantic epic, which he then broke into three parts for convenience. In much the same way, J. R. R. Tolkien wrote the original novel half a century ago but split it into the familiar trio. Thus, when Howard Shore was asked to create the music, he had the luxury of thinking in terms of the whole trilogy, and began to lay the groundwork in "The Fellowship of the Ring" right from the beginning. This gave him a tremendous advantage over, say, John Williams, who was at the mercy of George Lucas coming up with a new Star Wars script every few years. He had to make up the music as he went along.

According to the "making of the music" video in the extended DVD version of "Fellowship", Shore knew from the outset that he wanted to create an opera. If you read the excellent notes which come with the music boxed sets for all three movies, you'll know that he heavily employed a 19th century technique called "leitmotif", wherein every character of note, and every place, gets its own theme, and all of these melodies are skillfully woven together.
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Format: Audio CD
Howard Shore's Academy Award winning score for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of King was released in 2003. That was a typical standard release, only containing a fraction of the film's actual music. Finally, the film's score takes its rightful place in cinematic music history with this 4-disc masterpiece recently released from Reprise Records.

Shore's brilliant blending of themes occurs in this final chapter of the film trilogy, more so than either of the two previous releases. The Fellowship theme, after forming and then breaking, must draw itself to a new level of focus as they reach Mount Doom. The Elves' theme bestows its final gifts to Middle-Earth, receding into the West. Isengard's theme must meet its fateful demise, but not before incorporating those themes into Sauron's theme near the end of the story.

The themes of men, Rohan and Gondor, each given isolated themes in the previous releases, now join forces assuming lead roles in the preparation for war with Sauron's forces. The theme for the Ring itself is also brought to its climax as its fate is decided on Mount Doom. The three main Ring themes now interact with each other, creating a musical fusion that beautifully haunting.

As Middle-Earth survives the War of the Ring and enters its Fourth Age, Shore grants the surviving culture's themes peace and prosperity and maintains the aesthetics of each society. Men are granted respite; the Elves, peace; Hobbits, wisdom; and Ring to its fate, destruction.

Released in a beautiful boxed set, Shore's score is recorded on four discs. Disc five is a DVD audio disc that contains the entire score in Dolby Digital Surround Sound, Dolby Digital Stereo Sound, Advanced Resolution Surround Sound (24-bit), and Advanced Resolution Stereo Sound (24-bit).
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