A little background on my love for film music needs to be shared though. You see, when I was young, it was John Williams for me all the way. My brother and I listened to and absorbed his film music from 'E.T.' , to the 'Indiana Jones' films, and even the much maligned 'Always'. But his compositions for the Star Wars Trilogy was IT for me...I had a love affair with those scores. I remember listening to the music and being amazed at how perfectly the movie would play inside my head as I heard each musical cue. I know those scores by heart and fondly remember listening to them over and over and over in my small bedroom in New Jersey.
For many years, I continued to buy and enjoy film music but I firmly believed that there was NO OTHER film score that could match the scope, power and sheer creativity that John Williams delivered for the Star Wars trilogy.
That all changed when I first heard Howard Shore's music to 'Lord of the Rings'. I remember being in college at the time and being quite excited for Peter Jackson's film adaptation to come out. Now, I was already a big fan of the books and had been following the production of the films for some time but nothing prepared me for the musical sledge hammer that was about to pound into my ears. I got the soundtrack a couple of weeks before the movie was released and remember listening to it again and again. This was BEFORE I even saw the film but I got the same rush and visual imagery in my head (mostly because I was familiar with the book).
Anyway, with each film, the scores got more and more elaborate and really built upon itself to embellish, and enrich the visuals on screen. Are the films perfect? NO. I feel that by 'Return of the King', the editing and pacing got a bit bloated but it was clear that Howard Shore had done so much research and, like Peter Jackson, really loved and appreciated the world that Tolkien had created. THIS is clearly evident in the music.
I haven't read the book yet but I HAVE listened to the CD. It's a rarities disc for a reason. Much of the music on the disc are alternate takes and casual listeners might be hard pressed to find anything "new" in it (my personal favorite at the moment is the music written specifically for the Return of the King trailer, track 14 on the disc). All in all, it's still a great companion piece to the Complete Recordings if you have to extra cash to spend.
As for the book, it's pretty thick (clocking in at about 400 pages) and Adams seems to have done a thorough job of going into details about the themes, motifs, and instruments that were chosen to create the music for the films. He also had total access to Howard Shore, Peter Jackson and crew while writing the book so I have a feeling that this IS the definitive guide to the score. The one down side I've seen is that occasionally , music notation fills a good amount of the book (see below) and for someone who isn't a musician (like me) may not get a full appreciation for the text and terminology.
Well, that's pretty much it. I really can't wait to dive into this book to get a much fuller appreciation for Howard Shore's classic score (if that's even possible). For those of you who are interested, there are samples and an interview with Adams HERE on Tracksounds . Enjoy!
|One score to rule them all...|
|Hey Sauron, I can see your crack...|
|what my face looks like when I try to read all those notes...|