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The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, Book 1) Audio CD – Unabridged, Audiobook
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During his eleventy-[first] birthday celebration (hobbits have their own way of counting), Bilbo Baggins reluctantly agrees to give up the powerful but corrupt Ring of Power he found years before in The Hobbit. But getting rid of the ring turns out to be no easy task. In this first installment of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, Inglis's skilled narration manages to retain the old-fashioned, fairy tale quality of the original text but is also well in tune with the story's darker aspects. As Bilbo's nephew, Frodo, and his friends take center stage to help dispose of the ring before some truly unsavory characters can obtain it, Inglis demonstrates he is up to the task of relating the original story's drama, suspense, and dark mysticism. J.P.M. © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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For those who care about such things, the printing is based on the 2004 corrected text, with even further corrections. There are updated introductions/forwards by Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull, authors of the authoritative "LOTR Readers Companion," as well as by Douglas A. Anderson, who provides a detailed publication history of the Lord of the Rings. The full appendices are included.
Two-page red and black maps of Middle Earth and of Gondor/Rohan/Mordor adorn the front and back covers, with a map of the Shire before the first chapter. Also present are other essentials such as the Doors of Moria and the Tomb of Balin. The only drawback is that the facsimile pages of the Book of Mazarbul was not included, which I found to be surprising and a bit disappointing Also, the ring inscription and the Gandalf "rune" are printed in black rather than silver and red. Probably the main issue is the clear plastic slipcover, which is barely bigger than the book itself, and it is difficult to slip the book back inside it after taking it out. You are more likely to scuff the corners of the book. That being said, these are far from dealbreakers, and the joy to be received from owning this edition far outweighs these issues.
The recording is modern and well-mixed, with a wet sound that was intentional on the part of the producers. The two channel presentation on the CDs is very well done, but the included DVD has the entire score in 4 different mixes. The DVD Video mixes are lossy Dolby Digital, in stereo and 5.1 surround, and are perfectly adequate. Any DVD player can use them, though scanning within tracks isn't possible with this playback method. But the DVD Audio side is far beyond adequate. You'll need a DVD player that specifically decodes DVD Audio discs, but you'll have access to two lossless mixes: stereo and 5.1 surround, each encoded at 48k and 24 bits. The stereo mix is essentially the same as the CD mix, though with the benefit of having the entire score on one disc. The 5.1 surround mix though is exquisite, clearly putting the orchestra and soloists up front and the wet natural reverb in the surrounds. You are *there*.
Maybe some day this set will come back into print, even if at a higher price than the original offering, or as a lossless digital download. What an incredible gift this set is, not just because of the quality of the music, but the quality of the presentation. This is an experience every soundtrack fan should have, at least once.
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What has roots but never grows... what is itsssss?