Isengard Unleashed - featuring Elizabeth Fraser & Ben Del Maestro
Samwise The Brave
Gollum's Song - performed by Emiliana Torrini
Howard Shore's music for the massively successful first film chapter of Tolkien's Ring saga won him the Oscar® for Best Original Score, something of a surprise given the music's ambitious scale and determinedly dark overto... more »nes, factors that handily blurred the line between typical film fantasy music and accomplished concert work. Its sequel takes the same, often Wagnerian-scaled dramatic tack, following the film's story line into even more brooding and ominous dark corners. The previous film's Hobbit-inspired pastoralism is supplanted here by rich ethnic textures that expand the musical scope of Middle-earth and the World of Men; the Hardanger, a Norwegian fiddle, represents the Rohan and the North African rhaita colors the Mordor theme, while log drums, dilruba, wood xylophone, and cimbalon add intriguing textures elsewhere. The score's looming orchestral clouds are brightened by Shore's masterful choral writing, which infuses ancient liturgical influences with various solo turns by Isabel Bayrakdarian, indie-pop star Sheila Chandra, Ben Del Maestro, and Elizabeth Fraser. "Gollum's Song," the composer's concluding collaboration with lyricist Fran Walsh, is delivered with Björkish, postmodern angst by Emiliana Torrini, and helps punctuate the story's modern sense of allegory. --Jerry McCulley« less
Howard Shore's music for the massively successful first film chapter of Tolkien's Ring saga won him the Oscar® for Best Original Score, something of a surprise given the music's ambitious scale and determinedly dark overtones, factors that handily blurred the line between typical film fantasy music and accomplished concert work. Its sequel takes the same, often Wagnerian-scaled dramatic tack, following the film's story line into even more brooding and ominous dark corners. The previous film's Hobbit-inspired pastoralism is supplanted here by rich ethnic textures that expand the musical scope of Middle-earth and the World of Men; the Hardanger, a Norwegian fiddle, represents the Rohan and the North African rhaita colors the Mordor theme, while log drums, dilruba, wood xylophone, and cimbalon add intriguing textures elsewhere. The score's looming orchestral clouds are brightened by Shore's masterful choral writing, which infuses ancient liturgical influences with various solo turns by Isabel Bayrakdarian, indie-pop star Sheila Chandra, Ben Del Maestro, and Elizabeth Fraser. "Gollum's Song," the composer's concluding collaboration with lyricist Fran Walsh, is delivered with Björkish, postmodern angst by Emiliana Torrini, and helps punctuate the story's modern sense of allegory. --Jerry McCulley
Michelle S. from DES PLAINES, IL Reviewed on 11/22/2020...
Love the music. My boys are obsessed with it (10 and 12 years old)!
Ken G. from BIRMINGHAM, AL Reviewed on 8/23/2010...
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Stephanie M. (QuiltedKnitter) from COON RAPIDS, MN Reviewed on 12/1/2009...
The music from Lord of the Rings is just superb. It is rare that I like an entire soundtrack, especially these days when they throw in all sorts of weird, current music. This music I can listen to all the time. Howard Shore's music is very ethereal, making it significantly different from my other favorite soundtrack music writer, John Williams. Great job Howard. I hope you do some others!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Perhaps you thought Middle Earth couldn't sound any darker..
franz conrad | Sydney, Australia | 12/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Howard Shore's Fellowship of the Ring score was a revelation. Who knew that the composer of The Game and The Cell had such a mastery of the leitmotif approach to scoring? FOTR of the ring left us with fully fleshed out themes (the Ring theme, the Fellowship theme, the Hobbit theme, the Riders March, the Isengard march, the Lorien theme) and haunting motifs (Arwen's motif, Aniron, Gandalf's lament, the 'Moth' theme, the betrayal theme, Gollum's theme). The Two Towers offers both revised presentations of the old and a stunning collection of new material.Of the old, the Ring theme opens the album in a bold statement, followed by Goldenthal-like strings that take us back into the percussion and male choir of the Moria episode of FOTR. In "The Forbidden Pool", the Ring theme is most deftly developed, intertwined with Gollum's motif for the moment in the film that corresponds to the Henneth Annun segment of the novel. Also of note is the renewed Fellowship theme, which opens "The Uruk Hai" in grand style and proclaims the peak of the Riddermark charge in "Forth Eorlingas". The Isengard March (Shore's answer to Williams' Empire March) is twisted and turned into a charge for Gandalf in "The White Rider" (hear the opening!) and in "Isengard Unleashed", the brass is amazingly low. There are many other reprises of the old material, my favourite being the reappearance of, of all things, the 'Moth' motif in "Isengard Unleashed".Of the new, there is the theme of the Riddermark, stated frequently in a number of tracks ("The King of the Golden Hall", "Riders of Rohan", "Hornburg"), and memorably played for the Hardinger by Dermot Crehan. A lovely theme for woodwinds appears in the second half of "The White Rider", reappearing in "The Hornburg". And then there are the action motifs: a minute into "Forth Eorlingas" will have you out of your seat! Not to mention the action motifs unveiled in "Helms Deep", which are heavy on percussion.It's a triumph for Shore and his collaborators. Darker in overall feel and denser in orchestration that its predecessor, if either were conceivably possible. Kudos to the role call of vocalists: Isabel Baykradian (on "Evenstar", my favourite track), Sheila Chandra ("Breath of Life"), Elizabeth Fraser (thankyou Ms Fraser for the opening of "Isengard Unleashed", it's good to have you back for another score), Hilary Summers ("Farewell to Lorien"), Ben Del Maestro ("Forth Eorlingas" and "Isengard Unleashed") and of course... Emilliana Torrini. Collectively they give Enya a run for her money (and collectively probably cost less as well). "Gollum's Song" song is rich and duplicitous, as much a song for Gollum as for men in general and all who can be corrupted by the Ring. It's a perfect answer thematically to Enya's "May it be", which praised Frodo's incorruptability. I suspect, after "The Two Towers", that incorruptibility will be brought into question.And here's to Howard Shore's incorruptibility. May it be The Return of the King completes the most powerful series of film scores since, well, you know what trilogy I was going to say."
Yet Another Masterpiece
franz conrad | 12/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Howard Shore has indeed made another masterpiece. It is incredible that he can improve upon the highly acclaimed Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack. I was somewhat disappointed that Enya would not be making another contribution, but there are no complaints about the new artists. I did read a previous review expressing disappiontment that the music featured on the trailer was not on the soundtrack. This is becasue it is not from The Two Towers. That music actually is the score from the film Requiem for a Dream and is on that soundtrack. Just thought I would clear that up for anyone who was wondering because that is a powerful score as well. So, I would no doubt recommend adding this to your collection. It is just a taste of the highly anticipated theatrical experience that is on the way."
Darker, moving, emotional
Deborah MacGillivray | US & UK | 11/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I loved the soundtrack for Fellowship of the Rings, and when the second movie came out, I was so impressed with Shore's continued work. The first film was whimsical and light in places, reflecting the Shire and it's Neverneverland perfection. It had to run to gauntlet of emotions from light and pure to powerful and pressing as they fellowship fought for their lives, to the sorrowful, the ethereal realm of the Elves to the final battle and redemption of Boromir.Under Shore's hand, The Two Towers is darker, more intense. It does not have the range of Fellowship simply because we are past the Shire and it's tranquil beauty. But the score for the Two Towers is so moving. Think back on the brilliantly filmed scenes, and imagine them without the moving score of this film and you begin to understand just how brilliant conceived this score is. Howard Shore has firmly controlled the scores to make the sounds tracks as important as the film in creating the magic of the Rings."
The path to Mount Doom gets darker...
Rashard Brown-Williams | Elmhurst, NY United States | 12/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was surprised when Howard Shore's score for "The Fellowship of the Ring" won the Oscar. I am not saying that it wasn't deserving, but I didn't think it had much of a chance given the competition. On "The Two Towers," Shore's music has taken a turn for the somber. This is not the same music from his first undertaking. From the opening, "Foundations of Stone," the CD begins with a very "The Empire Strikes Back" tone with its choral section, more Wagner opera than John Williams. It gives the impression that this installment in the trilogy is going to be rife with overwhelming odds, epic battles, and impending doom. The score for the first film had a very bright disposition. It allowed one to smell the fields of green grass and hear the rivers rolling over rocky beds near the Shire. By the time you get to the beginning of "The Riders of Rohan," you feel like heavy losses have already felt by the good guys at some epic battle; however, the brightest musical component of the score is the second half of "Rohan:" the introduction of a new theme. The theme echoes of loss, but the potential for hope still lingers. The strings (I think by a collection of fiddles) is simply beautiful and melodic, similar to the sad solo vocal at the end of "The Bridge of Khazad Dum" on the first movie's score, indicating a painful moment of loss in the story. Considering the CD begins with what sounds like a huge crash of steel and armor, it is little surprise that many of the pieces are dense, intense, and incremental in scope. The moments of silence are oft abruptly broken by loud, crashing cymbals or powerful vocal accompaniment. "The Uruk-Hai" alows the rich horn fanfare of the first movie's main theme to meet its sibling theme for "The Two Towers," showing the definite kinship. Every track has a pressing, onimous sadness, be it subtle like "Evenstar" or blatant as in the lamentable "Gollum's Song." I originally gave this 3 stars, but as I wrote, I realized that this is NOT worse than the first score. It is just a lot darker, laden with images of rainy, muddy paths, looming threatening clouds, and the outbreak of grand war on the horizon. The whole score swells with a sense of epic scale, full of horns and large string sections. I think that this score is an excellent compliment to the first. Playing the two side-by-side, you can actually feel yourself on the journey to destroy the Ring, inching closer to Mount Doom...and the darkness that awaits."
Impressive and full of life
Brandon Cutro | Tyler, Texas United States | 01/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After his Academy Award win for The Fellowship of the Ring, Howard Shore returns to score the sequel, The Two Towers. This is just as good as Fellowship, if not better. Some of the themes from the last soundtrack are reused, but the majority of the music contains new themes, which are just as good. A new element used in the music for this soundtrack is a handanger, which is a Norwegian fiddle used for the Rohan theme. This thematic material can be found in "The Riders of Rohan", "The King of the Golden Hall", "Helm's Deep", and "Forth Eorlingas". The powerful chorus and mighty percussion that made the first score so great is featured in "The Passage of the Marshes", "Helm's Deep", "The Hornburg", "Forth Eorlingas", and "Isengard Unleashed". As Enya was used in the first soundtrack, Shore employs several soloists for this one, such as Isabel Bayrakdarian in "Evenstar", Shelia Chandra in "Breath of Life", Elizabeth Fraser in "Isengard Unleashed", Ben Del Maestro in "Forth Eorlingas" and "Isengard Unleashed", and Emiliana Torrini singing "Gollum's Song". The Fellowship theme returns in "The Uruk-hai" and the Hobbit theme returns in "Samwise the Brave". A major highlight of the album is "Helm's Deep", "The Hornburg", "Forth Eorlingas", and "Isengard Unleashed" with a powerful chorus, brass fanfares, and booming percussion. Some other new material for Gollum can be found in "The Taming of Smeagol", "The Forbidden Pool", and "Gollum's Song" with a cimbalom being used for his sound. As you have probably guessed by now, this is definitely a score worth getting at all costs. If you liked Fellowship, you will equally enjoy this. I think this will win the Academy Award this year for best score, as Fellowship did. Very impressive!"