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18.06.09 | Review: LOTR Music (Howard Shore, 2001-3)
Filed under: Music — Tags: — Dr. Ivan @ 16:17 — Comments (2)

My review of the fantastic music from the Lord of The Rings music composed by Howard Shore (2001-3). [This is an old post of mine; re-uploaded for the sake of the new site]

Rating: 5 Stars

Started: 27.07.08
Finished: 09.04.09
Last Modified: 09.04.09

As you may or may not know, in addition to metal I enjoy a few other genres – i.e. classical, new age and other relaxation music. This album is a prime example of the heights modern classical music is able to achieve. Music for the Lord Of The Ring movies by Ron Howard is really impressive in both its range of emotion and solidity. You will not find soupy crowd-pleasing violins or pianos, nor will you find the average action-movie themes. The music which we are presented with here is monumental, at times heavy, brooding and dark – while other melodic, happy and cheerful. Both quality and performance is exceptional throughout all the 3 discs.

Despite this I would not recommend using this collection for relaxation. Some of the darker compositions will certainly leave you more worn out and devastated than relaxed. This reaction to the music is not necessarily unwanted nor does it indicate poor quality – actually quite the opposite as it conveys the mood beautifully. Nevertheless you will inevitably look for something slightly more neutral in the long run if relaxation is your sole goal.

Something one should be aware of is the fact that there are several arrangements of these songs around. Probably the most provoking of these is the one “orchestrated” by an individual named Mask. I am one of the unfortunate souls who, not having read the packaging properly, went for the low price. This resulted in 4 years of listening to a synthesized version of what was supposed to be an orchestral score. Yes, someone actually has taken the sheet music composed by Mr. Shore, and played it back using basically some worthless synthesizing software. I was not aware of this until very recently, though I had a strange impression that the tracks were sounding way off in comparison to the movies. I should have realized what had happened when I saw that song titles were changed (presumably to avoid a copyright violation). Oh, yeah, and did I mention that vocalist who was used for a couple of songs (including Into the West) was absolutely horrid? All this in combination with the fact that it is not apparent from the cover (unless you of course have a microscope with you) that this is the unofficial soundtrack leads up to an immense insult to fans of Howard Shore.

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  1. avatar

    I love the soundtracks to Lord of the Rings, but I would have to agree with you that it wouldn’t be a wise choice for relaxation. The music is often intense and it makes me more excited and energized than relaxed. I’m a writer and I like to listen to the LOTR music while I write. It has so much energy in it.

    Don’t feel bad though about snagging the wrong version, I’m sure we’ve all done it. I’m kind of curious about hearing it now to hear how bad it is. Would that artist named Mask be available on iTunes?

    Comment by Electronica Music — 01/07/2009 @ 05:10

  2. avatar

    Thank you for your comment, Electronica Music! :)

    I’m slightly unsure about iTunes, but it can be acquired from other major retailers, like Amazon (link) – where it has a very low score (2/5). Although this is an import, so the price tag hovers at around 30$ (!!).

    I do have to admit that I have an affection for electronic music in general especially for background, ambient and chillout music. Perhaps that is why I could not put my finger on what was so peculiar about the non-orchestral score.

    And by all means, the re-arranged version is to a large degree recognizable and well-made, no doubt. Unfortunately as most of the electronic music it sounds slightly canned and far too mechanical for the occasion. Such sound may be acceptable or even good in some situation, but this is definitely not what I want from an orchestral score from LOTR. If anything, classical music has to be listened to in proper quality – or even better – live.

    Comment by Dr. Ivan — 01/07/2009 @ 10:22

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