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SCORE: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Howard Shore) - Part 1: A Thematic Analysis of the Score and Special Edition Soundtrack Album

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Fantastic analysis Mikko! Really glad to see that this finally came to see the light of day. Exceptional work and all very spot-on as usual! Looking forward to your take on the other scores as well.

Nature

Nature is a strong force of Good in Middle-earth where purity and inherent rightness of things dwells and its servants appear also in The Hobbit to battle the enemies of the natural world and save our heroes from a certain doom. The Great Eagles represent a lofty incarnation of Nature’s power, while the music of Radagast the Brown bears traces of Nature’s benevolent will working in Middle-earth through the wizard.

Nature’s Reclamation

The proud and lyrical Nature’s Reclamation appears with majestic purity as the Eagles arrive at Gandalf’s behest to safe the dwarves from the hands of Azog and as they carry our band of adventurers away, the choral and orchestral forces celebrate as much the last minute rescue as they do the vanquishing of the evil Orcs that have pursued Thorin’s company. Shore’s motif is unchanged in the Hobbit, carried by pure choral sound that ascends gracefully to lofty heights, the power of the natural world as timeless as the Elves. The theme makes a brief appearance on the soundtrack album on the track Out of the Frying-pan and originally Shore wrote a very different choral setting for the rescue sequence using entirely different thematic material but in the end the film makers ended up using a full fledged version of Nature's Reclamation for the scene.

The Eagles of the Misty Mountains (The Eagler Rescue)

The Giant Eagles of the Misty Mountains, previous treated as an ally of Nature and always appeared underscored by the Nature's Reclamation have now gained a new motif related specific to them and the aid they bring to their friends. This new theme is heard in AUJ only in the film itself as it was another revision done to the score and Shore initially composed a very different finale for the film, which can be found on the AUJ soundtrack album. The new rescored ending contains a haunting chorus and soloist theme which is then reprised in The Battle of the Five Armies as the noble avians arrive to turn the tide of the battle, the soaring but lyrical lines annoucing elegantly their timely arrival.

Not sure if its ever been pointed out, but I love how the new Eagle theme builds off the same vi-IV (Am, Fmaj) of the Nature theme and then continues with V-iii (Gmaj, Emin), sharing that characteristic 2-degree step quality of the opening Nature theme call.

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Thank you very much KK! :)

And truly interesting points on the Nature's Reclamation and its connections to the Hobbit motifs related to the Eagles. If anything these scores really show Shore's intentional craft and sometimes purely intuitive mind at work in forging these connections in the music. Once again makes me wish I knew more about the musical theory as it would certainly give another perspective to this music.

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Those two themes (Nature, Eagle) segue into each other so well, you can probably write a lovely suite/theme demo with it! Maybe add Beorn's full theme too, since its built on the same progression.

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The Eagler Rescue? :P;)

Typo fixed. But thanks Faleelr. ;)

You may notice I left out the pesky "Thorin's Pride/Haughtiness/Madness/something or other negative", which is used in the Brass Buttons and Out of the Frying-pan. Didn't Doug just recently point out that it was just an elaboration on Thorin's theme harmonies or something like that?

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The Eagler Rescue? :P;)

Typo fixed. But thanks Faleelr. ;)

Your welmcomer! (BTW there are some dropped "The"'s here and there.)

I notice that there is no mention of the music in Warg-Scouts that sounds similar to The Way to Mordor

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The Eagler Rescue? :P;)

Typo fixed. But thanks Faleelr. ;)

Your welmcomer! (BTW there are some dropped "The"'s here and there.)

I notice that there is no mention of the music in Warg-Scouts that sounds similar to The Way to Mordor

Oh I'll be sure to check the correct articles and typos soon. Proof reading was a bit quickly done I have to admit.

Which part of the Warg-Scouts are you refering to? Timestamps would be useful as always. :)

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Those two themes (Nature, Eagle) segue into each other so well, you can probably write a lovely suite/theme demo with it! Maybe add Beorn's full theme too, since its built on the same progression.

You have my mind racing and weaving ...

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What a bloated and over-the-top review. I heard Inky is planning on doing three threads for this one score? The man clearly lost it.

I preferred him when he was more humble and knew that "more" doesn't necessarily equals "better". Bah!

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Well when I was in the middle of writing this I noticed I had more material than could be fitted into two reviews so I am planning to turn this into a trilogy.

Also there is talk of turning it into high frame rate 3D experience. I'm excited!

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0:53, even if its not the same, it reminds me of it at least.

Perhaps it is a little reminiscent and as I mention above in the analysis I hear several other Mordor music elements in there as well. I am sure Shore injected as much as possible and applicable his older musical ideas into the construction of the new themes in The Hobbit.

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I am sure Doug Adams' book will soon be blowing me out of the water though. Doesn't keep us fans from trying though. :P

I'll post the track-by-track analysis in this thread once I have gotten it polished and updated. The steady amount of small details that have trickled down to us of this score either by fan observations or through Doug in the couple of last years has kept me revising it.

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The 3D high frame rate rendering takes time! Plus I had to schedule rewrites when the review was split into three parts instead of two. The pickup sessions have commenced already. Since the postproduction has been so arduous I am thinking of hiring Conrad Pope to do some work. Not writing but conducting and arranging.

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Didn't Inky also copy/paste entire passages from his LOTR reviews? I mean, he talks about the Nazgûl theme in the middle of the Dwarven material. Erroneous use of thematic material...

And what about Gondor Reborn? Is Inky going senile? ;)

Karol

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I know there was bad humor in the analysis and extraneous materials culled from the Appendices and some I invented myself but the extended edition will set some of those problems aright.

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But more seriously: great review as always Inky. Sorry I don't have any comment to give on it! That's what happens when you're given something that is well-written and well though-out!

So, what can we expect next after AUJ? ;)

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Thank you BB!

And the natural progression after AUJ would be Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, right?

I have to start typing those DoS and BotFA analyses pretty quick before Doug overtakes me and publishes his book. ;)

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Update: Since I could not fit the text of the track-by-track analysis in the same thread as the thematic analysis (yes oh gosh darnit it is that long windedly verbose!) so I created another thread specifically for that.

This eerily reflects the way the movies were divided. There was just too much material to include in a single review! ;)

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Can't wait for the three post version!

I'll leave posts of that length to Doug Adams!

Or perhaps my analysis of DoS will have three and BotFA four parts!

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