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Music Inspired by Middle Earth featuring David Arkenstone

59 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 27, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

It's very hip to refer to Tolkien, given the success of Lord of the Rings on celluloid. But to be fair to David Arkenstone, he's always been inspired by the master fantasy author, so the release of this album just happens to be timely. A collaboration between composer-multi-instrumentalists David and Diane Arkenstone, the disc features many of David's trademarks as it incorporates influences as diverse as Aaron Copland, international sounds, and progressive rock. With both orchestral and ethnic instruments at their disposal, the composers and their Middle Earth Orchestra journey from grand symphonic peaks to delicate valleys, including the grand fanfare of "Field of Cormallen," the mysterious and ethereal atmosphere of "Palantir," and the lively, Renaissance-flavored dance of "Road to Rivendell." While this ode to Middle Earth is nothing groundbreaking within Arkenstone's extensive catalog, it's still an amiable, engaging album that will appeal to longtime listeners and intrigue many fantasy fans. --Bryan Reesman

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Prelude: Hobbits From The Shire
  2. The Road To Rivendel L
  3. The Quest
  4. Moria
  5. Lothlorien
  6. Galadriel's Mirror
  7. The Riders Of Rohan
  8. The Palantir
  9. Arwen And Aragorn
  10. To Isengard
  11. In The Land Of Shadow
  12. The Field Of Cormallen
  13. The Grey Havens

Product Details

  • Performer: Middle Earth Orchestra, David Arkenstone
  • Audio CD (November 27, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Neo Pacific
  • ASIN: B00005R5LV
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,094 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Ash1138 on April 7, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This album was given to me as a gift, and I'm glad because I'm not sure I would have bought it otherwise.
People seem to all be rating this album on how well it captures middle earth which I guess is warranted given the name of the album. Some have said they don't like it because Howard Shore's work on the motion picture score captures Tolkien's world better. Others have said they can't believe Arkenstone wasn't asked to score the film. Few have judged the CD on it's own.
First let me say Howard Shore rightly deserved the oscar for his score. Has any composer in history had a more daunting task? Shore not only composed a beautiful, encapsulating score for the film, but also did the near impossible--gained the approval of a vast majority of die hard Tolkien fans whose sacred ground he tread upon. In my mind, it is the definative music to Tolkien's saga.
To most Americans, fantasy is made up of rainbows and unicorns, fairies and good witches. It's a world where girls grow up to become beautiful princesses and evil is thwarted by true love's kiss. It is as such that many such Americans who read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings that they have a hard time seeing past the naivete and innocense of those cute little hobbits always singing and dancing even when climbing the face of Mt. Doom.
David Arkenstone's Music Inspired by Middle Earth is definately INSPIRED by this side. To be fair, that is his style. His music is typically very light and airy. To be even fairer, the music include here is at some times the darkest I've heard from the composer. But Tolkien wrote his masterpiece in a world ravaged by two world wars, having himself been in the trenches for the first. Tolkien's audience was one that had lived through the devastations; understood real sacrifice.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Rossi on May 18, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This CD is just unbelievable! I just finished listening to it for the first time, and it's very rare these days for an ENTIRE CD to catch your attention. Every track faithfully recreates the world of Middle Earth. Play this as you are reading The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, and the mood is instantly created for you.
I can't really compare this CD to the actual soundtrack by Howard Shore. Both are two different music types. While Shore's score is more orchestral and theatrical, Arkenstone's version here is definately more traditional in terms of instruments, music-style and rhythm. There is definately a down to Earth Medieval and Renaissance feel to it, something Shore doesn't fully capture, except in his track "Concerning Hobbits", or the msic played at Biulbo's Birthday Party in the film.
The songs are light and upbeat for the most part, definately setting the mood for the Fellowship embarking on their Quest. If you are a lover of Celtic music, or period-based music from the Renaissance, this CD is definately for you. I highly and enthusiastically recommend it!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Robert Gamble on January 5, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Edited after much listening:

Recently I was listening to the first track in 'Quest of the Dream Warrior' and was struck that this was just the kind of music that should be the backdrop for 'Lord of the Rings'. Instrumental, with vocals that complement Arkenstone's style perfectly (he himself is a very good singer even if only a handful of his tracks on all his CDs actually feature him singing).

Initially I felt that this CD only reinforced the notion that Arkenstone would have been the perfect choice to do the music for LotR. After having listened to both CDs (Shore's and Arkenstone's) I have to retract that statement, especially after having watched the movie again. Arkenstone doesn't do moody and
dark to the level that the movie would have required. He does the 'triumphant'/cheerful pieces better than the more somber ones (which tend to be repetitive). This CD has gotten a lot of playing time, but I don't listen to it over and over again, simply because each of the pieces do tend to repeat themselves, some with absolutely no change in the piece on each of many repetitions. Some of the pieces are wonderful however, and those keep it at a 4 star level. A below average Arkenstone CD, but still above average compared to most other similar works.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jorge Carnaxide on February 23, 2004
Format: Audio CD
All my life i have been a fierce rock fan, and still am, but because i'm very open minded about all types of music, i recently became a fan of New Age, and it's fair to say that David Arkenstone played an important role in my discovery of this kind of sound. Yes, it is true that he, like most new age musicians, falls ocasionally in the terrible clichets that plague the genre, but it is also true that the man is a great composer and his music has always something valuable and special, even in his weakest moments.
Having said this, i believe that this album is his masterpiece, the best record in a prolific and mostly splendid career; he created great works with the albums 'Quest of The Dream Warrior' (with a song, 'Kyla's Ride, that in my opinion is the best that he ever recorded, and that amazes me how nobody used it in a movie score), 'In The Wake Of The Wind', and 'Return Of The Guardians', all loosely inspired by Tolkien, and has other excelent records, but here he exceeded in recording music that exhales a true and axciting spirit of adventure, romance, mystery and imagination, places of enchantment, of pure magic and wonder - the Tolkien world in all it's splendour.
Arkenstone has the gift of creating sounds that sugest more than they reveal, a cinematic music that evokes and seduces, and with this album he manages to place the listener in the mythic universe of the Middle Earth, opening our eyes and ears with the wonders and the misteries of the ring saga. 'The Palantir', that unfolds an ethereal beauty and profound misticism, 'The Grey Havens', a beautiful display of the elfic ports, and 'Moria', a magnificent musical description of the somber caves, are just some of the highlights of a record filled with them. Magical and beautiful, a true wonderful record.
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