|1. A Storm Is Coming|
|2. Hope and Memory|
|3. Minas Tirith - Ben del Maestro|
|4. The White Tree|
|5. The Steward of Gondor - Billy Boyd|
|6. Minas Morgul|
|7. The Ride of the Rohirrin|
|8. Twilight and Shadow - Renee Fleming|
|9. Cirith Ungol|
|11. Shelob's Lair|
|12. Ash and Smoke|
|13. The Fields of the Pelennor|
|14. Hope Fails|
|15. The Black Gate Opens - James Galway|
|16. The End of All Things - Renee Fleming|
|17. The Return of the King - Viggo Mortensen|
|18. The Grey Havens - James Galway|
|19. Into the West - Annie Lennox|
I'd hoped to do a track-by-track analysis, but I simply don't have room, so I'll share some of this CD's better tracks.
Track 3 (3:38): It starts out with dangerous overtones, as Pippin attempts to steal the Palantír from Gandalf, and the terrible consequences of his deed. Gandalf takes him to the city of Gondor, and we hear the premiere of Shore's theme for the City of Kings. (Actually, we first heard a sampling of the Gondor theme in the first movie, when Aragorn is first spoken of as the exiled king, and again in the motion picture preview released earlier in 2003) A wonderful choir makes way to the splendorous, magnificent theme for Gondor, perfectly capturing all the wonder and awe of the city. Awesome. Actually, the solo by Ben Del Maestro, I have concurred, is the part that plays when the White Rider dashes out onto the planes to challenge the Nazgûl.
Track 4 (3:25): A solemn tune, with distinctive Death of Boromir overtones, then the theme for Gondor again, just as grand as before. I believe (I'm big on figuring out which part of the soundtrack goes to which part of the movie) that this is the glorious music that plays as Gandalf rides through the citadel of Gondor, to the very top level of the city.
Track 5 (3:53): Not EXACTLY one of my favorite picks, but I had to comment on this one since it is the one with Billy Boyd's solo. In the beginning, it is primarily flute, along with other, somber-sounding instruments mixed in. Gondorian theme again, quieter this time. This, I have figured out, is the sad music that plays as Faramir leads his troops out onto the field. At 2:35 on the CD counter, Billy Boyd begins his quiet, dirge-like solo which provides the background theme for Faramir's suicide charge on enemy ranks. And yes, it is a very lovely, though somber and sad song. Billy Boyd sings it very well.
Track 7 (2:09): The action-oriented muster of Rohan's troops. As you could expect, the theme of Rohan from The Two Towers prevails in a heroic and magnificent way. In the middle, there is a quiet moment where Shore makes use of the generally-saved-for-hobbits Celtic-sounding flute. The track picks back up triumphantly before it ends.
Track 10 (2:35): Quiet beginning, with Rivendell overtones. Another tune begins, a very royal and glorious as the sword of kings is reforged anew. The end transitions to the creepy Paths of the Dead theme.
Track 13 (3:26): Slow beginning, then a very drawn-out tune of hopefulness. Rohan's arrival to Gondor's aid? Then the stunning, dramatic theme for the Ringwraiths is blasted out by the incredible choir Howard Shore commands. It may be the bad guy theme, but it is still incredible to hear. The track is too short, in my opinion.
Track 15 (4:02): The last desperate stand of Aragorn's troops before Mordor's endless ranks. At the same time, the quiet flute plays as Frodo works against all odds to climb the mountain of doom. This track and the next are the themes for the most powerful, poignant moments in the movie, and are NOT to be missed. (Referring to the music, but the movie too!)
Track 16 (5:13): Terribly desperate, frantic choir plays during the final moments of the climax at Mt. Doom and the Black Gate. A silent moment appears, with a slow solo by Renee Fleming, as Aragorn faces down the Eye of Sauron. Shore makes brilliant use of the choir - well, pretty much any time he uses them for his Lord of the Rings film score, but especially in this case.
Track 19 (5:48): Of the three songs (May it Be, Gollum's Song, and Into the West) that Howard Shore has featured on his soundtrack, I nominate this one as the best. It is sung by Annie Lennox, whose voice credit-viewers may recognize from Apollo 13's end credits. Her voice in this sounds somehow a little less feminine, and a little more like a male with a high-pitched voice, but that's just an observation, not a complaint. The song itself is really great. It sings in very poetic, descriptive terms basically of Heaven. For anyone, but particularly believers in Jesus like me, it is an especially inspiring and thrilling song of hope for the World to Come; of heaven. Beautiful. And as usual, the end credits song also includes a bit of the film score after the song.
Folks, Howard Shore's soundtrack abilities remain unequaled. For fans of the film, the music is an excellent way to relive parts of the movie when silly things like, say, real life prevent you from going to the theater. For people who haven't seen the movie, this music is awesome no matter which way you dice it. Please, please buy this CD.
A Storm is Coming-a wonderful display of the theme for the Ring. Read more