The Lord of the Rings: the Complete Recordings Box set, Soundtrack
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|1. Prologue: One Ring To Rule Them All|
|2. The Shire|
|3. Bag End|
|4. Very Old Friends|
|5. Flaming Red Hair|
|6. Farewell Dear Bilbo|
See all 14 tracks on this disc
|2. The Caverns Of Isengard|
|3. Give Up the Halfling|
|6. The Sword That Was Broken|
See all 14 tracks on this disc
|2. Caras Galadhon (featuring Lament for Gandalf, performed by Elizabeth Fraser)|
|3. The Mirror of Galadriel|
|4. The Fighting Uruk-hai|
|5. Parth Galen|
|6. The Departure of Boromir|
See all 9 tracks on this disc
An epic film score receives epic treatment with The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring/Complete Recordings. Released for the first time on CD, the complete score for the first film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy contains more than 180 minutes of music on three CDs plus a DVD-Audio disc of the entire score in Surround Sound. Breathtaking and majestic, the 2001 Oscar and Grammy winning score compsted by Howard Shore also includes Enya's Oscar nominated 'May It Be'. For fans of any of The Lord of the Rings films, the Fellowship of the Ring/Complete Recordings is an essential experience. Warner. 2005.
As fans of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy know, each film exists in two versions: the theatrical one and the extended one that appeared on DVD. This luxurious box set--which also comes with a detailed essay on the movie's musical themes--features the full extended score, so many cues not on the CDs of the individual movies are included. Granted, the majority of listeners will be perfectly happy with the shorter versions of the scores--it's a safe bet that most people can live without hearing, say, Ian McKellen's 35-second-long ditty "The Road Goes Ever On" at the beginning of "Bag End," or Viggo Mortensen's performance of his own composition, "The Song of Lúthien," within the track "The Nazgûl." But if you're a completist and/or a devotee of Howard Shore's pounding tympani and overwhelming choral compositions (featured particularly prominently on disc 3, a large chunk of which is devoted to a battle scene), then this set is a dream come true. Audiophiles should note that the fourth disc, a DVD, offers the score in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Fire up those speakers so the whole shire can hear. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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This set includes not only the music that was included in the theatrical and extended cuts of FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, but also additional music that was not included in either version of the film. Highlights from Disc 1 include Gandalf (Ian McKellan) singing a portion of a poem written by Tolkien at the beginning of "Bag End." Bilbo (Ian Holm) can be heard singing the same verse during "Keep It Secret, Keep It Safe." And at the end of "The Nazgul," Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) sings a passage from Tolkien's poem "The Lay of Luthien," as heard in the extended cut of the film. Disc 2's biggest highlight, for me, is the track "The Great Eye," which was heard briefly in the extended cut of the movie but is greatly expanded here. This song incorporates the theme for Gondor, which makes a more prominent appearance during RETURN OF THE KING. The Gondor theme can also be heard during Disc 3's "The Mirror of Galadriel." Although there are only nine tracks on the third CD, it is actually the longest disc in the set due to several extended pieces of music that were written to accompany the battle scenes at the end of the film.
Another major plus for this set is the interesting and informative booklet that accompanies it. Rather than taking the easy and obvious route of writing a track-by-track synopsis of the score, writer Douglas Anderson instead identifies instruments, themes and motifs within the music that correspond to specific characters, races and environments in the film. Some of the material may be a bit difficult to grasp for those who are not familiar with the finer points of orchestral composition, but overall, the booklet goes the extra mile and becomes an essential part of the listening experience.
Is there a downside to this set? Yes. Quite frankly, the price is too high (although, thankfully, amazon offers a healthy discount). Don't get me wrong - it's a top-quality collection in every respect. However, in light of the fact that you can get the actual extended cut of the movie, which includes not only the film but more than 6 hours of bonus content spread across 4 DVDs, for about half the price of this collection, something seems amiss. (Also, while the booklet is perfect, it is a few pages shy of the "48" promised on the packaging... why can't the record company just be honest?) It is common knowledge that the score for FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING is actually the shortest of the soundtracks for Peter Jackson's trilogy. I can't imagine the scores for THE TWO TOWERS and RETURN OF THE KING fitting on only three CDs. If the forthcoming "complete recordings" for those movies include not three, but FOUR CDs plus a DVD for each set, can we expect the price to go up even higher than $60? Probably, but I hope not.
Price concerns aside, this soundtrack comes highly recommended. It is a perfect gift for fans of Tolkien's books, Peter Jackson's movies, and audiophiles in general.
Maybe I should just start with a little background information on the scoring process of "Fellowship Of The Ring".
In early 2000, director Peter Jackson tried to pick the right composer for his adaption of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings.
He was looking for a man who had the time and who was able and willing to summon enough energy and enthusiasm to get involved with the scoring of an epic trilogy. The dark elegance of Howard Shore's earlier works like "Crash" or "The Fly" swept Jackson away, and what was even more important: Shore works in a very operatic style and that's just what Jackson was looking for. So, Peter Jackson called him up and invited him over to New Zealand to visit the sets. Shore, after realising the scope of the project, immediately agreed to take on this task.
From that point on, he worked on Fellowship, not only by writing themes, but also, and maybe especially, by studying Tolkien's themes and other Ring mythologies. "While writing the score, Tolkien's book was always open on my desk" says Shore, and the more he learned about not only Tolkien, but the historical and mythological background, the more he fell in love with it. Consequently, this score, as well as the following two, go far beyond the normal scoring duties you find in stores en masse. They are a labour of love, captivating, enchanting, rich in thematic detail, brilliant in development and execution, one grand piece of musical art, architecture and beauty equaled by nothing.
Howard Shore took on the monstrous task of conceptualising an 11 hour opera, separated into three movements, and he pulled it off!
Fellowship of the Ring is first and above all about hobbits, especially Frodo, the fellowship of the ring and the breaking of it, caused by the Ring itself. And that's how the score is thematically centered and interwoven.
Dozens of interrelated leitmotifs are perfectly able to tell the story on their own, without any help from visuals. But it's not only the themes, it's literally the architecture of the music that brings different cultures to life; the dwarves for instance not only get their own, very specific choral voice, but also very symmetric harmonies. Later in the film, as the Balrog approaches, these harmonies get disturbed and mutilated by dissonances more and more, until the Balrog gets its own musical gesture.
Often people complain that Shore's Lord of the Rings is often compared to Wagner's Nibelungen saga. And obviously, Lord of the Rings is not 100% opera, it's still a film score, and sure enough it's Howard Shore's own voice, but it's the way the leitmotifs are treated and developed that makes LotR and Die Nibelungen very similar.
And that Shore is not exactly a friend of mickey- mousing certainly is helpful, too. The music is a mirror image of the things we see on the screen, and yet it never becomes merely "supportive" music. So much in Lord of the Rings is just wordless scenes, imagery, looks, so the music very often takes center stage. With its architecture and choral poems it gives the scenes a meaning, a deeper context; it moves them along, ties them together. It doesn't only connect scenes, but also all three films.
This gem comes in a hardboard box which is not much bigger than a standard jewel case, only much thicker. It comprises three audio CDs with the complete score in a separate, wonderfully designed folder and a bonus DVD with the full score in Dolby Surround Sound. The accompanying booklet is in my opinion the crowning jewel of this boxed set. On 45 pages, Shore- expert Douglas Adams explains all the thematic material and orchestral fine- tunes, what it describes, how it evolves and what Howard Shore himself says about it. There are also printed score excerpts, as well as descriptions of all the specific instruments that brought the cultures of Middle- Earth to life. There are even a couple of pages about the performers.
Concerning the quality of the music, the perfect presentation and the gorgeous box itself, the price of 50 bucks is definitely not too high. Every soundtrack collector should have this jewel on his shelve, since this is the biggest, most comprehensive score release ever, until The Two Towers comes out in mid- 2006.
And bear in mind: this is only the beginning of the adventure!
This work is utterly beautiful and just amazing - I am in love with it. I have listened to nothing else since I bought this three days ago. It is every bit worth the price and I cannot wait until The Two Towers and The Return of the King are released - let's hope.
A lot has been said about the character vocals...I really don't mind them - they were written into the score afterall, and at those times, the focus is meant to be on the character vocals.
I love the packaging...I think it's put together really well. However, my main quibble is the booklet. Yes, it is very informative, but I feel jipped a bit. Go to: [...] and download the free annotated score - NOW THAT IS what should have been included here. It has MUCH more information and has all the choral texts - in the original middle-earth language and translated into English, so one can understand the text that is being sung.
All in all, if you love great classical works, I can't recommend this enough. Beautiful, just beautiful.
First, note that the DVD Audio disc contains the *entire* three hour recordings (so no disc swapping as with the CDs). Further, it's available in up to *four* different formats (which you use will depend largely on your audio setup). They are--
* Dolby Digital 5.1 [DVD Video (compatibility)] at 448 Kbps
* Dolby Digital 2.0 [DVD Video (compatibility)] at 224 Kbps
* Advanced Resolution Surround Sound (48 kHz, 24-bit) [DVD Audio]
* Advanced Resolution Stereo Sound (48 kHz, 24-bit) [DVD Audio]
With regard to the DVD Audio tracks, I was a little disappointed in the only marginal increase in sample rate over standard CD audio (I was hoping for at least 96 kHz, at least for the stereo tracks), but the increase in sample size (16-bit for CD vs. 24-bit on this DVD Audio disc) was *most* welcome. On a positive note, by keeping the sample rate down to 48 kHz they managed to keep the whole score on one DVD (a higher sample rate would likely have meant splitting the content between two or more discs).
Finally, to give you an idea of how the space on this DVD Audio disc was used, here's the size of the AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS directories (and their percentage relative to the total size of the disc)-
\VIDEO_TS - 0.94 GiB (14%)
\AUDEO_TS - 6.00 GiB (86%)
Total - 6.9 GiB (100%)
The AUDIO_TS directory contains the DVD Audio portion of the disc (Advanced Resolution tracks above). The VIDEO_TS directory contains the DVD Video (compatibility) portion of the disc (Dolby Digital tracks above).
As a parting note, yes, this is more expensive than I would have thought. But it is worth it, especially if you love Howard Shore's score for the film (and even more especially if you enjoy higher quality audio as is available on the DVD Audio disc included in the package). Now the wait for the next two films to be given the "Complete Recordings" treatment.