The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Howard Shore and Enya Reprise.

Paul Wong
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack<br><br>Howard Shore and Enya Reprise.

Howard Shore”s score to “The Lord of the Rings” invites you into the world of Middle Earth, but it”s not all about cute little elves and enchanted forests. In fact, there”s nothing cute or non-threatening about this soundtrack. The listener is instead treated to a larger-than-life, sweeping dark sound that is only punctuated with pleasantness.

Composing music to “Lord of the Rings” was probably not an easy task like the adaptation of “Harry Potter,” legions of “Ring” fans are expecting nothing less than a spectacular soundtrack. Shore”s orchestration delivers in a big way he manages to portray the multi-faceted Middle Earth with a variety of sounds. The score opens with “The Prophecy,” which introduces the gothic, dark choir chanting characteristic of most of the tracks. This sound, when fused with the gradually loudening strings and brass, creates an intensity that is rivaled in few other scores.

Shore seamlessly alternates between these war themes and a lighter, airy violin sound. He often begins a track, such as “The Shadow of the Past,” with a minimal flute melody, which suddenly escalates into an orchestral powerhouse. Shore”s scoring indicates a large number of battles or fight scenes in the film. At the same time, Shore balances this ponderous sound with some more esoteric work. “Concerning Hobbits” pays homage to Renaissance music its flute sound is both playful and charming. Tracks such as “Many Meetings” evoke a romantic feel with sweeping strings and an angelic choir.

A crucial difference between “The Lord of the Rings” and the other major holiday soundtrack, John Williams” “Harry Potter,” lies in maturity of sound. While Williams” arrangements are complex, they often feel too childlike and quaint for the film. “The Lord of the Rings” score feels more epic and retains a full orchestral sound even in the more tranquil tracks. Shore”s emphasis on certain instruments, particularly the horn and trumpet, portray an adventuring spirit for the film. Based on the trailers, his music already appears to capture the essence of “The Lord of the Rings.”

While Enya”s presence alone is enough to put this soundtrack on the charts, her work fits well with Shore”s themes. Her ethereal voice, layered to multi-part harmony, is particularly suited to the warm, environmental feel of Shore”s orchestrations. The closing track, “May it Be,” composed and performed by Enya, will probably be the film”s signature song. We”ll have to wait for the film to see what connotations it carries, but if “Lord of the Rings” the movie is as strong as its soundtrack, we have a lot to look forward to.

Grade: A-

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