The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
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The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
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The soundtrack to the most anticipated film of the holiday season features two new songs from Enya, one of the most successful female artists in history (having sold nearly 40 million albums worldwide) and a score by Howard Shore (The Silence Of The Lambs, Ed Wood). "The Fellowship Of The Ring," the first in a trilogy of fantasy epics based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings series, is expected to be a blockbuster - and its soundtrack album popular far beyond Middle Earth.
Certified Gold by the RIAA. (1/02)
Score composer Howard Shore has informed this first installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy with his distinctly modern sensibilities. Revolving loosely around a brief, heroic brass theme, this epic is infused with a powerful rhythmic thrust and a musical range that encompasses centuries (from the Renaissance pastoralism of "Concerning Hobbits" to the fiery, Prokofiev-influenced drama of "A Knife in the Dark"). Key to the score's sense of mystery and magical place are the rich choral passages that are interspersed throughout, some so ominously gothic they make The Phantom Menace's "Duel of the Fates" sound almost sunny by comparison. Enya's contributions ("The Council of Elrond" and the song "May It Be") add a sense of organic tranquility, but it's Shore's Wagnerian-scaled orchestral score that should long be cherished by admirers of film music and hobbits alike. --Jerry McCulley
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True, a lot of the emotion in this “Fellowship of the Ring” album is ominous (and this is not pleasant to experience). Drums and choruses (of war angels?) march inexorably onward. But the treacherous drums give way alternatingly to triumphant horns and “bright” choruses that create breakthrough feelings of grand, open freedom. (And the listener may recall the wondrous Australian landscapes in the movie.) The musical adversity is basically between evil and good: between a force that wants to dominate and crush, versus a force that is determined to liberate or die trying. The longing-filled, lilting, piping nostalgia of the “shire” theme-music comes in occasionally, carrying sweet/sad memories of the comforts of home. Just before the sad-but-Hopefilled closing song (sung by Enya), there is a particularly exquisite brief orchestral passage where mingly drums sound as if they've become tamed and disarmed. I suppose this little passage wouldn’t be so moving and mysteriously powerful if all the awful, scary drumming had not come before.
The music is affecting both physically and emotionally. It seems to me that the drums punch powerfully at gut level and the horns, pipes, and ethereal choruses soothe or flare out emotions of joy somewhere in the upper reaches of the brain—(although scientifically speaking, I guess this may not be what’s really happening).
In the closing song by Enya, which she herself composed, the repeated lines “Darkness has come” are sung in the Elven language that Tolkien created for his story. The words of that entire song and other songs and choruses on this album are provided in the cover pamphlet. Some words from that final song entitled “May it Be” are: “May it be an evening star/ Shines down upon you./ May it be when darkness falls/ Your heart will be true./ You walk a lonely road./ Oh, how far you are from home./....Darkness has come./ Believe and you will find your way./ A promise lives within you.”
What is the promise referred to in the song? It think it’s “the return of the King,” and requited love, and peaceful home and family life restored again in all realms of Middle Earth.
This is GREAT, good, good, TERRIFIC music! Highly recommended. Listening to any of the three LOTR albums is a separate-from-the-movie wonderful aspect of The Lord of the Rings experience which you can enjoy whenever you are longing for a return to the movie but haven’t got time to sit through it. I can also recommend “The Return of the King” album among the three Howard Shore LOTR albums. It also ends with a moving final song, “Into the West,” sung by Annie Lennox. (“What can you see/ On the horizon?/ Why do the white gulls call?/....The ships have come/ To carry you home./....Don’t say/ We have come now to the end./ White shores are calling/ You and I will meet again...” I do like that album, but all through it I wait to hear particularly that song, and I like the way it sounds as sung by Annie Lennox.) I haven’t listened to “The Two Towers” album yet so cannot say anything about it.
(You can find some bargain prices among the used albums, like $.01 plus shipping of $3.99. I ordered a used album and it has been of excellent quality and performance.)
The album starts off slow and quiet and comfortable, with "The Prophecy" and "Concerning Hobbits". "Shadow of the Past" and "The Treason of Isengard" bring in a little darkness, while "The Black Rider" starts off bouncy and energetic, then gets gloomily suspenseful. "At The Sign of the Prancing Pony" again is smooth and comfortable, yet with a twinge of sly wariness. "A Knife in the Dark" is darkly energetic and excited, where as "Many Meetings" is more easy and relaxed (more luxurious, if you will). "The Council of Elrond (Featuring "Aniron (Theme for Aragorn and Arwen)" is very peaceful, with a beautiful solo by Enya. "The Ring Goes South" starts off slow and quiet, then builds up until it loudly anounces the Theme for the Fellowship for the trilogy. "A Journey in the Dark" is again a quite, yet wary piece, from when the Fellowship is in Moria. "The Bridge of Khazad-Dum" immediately starts off loud iith the Theme for the Fellowship and gets deeper and darker, as it goes on, ultimately ending with the the sad yet beautiful solo as the membersof the Fellowship weep for Gandalf outside Moria. "Lothlorien (featuring "Lament for Gandalf")" is a quiet piece that is slightly calming. "The Great River" sets the mood again for the Fellowship's continuing journey into the next two movies. "Amon Hen" starts slow, then with recognition to danger, becomes more valiant and boisterous, then ends slowly and sadly with Boromir's Death. "The Breaking of the Fellowship (featuring 'In Dreams')" is a song that descirbes the whole movie, being valiant, yet quiet and solemn at the same time, nnd often reprises the Theme for the Fellowship, then ends beautifully with the two verses from 'In Dreams' sung by a boys choir. "May It Be" is the only full song sung by Enya on this album, and when you listen to the words, not only is it relaxing, but it defines The Fellowship, themselves: Bound by honor, and friendship; ever loyal; and they'd go through Hell with each other (which Frodo and Sam ultimately do), and will stick with each other to The End of All Things (pun intended).
My Personal favorite tracks from this album are "The Black Rider", "At The Sign of the Prancing Pony", "The Bridge of Khazad-Dum", "The Great River", "Amon Hen" (which I think could easily be renamed 'Charge of the Fellowship'), and "The Breaking of the Fellowship (Featuring 'In Dreams')". This (album, and movie trilogy) is an amazing example of cinematic greatness. I applaude Howard Shore. I got this album when it was on sale for $5.99, so $10.49 is a little steep for just eMusic, even for a soundtrack this good. But I still encourage all y'all, to get it if you're thinking about it.