The Lord of the Rings Symphony
|Listen Now with Amazon Music|
The Lord of the Rings Symphony
|Amazon Music Unlimited|
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
This December marks the tenth anniversary of the cinematic release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. There has been a resurgence of interest in Tolkien's works as fans celebrate and prepare for next year's release of The Hobbit. Sales of the coffee-table book The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films have been robust, and Warner Music will re-release each of the three Complete Recordings Series box sets in the coming months. In addition, a stadium tour of the Lord of the Rings Live-to-Projection concert will be mounted this fall in the United States. This month, Howe Records proudly presents the world première recording of Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings Symphony. The composer says of the project, "J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is very close to my heart. I have great respect for his writing and share the values he weaves into these stories of courage and honor, friendship and sacrifice. I love the inner aspect of his writing, the detail of the relationships, and his observance of nature. The Lord of the Rings Symphony was created from the nearly twelve hours of music written for The Lord of the Rings films. Maestro John Mauceri first suggested I create this work from the film scores. We worked together to adapt the scores into the six movements that reflect each of the six books of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings." The work is performed by The 21st Century Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ludwig Wicki, who personally selected the musicians who perform on this recording.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Language: : English
- Product Dimensions : 4.89 x 5.59 x 0.53 inches; 4 Ounces
- Manufacturer : HOWE RECORDS
- Item model number : 22835380
- Original Release Date : 2011
- SPARS Code : DDD
- Date First Available : August 3, 2011
- Label : HOWE RECORDS
- ASIN : B005FNJL7K
- Number of discs : 2
- Best Sellers Rank: #122,280 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
What is most striking about this disc is the fact that each "symphony" is about half of the recognizable tracks from each of the Lord of the Rings movies. For example, symphonies 1 and 2 are from Fellowship and so on for each of the six. I get the feeling like Shore intended for each of these symphonies to be listened to in their entirety and most preferably in one sitting. Each symphony takes on its own life as it takes you back in your mind to many of the scenes and struggles that occurred within Middle-Earth.
I highly suggest this to anyone who is a fan of the movies and is amazed at how cathartic a soundtrack can make one feel while watching a movie. Not only does this collection of symphonies do the movies justice, it helps to take you back to that magical place. Let your mind roam in the Middle-Earth written by JRR Tolkien, brought to life on screen by Peter Jackson, and given a soul by Howard Shore.
Now that's out of the way, what of the Symphony? To call it a symphony is something of a stretch, since it doesn't follow the structure of a traditional classical symphony. Basically, The Lord of the Rings Symphony is a very long, comprehensive suite representing music from the scores of all three films. There are six movements; two movements apiece for each of the films. Consider it a highlight reel of the best moments from the scores. Nothing will ever replace hearing the scores in their gargantuan entirety, but listening to the Symphony is a wonderful experience on its own. Although many may have preferred a true 'symphony' in the classical sense, organized by theme and counterpoint, etc., that seems somewhat illogical given the subject material. Instead, the Symphony follows the narrative structure and order of the films. It's like Cliffs Notes for the original scores. Frankly, the work would be far more appropriately called a suite, similar to a lengthy ballet suite, but oh well, it's the content and not the title that's important. Also, if you or someone else you know has previously managed to avoid hearing Shore's music, the Symphony would be a great introduction.
As far as the performances themselves, I was skeptical considering I haven't previously heard of the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra (the name sounds cheesy), nor of Ludwing Wicki (conductor). I was fortunate enough to attend a concert with Shore himself conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and the results were unforgettable. Needless to say I had very high expectations for an eventual recording of the Symphony, but much to my dismay, one was never released despite the release of the Complete Recordings and the Rarities Archive. That makes this recording an unexpected surprise, timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the first film. Thankfully, my concerns were assuaged. The performance of the 90-piece, German-based orchestra and around 100-strong semi-professional chorus was fabulous. The brass in particular rose spectacularly to the occasion. Even the soloists did their best to imitate the originals with acceptable results. Thanks to maestro Wicki, the pacing is accurate and clean, though at times it can seem a little rushed. Again, probably nothing will best the original performances by the London Philharmonic, but these performances often compare favorably to the interpretations of on-album excerpts by the City of Prague Philharmonic and Cincinnati Pops. The only real knock I give this recording is that, as a result (I assume) of being recorded live, the sound quality suffers a bit. That's not to say it's bad (it's actually decent), but the stereo separation doesn't feel as immersive and it's more difficult to pick out individual instruments. Although audience noise is thankfully limited, there are two moments of applause on the recording - the first is after the second movement, and the second is after the last movement. Keep in mind this is a review of the digital album I purchased on Amazon, but I imagine the standard CD listening experience would be very much the same.
All in all, purchase this recording if you have any appreciation for Shore's magnum opus! I guarantee you'll be glad you did. I hope more recordings of the Symphony by other well-known orchestras will follow.
This symphony does have a role though. The original soundtrack is, of course, a movie soundtrack. Some of the movie tracks fit the movie well but don't make for light listening (particularly the Orcs' themes). I've tried studying with the movie soundtrack on, but sometimes some of the tracks are just too overpowering and distract me. The symphony score by contrast is perfect for relaxed listening. You can have it on in the background when you study or work. As such, for the price, it's a nice way to enjoy the LOTR soundtrack in a different setting.