Music Inspired by Middle Earth featuring David Arkenstone
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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.Read more ›
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!
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Back when the LotR movies came out (high school for me!) I came across this album at the local library. Read morePublished 5 months ago by ucme4me
I love this album. It is in great shape, and it arrived very promptly. I will not live without this music in my life.Published 17 months ago by Terry Tindell
I just loved the music by David Arkenstone.
This takes you back to the movie of the Lord of the Rings.
When I first listened to this album, I was not interested at first except in "Arwen and Aragorn." However, after a few more listens, I've happily changed my mind. Read morePublished on April 30, 2011 by Ashley Cunningham
I LOVE this CD! I listen to it over and over. I'm an author, and I like having instrumental music without lyrics that I can listen to. It puts me in the "mood" to write. Read morePublished on February 17, 2011 by Writergirl
Fantastic CD, love it! Every song is great! A little pricey, but worth every cent!Published on January 20, 2009 by Marie J. Forand