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The Lord of the Rings
(1978)
Album Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Leonard Rosenman

Orchestrated by:
Ralph Ferraro
Thomas Wanker

Co-Produced by:
Douglass Fake
Jeff Johnson
Roger Feigelson
Labels Icon
LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Intrada Records
(February 4th, 1992)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Regular U.S. release (Intrada Film Music Treasury Series).
Awards
AWARDS
Nominated for a Golden Globe.
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ALSO SEE




Decorative Nonsense
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you are accustomed to Leonard Rosenman's dense and dissonant styles and are able to separate his interpretation of Tolkien's world from Howard Shore's.

Avoid it... if you expect Rosenman's score, despite its complexity and creative instrumentation, to in any way approach the grandeur and elegance of Shore's commonly accepted masterpieces.
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EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #617
WRITTEN 6/14/99, REVISED 4/15/07
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Rosenman
Rosenman
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: (Leonard Rosenman) It's absolutely impossible to look back at Ralph Bakshi's screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and not compare it to Peter Jackson's monumental live-action efforts of the early 00's. At some point, you have to recognize that Jackson and his crew perfected Tolkien's vision on screen as best as it will ever be done, at least for a few decades to come. The 1978 version has been eclipsed on every front, and what will make it more difficult for current day fans to enjoy is just how dated its technique was. Not only was it animated, but it used a combination of traditional animation with rotoscoping, the technique of filming a live action version of the story and hand tracing each frame to make it appear semi-real. The problem that most viewers had with this process is that the rotoscoping was combined with the (often very poor) drawings at odd places, sometimes within the same frames. Another major problem was that Bakshi ran out of money before production was finished, so his film stops halfway through "The Two Towers" in chronology. Ironically, the $8 - $10 million budget yielded box office results in excess of $60 million, and yet the promised sequel never came. An animated, 97-minute television production of "The Return of the King" was shown in 1980, but without any of the same crew and mutated into a musical. Despite being critically bashed for its rotoscoping and incomplete story, The Lord of the Rings is loved by a select group of Tolkien fanatics, and the same could be said, to some degree, of film score collectors. The project was just one in a long and extremely varied career of Leonard Rosenman, spanning science-fiction and adventure realms that crossed from Fantastic Voyage to Star Trek and Robocop.



Ratings Icon
VIEWER RATINGS
866 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 3.38 Stars
***** 224 5 Stars
**** 214 4 Stars
*** 196 3 Stars
** 135 2 Stars
* 97 1 Stars
  (View results for all titles)

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COMMENTS
9 TOTAL COMMENTS
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Bull[bleep!] review
Simon - January 27, 2015, at 6:08 a.m.
1 comment  (527 views)
Language
Merlin - January 26, 2012, at 9:33 p.m.
1 comment  (654 views)
This review sucks
MC-Da5t1n - January 29, 2010, at 5:05 a.m.
1 comment  (1277 views)
This score needs to be judged for this film... not the Jackson versions.
Rally V. - January 2, 2008, at 4:02 p.m.
1 comment  (1623 views)
Clearly Rosenmans best Score...
SolarisLem - July 13, 2007, at 3:06 p.m.
1 comment  (1793 views)
Rosenman LOTR
Fireandice - April 26, 2007, at 11:06 p.m.
1 comment  (1859 views)
More...


Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 76:58
• 1. History of the Ring (6:31)
• 2. Gandalf Throws Ring* (3:55)
• 3. The Journey Begins/Encounter with the Ringwraiths (4:28)
• 4. Trying to Kill Hobbits* (3:03)
• 5. Escape to Rivendell (6:22)
• 6. Company of the Ring* (1:39)
• 7. Mines of Moria (6:10)
• 8. The Battle in the Mines/The Balrog (5:08)
• 9. Mithrandir (3:17)
• 10. Frodo Disappears (2:38)
• 11. Following the Orcs (3:16)
• 12. Fleeing Orcs* (2:31)
• 13. Attack of the Orcs (4:04)
• 14. Gandalf Remembers (2:19)
• 15. Riders of Rohan (3:43)
• 16. Helm's Deep (7:02)
• 17. The Dawn Battle/Theoden's Victory (5:34)
• 18. The Voyage to Mordor/Theme from The Lord of the Rings (4:43)
* Previously unreleased

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert contains extensive notes by Leonard Rosenman about the score, including the excerpt below:

    "When a film fails it pulls everything connected with it down to oblivion. Unfortunately, in this case, it includes a film score of great complexity and sophistication. This compact disc is a true first in soundtracks because it reissues the score primarily as a musical work and secondly, a film score. It is vastly different from the original LP in many ways. First, the score is now placed in the proper order of composition for the film and for gradual development of musical materials. The LP used a reprise of the final end title march at the beginning for commercial reasons. Second, another twelve minutes of music (previously unreleased) are included in this album. Last, the original soundtrack album sounded small and pinched (despite the use of over 100 musicians and a chorus) due to the lack of ambiance in the recording studio at that time. To rebalance the giant dynamic contrast of this score (which could not be heard on the old LPs), the entire score was remixed, going back to the original 24-track tapes to do so. The result is that, for the first time, it is possible to hear the enormous amount of instrumental color of this work.

    Composing the score was probably the most challenging assignment I have ever dealt with. How was it possible to write approximately 80 minutes of music, consisting mostly of violence, eerie marches, strange chases, and wild battle scenes without it becoming one dimensional and therefore boring? The answer was complex:

      • I had to create an overall style establishing a context of an other-worldly nature. This was done by an almost surrealistic superimposition (if traditional triadic harmonies over dissonant and even serial techniques. Moreover, a great variety of orchestral color was necessary, including odd instruments like an amplified Rams Horn, a "Lion's Roar" percussion instrument, plus others as well as human voices singing a language which I invented for the occasion.

      • Thematic material, particularly in the marches and battle scenes, had to both be varied and accessible, as they were connected to the various characters in the film.

      • The score builds to the climax of the film were the full "Lord of the Rings" theme (the last march) is revealed. This is done by the gradual establishment of fragments of the theme throughout the film, so that the final march is a fulfilling "pay-off" to what has been hinted at throughout the entire composition. This technique is also used with respect to other motifs in the film, the climax of most of them coming during the last battle scene, "Helm's Deep".

      • The opportunity to write lyrical and/or tranquil passages in the work were welcomed enthusiastically as a needed contrast to the rest of the score. I speak of "Mithrandir" in particular.

    All in all, this score, viewed objectively after all these years, constitutes almost a lexicon of alien and strange sounds, wild marches and even wilder battle scenes."
Copyright © 1999-2017, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Lord of the Rings are Copyright © 1992, Intrada Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 6/14/99 and last updated 4/15/07.
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