Full score for Lord of the Rings

I’m delighted to read that Howard Shore, who composed what must be the most magnificent film score ever — the Lord of the Rings trilogy — is still working on it, according to an article in the Seattle Times. I listen over and over again to the three CDs of these films. One or two tracks in the total are "filler" for Sauron’s various dastardly plans, but the vast majority are creative, musically ambitious and filled with emotion.

Shore has produced a Lord of the Rings symphony from the music in the three soundtracks, which has been performed publicly (sadly, I’ve not been able to get a ticket for the times it has come to London, but as the piece is so short at just over 2 hours in total, I doubt I’d really get into it, given how well I know the music).

Our copy of the extended edition of the "Return of the King" came with a free DVD called something like "The Making of the LOTR Symphony", but watching that was a frustrating experience, as Shore did not or could not illuminate the creative processes in the brief featured interviews, and only excerpts from the symphony were played, not the whole thing.

Since the films were released, Shore has been gradually making more complete recordings of each — the first two are already available and the final part, "The Return of the King", is nearly complete.  The result will be a ten-hour assembled score. What an experience that will be, to listen to that from start to finish.

Inevitably, there will be a book to coincide with completion of the project, due for publication next year. But this isn’t likely to be the usual superficial celebrity production. Shore is as involved with Tolkien as were any of the artists who worked on these films,  such as Alan Lee and John Howe, and it has taken Shore six years from his first recording sessions to reach this point.  Hardly a "get rich quick" attitude. The sleeve notes to the version of the music I have (the set of one CD per movie) are a tantalising glimpse of what Shore could say on the topic, should he feel inclined to do so.

Details of the "complete recordings" are available at this link. Each film has 3 CDs of music and 1 audio-CD of the score, also available as a PDF download from the same link.

2 thoughts on “Full score for Lord of the Rings

  1. Not another LOTR goodie! I’ll be shot if I ask Santy for this one, after the three ‘special’ box sets I got before.
    Agree with what you say about Shore being as much an artist as Howe and Lee…
    Now someone tie my hands behind my back before I go spending some more…!

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