Howard Shore – “The Lord of the Rings Symphony”

Album Reviews | Oct 3rd, 2011

Record Label: Howe Records
Genre: Film Score
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Howard Shore’s The Lord of the Rings’ film music is one of the greatest achievements in film. Shore has created something so memorable, so rich and so beautiful that there has been countless concerts, renditions, albums, re-releases, rarities for the movies already and it’s only been 10 years since Fellowship of the Ring came out. I can’t remember the last time this has happen except for Star Wars perhaps?

With the Lord of the Rings Symphony, Howard Shore condensed his music down to symphony size, and then had orchestras going out to play the music for the masses across the world. I ended up seeing this twice, once in Hartford and the other in Newark and wish I saw it again honestly. You can read my review here. If there was one concert that made me shed a tear, it was hearing the music for LOTR in person. Along with the music is usually images or artwork from the movie. I could just watch the orchestras playing the music but having the imagery around certainly helps make you get in the mood.

I believe this might be the first time the Lord of the Rings Symphony is on CD/Mp3. There is a DVD out of the making of this symphony so it’s nice to finally have this symphony in music form. The symphony is broken up into 6 movements, some tracks ranging around 11 minutes to 34 minutes. This performance was recorded in Lucerne, Switzerland and performed by the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra & Chorus under the direction of Ludwig Wicki. Shore sometimes conducts the symphony, but usually it’s someone else doing the honors. The first movement is the first few tracks of Fellowship of the Rings blended in nicely, included my favorite LOTR track “Concerning Hobbits.”

The second movement is the rest of the Fellowship of the Rings tracks. What I like about something like this is some pieces sound a bit different or altered to make it flow better with the symphony. Movement Three begins The Two Towers portion of the music, leading up to the Treebeard music or around there. Movement 4 seems to skip around and leads us to the exciting music of the Battle of Helms Deep music and the March of the Ents. Those were always my favorite pieces for TTT. At the end of Movement Four, the “Gollum Song” that Emiliana Torrini sings is sung but there was no “May It Be” for FOTR? “May It Be” and “Into The West” are favorites of the songs, but “Gollum’s Song” has grown on me over time. Movements Five and Six are for the Return of the King. A lot of the pieces from that aren’t skipped over as much as The Tower Towers pieces were.

If there is one thing I particularly really looking forward to with the Hobbit coming out next year, is the music from Howard Shore. This is a composer that completely gets Tolkien’s work and has translated that to music very well. Any LOTR or film music nut like myself will not be disappointed in this.

Bottom Line: Simply fantastic!
Notable Tracks: Movement One, Movement Two, Movement Four
Overall Rating:


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