Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Howard Shore, Enya|
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Genres: World Music, New Age, Pop, Soundtracks
Score composer Howard Shore has informed this first installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy with his distinctly modern sensibilities. Revolving loosely around a brief, heroic brass theme, this epic is infused with a p... more »
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Score composer Howard Shore has informed this first installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy with his distinctly modern sensibilities. Revolving loosely around a brief, heroic brass theme, this epic is infused with a powerful rhythmic thrust and a musical range that encompasses centuries (from the Renaissance pastoralism of "Concerning Hobbits" to the fiery, Prokofiev-influenced drama of "A Knife in the Dark"). Key to the score's sense of mystery and magical place are the rich choral passages that are interspersed throughout, some so ominously gothic they make The Phantom Menace's "Duel of the Fates" sound almost sunny by comparison. Enya's contributions ("The Council of Elrond" and the song "May It Be") add a sense of organic tranquility, but it's Shore's Wagnerian-scaled orchestral score that should long be cherished by admirers of film music and hobbits alike. --Jerry McCulley
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Ken G. from BIRMINGHAM, AL
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It's Anybody's Guess
The Fingers On My Keyboard | 12/18/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There are many avenues about this soundtrack worth examining and discussing. After all, with such great anticipation facing "The Fellowship of the Ring", how can anyone truthfully confess that he can help not wondering about how the music for the movie would turn out? Ideas and expectations abound: Could Peter Jackson acquire the Celtic pastoral feel he was gunning for? Or could fans expect something colder and more military sounding, something befitting of a movie of such epic proportions (literally)?When Howard Shore signed on, I'm sure plenty were apprehensive about his ability in such relevance, while others were willing to give him an open opportunity. But the debate is sure to rage on, even with the release of this edited record of a three-hour soundtrack. One score to rule them all, or just one score to fall? It's anybody's guess.On the one hand, to put it honestly, you hardly hear anything Celtic here (even with Enya around), except maybe for the occasional fiddle in "Concerning Hobbits". There's nothing very bright - or "pastoral" for that matter - about any of this music. It's very hard, very bitter, and even as you listen on, you can see how these pieces inevitably spiral towards the darker thematic side of J. R. R. Tolkien's story. It isn't entirely military, with rattling drums and soaring strings for the mere purpose of accompanying battle sequences, or the incidental monster encounter, but it isn't something you'll feel very cheerful listening to.On the other hand, that might not be so bad. Very evidently, this is not a thematic soundtrack. This can be clearly demonstrated by undisputed comparison to the soundtrack of the other fantasy counterpart - John Williams' "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". Throughout the latter you somehow hear "Hedwig's Theme" all the time. But with Howard Shore's immensely dark choral verses and dramatic orchestral backing (while giving him less room to build up a proper, impressive theme), there is great space for variation. Honestly, there is hardly any piece that sounds alike with another. From the very beginning, "The Prophecy" sets it straight: This is a musical voyage that's going to go grim. But interspersed with such grimness come moments of subtle mysticism, heartfelt poignancy, and sometimes plain excitement that hints of an omen of death. "The Shadow of the Past" actually suits very appropriately the tone of that part of the story. It grinds gloomily into the listener's mind how utterly sickening the Ring of Power can be, but it doesn't grind too hard. No - it kind of floats on for other bits of the soundtrack to pound you harder. "The Black Rider" is typical of a looming omen, almost vividly portraying the coming of the Ringwraith just through audible music. "A Knife in the Dark", "Flight to the Ford" and, the sure favourite, "The Bridge of Khazad-Dum", ignite the soundtrack with dark adventure, a race for life, and the ever ominous uncertainty of what has yet to come.But Howard Shore really fleshes out his thirst for variety in all the vocal additions he has integrated quite cleverly into the music. Elizabeth Fraser's "Lament for Gandalf" in "Lothlorien" is aptly spooky and spine-tingling, and reminds you of how Enya creates her own ethereal voice. Though lyrics are included with the CD, the magic of this bit is that you never get to hear them sung clearly. It really is a lament, so to say - a mourning cry that is hauntingly - and surprisingly - melodious. Enya's involvement in this project will undoubtedly come under fire. On one hand, it may not be anything new that we've heard from her, and it may not be so beautifully Celtic as we've come to expect from her. On the other hand, maybe that's just the right kind of sound Peter Jackson and Howard Shore were looking for. For example, "Aniron" slips in somewhere in "The Council of Elrond" so delicately, it's almost as if Enya had composed that very theme, careful not to break any of the accompanying strings. The end title theme song she composed - "May It Be" - may not be so lush with the air of Ireland. But, really, should she be doing Ireland, or Middle Earth? If you think about it, her music, with Roma Ryan's lyrics, brilliantly sum up everything that "The Lord of the Rings" strives for: The painstaking fight for good over evil, and how love, courage and hope can give strength in such a battle.But, really - in the end, it's anyone's guess. There isn't anything particularly musical for anyone to hang on to in this soundtrack. To one, it could be something merely dedicated to pounding eardrums, or even an exhibition of plagiarism from the likes of John Williams and crew. To another, it could be a bold attempt, a take on something hardly anyone would have expected for a beautiful movie, dark or otherwise. Still, shouldn't you give it credit for provoking some thought?"
A flawless effort
Mental Floss | 11/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Howard Shore was certainly a somewhat unconventional choice for the score of "The Lord of the Rings". However, it has become obvious now that he was an excellent choice and that he was definitely up to the task.There are many unconventional tracks on this soundtrack. One of the most unconventional pieces is probably "The Bridge of Khazad-Dum" where Shore uses a male choir to great effect, building the proper tension for this scene, which is most likely going to be a centerpiece of the movie. Another very interesting cut is "Lothlorien", which has an "arabian" feel to it and which features haunting vocals in Quenya and Sindarin (two of Tolkien's invented languages) by Elizabeth Fraser. A favorite of mine is "A Knife in the Dark", which jumps from dark choir voices and pounding percussion directly to the beautiful and innocent voice of young Edward Ross, an amazing musical moment which can send shivers down the listener's spine. Edward Ross' vocals fit just as well into "The Breaking of the Fellowship", a mostly sad piece, setting the proper mood for the end of the movie.Even with these somewhat uncommon tracks, the soundtrack is never overbearing, and there are many atmospheric pieces which are needed to set the proper tone for a movie without distracting from the actual movie events. There are several excellent re-occuring themes, which give the soundtrack a certain consistency without becoming boring.Howard Shore also uses some celtic elements, especially on the light-hearted "Concerning Hobbits". In other places, he uses elvish lyrics or has the choir relentlessly chant verses in the Black Speech for the darker scenes, thus drawing upon the great reservoir of Tolkien's world.This soundtrack is of course being heavily promoted through Enya's appearance on two songs. "May it Be" is perhaps not Enya's most catchy tune, but it certainly shouldn't be catchy, as it is intended to be played over the movie credits just after the Breaking of the Fellowship, one of the saddest moments of the whole story. An uptempo tune a la "Orinoco Flows" would be out of place here. Enya's "Aniron", which is weaved into "The Council of Elrond" is perhaps a bit more interesting and showcases Enya's otherworldly voice very well.This is certainly a great score for anyone who likes good soundtracks which go a little bit beyond the usual "soundtrack mainstream". Of course, it is also a must for any Tolkien fan, as it is obvious that the music, even as a stand-alone effort without the movie, is inspired by Tolkien's writings and mirrors their mood very well."