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a radiant, appealing, tender - hearted score...
• Posted by: Bola Onayemi   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Friday, November 28, 2003, at 7:34 p.m.
• IP Address:

Just beautiful. This soundtrack has really brought the trilogy of the lord of the rings to a memorable close. It wasn’t the resounding bombastic finale I expected, which makes me anxious as to what that could mean concerning the story: Do the good guys win or not? If they do, why is the ending so bittersweet? It feels as if a great price has been paid to overcome the dark, monumental odds.

I heard news about the director of the film [Peter Jackson] intending to strike audiences at the heart with this last installment of the trilogy. If that is the intention, I would have to say this score certainly engrosses its listener with a stirring sense of maturity and a powerful emotional rush.

Whatever the motivation behind this work Howard Shore’s effort here is beautiful. From the captivating, stirring bittersweet/ominous themes of the soundtrack’s opening cue ['A Storm is Coming'], to the gorgeous flute melodies in 'The Steward of Gondor' [featuring Sir James Galway, and a really nice performance by Billy Boyd], to the emotional highs of 'Twilight and Shadow' [Renee Fleming sounds like an angel, but somehow, it's Shore’s expansion of the 'Evenstar' cue in the Two Towers that really makes this track the gorgeous peace of music that it is]....

I could go on and on. There are newer themes like 'Minas Tirith' and 'the Black Gate Opens' that could easily be performed with even more spectacular grandeur - a la the Return of the King 'Trailer Theme'[notwithstanding 'the White Tree' is a real highlight of energy in the soundtrack for me - the violins swirl with great vigor as the track ends], and wonderful twists of the darker themes, like Minas Morgul, Cirith Ungol, and Ash and Smoke. Shelobs lair is brilliant composition. No one can contest the sheer uneasiness and dynamic quality it exudes. I cannot wait to see ’She’ in action in the film.

The Rivendell theme ['Many Meetings' from the Fellowship of the Ring], which was given a heartbreaking turn in the Two Towers soundtrack ['the Leave Taking'], is reestablished in a majestic way in 'Anduril', hinting strongly at the King’s Return. Speaking of majesty, the End of All Things is another real highlight on the soundtrack. It feels as if all choirs and leitmotifs of a dark or dramatic nature have come together to witness what must surely be the climax of the entire story.

I’ve rambled for too long. But I did want to mention the last three tracks on this album. 'The Return of the King', 'the Grey Havens', and Annie Lennox’s 'Into the West'. I think the real heart of the entire journey has been captured in these final cues and songs. I felt genuinely sad, realising that the story was over, and that this was goodbye. Bittersweet, yet utterly classic.

Please listen to all three albums of the Lord of the Rings. Howard Shore has achieved something monumental with this story, he has inspired and awed us with majestic scores, and yet touched our hearts with heart itself.

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rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. Scoreboard created 7/24/98 and last updated 4/25/15.