Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Three disc set featuring music from The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy including 'Fellowship Of The Ring', 'Two Towers', & 'Return Of The King', all performed by Mask. 38 tracks packaged in a three-panel digipak. World Of Music. 2004.
Original score composed by Howard Shore, Frank Walsh, and Annie Lennox.
It is not surprising that when awards season rolls around, commercially successful films nominated for major awards also manage to attract nominations for their music, and that may help explain why composer Howard Shore won three Academy Awards for the trilogy of films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, although it does not explain the distribution of those awards: Shore won the scoring award for the first film, The Fellowship of the Ring, wasn't nominated at all for the second film, The Two Towers, then won the scoring award and shared the song award for the third film, The Return of the King. Of course, the films generated soundtrack albums released by Warner Bros. Records, and others have also taken up their own versions of the music, notably the New World Orchestra, which made an album of the score for The Fellowship of the Ring in 2002, and the low-rent Hollywood Studio Orchestra and Singers, which addressed the three scores for the budget label LaserLight. Reynold DaSilva's Silva imprint specializes in new versions of film scores for which soundtrack albums were never attempted, but he too has jumped in with a version of the Shore music, employing, as usual, the 87-member City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and the 100-voice Crouch End Festival Chorus, plus soloists. His usual staff, headed by conductor Nic Raine, has paired the seven hours of scoring down to 88 and a half minutes in 16 segments. This makes for a reasonable précis, retaining the scope of Shore's efforts, which range from bombastic action music to delicate, Celtic-flavored interludes, with sweeping, string-filled melodies and angelic choir interventions to keep things suitably mythic. Unlike the typical composer hired on short notice to write a score in a few weeks, Shore was able to take more time on this lengthy project, and he also had many different moods to underline. He proved up to the task, even if there really isn't anything new in his approach. The album concludes with what are referred to as "bonus tracks," though they are not bonuses in the sense that record buyers usually suppose; it's not as though there's any version of the album that doesn't contain them. These are vocal versions of the three theme songs for the films, Enya's "May It Be" from The Fellowship of the Ring, "Gollum's Song" from The Two Towers, and the Oscar-winning "Into the West," co-written by Annie Lennox, from The Return of the King. All could have been dispensed with, just as they could have been in the films themselves. ~ William Ruhlmann