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The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films: A Comprehensive Account of Howard Shore's Scores (Book and Rarities CD) Hardcover – October 5, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Like the Lord of the Rings story itself, this book is a journey. Adams makes us hear the music, feel the tension or hope or despair through impassioned narrative and a rich musical vocabulary. --BlogCritics

...Could easily be one of the most significant and important books ever written on the analysis of a film score.... a masterwork. --Ain't It Cool News

An impressive literary debut that will thrill both Rings and soundtrack fans... as meticulous as it is entertaining. --Film Music Magazine

About the Author

Doug Adams is a Chicago-based author and musicologist. In 2001, Adams was invited by Howard Shore to observe and document his work on Peter Jackson's motion picture trilogy of The Lord of the Rings. This book is the culmination of almost a decade of writing and research, during which time Adams attended recording sessions, examined the original scores, and was given total access to the composer's archives.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred Music; 1 edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739071572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739071571
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 8.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Doug Adams is a Chicago-based musician and writer with roots in both classical and contemporary music, and is considered one of today's leading film music advocates.

As a journalist, Adams began writing for Film Score Monthly magazine in the early 1990s, where he interviewed and collaborated with composers such as Elmer Bernstein (The Magnificent Seven), Alf Clausen (The Simpsons), John Corigliano (The Red Violin), Don Davis (The Matrix), Danny Elfman (Edward Scissorhands), Philip Glass (Koyaanisqatsi), Elliot Goldenthal (Frida), and David Raksin (Laura). At the same time, Adams started penning liner notes for CDs of classic film music, including works by Bruce Broughton, Jerry Goldsmith, Quincy Jones, Michael Kamen, Alfred Newman, Howard Shore, and Franz Waxman.

In 2001, Adams was invited by composer Howard Shore to follow his work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He attended the recording sessions in London and began regularly visiting the composer's offices in New York. Impressed by the intricate nature of their collaboration, the two agreed to pursue a full book that would showcase the immense detail and beauty of the project. Shore stated at the time, "I have been reading Mr. Adams' articles and essays on film music for years. His writing on the subject is intelligent, accessible and insightful. His work is tremendously respected within the film community and he is the perfect author for this book."

Adams maintains a busy schedule as a performing musician, a writer, a composer/arranger and a public speaker. Recent appearances include Robert DeNiro's Tribeca Film Festival, the Kraków Film Music Festival, and lectures in Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, London, Luzern, and Vienna.

For more information on Music of the Lord the Rings, please visit www.musicoflotr.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
OK, first of all, full disclosure: the author of this book, Doug Adams, happens to be a colleague and friend, and I have thus enjoyed a unique view of the work as it came together over the better part of the last decade. That said, I don't benefit from its sales, nor have I been asked to write this review. I DO write this review because, irrespective of my association with the author, I am a film music journalist myself - and I firmly believe that THE MUSIC OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS FILMS is perhaps the most accomplished and significant analysis of a film score ever published.

Let's begin with an appreciation of the sheer magnitude of the film score under discussion. At the outset, we must note that there is very little in the history of music that can easily be compared to Howard Shore's score for Peter Jackson's film trilogy of THE LORD OF THE RINGS. When you consider that the films are most accurately viewed as one continuous story, with the similarly continuous score totaling more than TEN HOURS in length, you realize the true scope of Shore's opus. In the world of cinema, there is little to compare it to. One can draw some parallels with John Williams' work on the STAR WARS saga, although its entries are far more individualistic and spread out over a longer period of time. Certain composers for television have written more total hours related to a contiguous body of work; but the musical architecture of, for example, 200 episode scores from THE X-FILES is so vastly different as to defy direct comparison. Even in the world of classical music, it is likewise difficult to find points of reference. For sheer length, narrative scope, and leitmotivic complexity, we can turn to history's *other* great musical ring cycle, Wagner's DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN ... and that's about it.
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Format: Hardcover
Way back in high school, I can remember painstakingly scrutinizing great works of English literature. We learned about such things as "thematic devices" and foreshadowing, climaxes and denouements. It struck me that no author in his or her right mind would have consciously focused on all of those plot intricacies unearthed by later scholars. The author would have gone bald from compulsive hair pulling, the work would have collapsed under its own weight, and no one would be reading it today.

Surely, the same must be true of great music. The music of The Lord of the Rings films is among the most intricate and nuanced I have ever heard. And yet, composer Howard Shore, in his own foreword to the book "The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films", states that he takes an intuitive approach to composing. It was up to his friend and constant shadow, journalist Doug Adams, to unearth a treasure trove of details after nine painstaking years of research. His book is surely a labor of love.

When I first purchased the three complete film scores as boxed sets, I also downloaded the companion PDFs for each one. They were chock full of fascinating details about those lovely melodies, and all alluded to an upcoming book with even more material. It is here at long last, and I eagerly dove into it the moment it arrived in my mailbox.

Having seen (five times) all of the "making of" videos from the boxed sets of The Lord of the Rings films, I already knew how much painstaking love and passion went into translating J.R.R. Tolkien's great work into films. The approach was not to dramatize a work of fiction, but rather to uncover a lost civilization and bring it back to life. Howard Shore did the same with his music.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Howard Shore's score to the films of the Lord of the Rings is a modern masterpiece. The music adds another dimension to film. It enriches the experience, adding to the cultures and the tone of Middle Earth and informing us intimacies of the characters in a way that a screen play cannot do. It also takes the words of Tolkein and lift them into an operatic stratosphere. The elves sing, the dwarfs incant and the black speech lures us to Mordor.

But it is not until the music is taken away from the films and listened to on its own that really begins to enchant. Themes weave their way in and out of the music adding their mood and color. The simplicity of the fiddle for the Hobbits grows into the full orchestra and choir behind the bold Fellowship Theme and then dissolves into the strange, mystic and inscrutable eastern instruments that bring us to the world of the elves.

There is so much to discover in this music and as lovers of films, music and film music we have been blessed with the work of Doug Adams who eloquently takes our hand and leads us into rich and complex music of Shore's Middle Earth. His liner notes first appeared in The Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring (The Complete Recordings) and then subsequently in The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (The Complete Recordings) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (The Complete Recordings). Now this book brings it all together in a beautifully illustrated and designed volume.
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