The Lord of the Rings Symphony: Six Movements for Orchestra & Chorus

Composed By: Howard Shore

Produced by: Howe Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            The musical score of The Lord of the Rings trilogy of films represents some of the most memorable compositions to date.  Created by Howard Shore, the music is instantly recognizable and helped to shape the films into the masterpieces Peter Jackson envisioned.  December 2011 marks the tenth anniversary of the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.  In celebration of this upcoming anniversary, The Lord of the Rings Symphony: Six Movements for Orchestra & Chorus was released in CD and digital format.

            The album was recorded live in concert in Switzerland in February of 2010 and features six tracks of music.  Selecting from nearly twelve hours of musical score, Shore created six symphonic movements which were performed by The 21st Century Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ludwig Wicki

            I, for one, believe that Howard Shoreís musical scores for The Lord of the Rings films were incredible.  They perfectly described the emotion and tone in the events that take place in the film.  I loved the bits of Celtic sound that added to the beauty of the scenery as the heroes travel toward their goals.  I also enjoyed the ominous undertones that followed the ring towards its doom. 

            That being said, I found The Lord of the Rings Symphony to be a bit difficult to sit through.  This isnít exactly the music from the films - the music is condensed from twelve hours to a little over an hour and a half.  Thus, despite trying to add the most attractive musical compositions created for the films, the album still seems a bit lacking.  The music is beautiful, but starts to sound a bit repetitive after a while.  Only a true fan of the movies would be able to discern what is going on in the movements, but I suppose only a true fan would buy this album to begin with.

            I canít quite put my finger on the exact reason why I didnít enjoy this album thoroughly.  I loved the first couple of tracks and was happy to see that Shore didnít sacrifice the haunting vocals in an effort to shorten the score, but there seemed to be something missing.  I started becoming bored with the music, something I never thought could ever happen to such a fan of the Lord of the Rings musical score.  Perhaps the music is more striking when performed in person, but in this album format, The Lord of the Rings Symphony is not quite as vibrant and striking as the original score it was gleaned from and therefore, not as enjoyable. 


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