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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2CD Limited Special Edition) [Special Edition]

Soundtrack Audio CD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 29.47 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Description

Special Edition includes bonus track. Original two CD soundtrack to the 2013 motion picture composed by Howard Shore and featuring an exclusive track from Ed Sheeran. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the second in a trilogy of films by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hobbit Jan. 18 2014
By Ken
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The music on these two discs exceeded my expectations. The music draws you in and so involves you emotionally that I could not stop until I had listened to both CD's.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 12 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Like every soundtrack of the lord of the rings series! marvalous music orchestral, Howard Shore at his best!
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4 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
As far as the music is concerned, nothing here is very unique or mesmerizing. We are in the same logic as the previous episode. It’s all happening before the events of ‘’The Lord Of The Rings’’. Therefore, the music cannot be as incredible. The quest for the ring is way more important, in that world, than the battle against Smaug. How could the melodies of this second trilogy be, therefore, more overwhelming than the first? So again, we have new material, less impressive, with traces of the previous partitions of the first three films. Still, without necessarily making it more ‘’overwhelming’’, the creators could have managed to make it more ‘’listenable’’. More easy to whistle. Along the line of ‘’Misty Mountain’’ (first episode). I fail to find here a piece of music that I would really, really, really want to listen again. Of course, in the movie, all will be fine. The music will stick to the images like glue. But as a pure listening experience, without the movie, this soundtrack, like the first, has nothing exceptional to it.

Try and make a compilation of all the great pieces of music of those films. Go ahead. You’ll see for yourself. The choices will come easily as far as the first trilogy is concerned. But for ‘’An Unexpected Journey’’ and ‘’the Desolation Of Smaug’’, you will not have an easy time to find something worth putting alongside the melodies of the previous three films. I made for myself a compilation of all the great themes of Howard Shore. It was relatively easy but hard at the same time. That composer can be, at times, very dull, musically speaking. Very slow. With just noises or a collection of sounds instead of music. Especially at the beginning of his career. It was like that in this soundtrack (The Desolation Of Smaug) in a couple of pieces, I thought.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  116 reviews
78 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Desolation of Smaug Dec 10 2013
By G. Kroener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The soundtrack presentation of last year's An Unexpected Journey, compared to the music in the actual film, caused some headscratching, as quite a few centerpieces were replaced by altogether new music in the film, along with some questionable tracking and editing. Everything pointed towards a very hectic and stressful post-production and scoring process; and as a composer who writes, orchestrates and conducts all the music himself, and is heading towards the age of 70, it's not exactly healthy. So, for the second part, Desolation of Smaug, Shore left the orchestration and conducting duties to Conrad Pope, known for his longtime collaboration with John Williams. This allowed Shore more quality time solely for composing. And it was a good thing, too, because the result is arguably the most fascinating of all Middle Earth scores up to this point. Shore's score sketches are quite detailed, and he supervised the process, so you'll notice little to no difference in sound. And unless you are a trained ear, you won't even notice that the score was recorded with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra instead of the London Philharmonics. They already recorded pieces for Fellowship of the Ring, so they are obviously qualified.

You know that a score is outstanding when it not only meets your expectations in quality, but also manages to surprise you with themes, and presents musical soundscapes that are completely surprising, yet fit perfectly. Very, very few movies present as vast a canvas for the composer to paint on and draw inspiration from as these Tolkien movies, and very, very few composers are able, and go to these lengths, to make the most of it. For example, the colours Shore uses to craft the musical landscape for Thranduil and his Woodland Realm are not only unique in his Middle-Earth work up until now, they are also fascinatng and spell-binding to listen to. Think of the music for Lòrien, but exotic in a different way, more aloof, laced with more arabian shades, and also slightly more threatening. The music for Smaug, not surprisingly, takes center stage in the score, together with the Dwarven themes. It is being developed into some bone-chilling pieces, and again showcases Shore's knack for picking unusual but thoroughly satisfying choices for instrumentation and language, by drawing inspiration from Chinese dragon mythology and incorporating fascinating Chinese textures, ranging from different cymbal techniques to Gamelan. The second half of "My Armour Is Iron" features Smaug's two themes performed by choir; personally, I find this horrifying statement is one of the most breathtaking things Shore has ever done. He also introduces new thematic ideas for Laketown, but, being in the world of men, he doesn't draw parallels to the noble music for Gondor or the Celtic nature of Rohan; he goes back to Fellowship of the Ring and builds on the soundscape of Bree (of which there also is a short, newly orchestrated reprise in "The Quest For Erebor"). Gnarly bassoons, prominent celli and a clavicord paint the picture, with staccato strings and winds supplying a poignant, almost medieval, fanfare for the place in "Thrice Welcome".

As the movie brings us finally to Erebor and the Lonely Mountain, the established themes for the Dwarves are built upon, with new turns, some of them very majestic, of Thorin's theme, and some beautiful iterations of the Erebor theme, with chorus. Added to the palette is a theme derived from Fellowship's Dwarrowdelf music. With the huge male choir, the broad orchestrations with the aching horns, and the straightforward melodic lines, this is really Howard Shore in Tolkien mode at its best. A real showstealer is his music for Tauriel. Similar in shape to the opening of SIlence Of The Lambs, the theme takes on a very gentle appearance, for instance in "Feast Of Starlight" on solo oboe/english horn, or can be heard in heroic form with a driving brass rhythm in "Beyond The Forest" with supporting choir lines, or in spectacular fashion, meeting with the Woodland Realm theme, in "The Forest River", a riveting action track that is likely to remain unmatched this year.

The amount of thematic material Shore juggles with on this 120 minute album, with such apparent ease, is more than remarkable. Shore draws closer and closer to a thematic complexity that was heretofore only known from Wagnerian opera. Not just themes from An Unexpected Journey are continued in different variations and make exciting turns, also Lord of the Rings motifs are included in well-placed moments, and are twisted, for example to weave the story of the Necromancer carefully into a logical musical context with Lord of the Rings. The real achievement lies in the fact that Shore varies these themes, which already went through workouts in Lord of the Rings, ad infinitum. Not to menetion the plethora of other new material Shore confronts us with, the music for Bard, Beorn and also the spiders of Mirkwood, each a distinct entry into the vast catalogue of themes. He also conceived a theme for the rise of the Nazgul, written for boy soprano, depicting the etheral notion of infinite life. An overlooked gem could be Beorn's theme, heard extensively in "Wilderland" and "The House Of Beorn", for which Shore takes the opening harmonies of his Nature theme and wriggles a rising, then falling motif around it. In "Bard, a Man of Laketown", Bard's theme is introduced, a restrained, but driven, theme on strings and winds, heard shortly in heroic form in "The Hunters".

Choral music has always been an integral part of Shore's Middle-Earth palette, and it returns here also, more prominently than in film 1, and in more than a few mesmerizing ways. You will hear elven beauty, Dwarvish roughness, menacing dragon choir, and also the more modern "Sprechstimme" technique, paired with aleatoric orchestra - something Shore already introduced us to in The Two Towers, where he used it to depict the voices of the dead in the Dead Marshes sequence. And, since Shore stays true to the ideas behind his writing, even in these details, the Sprechstimme is used with a similar intention in Desolation of Smaug. The most beautiful choral work up until now in the Hobbit trilogy comes in "Beyond The Forest", complete with boy choir, which ranks amongst the most beautiful work Shore has done for Middle-Earth. It should be mentioned that a boy soprano is featured very prominently in the score, also for downright bone-chilling moments, like Gandalf investigating the tombs of the Ringwraiths. The juxtaposition of this pure voice against rumbling percussion and the dark images is amazing.
Probably unavoidable, seeing the gigantic marketing machine for this trilogy, was another song not written by Shore. Ed Sheeran was suggested by Katie Jackson (the daughter), so they called him in; he watched the film, wrote and performed the song right afterwards (meaning the same very day), went away the next day, finished. He probably should have listened to the score to see what kind of music his song is embedded in too, because his product is a jarring experience after the music before. Whether a song like this, which doesn't even have a melodic hook like "Song of the Lonely Mountain", written and performed within 20 hours, does justice to the importance of the film and its heritage, is up to you to decide. For me, it doesn't belong in this universe, and I will always regard it as such. It's outclassed by Shore's music anyway.

The special edition comes with extended score tracks, which add material that isn't earth-shattering, but fleshes out tracks nicely. The booklet is improved over An Unexpected Journey, featuring more detailed liner notes by Doug Adams, a two page note by Peter Jackson, and score excerpts from Shore's handwritten sketches, clarifying the themes. Also added is a printed score excerpt from Shore's score on a foldout, out of which you can get some bonuses with an app. The Decca packaging is still incredibly impractical, so if you can, get the Water Tower product, it's easier to handle.

For the fifth time in a row, Howard Shore managed the incredible feat to keep the sound and quality of his Middle-Earth scores up - after having already written 13 hours - while injecting an own distinguishable character. Desolation Of Smaug finally cements the opinion that I had when An Unexpected Journey was released, namely that if there ever was a composer put on this earth to write and complete a single work, it has to be Howard Shore, writing his Tolkien opus. In a film music industry where nowadays composers get pushed into the same mold more and more, and individuality is almost completely lost, Desolation Of Smaug so far beyond its competition that no words can't sufficiently describe it.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unexpected Direction Dec 10 2013
By Arch Stanton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have some misgivings about this album. On the one hand it is full of excellent music and well worth buying if you liked the previous installments in this series. On the other, it tends to be rather repetitive and relies strongly on relatively few cues (far fewer than LOTR) which it repeats again and again. For the first half of this album I was extremely disappointed. It is entirely derivative and features nothing that we haven't heard before. The Flies and Spiders track was particularly disappointing because the scene is one of my favorites. I started to despair. But then as the album progressed I found the music gradually getting better. Starting, I think, with The Woodland Realm new themes start to appear and old ones are used in a new fashion. It makes me wonder if he had already planned some of these cues before they split the two films into three because everything up til then would have fit in very well at the end of the last album. At any rate, from this point on the quality slowly rises until it reaches a pitch that is as good as anything in the LOTR albums. If it had been this way from the beginning I would have had nothing but high praise for this album.

The Woodland Realm manages to seem elvish and ethereal while avoiding sounding like Rivendell or Lothlorien. I think it's my least favorite of the three, but then I really love those other themes. It certainly holds its own. The Forest River is also good, as is Barrels out of Bonds (though slightly more derivative), but the really great stuff hits once we reach Laketown. Protector of the Common Folk is a delightful little track that sounds very whimsically medieval (but in a good way). I believe it represents the Master of Laketown's theme and it is developed even more strongly in Thrice Welcome. Girion, Lord of Dale is a sad piece with some very moving humming towards the end.

After this we head off to the Lonely Mountain and the score really shines. The key element here is the presence of Smaug. His theme (heard briefly in My Dear Frodo in the previous album) rises to new heights here. And very impressive it is. My Armor Is Iron and The Hunters in particular feature its blaring trumpets at full blast. Strangely enough the track Smaug doesn't focus on it too much, but instead seems to push Smaug's seductiveness and dangerous charm. It's a very effective track, especially since it does what Smaug does and gets you so lost in the wonder of it that you forget about the danger until the cue roars at full blast. There's another theme in the mix here which I will think of as the greed for gold theme, and it provides a wonderful impression of great wealth and temptation. Inside Information features a lot of it, very effectively intercut with Smaug's theme. The album spends a lot of time in Smaug's lair and I have to wonder what they're going to do in there that takes up all this time. Whatever it is it'll have a great musical accompaniment.

And then there are the last two tracks. These are a bit odd. The ending song, I See Fire, is a bit tame. The song itself is decent enough, it's just that it feels like it should be accompanying a slow motion montage of the entire company laughing and hugging. That's not really what I want from my Hobbit films. I'm curious to see how it works in the film. The last track is entitled Beyond the Forest. Anyone hoping for a repeat of the wonderful extra tracks of the first Hobbit are in for a disappointment. The track itself is alright, but nothing memorable.

And so we come to my feelings of the album as a whole. This album isn't what I was expecting from a Hobbit soundtrack. Missing is any bombastic adventure theme to link the tracks together. Instead it is tied together by a string of tracks that play off of suspicion and greed. Not that some tracks don't have great action cues, but they're missing the one unifying theme that we saw in Misty Mountains Cold. I don't believe we even hear that theme once. This piece is dominated by dark and brooding music instead. In a way it's fitting that Smaug should suck the innocent exuberance out of such a quest, but at the same time I think we could have done with a few more grand moments that aren't dark and moody. The album holds up well thematically, but if this movie has already succumbed to gloominess I can only imagine what the next one will be like. The plot for this film still has a good deal of adventure to it, but the next one will be dominated by themes of corruption and betrayal.

None of that takes away from the quality of the album as a whole. It's still better than almost anything else on the market. I'm rather torn between this album and the previous one actually. That one was more consistent qualitywise, but at the same time felt a bit like a retread. Apart from the Misty Mountains theme the most original music came in the bonus tracks at the end. This time the album builds in quality until the very end. For all my misgivings this is easily a five star work.
35 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In honor of Mr. Shore and other Middle Earth soundtracks, I can't rate this any lower than a three. Dec 17 2013
By Donna from Washington State - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
After reading all of the other reviews, I feel a bit inadequate to comment on anything remotely musical about this album. I am not a composer, musician or sound technician. I am just a regular person who has enjoyed all things Middle Earth-related for over a decade now. My sole musical achievement is that I can probably hum every melody from all of the other soundtracks in this series of films. That tradition will be interrupted with this soundtrack, which is a shame.

While my daughter and I can get tears in our eyes when we hear the earlier music and recall listening to it as we drove through the absolutely stunning scenery of New Zealand, this album makes my eyes teary for another reason. I just finished listening to this album and I felt like I was hearing cats screeching for over two hours! I had a headache when it was over. I am so disappointed. Yes, it did follow the movie action in an accurate portrayal of what was happening on the screen, but as something to enjoy hour after hour, over and over again, I would consider it pure torture. I sincerely hope that Mr. Shore returns to the underlying dwarf melody of the Misty Mountains in the final soundtrack. I totally disagree with other reviewers when they felt that these soundtracks should differ from earlier albums. Having heard and seen the LOTR symphony performed live, nothing could be better than to experience a symphony of The Hobbit music in the same vein.

The song "I See Fire" is kind of an incongruous choice when compared to the other signature songs of the past albums, but after the sawing violins it was a breath of fresh air. It will probably be one of the few songs I import to my iTunes account. I would definitely recommend listening to both of the discs before purchasing the soundtrack in its entirety.

I do apologize to Mr. Shore for my harsh review. We are looking forward to your next soundtrack!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly, the tales and songs fall utterly short of your enormity, o Shore the stupendous Dec 15 2013
By Jon Broxton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The second film in Peter Jackson's new Middle Earth trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit is The Desolation of Smaug; it picks up immediately where the first film in the trilogy, An Unexpected Journey, left off last year, with the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) journeying to the ancient dwarf stronghold of Erebor in the company of the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), dwarfish king-in-waiting Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), and his band of adventurers, to take back their homeland from the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). Along way, however, the heroic company must traverse any number of dangers, including vicious orcs, unfriendly elves, a treacherous forest, and the inhabitants of an impoverished lake town in the shadow of the lonely mountain. Meanwhile, much to Gandalf's consternation, the shadowy threat of a mysterious necromancer continues to grow, looming large over all of Middle Earth, and threatening its long-lasting peace. The film is a significant improvement over the first installment, eschewing some of its comic action material and embracing a more serious tone that befits a story that touches on much more adult themes involving obsession and corruption. It's visually spectacular, of course (although the orc leader Azog still looks like a bad video game rendering), has a wonderful supporting cast that includes Stephen Fry, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans and a returning Orlando Bloom as Legolas, and - most importantly from this website's point of view - sees Howard Shore returning to Middle Earth for the fifth time as composer.

Much was made prior to the score's release of the fact that, for the first time in the series, Shore delegated some of his tasks to others, passing the conductor's baton to Conrad Pope, and giving orchestration duties to Pope and his associate James Sizemore. The slightly hysterical fears some had that this would "ruin" the score are entirely unfounded. Conrad Pope is as capable a conductor and orchestrator as he is a superb composer in his own right, and The Desolation of Smaug fits seamlessly within Middle Earth's universe with no change in quality in the slightest. Thankfully, the terrible re-tracking and leitmotivic inappropriateness of parts of the first Hobbit score also seem to have been fixed this time round; The Desolation of Smaug feels `complete' in a way that An Unexpected Journey did not, with all the thematic correctness that implies.

The music in The Desolation of Smaug sits at an unusual juncture in the series' timeline, in that it acts as a bridge, referencing and building upon themes established in the first Hobbit film, and foreshadowing themes which appear later, chronologically, in the Lord of the Rings scores, while introducing new themes for new characters and locations unique to this film. As a result, Shore's score is massively dense, compositionally complicated, and thematically rich. As was the case with all his other entries, there is nary a moment where Shore is not making a thematic statement of one theme, motif or another, expanding his enormous musical tapestry even further, although it has to be said that the themes in The Desolation of Smaug are not as plainly obvious as they are in other scores. Understanding all the musical complexities of this score takes time, effort and intellect, but is massively rewarding when you do.

One thing listeners will notice immediately upon listening to The Desolation of Smaug is the complete disappearance of the Misty Mountains theme which dominated the score for An Unexpected Journey. Intellectually one could say that this is because the traveling company is no longer physically in the Misty Mountains in this film, but Shore tended to use this theme as a leitmotif for the heroic actions of the dwarves themselves rather than for the actual location, and as such its total disappearance in this score is a little disappointing. Also missing is the quirky, scatterbrained theme for Radagast the Brown, despite him playing a fairly important role here, as well as the Hugo-esque theme for "Gandalf's mischievousness'.

However, long-time Lord of the Rings listeners will be delighted to note that several established themes do make guest appearances. The snaky, sinister One Ring theme is hinted at in the brooding, oppressive "Mirkwood" before revealing itself halfway through "Flies and Spiders", and later during "Feast of Starlight", in moments when Bilbo is playing with his newly-acquired golden trinket. The Shire theme gets an unexpected, tender outing in "The Courage of Hobbits", while the brutal brass theme for the orc leader Azog and his band of Warg-Riders appears during both "Wilderland" and the aforementioned "Flies and Spiders", which is one of the score's standout action sequences. The Necromancer, whose ominous presence lurks over the entire film, sees his terrifying descending motif re-appear during "The High Fells", while his nightmarish, revelatory appearance in "A Spell of Concealment" is underscored by savage performances of both his theme and Sauron's theme from Lord of the Rings, playing in deafening counterpoint to each other, and is quite wonderful.

Probably the most important new themes in The Desolation of Smaug are the ones for Tauriel, the heroic she-elf from Mirkwood, and the related theme for The Woodland Realm, which acts as a leitmotif for the sylvan kingdom as a whole, and for Legolas specifically when he embarks on various acts of gravity-defying heroism as the score progresses. Tauriel's theme first appears as a flashing five-note fanfare towards the end of "Flies and Spiders", and appears in many cues thereafter. There's a lovely, soft variation for oboes towards the end of "The Woodland Realm", and a fuller and richer expansion in the subsequent "Feast of Starlight" to highlight her unexpected romantic attraction with the dwarf Kili which is really quite beautiful, especially when the beatific tones of a boy soprano enter the piece half way through.

The Woodland Realm theme could be seen as a variation of the sound Shore established for the elves from Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings; it re-uses the angelic, softly cooing vocal performances heard for the other elves, but combines it with a tinkling cimbalom and lightly tapped percussion in cues such as the aforementioned "The Woodland Realm" to give it a slightly more rustic feel.

The fanfare version of Tauriel's theme gets a thorough workout in the show-stopping "The Forest River", a massive, thrusting action sequence which boils and churns with relentless string ostinati, fulsome brass triplets, and a flute line which flits in and out of the piece at a speed that is absolutely sensational. Similarly, the Legolas variation of the Woodland Realm theme re-occurs frequently during many of his action moments, notably during the aforementioned "The Forest River", where his theme and Tauriel's theme often play in majestic call-and-response counterpoint to each other, and in the adventurous, exciting "The Hunters", where he almost single-handedly thwarts an attack on Laketown by a band of marauding orcs.

The city of Laketown has a sense of faded austerity, of something once grand that has now gone to seed, its glorious past and formerly noble citizens buried under the ash of dragon fire and stench of fish, and this is reflected in its music. The secretive ferryman Bard has his own theme that first appears in "Bard, A Man of Laketown", a shadowy little motif that acknowledges his presence but reveals little of who he is. Both "Protector of the Common Folk" and "Thrice Welcome" feature a pompous little march augmented by a tinkling harpsichord, capturing the self-importance but terrible ineffectiveness of its crotchety Master, while "Durin's Folk" features a subtler, slightly more introspective variation during its opening moments.

As the score reaches its conclusion, the noble themes for Thorin Oakenshield and the House of Durin begin to assert themselves much more prominently, as the proud heritage of the dwarves and their quest to regain their home becomes this film's most pressing issue. Dignified, solemn performances of the themes feature strongly in "Durin's Folk", the subsequent "In the Shadow of the Mountain", and the emotionally-charged "On the Doorstep", during which Thorin's theme gets the full choral treatment as he finally crosses the threshold into his ancestral home. This is counterbalanced by the re-emergence of the theme for Smaug himself, which was hinted at briefly in the first score and received hushed, hidden, insidious performances in several earlier cues here, but really comes into its own during the final quarter of the score. Gamelan gongs, soft chimes and cymbals, alien-sounding metallic percussion, and twisted, snake-like string phrasing heralds the first full appearance of the legendary lizard in "The Courage of Hobbits" and "Inside Information", and continues on through the more orchestrally aggressive "A Liar and a Thief", the boldly exciting "Smaug" and the apocalyptic "My Armor is Iron" as Bilbo and the dwarf company matches wits with their massive, scaly adversary. This last cue is especially impressive, as both Smaug's theme and the most heroic statements of Thorin's theme lock horns, back and forth, in a massive battle of fire and metal.

As was the case with the first Hobbit film and all the others in the series, there is an original song - "I See Fire", written and performed by the popular British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, which plays over the first section of the film's closing credits. I have to admit I really like the song: its lyrics are appropriate as they pertain to Smaug, the dwarves, and inhabitants of Laketown as they watch the developments on their nearby mountain from afar, and there is a certain poetic quality about its theme of remembrance and anticipation. The instrumental choices Sheeran makes, growing from solo guitar to a larger ensemble as it develops, are also very appealing, and I can see it picking up an Oscar nomination in the New Year. The score returns to conclude the album on a high note with an end credits piece, "Beyond the Forest", which presents lovely, ethereal versions of both Tauriel's theme and Tauriel and Kili's love theme.

What Howard Shore is achieving through his Lord of the Rings music, and now through these Hobbit scores, is nothing short of remarkable - a truly immersive world of music which follows a strict leitmotivic design, but is fluid enough to introduce themes for new characters, places and concepts as each new film requires, without compromising the integrity of the work as a whole. While the music in The Desolation of Smaug doesn't have the crowd-pleasing memorability of some of the other works in the series, while doesn't have as much choral bombast as previous entries, and while the inherent darkness of many of the themes and performances may be off-putting to some who need more lightness in their music, its intellectual design is utterly flawless, and its orchestration is consistently interesting. This is one of the scores of the year.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great Jan. 5 2014
By George Galloway - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
There are 2 songs which were stand out for me, the theme of Laketown titled "Thrice Welcome" and the end credit song "I See Fire", which is usually pretty good for Peter Jackson's Tolkien movies. The rest are more background music, though there are some tracks that can stand on their own like "Beyond the Forest". For the most part there is so recycling of other themes.

The quality of the music is fantastic, but even in the movie it seemed distracting if not just overpowering at times. I don't know the reasons for this so I don't know if this was a conscious decision or the result of some last minute editing changes

I still like Howard Shore's work here, but I have to say it seems less creative than his first 3 soundtracks and so I'm just not really excited about as a whole.
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