Howard Shore
The Fellowship of the Ring


4.5
superb

Review

by James USER (10 Reviews)
April 10th, 2009 | 28 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shore dismisses any doubt once held in his writing with his score for the first chapter of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Honestly I was never totally convinced that Howard Shore was going to be the right composer for this trilogy. Mostly because the scores I have heard by the composer generally have been very complex, subtle, non melodic and dissonant, which doesn't rhyme well with the kind of scores I felt suited the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Luckily, in the end Howard Shore turned out to be the right composer - the music for The Fellowship of the Ring is one of the best scores of the decade albeit its main competition ended up being Shore’s other scores for these marvellous movies.

To me, strong themes are one of the most important ingredients in a score. And The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring has plenty of strong themes. The hobbits, or Hobbiton, have been given a playfull and jaunty little jig inspired theme, heard in full in the second track, "Concerning Hobbits", performed by staccato strings, fiddle, dulcimer, accordion and other instruments. It's really a great little tune that has a tendency to occupy your mind for hours, refusing to leave.

Frodo Baggins and the Shire are represented by one of the scores' nicest and most memorable themes. It's lush, sweeping and very noble, presented for the first time in the very end of "The Prophecy" where fragments of it are performed by brass. Parts of it return in "Concerning Hobbits", performed by whistle and strings, but the entire theme is heard for the first time in the wonderful "Many Meetings", performed by the entire 106 piece orchestra, making it one of the scores' very finest and emotional moments. The theme also closes the score in "The Breaking of the Fellowship", where it, turned into a hymn, is sung with lyrics by a boy soprano backed up by a soft choir and strings, creating a very sad and desolate sound.

The theme for the Fellowship is a heroic, but also a little restrained and serious, fanfare inspired little ditty, often performed by brass and percussion. It never gets to upbeat or heroic, thankfully, since the Fellowship really isn't a bunch of merry heroes running around doing heroic stuff - these guys aren't exactly thrilled to do what they have to do. The theme evolves throughout the entire score and is heard in full for the first time in "The Council of Elrond". Grand statements of it return in "The Ring Goes South" and "The Bridge of Khazad Dum" and a couple of other cues.

The score for The Fellowship of the Ring is dark. Often incredibly dark, with low brass, pounding percussion and uneasy strings, with occasional choral outbursts. Tracks such as "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony" and "The Bridge of Khazad Dum" are perfect examples of this kind of writing. Great stuff and exactly the kind of music I hoped that Shore would write for this film. But the score and story have room for more upbeat, problem free music, as well, highlights being the already mentioned "Concerning Hobbits" and the first part of "The Black Rider" with its flute and string rendition of the hobbit theme, followed by some lively scherzo sounding music dominated by string. Even the beautiful "The Breaking of the Fellowship" cue hosts some light-hearted and optimistic music.

Voices play a large role in this score. Shore uses the sound of a dark, chanting choir to represent the nine Ringwraiths, in many cues, such as "The Shadow of the Past", "A Knife in the Dark" and "A Journey in the Dark". The lyrics are in languages constructed by Tolkien and the result is music that sounds incredibly evil and very dramatic as well as huge, performed by almost 200 musicians. Then there's the use of female vocals in "Lothlorien", creating a very ancient, ethnic and almost religious sound that represents the elves really well, and the soft sound of a boys choir in "The Breaking of the Fellowship" and "The Flight to the Ford". And let's not forget about Enya, her music, in the score heard in the "Council of Elrond" track and as a standalone song, "May it Be", at the very end of the disc, works really well together with Shore's score, without sticking out like a sore thumb. I suppose that two of the largest reasons it actually works is that Howard Shore orchestrated and arranged these parts himself and that Shores' score already has a very strong vocal sound.
Howard Shore has really hit the nail on the head with this magnificent score. He has not put a foot wrong and dismissed any doubt I once had about his writing in any previous works.

Suggested Listens:
- "The Breaking of the Fellowship"
- "The Bridge of Khazad Dum"
- "Corncerning Hobbits"



Recent reviews by this author
Augie March Strange BirdAugie March Watch Me Disappear
Augie March Moo, You Bloody ChoirThad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra Consummation
Howard Shore The Two TowersCrowded House Temple Of Low Men
user ratings (145)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
Justus (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
upagainstthewall
April 10th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just completing my LoTR reviews

Meatplow
April 10th 2009


5524 Comments


Nice, I was completely unaware Shore was responsible for the scores to the LOTR films. I'm a big fan of his work with David Cronenberg.

upagainstthewall
April 10th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks mate.
Yeah he really was at the top of his game with Cronenberg and these scores. Though as the review reads i was very sceptical of his work before the first movie.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2009


20858 Comments


I really like the way you write James. I wish I could use commas as well as you do. And I love a sentence like this: "It never gets to upbeat or heroic, thankfully, since the Fellowship really isn't a bunch of merry heroes running around doing heroic stuff - these guys aren't exactly thrilled to do what they have to do."

I was wondering when you would review this as I wasn't sure why you went in reverse order in the first place.

Oh & Sean Bean rules!

upagainstthewall
April 10th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you very much.
There was no real reasoning why i decided to do them in reverse order, except for the fact that Jutus had already written a review for this. So, with Return of the King being my favourite i decided to do that first!

I'm more a Faramir man myself

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2009


20858 Comments


I had $5 on Gollum!

SnackaryBinx
April 10th 2009


2309 Comments


Faramir sucks. You would side with the people who try and take the ring.

gaslightanthem
April 10th 2009


5209 Comments


If you read the book Faramir is probably one of the strongest characters involved; where in the film he looks like he is going to give frodo over to his father in the book he befriends them and helps the hobbits on their quest, giving them food and cloaks and such. He is also Gondor's greatest captain after Boromir who obviously died in the first book.

Shame on you for not knowing your LotR snackary.

Unless you mean you would be a bad guy but that would make you a dick because they are all fucking ugly.

gaslightanthem
April 10th 2009


5209 Comments


Actually he dies in the first chapter of the second book but w/e.

gaslightanthem
April 10th 2009


5209 Comments


Boromir I mean. .



lol spam

Zippermouth
April 10th 2009


1305 Comments


You're all fucking nerds.
This Message Edited On 04.10.09

gaslightanthem
April 10th 2009


5209 Comments


no because lotr > real life

Zippermouth
April 10th 2009


1305 Comments


I guess you're right...

Merkaba33
April 10th 2009


702 Comments


I was about to buy these and then I realized I already had them. I will soon listen to it.

upagainstthewall
April 10th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

If you read the book Faramir is probably one of the strongest characters involved; where in the film he looks like he is going to give frodo over to his father in the book he befriends them and helps the hobbits on their quest, giving them food and cloaks and such. He is also Gondor's greatest captain after Boromir who obviously died in the first book.

Shame on you for not knowing your LotR snackary.

Unless you mean you would be a bad guy but that would make you a dick because they are all fucking ugly.


LoTR is life.

Yeah and Faramir also taps that chick from Rohan in the book.



.This Message Edited On 04.10.09

NOTINTHEFACE
April 10th 2009


1653 Comments


lotr > real life

This. 123


Fugue
April 10th 2009


7354 Comments


Yeah so this is a good review for a great score, I always thought the two towers had the best music though.

upagainstthewall
April 10th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks mate. Though i find that Return of the Kings wins for me, check out my other reviews for the other scores if you wish.

HectorPector
October 18th 2009


39 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Yeah and Faramir also taps that chick from Rohan in the book."

Lucky bastard... This is the worst of the 3 cept for Breaking of the Fellowship, thats epic.

Piglet
December 7th 2009


4665 Comments


love tolkien's work, i suppose everything that relates around his universe is a must get for me



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy